How to Evaluate Whether Managed Services is Right for Your IT Shop

Our series on "Understanding the Transition from Break-Fix to MSP"

Chapter One: Why You Should Probably Consider Switching from Break-Fix to MSP 


As we discussed in Chapter One of our series, "Understanding the Transition from IT Break-Fix to MSP", making the switch to MSP can be intimidating. You might be scared of client buy-in, don’t have the time to make the big change, or are unsure how to tackle pricing.

It’s a big change with a lot of new dynamics. 

In this piece, we hope to present the tried and true, i.e. the four best ways to evaluate your business situation in order to better understand if this switch is for you.


One: Evaluating the situation


First, we recommend reaching out to experts. We are really breaking new ground on this one, right? No, but hang with us. Reaching out to friends, experts or even competitors might be your best move to get local feedback and understanding on how to approach the transition from break-fix to MSP. Ask questions about pricing, logistics, big changes, pros, cons and so forth. Whatever you need to know to be a little more comfortable with the decision.


How to do this:

Friends: You probably have their phone number. Give them a holler.


Competitors: As Michael Corleone said in The Godfather 2 “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” Okay, your competitors aren’t your enemy, but I really wanted to slip in that quote. Approaching competitors can be vastly beneficial. Just as you may have for others, within your industry there is usually a mutual respect. It might take a bit of prides swallowing, but it could even lead to a new friend or mentor. Competitors usually seem to be just one degree away from new best friends.


Go global: As an MSP, most of your work will be local. Not all of it. But most shops will be local. If you don’t want to bug friends or competitors, reach out to MSP shops around the country. We recommend tackling this with LinkedIn. If you use Google Chrome, you can download the tool called is an email scraper. All you have to do is search, for example; “IT technician”, set the location to a city you want to search, and on the results page hit the Hunter.Io logo to score the emails of all the IT technicians.


Bada bing bada boom! The last part is a little convoluted, but it allows you to get the email and potentially the opinions/feedback of anyone in the world who has a LinkedIn. And as you can imagine, this is great for sales. If you wanted more business on your business.




But what do I ask all of my friends and foes?


I know - talking to the MSP shop from across the street can be nerve-wracking! Here are some sample questions we think will help make your decision making process easier.


1. What was stressful about your switch to MSP?

2. Do you regret it?

3. What do your employees think?

4. How has your day-to-day operations changed?

5. What would you have done differently?

6. Tell me about how you approach

a pricing model?

7. How did you convince your customers to sign onto payments?

8. What advice do you have?

9. Who else should I talk to about this?

10. May I contact you again if

I need more help?




Go Detective Dan on em’


Speaking to other MSP/IT shops is great, but what about employees and customers? Business is all relationships, anyways! If you have employees, ask them what they think about switching to the MSP model. Get their feelings, concerns and desires.


This approach would also be applicable to your customers. I know everyone says talk to your customers about stuff. Sometimes I just want to say “ah, well to hell with the customers!” But, I mean, that is what business is about, solving problems and customers matter. My personal recommendation is to not overthink this too much.


When servicing someone, ask them this; “hey so-and-so, would you mind if I asked you a couple questions about your IT history? I am doing some learning for my business.”



Then ask a few investigative questions about their experiences with IT. Some samples below;

How often do you (or your company) have issues with IT?

How much does it disrupt your work day?

What other solutions have you considered?

Have you ever considered subscription model? Why have you

not committed to it?


The more you know about why people have or have not done this, the better idea you have about whether it’s something you really want to commit to. Customers are your business, if everyone you service is vehemently against it, you should consider new customer acquisition strategies alongside your transition plan, if you so choose to go that route.




Th-th-th-that’s not all folks


Part three to evaluating your business comes downtoevaluating the industry as a whole. IT people tend to range on the decision making scale closer to the side of thorough and full of research. I like that approach too. Gotta know what’s going on to make the best decision. Not to be bias, but we are pretty bullish on MSP.


However, if switching over to MSP from Break-Fix is hankering your research gene, go all in on it. We recommend Gartner and CompTIA to better understand the immediate trends.


If you aren’t so much into that, we have put together a few data points from research we discovered that may be worth noting, at the very least it could be something to chat about during lunch!


Recent Goals of MSP Shops

77.29% driving new business

59.10%finding go to market partners

Are the two primary focuses for MSP professionals

45.50% are looking to increase product attach rates

40.90% are focus on overcoming technology capability challenges



68.20% preserving valuable business data

54.50% protecting IP and other valuable information


Industry Trends

The MSP market is growing. Revenues have been estimated to exceed $193 billion in 2019—a CAGR of 12.5%. The percentage of companies making use of MSPs has also been estimated as having grown from around 30% to 50% in the last year alone.




The Final Piece of the Puzzle


People and trends. That is great, but there is no more thorough way to study your business than to review internal processes. Switching to MSP will probably help you, but maybe all you need is a more effective form of communication. Just playing devil’s advocate here.


Our approach to studying internal processes is talking to your employees and learning what they perceive as inefficient. Step back, study processes. Review results.


Here is how:


Questions to ask your employees (or yourself)

1. What resources do you need more of?

2. What stops you from doing your job?

3. How is the communication between you and customers?

4. What 20% of daily activities do you do that gives you the most stress?

5. What 20% of your activities gives the most return?


Study Critical Processes

1. Next, we recommend watching from afar and trying to confirm any issues you have may have spotted.

2. Start by determining a study.

3. Identify the critical business processes that need to be reviewed by breaking down and rating the perceived risk in each problem. Rate these 1 - 5. Watch those with the greatest risk.

4. Determine the availability of continuous data for those risk areas.

5. Ask yourself how will you measure something as inefficient or not.

6. Ask yourself how will you observe it without introducing a bias to the scenario.

7. Are there any special rules or parameters necessary to examine this?


Have a team meeting to discuss your findings

1. Speak with your team and discuss what you found.

2. What are the problems?

3. How can they be solved?


With that, that concludes the four recommended and actionable tricks from SherpaDesk on how to evaluate switching your business to MSP from IT break-fix. At the end of the day, it is a personal decision. That’s why we don’t have a magical scale where if you score over 10, buy now! I mean we could make that, but this is all about determining your own personal level of comfort.


Realistically, though, our most unbiased recommendation is to look deeply into the MSP switch.


MSP let’s all parties win big. Your life will become more predictable, more rich and more pleasant. It’ll be tough, but the model of preventative care is what nearly all private business sectors have begun to adopt.


This was Chapter Two in our series on Understanding the Transition from Break-Fix to MSP. For Chapter Three, see below.


Our series on "Understanding the Transition from Break-Fix to MSP"

Chapter One: Why You Should Probably Consider Switching from Break-Fix to MSP 

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Andrew Frawley
By Andrew Frawley

Writing stuff that helps people grow their business