Mar
11

Service Providers for IT Managed Service Providers: Do You Need One?

Service Providers for IT Managed Service Providers: Do You Need One?

March 11
By

Managed service providers have carved out a profitable niche in the IT industry by servicing the needs of others. Organizations in the SMB community commonly employ their services for hands-on assistance with server management, network monitoring, and various helpdesk services that allow them to provide adequate support to customers of their own. In the ideal scenario, MSPs help clients save precious time, maximize resources, and improve productivity.

Being the saviors of IT, managed service providers can easily become overwhelmed themselves and can run short of the resources needed to support their own business operations. It’s a lot like life. When you’re busy taking care of someone else’s house, you tend to a get sidetracked to a point where mowing the lawn, keeping the living room tidy, and generally maintaining your own residence is overlooked. Ironically, MSPs can benefit tremendously by outsourcing their responsibilities to outside service providers.

Money Matters

Bear with me. Paul Heyman is recognized as the mastermind behind Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). In the late night 1990s, ECW revolutionized pro wrestling by incorporating a hardcore style of extreme violence, cussing, and sexuality into the sport that had largely been cartooned by Vince McMahon’s WWF. While Heyman is credited for the risk-taking and innovative storylines that made ECW a hit with fans, he’s also blamed for the horrendous financial blunders that resulted in several workers being unpaid, and the demise of the company, which rival Vince McMahon eventually bought out.

The point is that even some of the most savvy entrepreneurs struggle with money management. MSP CFO exists for service providers in need of help with this very aspect. According to ChannelProNetwork, MSP CFO helps their clients properly integrate PSA platforms to get a better handle on money-related components such as ticketing, invoicing, and inventory. They also provide consulting services for business, revenue, and labor utilization models. When you can make better financial decisions, you can usually make a substantially better return on your investments.

Human Resources

At one time, human resources mainly consisted of hiring staff, firing staff, and managing payroll. With ADA, FMLA, and Obamacare to account for, this department is usually exposed to more compliance and legal issues than any other nowadays. MSPs in need of relief may find a lot of it by outsourcing their human resources responsibilities to an outside party. Offloading 401K administration, background checks, temporary staffing, and other vital functions can provide benefits such as the ability to improve compliance, free up time to devote to core competencies, and save money.

Web Hosting

Due to the nature of the business, an MSP cannot survive without a website. The website is the core of your entire digital presence, the destination clients and potential clients visit to learn more about your offerings, buy service packages, access support resources, and much more. While most MSPs have impressive IT infrastructures of their own, not all can afford the premium bandwidth, top of the line server hardware, and ongoing maintenance it takes to keep a high-traffic volume website up and running. Thank goodness for web hosting!

Web hosting is a valuable IT service commonly used by small and large business alike. And with so many varieties available, MSPs can obtain the exact level of support they require for their website. Need someone to handle server management and the IT maintenance behind the scenes? Then shared hosting is an affordable solution. Want to manage your own server and still offload the maintenance? You might be a perfect candidate for dedicated hosting. Have all your own IT equipment and just need somewhere to store and connect it to the internet? Then colocation hosting is probably your fancy. Arguably, uutsourcing your website hosting needs makes more sense than anything else on this list.

Marketing

I’ve been dabbling in businesses of my own for quite a while, but the one thing I’ve always found more challenging than any other is marketing. While I’ve often been a one-man show, even established, fully staffed companies can end up strapped for the resources to fuel the marketing strategies and campaigns that are essential to business growth. For MSPs, however, outsourcing marketing isn’t necessarily a matter of limited resources. The need to spur growth faster, capitalize on emerging trends, and cater to new customer segments are some of the reasons you may need outside help with marketing.

Balancing the Pros and Cons

Realizing that every coin has two sides, you’re probably not surprised to hear that offloading your responsibilities on another party isn’t all whipped cream and cherries. When you work with an outside consultant or contractor, you generally expose your organization to numerous elements that are out of your control. In many ways, you’re gambling by entrusting someone to give your project the attention it deserves, to complete mission-critical tasks in a timely fashion, and to also handle customer data, intellectual property, and other sensitive assets without getting a case of the sticky fingers.

The daily routine of a managed service provider is so eventful that you can source out everything from project management and competitive analysis to managing your entire social media presence and still end up with a full plate. In the end, it’s all about identifying what you need and determining who’s best suited to handle it.

While just about everything can be sourced out, there are some things better kept in-house.

Your house.

Photo Credit: Marc Falardeau via Flickr