As an emerging trend, MSPs increasingly recognize the mutual benefits that co-managed IT services (CoMITs) provide for clients and their own businesses. Initially introduced due to pressure from MSP clients, CoMITs offers clients change control privileges over MSP-provided IT solutions. At the same time, the MSP collaborates with clients’ IT teams to deliver careful oversight and knowledge, ensuring a protective CoMITs framework is in place to satisfy all security and strategic concerns.
For larger clients with the in-house capabilities to manage MSP-provided solutions effectively, CoMITs makes it possible to take direct action in scenarios where time is of the essence, eliminating the latency of directing the MSP to act on their behalf. For MSPs, CoMITs can solidify long-term partnerships with clients that appreciate direct access, collaboration, and the superior outcomes those factors can achieve. Furthermore, embracing CoMITs equips MSPs with a powerful competitive differentiator, giving them a clear leg up in winning high-value clients seeking greater control over the tooling they rely upon.
Needless to say, CoMITs isn’t for every MSP or every client. Traditionally, many MSP clients are SMBs. And particularly for those on the “S” side of the SMB spectrum, they’re enlisting MSPs because they haven’t got the internal IT capabilities to manage solutions themselves or any desire to. Only larger clients with those capabilities are appropriate candidates for CoMITs partnerships. At the same time, CoMITs is only suited to versatile MSPs prepared and willing to share both collaborative control over tools and the expertise to use them properly. CoMITs calls for MSP and internal client teams to function as a cohesive unit from an IT perspective. This requires seamless communication and interactivity across MSP and client software tools and devices, or ideally, a single shared platform. CoMITs is also best suited to a pure-MSP approach, using the same pricing, support, and performance metrics for both current and CoMITs practices.
Given these criteria for success, MSPs in a position to capitalize on this trend and put together their own CoMITs offerings should absolutely take the opportunity. For MSPs, one of the clearest advantages of CoMITs is that it transforms the dynamic between MSP teams and their counterparts in clients’ own IT departments. All too often, internal teams feel perfectly capable of handling tasks that only the MSP is allowed to, generating resentment and friction. The shared responsibility and collaborative nature of CoMITs swiftly replaces those negative notions. Successful implementation of a CoMITs arrangement should begin with a demarcation of policy control. This is particularly important for any tools that take action to mitigate risk or take data protection responses. Recommendations as to what these actions will be should be communicated — and perhaps negotiated — with the client. But ultimate control should reside with the MSP. So, while MSPs still have the final say and control over provided solutions, clients’ internal teams enjoy far more freedom to act within the safety of the MSP-defined CoMITs framework.
That said, the operational benefits of doubling the personnel overseeing solutions are far from superficial. By adding extra eyes and ears and a greater range of experiences and perspectives, CoMITs improves solution management and enhances outcomes. CoMITs-operated solutions are decisively more secure, performant, and responsive to business needs precisely because two teams are better than one. Thanks to the power of collaboration, MSP and client IT teams that operate seamlessly can achieve more than the sum of their parts.
As the CoMITs trend matures and its benefits become better known, more large, well-resourced clients appropriate to CoMITs practices will seek MSP partners to help them realize these advantages. MSPs that prepare effective CoMITs offerings during the early stages of this trend can expect that effort to pay off.