Build Buy or Partner Getting Into Managed IT Services?

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Oct 23, 2018

Image Above: Hannah Erb, Strategic Business Advisor at Collabrance, presents to Office Equipment Dealers at the BTA Fall Colors event, on their options to get into Managed IT Services.

Office Equipment Dealers evaluate the pros and cons to build, buy or partner getting into Managed IT Services.

Last week Collabrance and GreatAmerica attended the BTA Fall Colors event in Asheville, NC. It was a great turnout of Office Equipment Dealers who listened in to our educational presentation on Managed IT Services and stopped by our booth to discuss how we can provide additional value as a partner. I had the opportunity of presenting to the group on their options when getting into Managed IT Services and the pros and cons of each.

Here are the Pros and Cons for Office Equipment Dealers to consider when getting into Managed IT Services:

Option A: Build Your Managed IT Offering In House

Building your own Managed IT offering is an option when getting into the business. The advantages of building your managed services business in house are you can customize the offering exactly how you like, you have full control and get to enjoy the full financial benefits. However, it is a large upfront expense and takes a lot of time and requires several resources. Experts will tell you that building your own managed services business requires an upfront investment of $1-$1.2 million. In addition, it takes between 1-2 years to build your offering, then test it before you can even go to market.

Option B: Buy and Acquire an IT Company

Buying an IT company is another option to get into managed services. The pros of buying an IT company are that you can go to market faster, the resources are already there and you have a customer base which is ideally already generating recurring revenue. The challenges of doing so are it is expensive, the offering may not be built efficiently, and the resources may not be the right cultural fit for what you are looking to accomplish.

Option C: Partner with a Master MSP

Another option is to partner with a Master Managed Service Provider or Master MSP. The advantages of partnering are it is a much smaller investment upfront, and a Master MSP already has a proven platform that is working well for others. This allows you to go to market faster with fewer risks and save LOADs of time. However, when partnering with a Master MSP, you need to ensure that your cultures are in alignment and you are sharing the highs and lows of the business. You are trusting your customers with a partner and want to ensure they can enhance the reputation you have worked so hard for. According to Service Leadership Inc., the results of partnering with a Master MSP are a positive return over a year faster than building on your own. Lastly, the maximum negative return is up to 75% less when partnering because they are taking on the risk so you don’t have to.

Office Equipment Dealers have been getting into managed IT services to help expand the value they are able to provide to customers. It requires a big decision and each option should be carefully vetted to understand will be the best fit for the Office Equipment Dealer and their customer. For more information to consider when it comes to build, buy or partner for managed IT services, visit

Build, Buy or Partner Presentation

Category: Business Practices

About The Author

Hannah O'Donnell

Hannah O'Donnell, Director of Sales, is responsible for building the strategic vision for sales and marketing while providing business planning, education, training, and sales assistance to partners. She is also responsible for originating new partnerships for Collabrance. She was recognized as one of 2019's Women of the Channel by CRN, a brand of The Channel Company. Hannah started at Collabrance in 2013 as a Strategic Business Advisor. In 2014, Hannah was nominated by her peers and won Rookie of the Year, and in 2015 became a member of the 100% Sales Achievement Club at GreatAmerica. Hannah earned her business degree in Marketing and Management Information Systems from the University of Iowa.