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  • Writer's pictureChaz Vossburg

Co-Managed IT Services: The Efficient Pathway for Modern Businesses

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Why are Business Leaders Embracing Co-Managed IT Solutions?

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, business leaders are recognizing a transformative shift. More and more, companies are turning to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) like Wellforce to augment their IT strategies. But why is this trend gaining traction?

1. The Need for a Hybrid Approach

As businesses expand, the sheer volume of IT demands grows exponentially. However, for larger entities with over 100 endpoints, complete IT outsourcing might not be the most effective approach. There's a clear recognition that there's intrinsic value in maintaining an in-house IT manager or a dedicated team. They offer immediate response, deep knowledge of company-specific issues, and a hands-on understanding of the corporate culture.

2. Budgetary Constraints Meet Rising IT Demands

Even as IT demands rise, the budgets allocated for IT might not always catch up at the same pace. As a result, business leaders often face a conundrum: how to ensure that the company benefits from top-tier IT support without overshooting the budget. Co-managed IT solutions emerge as the answer. By collaborating with external MSPs for specific tasks, businesses can harness specialized expertise without the overheads of a full-time hire.

3. Tailored Technical Support with Co-Managed IT

Outsourcing specific IT functions to trusted providers like Wellforce allows companies to get the best of both worlds. They can retain the control and immediacy of an internal IT team while also benefiting from the broad expertise and resources of an established MSP. This tailored approach ensures organizations receive optimal technical support, adjusted perfectly to their unique needs and budget constraints.

Step 1: How to Effectively Evaluate Multiple Managed Service Providers

As businesses contemplate the switch to co-managed IT solutions, the first and perhaps most critical step involves selecting the right Managed Service Provider (MSP). Here's a step-by-step guide, emphasizing how Wellforce meets these criteria, to ensure you make an informed choice:

1. Cast a Wide Net: Engage Multiple Providers

  • Variety is Essential: Aim to evaluate at least three MSPs. This approach provides a diverse range of plans and proposals to compare and contrast.

  • Depth of Engagement: Ensure a minimum of two meetings with each prospective provider. Remember, first impressions, while important, might not tell the full story. Dive deeper with a follow-up meeting, using our recommended direct questions found in the e-book to uncover insights. Wellforce Tip: When you engage with us, we encourage open dialogue and detailed discussions to address your specific needs and concerns.

2. Embrace the Digital Experience: Understand Their Remote Capabilities

  • Digital Infrastructure: As a fully remote MSP, their virtual infrastructure speaks volumes about their capabilities. How do they handle remote communications, project management, and customer support?

  • Security in the Digital World: Ensure that their remote operations have top-notch cybersecurity measures in place. Wellforce Insight: At Wellforce, we're pioneers in the remote IT support realm. Our sophisticated digital infrastructure is built to offer seamless support, irrespective of geographical boundaries.

3. Talk Tech: Engage with an Engineer

  • Honest Feedback: Level 3 engineers, with their deep technical expertise, often provide unfiltered feedback. Engage with them to set honest expectations regarding potential collaboration. Wellforce Advantage: Our engineers are at the heart of our services. We believe in transparent communications and would gladly facilitate interaction with our technical experts.

4. Trust but Verify: Seek References

  • Non-negotiable Step: Always ask for a minimum of three references, and take the time to reach out. Their experiences can provide invaluable insights into the provider's capabilities and service ethos. Wellforce Recommendation: We pride ourselves on the trust our clients place in us. Reach out to Wellforce for references, and hear firsthand about our commitment to excellence.

In conclusion, evaluating potential MSPs is not just about assessing capabilities; it's about gauging fit, ethos, and alignment with your company's unique needs. With Wellforce, we believe in a partnership that thrives on trust, expertise, and shared objectives.

Step 2: The Art of Defining Roles in a Co-Managed IT Framework

In the realm of IT management, there's an evolving consensus: neither full outsourcing nor a complete in-house approach strikes the right balance for growing businesses. Instead, a co-managed model — one that amalgamates the strengths of both worlds — is gaining favor. However, a seamless co-managed IT partnership mandates a clear demarcation of responsibilities. Let's delve into how businesses can achieve this clarity with Managed Service Providers (MSPs) like Wellforce.

1. Understand the Landscape: The Case for Co-Managed IT

  • Full Outsourcing: When IT operations are entirely outsourced to an MSP, the provider assumes holistic responsibility for the IT infrastructure and network security.

  • In-House Evolution: As businesses scale, wholly outsourcing IT or absorbing all tasks internally might not be financially or operationally viable. This leads to a blended approach — the co-managed IT model. Wellforce Insight: We recognize the dynamism in IT needs. Our co-managed model is designed to offer flexibility and complement your in-house capabilities.

2. Charting the Divide: Examples of Outsourced Roles

Ensuring harmony in a co-managed setup involves clearly outlining who does what. Here are potential areas to consider:

  • Server Management: Tasks like security audits, updates, migrations, and modifications can be delegated to the MSP.

  • Backup and Disaster Recovery: Trust the MSP for both onsite and offsite data backups. They can handle monitoring, testing restores, and ensuring data redundancy.

  • Tiered Help Desk Support: Depending on the in-house team's strengths, delegate either lower or higher-level help desk tickets to the MSP. Wellforce Specialization: Our team is adept at handling a myriad of IT tasks, ensuring your in-house IT department can focus on strategic initiatives without being spread too thin.

3. The Economics and Efficacy of Outsourcing Specific Roles

Consider the scenario of data backup. An in-house dedicated role can be a substantial expense. Spreading such responsibilities among existing personnel might seem efficient, but this can dilute the focus. A lapse, especially in critical areas like data redundancy or network security, can have significant ramifications.

Wellforce Perspective: With data protection and network security being paramount, we ensure no balls are dropped. We provide expertise where it's most needed, preventing any potential vulnerabilities.

In essence, a co-managed IT approach is akin to a well-orchestrated symphony. Every entity, be it in-house IT or an external partner like Wellforce, plays a defined role to create harmonious IT operations that drive business success.

Step 3: Decoding the Onboarding Process with a New IT Partner

The onboarding phase is the litmus test for any partnership, especially in the IT landscape. While impressive sales pitches and compelling presentations might dazzle initially, it's the onboarding phase that provides tangible insights into the workings of an IT partner. Here's how to critically assess this crucial juncture and what it reveals about a potential collaboration with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) like Wellforce.

1. Beyond the Sales Glamour: Realizing Operational Efficiencies

Sales pitches can be persuasive, but what truly matters is the delivery. It's essential to assess:

  • Whether the operational expertise mirrors the sales prowess.

  • If there's substance beneath the polished exterior of presentations and proposals.

2. Key Factors to Gauge During Onboarding

To truly evaluate your new IT partner's capabilities, consider these factors:

  • Timeline & Expectations: Was there a well-defined onboarding schedule? Did the MSP adhere to it?

  • Communication: Was the communication seamless? Initial engagements often set the tone. If communication lags during the honeymoon phase, it might signal potential future hiccups.

  • Value Addition: Beyond monetary gains for the MSP, did their recommendations genuinely augment your workflow and productivity? Wellforce Tip: We pride ourselves on clear communication, setting realistic expectations, and delivering value that impacts our partners positively.

3. Reading Between the Lines: Understanding What Onboarding Reveals

An imperfect onboarding can be revealing:

  • Minor hiccups may hint at potential larger issues down the line.

  • Multiple challenges during onboarding? It’s a moment of introspection. Evaluate if the MSP aligns with your operational standards and requirements.

It's worth pondering: Would you prefer to restart the search, or can you live with the revealed operational nuances?

4. The Bright Side: When Onboarding Reflects Potential

If the onboarding process is a testament to efficiency, with timely communication and actionable recommendations, then it's a green flag. Such an experience indicates that you've likely partnered with a competent co-managed IT firm that understands your needs.

Wellforce Assurance: Our onboarding process at Wellforce is meticulously designed, ensuring partners experience the quality and dedication we bring to every engagement.

In summation, while the initial charm of sales pitches can be enticing, the true essence of an MSP is revealed during onboarding. It's a phase that demands scrutiny, offering a glimpse into the future of the partnership. With Wellforce, we aim to set the right tone from the get-go, fostering trust and collaboration.

Bonus Tips: Navigating a Smooth Transition to a Co-Managed IT Partnership

As you consider pivoting to a co-managed IT framework, the journey can be smoother with some insider insights. Drawing from industry experience and the unique vantage point of Wellforce, here are bonus tips to ensure a seamless transition.

1. Leverage Pricing Benefits in Co-Managed Partnerships

Most Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are fans of co-managed IT setups. Here's why:

  • Efficiency and Profitability: Specializing in specific roles for clients makes MSPs more streamlined and, consequently, more profitable.

  • Pricing Flexibility: Owing to the mutual benefits, MSPs may be open to slightly adjusting their standard managed service rates. This could be for workstations, users, or servers. You can delve deeper into the nuances of Managed Service Pricing HERE. Wellforce Tip: It's crucial to strike a balance. While negotiations are standard, avoid setting a partnership tone that's overly demanding or presents unrealistic financial expectations.

2. The Power of an MSP Toolkit: Extend Your In-house Capabilities

A seasoned MSP is like a treasure trove of tools:

  • An Array of Tools: From robust security protocols, and network mapping instruments to productivity boosters, MSPs have an arsenal of tools to enhance client support.

  • Cost Efficiency: For in-house IT teams, acquiring such tools might be exorbitantly priced. However, MSPs, by virtue of serving numerous endpoints, benefit from economies of scale. This cost advantage often trickles down to their partners.

  • Access for Internal IT: Many MSPs are open to granting their partners access to these tools. This can be a game-changer for your internal IT team, significantly amplifying their capabilities. Wellforce Insight: Always engage in a discussion with your prospective MSP about the tools they employ. Understand how your in-house team might benefit from such an expanded toolkit.

In essence, while the transition to a co-managed IT partnership can seem intricate, these bonus insights can smoothen the process. By understanding pricing dynamics and tapping into an MSP's vast toolkit, businesses can set the stage for a mutually beneficial, long-lasting partnership. With Wellforce, our commitment extends beyond service delivery, ensuring our partners are well-equipped for the evolving IT landscape.


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