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Outsourcing Project Work: An MSP’s Shortcut to Success Blog Feature

Professional services

By: Collabrance LLC on November 2nd, 2023

Outsourcing Project Work: An MSP’s Shortcut to Success

For an MSP, project work is a routine part of doing business. Things like server upgrades, email migrations, and data transfers are important tasks to keep your customers’ environments safe. Your team has the knowledge and expertise to execute these things, but they all require substantial time and resources. In this blog, we’ll cover different kinds of project work, and consider the benefits of outsourcing certain projects versus keeping the work in-house. Read on for examples below – and areas where Collabrance may be able to help.  

What kind of projects does an MSP do? 

Depending on who you ask, project work can mean different things. The following are a few of the most common projects we see in our master managed services business.  

Replacement of expired/retired hardware 

Keeping hardware current is critical to a company’s functioning and continuity, but upgrades are often deprioritized. Outdated hardware can incur unnecessary costs to keep up and running; it’s also more likely to crash, causing downtime and frustration for employees and customers. And should calamity strike, lost data may be more difficult – or impossible – to recover from an outdated device. Proactively updating expired equipment protects a business from potential financial loss and reputational damage. 

Software and operating system upgrades 

Just like hardware, software and operating systems require routine upgrades, too. End of life software isn’t actively maintained and doesn’t qualify for security updates, which can lead to glaring vulnerabilities in a business’s IT infrastructure.  

A relevant example is Windows Server 2012 OS, which reached end of life on October 10, 2023. After that date, there are no security updates, bug fixes, or technical support for the OS. Hackers know these gaps exist, and customers who delay upgrading are putting their data and privacy at risk.  

Data migrations 

Data migration – selecting, preparing, extracting, and transforming data to transfer it from one storage system to another – is a common IT activity, but it can be time consuming. Some migration projects are more complex than others, and data teams must follow a careful migration plan.  

Migrations to a serverless environment 

Many small businesses today no longer need a physical, on-premises server. Migrating to the cloud and utilizing Microsoft Entra ID (formerly Azure Active Directory) can meet the needs of a very large number of small businesses. A cloud-based infrastructure has many benefits, including more flexible access for employees to company data and applications, reduced company hardware costs, improved scalability, and stronger security.  

Email migrations 

As a business evolves, it may choose, for any number of reasons, to switch email providers – for example, moving from Gmail to Microsoft 365. The effort required to complete the project will depend on the number of email accounts, server speeds, mailbox sizes, and more – and could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days or weeks.  

SharePoint optimization  

SharePoint, one of the most widely used collaboration products, houses innumerable documents, files, and other content – even within one company alone. Taking steps to improve SharePoint performance, like archiving or deleting old files, compressing large files, and setting file retention policies can free storage space and improve performance. This kind of data clean-up can quickly become overwhelming and is something many companies would prefer to be handled by a capable third party. 

Networking Services  

Configuring and implementing firewalls, switches, and Wi-Fi can get complicated. To ensure the most secure set up, a networking system should be built to automate and work together. (Collabrance specializes in Fortinet networking solutions, with six in-house Fortinet experts.)  

As an MSP, you’re likely familiar with projects like the ones listed above – and more. Project work is a valuable part of a managed IT offering, but because it falls outside the day-to-day, it can cause strain among your resources.  

Collabrance can manage project work on your behalf, working behind the scenes to complete your customers’ projects with precision and expertise. This keeps your team free to focus on pro-growth goals and eliminates the need to hire additional staff. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of project outsourcing. 

When should an MSP outsource project work versus keeping projects in-house? 

The idea of outsourcing work that has already been outsourced to you may seem illogical, but there are certain circumstances in which outsourcing your managed IT services can be highly practical.  

MSPs should outsource project work if:

1. Your team doesn’t have the time

This one is obvious. But it’s easy to let too much work pile up without realizing it, and, in the end, let your customers down. Many projects don’t require specialized expertise, but they can be exceedingly time consuming. With outsourcing, your experienced techs can remain focused on high-impact recurring revenue and won’t be bogged down with time-consuming, one-time projects. 

2. Your team doesn’t have the knowledge or expertise

No MSP can be the best at everything – and no one expects that! Lean into your strengths and outsource your weaknesses. While many projects can be competently managed by a less experienced technician, more complicated projects will flounder without the right skill set. If you’re not sure you’ve got the necessary technical resources for a specific project, it’s smarter to outsource from the start. 

3. Your team doesn’t have a dedicated project manager 

Time and expertise may not be an issue, but projects are likely to fall short if there isn’t a dedicated resource responsible for outlining the scope of the project, overseeing a timeline, reporting on progress, and ensuring the project’s objectives are met – all within budget. An experienced project manager can be a valuable benefit of outsourcing. 

4. You don’t want to add headcount 

In many cases, winning project work business isn’t a challenge – it's having the necessary resources in place to accept new opportunities that can impede a sale. You shouldn’t have to turn away new business because your team doesn’t have bandwidth, but hiring additional staff for a short-term project doesn’t make sense either. Outsourcing gives you the option to say yes to more projects (and revenue!) without having to hire. 

MSPs should keep projects in-house if: 

If your team has the expertise, the time, the headcount, and the resources to execute projects efficiently, there is no reason to spend money outsourcing. Like we recommended above – lean into your strengths. 

How to outsource project work with Collabrance 

Collabrance project work capabilities aren’t limited to the examples outlined here. We’re willing to evaluate any project you think may be worth outsourcing. If something’s not a good fit for us, we may be able to suggest alternative solutions.  

Collabrance contracts with MSPs directly – not end-customers. We can work with you on a project-by-project basis; no other services are required. Our project work fees are billed at a tiered hourly rate starting at $120, invoiced and payable monthly. We do not need to be supporting an end customers’ environment to do project work for their business.  

If your MSP could benefit from outsourcing some of your time and resource-consuming projects to a team of seasoned project managers and technical experts, click the button below to get in touch with a member of our Collabrance sales or pre-sales engineering teams. We’ll gather information through a discovery conversation and provide a quote based on the project’s scope.

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