More MSPs are now using third party providers of technical services, particularly in security. Matt Takhar, CEO of Inbay says the crisis has dramatically accelerated the process of outsourcing technical support by MSPs. He says his business has responded with extra services, even more agility and is now offering dedicated technical staff as well as end client marketing material. Some MSPs now use Inbay as their only technical department, he says.
“When I reflect back, we used to think service staff had to work in a pod and work together. With everyone now working from different locations, people have got used to outsourcing, used to communicating differently and working with new tools to enable communications. Because of that we have had a number of partners comes to us and say ’We get it. We don’t have to have everyone in the same place or huddled round the table.’
“That is a change in the industry and has created a lot of interest in our Dedicated Technicians for MSPs, especially in the last few months.’
In future a lot more MSPs will work in this way, he says. “It has been a long-term trend and I see it accelerating now as outsourcing benefits are clear, especially where the model is right – as an extension to the team. This is absolutely key for the relationship to work. You can’t be seen as just another provider. So, for example, we join in the staff meetings and internal news, so we know what is happening in the business.”
“When we look across the partners we work with now, they range in all sizes and levels. For one MSP, we *are* the technical department. They just have sales and marketing. We also work with very large MSPs where we are just a small part.” And they can be in any vertical market as many MSPs specialise in a certain market, or across many industries, he says.
Inbay aims to fill in the gaps in MSP services, giving them the chance to grow. “Perhaps they can’t offer true 24x7 support, or by helping them manage projects with variable timescales which are difficult to resource. MSPs increasingly need specialists and find it hard to keep up, particularly in security.”
“When I worked for a large MSP, it was part of my role to be responsible for 70 technicians, and resourcing was a big challenge. Resourcing is even more difficult now for MSPs who find it hard to recruit and then onboard staff *and* keep them motivated.”
These staff want and need to learn more as the industry changes so rapidly; with accreditations moving on all the time. “We fill in the gaps in MSP services, given them the chance to grow.”
In the last year the requests and relationships have changed. “Overall, it was very positive, but challenging. At the start, a good percentage of the Inbay customer base were having issues as their own customers were affected. At one point we had a dozen conversations with MSPs confronted by the loss of a good percentage of the business or working with furloughed staff.”
“These are examples of how we did what we could, adapting to meet the new needs - perhaps monitoring at a lower level or offering flexible billing. We also had to make sure all our own staff were safe and adapted our own continuity plan early to keep the trust with our partners. In a time of continuing uncertainty, it is hard to plan ahead – we are spending a lot of time getting closer to our partners. We are checking their services are inclusive, checking for any additional services they can supply.”
“Last year we launched our partner portal which allows MSPs to onboard their customers quickly and get support services, so now we are taking that to another level, with marketing support and white label material, plus tools to show how effective they are with their customers in real time. We are taking it to another level to see how we can continue to empower them.”