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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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How to Align Your Team Around an Outsourced Model

Posted April 13, 2018by Brandon Garcin

How to Align Your Team Around an Outsourced Model

For managed services providers (MSPs), support and customer service is just as important as the software and tools you’re using—in fact, it might even be more important. Unfortunately, a growing labor shortage and an expanding skills gap have left many service providers unable to find, hire or retain the technical talent needed to support complex SMB environments. 

For this reason, many MSPs are turning to third-party providers and vendors who offer NOC, SOC, Help Desk and other services that can expand and augment an IT provider’s existing capabilities. When done correctly, these relationships can help MSPs greatly expand the scope of their services, extend coverage hours and refocus their internal teams toward more strategic projects and work.

In a recent episode of MSP Radio, I had the chance to sit down and discuss this topic with Barb Paluszkiewicz, CEO at CDN Technologies. We talked about how her company has successfully adopted an outsourced model, and today relies on Continuum to provide both software and services that help CDN be successful. Keep reading to learn how Barb uses outsourcing to grow her business and get more out of her team.

Why Leverage Outsourcing?

For some IT service providers, the decision to outsource is not always easy. Many struggle with maintaining the right balance—grappling with questions like, “what should I be controlling in-house?” or “what should I be comfortable outsourcing or partnering with third-party providers to accomplish?” For Barb and CDN Technologies, this shift allowed for a much-needed displacement of labor and the opportunity to work with highly-knowledgeable outside technical teams. Here’s her story on why she decided to leverage an outsourced model and the benefits of that decision:

“For our customers, we are the sole provider of peace of mind. To support this, we needed technical professionals that we could communicate with and that would always be there. We didn’t have the capital or the time to hire our technical ‘dream team.’ And, to be a successful MSP, you need sales, you need tier 1, tier 2, tier 3 techs, you need project managers, you need service managers, you need a NOC, you need a help desk that can immediately address that irritated, blood-pressure-through-the-roof feeling that the end-user gets when their email is out or other vital business systems go down for a few minutes. With that in mind, what we wanted to do was hand over some of the technical requirements to professionals that we could trust to get the job done. So, as the CEO of CDN Technologies, I can focus on growing my business, and leave the technical aspects to the professionals that really understand that side of the business.”

When asked how she built her business around the Continuum model, Barb said that the intent was to focus on developing the individual skillsets of her team. Using a metaphor for the recently closed Olympic Winter Games, here’s her explanation:

“Let me use curling as an example. Once the person has thrown the stone, they’re freed up to do other things. They now rely on the professionals to do their job—and in curling these are the sweepers—because you have to be strategic with your stone so that you meet your target and you get it into the house.

In our business, we needed to hand over some of the technical skills to professionals that we could trust to get the job done, so we outsourced to Continuum to assist us in delivering exceptional customer service and getting the job done.”

But what exactly should MSPs consider when looking to outsource? Barb offers her advice and the specifics she was looking from a third-party partner:

"As the team lead, it’s my job to overlook roles and responsibilities of the team, and decide what CDN Technologies needs to grow. I look for the gaps, essentially, and that’s where Continuum came into play. When I decided to outsource, one of the things that I look for is, does the company that I’m outsourcing to have documentation? What is their culture like, and what is the work ethic of their people? Is it consistent with the strategy that CDN Technologies has for growth? Can the company that I’m outsourcing to follow CDN Technologies’ workflow rules and documentation? Do they have workflow rules and documentation to ensure that, at the end of the day, my customer is happy?"

Want to hear more from Barb and how to build your business around an outsourced model? Click here to listen to the full episode.


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Brandon Garcin is Continuum's Director of Content Marketing, and is responsible for the creation and execution of a variety of resources designed to win new business and support existing customer accounts. He has authored more than a dozen eBooks which have generated thousands of downloads, and has consulted with hundreds of Continuum partners to help improve their marketing and lead generation efforts through website optimization and content development. Brandon is also the host of The Weekly Byte, a video and audio series produced by Continuum that provides quick, digestible tips and best practices that MSPs can use to help their business succeed.

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