Who provides services for the service providers?

Synaxon introduced the concept of the Master MSP into the UK towards the end of 2022. Here, Markus Rex, head of managed services at Synaxon explains exactly what a Master MSP is and how it could benefit partners and resellers.

What exactly is a ‘Master MSP’?

A Master MSP is a service provider for service providers. ‘Traditional’ resellers transitioning to managed services and smaller MSP businesses won’t always have the resources to set up and deliver specific types of service, such as managed backup. A Master MSP provides those services on the MSP’s behalf. But while we deliver the services to the end-user organisation, the MSP will always own the day-to-day customer relationship. They will always be the first point of contact and account management – we quietly operate in the background.

Why do we need Master MSPs?

As noted above, some MSPs may still be transitioning or developing their business. Partnering with a Master MSP is a great way to get your managed services business started. It means you don’t have to take any investment risk or make decisions or commitments in terms of which vendors you want to work with. Plus, you can build new revenue streams while continuing to manage your existing customers and business. And right now, the shortage of skilled workers makes finding and retaining talented people who can deliver services even more challenging. That problem goes away if you place the responsibility for carrying out routine IT processes to a Master MSP like Synaxon Managed Services.

What kind of partner needs a Master MSP? Would they be businesses that are just starting out as MSPs? Or resellers who are already offering some managed services and either need additional capabilities / offerings or capacity?

It could be any or all of these. Fledgling MSPs who need time and help to build a broader services portfolio might want to work with us either while they develop their own capabilities or so they can avoid having to develop those core managed services. This approach can be particularly suited to an MSP that has specialist skills or is focused on a vertical market. It allows them to use us as a foundation on which they can continue to build their own expertise and differentiation. In other scenarios, businesses may want to use us to add to their portfolio, drive higher margin retention, or explore new markets.

What would a Master MSP do for its MSP partners? And what exactly do you offer?

Migrating to or building a managed services model can be complex. We have made it easier by making available all the tools and resources a partner will need to make that transition. We offer out-of-the-box services, pre-configured and ready to switch on. These include managed Remote Monitoring & Management (RMM), Managed Antivirus, Managed Backup, and Managed Endpoint Protection. We also have a device-as-a-service offering, Managed Workplace.

On top of that, we provide standardised documentation and contracts. All this makes it really easy for the MSP partner to offer a complete, professional managed services proposition to the end-user customer. Our services are standardised and automated, and as we are doing all the operational work behind the scenes, our partners can concentrate on delivering great customer service. It’s also very reassuring for them to know that we have a lot of capability, expertise and experience in delivering these services.

How far does the Master MSP’s role extend? Are you simply providing services that partners can offer and resell to their own customers? Or will you also help with marketing, selling and skills development, for example?

Synaxon’s managed services are designed to provide a reliable, standardised service to the partners’ end-user customers for a fixed monthly price. But the partnership with MSPs goes well beyond that. Our team of experts provide proactive as well as reactive support for MSPs, and they work together to deliver the best possible service to the customer. Quite often, our team will spot an issue or potential problem, and alert the MSP partner so that they can contact the customer and rectify the issues before it becomes a real problem. This ensures they experience no downtime – in fact, customers are often not yet even aware of any potential issue.

In terms of reaching out to the market, we keep our wider Synaxon community informed of new developments and opportunities, plus we host webinars and workshops, as well as running a support community on social media.

As well as providing services which partners / resellers would resell, could the Master MSP help partners to develop and extend their own managed services capabilities?

To some degree, yes, we can, but for the UK operation, we are in the early stages of development, so we can’t do as much as we’d like to in terms of helping partners to build their own skills and capabilities. What we can do, however, is introduce them to the vendor partner that we work with and, through our existing partnerships, make it easier for them to engage quickly and effectively on partner programmes.

What makes Synaxon qualified to play that role? What sets you apart from other ‘Master MSPs?’

First of all, we are not aware of any other organisation in the UK offering a Master MSP service in the way we do. We have an experienced, dedicated and well-resourced managed services team who are 100% focused on delivering our services. We have standardised and automated processes, scripting, patching and documentation. All of this is in place, tried and tested and ready to go.

How do you see the MSP landscape developing over the next year? What will be the main challenges and opportunities for MSPs?

The greatest challenge facing new and developing MSPs is the skills shortage. Recruiting and retaining technical staff is becoming more and more problematic, and we can’t see it getting any easier in the near future. This is why we believe that – for developing MSPs – partnering with a Master MSP will be vitally important, at least in the medium term.

MSPs need to automate and develop standard processes that will allow them to scale. By automating routine tasks, they can be more proactive in focusing on the needs of their customers – which is key at a time when there are fewer skilled people available. Standardisation enables MSPs to increase efficiency and deepen their expertise. They should be documenting everything and ensuring employees are following processes. Not having standardised, documented processes can really hamper an MSP’s growth.

They can do all of this by working with Synaxon Managed Services – whether that’s only for the time during which they are unable to recruit the right people, or for the long term. We’d always want it to be the latter, of course!

How would you expect the role of a Master MSP and MSPs to develop and change?

I think we will see a greater symbiosis developing between MSPs, their end-user customers and the Master MSP. IT systems have become more complex – especially now that many organisations operate hybrid infrastructures and have more dynamic and open working practices. That makes contracting out the monitoring and management of IT – especially for core functions such as endpoint security and backup – become more attractive. At the same time, MSPs will need to differentiate themselves and they’ll do that by proximity or by developing a specialist element to their value proposition, either in an application area, technology or vertical market. Many of these businesses will prefer to hand the delivery of core managed services to a trusted Master MSP, which, we hope, will be Synaxon Managed Services. As IT systems and networks become more complex and business-critical, and managed services become more attractive because of that, we can only see this interdependency growing.

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