What is a Master Managed Service Provider or Master MSP?

Be Different. Deliver Excellence.

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Jan 16, 2018

Above Diagram: MSPs expand their services using Collabrance, a Master MSP, for sales assistance, outsourcing their NOC and Help Desk, and a fully vetted technology stack. Master MSPs share access to industry thought leaders, best practices and proven processes to help MSPs grow faster with less risk.

How a Master MSP Can Help Grow Your Managed Services Business

A Master MSP provides a standardized set of IT products and services for a fixed monthly fee that MSPs can markup and resell to their end-user customers.

This blog lays out how Master MSPs fit into the IT industry, how they help your managed services business and why MSPs, VARs, IT Solution Providers, Technology Dealers, and other Service Providers use Master MSPs to help grow their managed services business.

Master MSP Services

Think of a Master MSP as an “MSP for MSPs!” In fact, a Master MSP is not all that different than a MSP. Like an MSP, they also:

  • Vet and implement a standardized technology offering
  • Automate processes and procedures to drive higher efficiencies
  • Proactively monitor and manage IT infrastructures
  • Recruit, hire, train and retain technical talent who can identify, diagnose and remediate technology issues while providing a great customer service experience

Master MSPs maintain these services at a fixed fee to MSPs who resell to end-user customers at their preferred fee. Master MSPs can also engage in hiring and training assistance, sales training, financing, and peer group opportunities.

Go-to-market with a High Operational Maturity Level (OML)

A Master MSP provides a majority of the back office IT services and can help an IT provider become a mature MSP, reduce their operational risk, hire and train fewer people, and reduce the capital required to build a Network Operations Center (NOC) (brick and mortar, hardware and software).

Master MSPs already have a mature managed services business model that MSPs can use to “bump” their OML score. Service Leadership, Inc. helps companies understand their “Operational Maturity Levels” using a 1-5 ranking with SLIQ (1-Lowest 5-Highest). For example, a Collabrance partner can go to market instantly and competitively with a 4.0 OML level.

"MSPs at best in class profitability are more likely to use a Master MSP. Outsource so you can focus on your incentive compensation, marketing, sales, account management and financial OMLs. The executive who masters these first, wins." - Paul Dippell, Founder & CEO of Service Leadership, Inc.

Master MSPs like Collabrance already have a mature managed services business model that MSPs can take advantage of to instantly go-to-market with a higher OML instead of trying to build on their own.

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Master MSP Options

Many Master MSP options are available in the managed services industry. For example, Continuum’s size and number of resources are impressive. IT By Design is an option if you need an individual hired employee to outsource. GMS Live Expert is great for 24/7 support. Other Master MSP options include InBay, Live Virtual Help Desk, AVG, All Covered, NocDocs and The 20.

Like any partnership, make sure to engage a Master MSP who best fits your needs and aligns with your culture so they will take care of your customers as you would.

(Click here for ideas of what to look for in a Master MSP.)

3 Benefits of a Master MSP

Many Solution Providers use Master MSPs to grow their business faster with less risk. IT Companies enjoy several benefits partnering with a Master MSP to scale their managed services business that can include:

  1. Staff Augmentation As Extension of Team: For example, a small 10-employee managed services business can partner with a Master MSP who has 40 employees, and can now go to market with an offering backed by 50+ employees. Partnering with a Master MSP allows MSPs to get larger accounts and clients.
  2. Increasing Sales To Scale Faster: A Master MSP works behind-the-scenes so their partner can focus on revenue generating work (e.g. project work) and growing their business. A good Master MSP will also help close deals to increase your revenue. Because a Master MSP works with several Solution Providers, they are able to share best practices to help find more qualified leads, improve closing ratios and shortening your sales cycle.
  3. Technology Vendor Management: Master MSPs also handle the vendor management, so now instead of managing 15+ different technology vendors, you only have to manage one. This also includes vetting new technology and services as the managed services industry evolves.

Master MSPs work with Solution Providers, industry experts and vendors and have developed best practices, what’s working and what’s not. That intelligence will allow MSPs to avoid missteps and immediately implement proven processes which can result in better service experiences for the end-user customer.

One of the biggest reasons MSPs outsource and partner with a Master MSP is so they can have another team take care of the “day-to-day noise” allowing them focus on the big picture, create differentiation from their competition, and add revenue generating opportunities to grow their business faster.

(Click here for MSP Case Study on why a Solution Provider chose to outsource to a Master MSP.)

Whether MSPs already have an established business, or a company is just making the move to managed services with the help of a Master MSP - it is a strategic move and a big decision.

Complete our Partnership Application if you’re interested in an opportunity to partner with Collabrance as your Master MSP.


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Category: Business Practices

About The Author

Doug Grimm

Doug Grimm, Vice President and General Manager, is responsible for the overall vision, including sales, marketing, operations, strategic leadership and financial performance. Prior to joining Collabrance in 2012 as the Senior Analyst, Doug started at GreatAmerica in 2002. Before working at GreatAmerica, he served in various finance and accounting roles for a publicly traded company in the telecommunications industry. Doug began his professional career with Arthur Andersen LLP. In his tenure with GreatAmerica, he has held various positions within the finance department, and also served as the Director of Sales in the Office Equipment Group. Doug earned his B.A. in Accounting from Luther College and was a Certified Public Accountant.