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Unlocking Success Through Collaboration: The Role of Third-Party IT Providers in MSP Service Delivery

Written by Ian Anderson; Senior Director, Partner Sales, EMEA, Park Place Technologies

“Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds.”

This sentiment, credited to Alexander Graham Bell, proves paramount in the managed services industry. The pace of change in IT necessitates collaboration because it’s a practical way to maximise profits, attract and retain customers, and accelerate progress in the industry.

This type of collaboration in the IT industry is often seen between Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and third-party IT providers. As demand for specialised IT services continues to grow, MSPs increasingly use third parties to enhance their service offerings and service delivery for customers. Without this collaboration, MSPs can find themselves falling short on opportunities to strengthen relationships with new and long-standing clients. Through partnerships, MSPs gain access to third-part specialists’ deep expertise, resources, and specialised talent; and their customers enjoy a more seamless, end-to-end IT service experience.

There is a clear delineation between MSPs and third-party IT providers; MSPs provide comprehensive managed services to clients. These services include infrastructure managed services (PaaS or IaaS), , professional services, sustainability services, and network monitoring services. On the other hand, third-party IT providers are generally less involved in the day-to-day operations. This group typically comprises consultants, contractors, or companies that offer specific IT services or products on a project basis. Park Place Technologies bridges the gap between these two providers, offering core third-party services such as hardware maintenance and professional services, such as IMACD services, as well as extending into layers of managed services which can complement the MSPs own capabilities.

How Third-Party IT Providers Support MSPs in Service Delivery

Collaboration between MSPs and third-party IT providers offers numerous opportunities for enhancing service delivery. Collaboration is essential to meet the diverse needs of clients. Let’s explore some specific ways third-party IT providers support MSPs, and the business impact of these kinds of collaborations.

Cybersecurity: The Value of Specialised Services

Third-party cybersecurity providers are a great partner for MSPs, for example. The cybersecurity landscape is complex and constantly evolving, with new vulnerabilities emerging daily. These firms possess deep expertise in threat detection, prevention, and mitigation strategies, as well as knowledge of the latest security technologies, threats, and trends.

Cybersecurity encompasses a lot –– network security, endpoint protection, data encryption, threat intelligence, and compliance management, to name a few. Partnering with a third-party IT specialist allows MSPs to offer their clients premier cybersecurity solutions alongside their comprehensive managed services. As a result of strategic collaboration, MSPs benefit from improved client trust, reduced cybersecurity risks, and potential cost savings in the long term.

Emerging Technology: Filling Skill & Knowledge Gaps

As an MSP, a new service offering or specialty area requires extensive research and evaluation, training and skill development, and testing before it is implemented. Due to factors such as complexity, client demand, or time constraints, an MSP may opt to subcontract a third-party specialist for specific projects or services.

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are timely examples of emerging technology that might warrant a partnership between an MSP and a third-party firm that specialises in AI. If an MSP lacks expertise in this area, a third-party IT provider can fill those skills gaps immediately and offer comprehensive AI products, services, and support to the MSP’s clients.

In addition to AI, other emerging technologies that may require collaboration with a third-party IT provider include internet of things (IoT) and blockchain. Aside from client-specific work, these firms may also work directly with the MSP to design innovative solutions that better address clients’ evolving needs and drive business transformation.

Operations: Enhancing Scalability and Flexibility

An MSP can also bring in a third-party IT service provider to quickly scale services it already offer. This makes sense when confronted with a sudden surge in demand for IT support services due to a client expansion, a major project rollout, or a natural disaster. In these instances, a third-party IT provider can offer scalable help desk support or project management services for the project. This way, the MSP can quickly scale up its operations to meet client needs without overburdening its internal resources. Once the project is complete and the additional support is no longer needed, the MSP can resume normal operations without dealing with the headache of staffing up for a temporary need.

Ensuring Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

An MSP serves clients across many industries, some of which are highly regulated, such as healthcare and finance. Strict IT compliance with industry standards and regulations is critical. A third-party IT specialist in compliance management can add value for MSPs, ensuring that their clients meet regulatory obligations and maintain compliance with industry standards such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, and others.

Maximising Impact in Managed Services Through Collaboration

Third-party IT providers play a crucial role in supporting MSPs in service delivery by providing complementary expertise, filling skills and knowledge gaps, enhancing scalability and flexibility, ensuring compliance and regulatory requirements, and driving innovation and best practices. These collaborative efforts can lead to mutual success, benefiting both parties and ultimately enhancing customer satisfaction. Through collaboration, MSPs and third-party providers can achieve more in the managed services industry.