MSP Operations: Outsourcing “Bore” to Concentrate on Core

Scott Calonico

manAs an MSP, it’s quite clear that if you can offer more services to more individual clients, you will make more revenue.

Unfortunately, real life often gets in the way of business life being quite this simple. New services you plan to launch can end up on the “back burner” again and again because you can be sure that, every day, the phone will ring, servers will go down, and users will accidentally mislay some vital data.

A potential solution to this is to think about doing some outsourcing of your own, and this can prove equally useful whether you have a large team or are operating your MSP as a small one or two man band.

Here’s a list of just some of the things you can outsource, some at a very low cost:

1.  First / second line helpdesk work: you can outsource this to private freelancers or even a NOC (Network Operations Center) service.

2.  Routine tasks and daily maintenance: once again, a NOC or freelancer can do anything from verifying backups to checking event logs.

3.  General Administration: virtual PA services are everywhere, and often very inexpensive. A good virtual PA can act like a permanent “do not disturb” button, leaving you to work on your business, instead of in your business.

4.  Sales and Marketing: there are numerous companies that will generate sales leads on your behalf, or you could outsource this to an individual freelancer. Some salespeople will even work on a “payment by results” basis. If you can find someone good, all you need do is wait for the business to roll in and be prepared to pay a commission.

With the right outsourcing plan in place, the owner of the smallest MSP business can operate like the CEO of a large company – bothered only by the events and the decisions that truly matter.

There are, however, three essential things you be sure of when outsourcing work of any kind. These are:

  • Cost effectiveness.
  • Quality.
  • Consistency.

Anyone whom you outsource a task to is working in the name of your business. You must therefore be totally sure that the impression customers get is one that you are happy with. The fact that you outsource certain work should be all but invisible to your customers. Nobody likes getting through to an answering service that clearly has limited knowledge of a business. When it comes to technical outsourcing, passing tasks to someone with insufficient knowledge could cause damage to your company that goes far beyond the reputational.

Outsourcing should be tackled gently and carefully, with every partner continually tested for performance by means of test jobs, dummy enquiries and active monitoring. However, if you find the right people, you can build a great, outsourced infrastructure around your MSP business – and be left to concentrate on introducing new services that make your company money. Outsource the “bore,” and get left with the core.