Technology for Business Podcast – Myths of Managed Services

In this week’s episode, Kyle and Alex sit down to chat about the Myths of the MSP (Managed Service Provider).

Myths include:

  • A MSP is there to replace your IT Staff
  • Once you sign up all your problems will go away
  • Only people without IT staff need MSPs
  • & more!

Have a question for Kyle or Alex? Email info@cit-net.com.

Listen now

Episode Transcription


Kelsey Sarff: [00:00:00] Welcome everybody to today’s tech for business podcast. Today, we’re sitting down with Kyle and Alex and we are talking about myths of the managed services. It’s going to be a fun one. Let’s kick it off with you guys. Introducing yourselves.

Kyle Etter: Hi. Thanks, Kelsey. I’m Kyle I’m the president and CEO at CIT.

Alex Piper: My name is Alex Piper.

I’m the manager of managed service.

Kelsey Sarff: Awesome. And you guys are gonna be here in a little bit more for me today as I put forward our lovely myths.

The first myth is, “Once you sign up all of your problems go away.”

Alex Piper: Yeah, no, it’s gotta be one of my favorite ones. Um, when thinking about this topic of myths about what we do and the magic that we can do behind closed doors, it takes a little bit more than just signing up.

It takes, you know, it takes us a little bit of time to kind of get through your network, get you on board. I bring you in, you know, any MSP who’s going to be coming in and bringing you to their managed service platform is going to, it’s going to take them some time to [00:01:00] get, to learn your environment. And we’re not gonna be able to solve your problems right away.

We’re going to collect your problems. We’re gonna learn what it is and we’re going to grow together. But it’s unfortunately not one of those things. That’s an instant sign on the dotted line. We all get to move on with our lives. Um, and everything’s going to go smoothly. Um, Kyle, anything you want to add?

Kyle Etter: Yeah. Yeah. I, I think it’s even more so I have the understanding that as things are, uh, brought to light that even has, you know, more activity and there may be some, you know, like my RA caused some short-term pain, uh, to get through those sides of it. Cause, uh, typically highlights areas that need to be improved and adjusted to make it even in a more supportable environment.

Usually, that form of the pain may be an additional investment typically, you know, there’s. Older devices, those types of things, just immediate recommendations and that need to be, uh, addressed to improve the supportability of the networks. So, you know, I would plan for typically coming in, if you’re not coming off of a [00:02:00] mature managed service provider, that you’re probably likely going to be requested to make some additional investment, uh, to help improve the supportability, not always immediate, but certainly in the, in the near future, those things will certainly have.

Make the network at the moment, a lot of the problems go away. It’s not just the provider. There’s a combination of the information recommendations that ultimately drives the more supportable network.

Kelsey Sarff: That makes sense. I’m going to ask a follow-up tangent question here. Tangent alert. How long would you say it typically takes a managed services onboarding?

How long would somebody be looking?

Alex Piper: Yeah, probably you’re probably looking at, you know, just from doorstep to doorstep, from signing to, you know, us being, you know, an average MSP being out there probably about 30 days. And then from there probably another 30 to 60 days for us to really start to learn that.

Get all the tools collecting all that data coming with those recommendations [00:03:00] that Kyle talked about a little bit about pain points. Here’s what we’re seeing in your network. That could be potential pain points and starting to build that list, um, of, uh, topless items of what we were going to want to look at.

Kyle Etter: Yeah. I like to set Customer expectations around 180 days, or, you know, really starting to see some of the results sides with it. Um, as, as I like to mention, you could be, you know, ready to receive calls and get the information within 30, um, you know, your other, other areas of. Discovery trend analysis, those another, uh, more in-depth deployments, uh, optimizations of the network and systems, you know, some security or mediations, typically it could take, you know, 90 plus and then to kind of cook, you know, get it all working together is really about 180 days.

So I wouldn’t judge any managed service provider in any shorter period of time with that. If it’s [00:04:00] working or not in any shorter period, it’s just not enough time. For the systems and the processes to really start to take hold. Um, and, and I don’t want to make the idea that after 108 days it’s perfect.

Um, but you should start to see progress after 180 days. I would not judge it any sooner than that.

Kelsey Sarff: Makes perfect sense. All right.

Myth number two is, “Only people without IT staff need MSPs.”

Alex Piper: Yeah. I’m going to say that is not true. Uh, we have, you can have. Environments that definitely like you cater towards the people who don’t have it sass.

Cause that’s what we’re here for. We’re here to give them that, help them with that pain point of not having that staff. Um, but with that being said, a lot of our clients do have it staff and we’re there to help them in any way possible. Um, you know, you [00:05:00] could be anything from just being a contact expert in a certain area, which, you know, your MSP is going to know yours.

Engineers who are certified in a lot of different areas and be able to provide a lot of different knowledge bases where, you know, your local IT or not, anybody onsite won’t have that knowledge. And you can just supplement to that little bit, just, you know, is there to help, you know, S you know, you progress and grow your business and your IT.

Kyle Etter: Yeah, I it’s there’s, there’s so much value in what the processes and systems from the managed service deliverables bring to even customers with existing it staff. Because the, when I used to have conversations with customers about is driving towards. Efficiencies. And a lot of those efficiencies, we have efficiencies of scale and our managed service offering.

I mean, we do it day in, day out. We know how to monitor. We know how to, how to react, you know, how to know if something’s up or [00:06:00] down. We know how to, uh, you know, re-respond to performance, you know how to do, you know, Asset tracking and those other general areas, we know how to keep systems up to date and patched, and we know what’s required for security.

So those general across the industry, it doesn’t really matter. Um, those we’re very efficient at it. We do it day in, day out. We’re very good at it. Where the customer’s it, staff start to then gain the time and effort is to work with where their rubber meets the road there, their data, and how they’re interacting with their support users and then to their customers, with their data and their systems, because when it gets specialized into their particular investment, That’s where we lose efficiency.

So, you know, once customers have a certain size, you know, the many times we recommend they have an IT staff that we can’t fill that need. And, uh, you know, I think Alex, Alex is smiling on that. Cause it’s, you, you, you can’t promise [00:07:00] that as a managed service provider, because you just, again, you just lose the efficiency of scale.

So it’s pretty easy to understand where the, where it comes. I always advocate for customers. When they look at saying, well, we could build, we could have our own monitoring system and we could do our own ticketing system and we could do these things. But again, you’re just adding to your problems because now you’ve got another system to manage.

You got another, you just added to your plate, you didn’t subtract. And you know, we can attest the systems that monitor the customers don’t work as well as the other things. They are not a set it and forget it. Type of product. They are ever-evolving, ever-changing. They have their own set of support. We have dedicated people that handle that, and that’s the efficiencies of scale you want to get.

So I think customers with staff have a hundred percent, uh, benefits, um, looking at utilizing MSP cause it’ll gain better efficiencies with their people and there it is, and it’ll [00:08:00] actually deliver better it technology to their bills.

Alex Piper: The Tufts to that. You just have the hours, I mean, work 24 hours, just for an example.

We’re 24 hours, seven days a week where you’re having, you’re paying somebody 40 hours. Multiple people for 40 hours’ worth of work. I mean, you’re getting that around the clock. Somebody watching your network holidays for here, you know, you’re kind of getting that you want to take PTO and you’re the only IT person that’s where we can come in and just, you know, let you relax for your, you know, for your trips to Florida, for S for a week, you know, that’s where we can kind of come in and help.

Help you out, you know, it doesn’t have to be somebody who doesn’t have any staff. You need help just in just that there, but we can supplement that staffing in those peak times.

Kyle Etter: Yeah, absolutely. Do you mean an IT guy gets to take time off?

Alex Piper: occasionally?

Kyle Etter: Yeah. Yeah. Unfortunately, IT doesn’t sleep. And, and, uh, I think again, as Alex steam going to test the, uh, model of alerts that come in overnight and on [00:09:00] weekends, it doesn’t shut down.

When most people, you know, take off on Friday at five o’clock. Quite to the contrary, we tend to see a lot of systems that, that, that have issues over those overnight hours and over weekends and, and on holidays. And it’s, those are the times you want to make sure you don’t have someone on glass if you would be able to react and get information out sooner, you know, does help because yeah, one or two people just can’t do it alone.

There’s a, it does take, you know, good systems and those things. So having a good partner to back. As well as getting those escalation points, it’s, uh, it’s not realistic to think that one, one or two people in an IT staff at many organizations can know everything about every product they’re required to have some administration support with.

So having an existing partnership to be able to reach in and say, I need help with this firewall or this, the server problem in those areas is, is a [00:10:00] nice way to ensure that you can get things resolved much faster.

Alex Piper: I had a smile. When you said like, you know, after hours is when the most tickets come in, you know, it problems never happened during the eight of five.

They always happen on a Friday at four o’clock when everybody wants to leave for a long weekend, you know? And it, it’s just that extra layer that they give you is you can kick them off, you can get them going, or you have that person where you can go home and take care of what you need to come back. You know, you get that extra layer of knowing that, that person’s there to help you while you’re not there.

Or can’t be.

Tara Klocke: I think that’s also a great point. Cause I think there for a while, it used to be kind of us versus them in the industry that they always felt threatened about an MSP coming in, where that’s really quite shifted in the fact that we’re here to help supplement that and form that great relationship with them because we’re not trying to come in and overtake them, but also offer some great solutions for them at the same time.

Kelsey Sarff: So I love the fact that we had [00:11:00] that discussion point, so lovely. Yeah, that kicks off beautifully. Another myth that I got coming up way to tee it up without even knowing.

“An MSP is there to replace your IT staff” is our next myth of the day

Alex Piper: Yeah, no, we want to work with you. I promise you that, like, there are things that you know about your network.

We won’t, you know, you’re, you know, the employees, you know, the inners and outers, the day-to-day business that we don’t, we’re just here to help with providing new tools, providing new knowledge, providing you after hours, we’re here to provide you other it solutions. Our toolset, Kyle hit it, hit it earlier about just the sheer volume of tools that we can provide or connections with vendors that we have.

You know, you, you know, you think of managed services, you think of just day-to-day support. You know, we, you know, an MSP, a good MSP can provide you solutions in so many different areas. If it’s platforms in development in insecurity [00:12:00] and you know, just growth plans and stuff like that. I mean, you know, it’s, you’re not just.

You know, to replace them, you’re here to help them grow and to take some of their pain points away. Instead of like Kyle said, he hit it on the head earlier where it’s like adding more tools and in your own monitoring tool, adding your own ticketing tool. Yes. It’s nice to have it in-house, but when you can rent those services and utilize somebody else’s tool where they have their own admin team, keeping it up and having that updating and patching and everything like that, taken care of where it takes some of the low hanging fruit off their plate.

That’s where an MSP can really show the value of your company to your IT staff. Is this take that low-hanging fruit off their plate and let them focus on the big day-to-day stuff and let us cover the day-to-day.

Kyle Etter: I think having your, the people that are on staff, being able to support users at a certain size. I think you reach a size over, you know, a hundred plus employees, depending on the technologies using it, [00:13:00] how much you’re using, you know, having, having somebody to be able to directly work and interact with the users in your line of business applications is where we see a lot of synergy on the, on the system side.

You know, smaller organizations, again, it all depends on, you know, the complexities of your technology and how much you have going on. Um, but you know, there’s, there’s such a tremendous augmentation that it provides and helps, and we’ve seen it, you know, proven in many organizations when they release the kind of the day-to-day.

Functions that are again very general. And then they focus on the business needs of the technology that, that, that it really starts to become a differentiator for that organization. And they, they look at it not as a, as a, just an expense area, but it’s going to be a differentiator, but yet you find the synergies to make it work.

Yeah. I just think I’ll make that analogy there. I’m sorry. Alex says, [00:14:00] he told me the analogy that nobody changes your oil at home anymore. Very few people do because you can go to an oil change check. And they can change your oil and 15, 20 minutes or less. And you don’t. And for about the same cost of you going into a store, buying the oil, setting aside an afternoon, and then having to drive someplace and find a place to dispose of the oil and go through those things.

The net result is very little differentiator because they’re very efficient at what they do. Um, they’re not there to change a transmission or, you know, replace your engine. They changed the oil, that’s what they do. Um, and they’re very good at, and they’re very efficient. They can do it. Cost-effectively and it’s, it’s, it’s kinda the same idea.

Um, very efficient at, at certain aspects of network operations, network security, there’s other areas, but once it relieved the more specialized stuff up to the province onsite.

Alex Piper: Yeah. And the good [00:15:00] ones. I mean, I was going to go a different direction, but I think that’s perfect. One, you know, oil change. I get like 20 points.

I mean, that’s also what we’re doing. We’re also looking at other stuff over there, making sure your lights work, you know, making sure everything else is there working. I mean, the oil change is a great example. You take it someplace. Cause you’re getting usually just slightly more than sometimes it’s an oil change, you know, you’re getting your ears, you’re getting your tire, putting your, you know, air put in your tires and stuff like that.

So getting that little extra thing that you know, they’re going, that we’re always looking at we’re in and out of networks all day. Um, so, you know, we see a lot of different environments and, you know, you start to build your know what works, what doesn’t work recommendations. You start to see stuff at a quick glance than somebody who has been staring at the network for the last 20 years.

Kyle Etter: Yup. Yup. How long does it take you to, to find an ISP outage Alex?

Alex Piper: Uh, minutes, if that I have a tab, literally, it’s just me clicking the tab and clicking refresh a couple of times to see if it shows up. [00:16:00] Honestly.

Kyle Etter: So the commonality, you know, I mean, you start to see X number of customers all go offline at the same time in a general region.

You have an indication of an ISP outage immediately. So commonality of that, again, there’s just numerous benefits to get brought to the table, but it doesn’t take away from, um, you know, the value that onsite it can do as well.

Alex Piper: Yeah, it’s funny that you say that, you know how fast, you know, now with customers being all over the place, you know, you can be an MSP that’s down, you have an MSP down in, you know, hurricane area.

We have customers who are down there that we are overnight. Guys will watch. They’ll refer. The hurricane center and just see if there’s anything coming that we need to be aware of to start shutting down gears plans stuff, you know, we’re watching power outages, just silly things like that, that you don’t think about, but that’s what we’re here to do.

You know, let us know your power company and we’ll go, they have the outage maps. Readily available online now that this is little things like this, the peace of mind at two in the morning that we’re [00:17:00] going to know that it’s a power outage, not wake you up in the middle of the night or wake you up and say, there are no outages you might want to head in, um, because your network’s down.

Kyle Etter: Yup. Yup.

Kelsey Sarff: So it’s the whole illusion of being mind readers, right? That you’re like, yes, it can definitely. Fortune tell, tell the future. Um, I know that we’ve talked a lot about right. Networks and tools and you guys are like, we know our tools, we’re the experts, but…

Next myth, “Once somebody signs up for a managed services, suddenly that team’s going to know everything about their network and tools.”

Alex Piper: Yeah. We kind of hit on it a little earlier about, you know, Kyle talking about like the timeline and stuff like that, that it takes us a little while too. Up to that point. I mean, I mean, you could call the same day that that provider shows up depending on what their rules of engagement are. If they want a little cool-down or, or anything like that, but you can start calling, I mean, is it going to be smooth?

I mean, short of it being a very [00:18:00] like, you know, have you tried rebooting, um, and it fixes your problem. It probably is going to take us a little bit, cause we’re not, we’re still collecting data passwords, knowing how your network’s laid out. Um, So it, you know, it like Kyle kind of talks about it, you know, buy from doorstep to doorstep like that 180 days and stuff like that.

I think it’s. You know, point, you know, I was kind of talking about like that, you know, 30 to 60 days after is when we start, you start to begin to see the efficiencies, start to increase all your tools are in there. We’re starting to build some baseline data and we’re not there yet. Um, we’re starting to track the trends and seeing this computer reboots, and it’s not supposed to.

Your server after, after everything happens, like those things, we start to track those what you’re, that’s what you’re hoping for from that MSP during that time period, you don’t want them to, I mean, you want them to jump in immediately and know everything about your network, but you want them to learn your network and not in give it time and grow with [00:19:00] it.

I set up just jumping in. We’re going to know your problems. Cause that’s why you’re coming to us. You’re going to tell us your pain points. We’re going to be readily watching that on day one. It’s just everything else is what’s going to take us.

Kyle Etter: Yeah. I mean, the tools help to gather a lot of information and we have processes to ensure or get the required information.

We’ll know we need to support a properly, but it’s not that much different than if you were to hire somebody and they were to come in. You wouldn’t expect them on day one to be in, you know, a hundred percent efficient. No, it takes time to learn. There’s still a learning period. So there is still a Betty period to collect and understand, start to know the systems, the software, the people.

You know, the key, where the most value is and where those areas are. And that’s just part of the relationship-building process to go through. No network is the same. I mean, none of them are, they all have unique DNA to them, and they all have [00:20:00] unique, uh, systems and processes.

Each business has developed its own way of doing things. Yeah. So we have to learn that process as it goes through, like any MSP. Well, so, you know, yeah, yeah. Just plan for the time I, to go back again to that 180 days is a good thing to put in your mind to say you should expect to see, you know, improvements and trends, you know, and start to see the relationship.

Start to move forward. After about 108.

Kelsey Sarff: That makes perfect sense. Going kind of backtrack. We were talking about distance and supporting people that are maybe across the country, as far as MSP staffing goes.

The myth that we’ve got now is, “MSPs are staffed overseas.”

Alex Piper: Yeah, that’s a good one. Um, in a sense, It’s somewhat true and somewhat not.

It kinda all depends. Um, there’s a lot of MSPs will outsource overnight work, uh, overseas to help with the time difference and everything [00:21:00] like that. Um, so you, you see a lot of that. So I, you know, I can’t straight debunk it and say it, you know, or anything like that. Cause there is the truth behind it. There is um, some that you just do have it for that after our support, um, You know, but when it comes to that, you know, there are things you have to think about if they are doing it, you know, what’s the language barrier you’re going to be like, if you call in the middle night, what’s the time difference?

What’s the compliance, are they compliant? Can they support your environment? Are you somebody who deals with compliance issues? There are a lot of things to kind of put in mind when you do go overseas. So if you’re another MSP thinking about it, you know, those are things that think about if you’re looking for a.

You know, watching this it’s, you know, do they, or won’t they, we don’t, we staffed 24 hours here in the U S we’re not just located right where we are, but we’re all over the US. Um, they help us with, uh, you know, we have people on both coasts to help us from, you know, we chase the sun a little bit. Um, [00:22:00] And that’s what a lot of people will do.

Um, but I can’t the straight say no. Um, but I think there’s a, it’s usually that after-hours is where you find that niche or where they are.

Kyle Etter: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it is definitely gonna vary from size and pricing structure and the other sides of when it introduces overseas. Um, but if you’re in the market looking the.

So typically it’s, it’s a disclosure, you know, they will disclose that as Alex had mentioned, really for compliance, if you’re doing any government based work or any side of that, you know, they, they, you can engage oversee support if they’re doing any kind of U S government work, um, defense contractors, there are all kinds of, of, um, different regulatory, um, organizations that will prohibit that from them working on it.

Definitely, something to confirm. I would say of our interactions with other MSPs over the country in different, uh, um, different conferences [00:23:00] and those things typically not, um, but not a hundred percent, you know, across the board. So it’s definitely worth asking. It may be engaged or. It can help cost, you know, so, I mean, in, in the effort side of that, you do it as an MSP to, as Alex mentioned, it helps with the time, you know, obviously their daytime is opposite of ours, so it helps for overnight and shift side with it.

Um, and typically there can be a labor cost savings, so can help them provide the service at a lower price to their customers through that side. So there are valid reasons to look at it. Um, but you’d need to make sure that it fits and works for you.

Kelsey Sarff: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And I’m kind of going to find our next myth, that kind of tangents lovely off that..

“that MSPs are just sitting around, waiting for you to call in.”

So these guys that may or may not be located in the us cross seas, they’re clearly just sitting there waiting for you to call.

Alex Piper: Yep. Um, love [00:24:00] it. I appreciate this one. Um, okay. As much as I’d love to say yes for just sitting there waiting for your call, but the good ones aren’t and you know, and I’m fortunate that we aren’t, we’re being very proactive in your environment.

You know, you’re, if your MSPs are sitting there waiting for your phone call, it’s great. They’re going to answer the phone. They might be able to solve your problem, but what else are they not doing? What are they ignoring? Where, you know, if they’re being proactive, they’re monitoring that network. They’re patching, they’re helping you plan for that growth.

That’s really where, you know, you’re hoping that that managed service, that your MSP is really driving towards. Yes. Do you want your help desk? They’re ready to answer the phone. Of course, but, and they will be, they’ll always answer the phone. It’s just, that you want to make sure they’re doing other than just sitting there waiting for your prompt problem.

They’re not just sitting there twiddling their thumbs, watching, you know, reading something online. They’re actually doing something in your network or somebody else’s network, and they’re being active in there for you.

Kyle Etter: Yeah. I mean, it’s, [00:25:00] it’s part of the cost analysis side of it. I mean, obviously, an MSP can’t supply, you know, all these services and those other things and have a dedicated person waiting for every customer to call it.

That is just not the way it’s going to cost out. And, you know, so you’re, you’re gaining the efficiencies with the systems and software Alex, there’s a proactive side to the event, you know, trying to prevent the users from needing to call in the first place. So that occurs side through there. And then you, you know, typically we publish our service levels.

You know, most MSPs do have the service level side of it, where they quantify and they’re going to categorize the calls. So not all calls are equal. And I think that’s, there’s an educational process that needs to be communicated to staff when engaging a managed service provider and understanding that, you know, you’re, you’re formatting out of your printer, not working right, is different than a customer with their whole network down.

You know, so the [00:26:00] reaction times and expected response is you are going to vary depending on that. And to plan accordingly. I think all MSPs want to serve the customer as fast as possible. And the service levels are always the afar outer range that you measure against to beat. But you do have to understand they’re not all equal.

Um, and you may be faced with, you know, waiting to have 30 minutes or an hour for a call back on certain things. That’s just part of the process that you gain from that. But it does piggyback on that earlier conversation of certain customers of certain sizes having onsite. It maintains those expectations because if you have no complex systems or you have enough staff on those, having your onsite, IT staff feel that will support those systems and those other things, and allow the MSP to do what they do really well can help as well.

You have to do that full analysis to see where it really [00:27:00] fits best.

Alex Piper: Yeah, no, I think those are fantastic points. You know, just about everything, just looking at it, you know, it’s a whole approach. It’s a whole package that you have to look at. It’s, you know, it’s, everything comes with something else.

Like the SLA is all service levels, agreements, you know, like that comes in. Yes. We don’t want to hit them and we want to, we want to beat every single one of, well, we don’t want to hit. Top of it and just scoot by, you know, you want them sitting there, but also you have to understand if it is something, you know, it kind of helps for you to vocalize what you’re experiencing to your best advocate.

Um, when calling in or sending that email in, if it is critical, you have to, you know, letting that provider know helps them give you that level of service in the timely manner that you you’re expecting them to do, but that level set needs to happen as.

Kelsey Sarff: I think we could tangent, I could have a whole other half an hour discussion. Okay. Let’s look at, let’s [00:28:00] talk just about the service level. Um, but as we are getting up to the end of time here, I wanted to thank you. But I thought all of this was amazing. I know that we have more myths. So maybe part two coming in the future, we’ll do a trailer.

Everything will with stranger things themed. It’ll be amazing to dress up like the eighties. I can see it now, but thank you guys so much for sitting down and chatting today. As everybody can tell the love tangent. We want to talk about just about anything underneath the sun. So you can always get ahold of our speakers online.

We’re at cit-neck.com backslash podcast. There’s a lovely form. Fill everybody’s favorite out there. Feel free to drop questions or topics. If you want to connect one on one, they’re always willing and able to do that for us, you can send us an email at info@cit-net.com. We look forward to chatting with everyone next week.

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