While Microsoft is changing the technology landscape for business, support models must adapt
Sometimes even the most experienced IT teams need help, especially when it comes to Microsoft 365. Microsoft is continually making changes and improvements to Microsoft 365 products and services. This constant change makes it challenging for IT teams to keep up and overwhelms the help desk queue with tickets from end-users. On top of that, when something goes wrong with one of the Microsoft 365 products or services and the IT team can’t fix the problem, they often reach out to a legacy MSP. That legacy MSP is in the same boat due to a lack of knowledge or experience. The next logical step is to reach out directly to Microsoft, but it can take hours or even days to get an answer back from Microsoft. In the meantime, tickets on the internal IT team’s help desk keep piling up.
Internal IT Team
The typical reason internal IT teams have a lack of knowledge on Microsoft 365 is that traditional internal IT teams aren’t structured or trained for it. Currently, the basic structure of an internal IT team consists of a few help desk engineers, a systems engineer, a network engineer, and a manager or director of IT. The help desk engineers field end-user requests like “I can’t open Outlook” or “How do I do an email merge with my Word document.” The systems engineer is responsible for managing the servers, which are virtual and running on a storage area network. They also serve as an escalation point for the help desk engineers. The network engineer is responsible for all of the data communications, the security of the network, and probably the company’s phone system or UCaaS. The leader of the IT team, the IT Manager or Director of IT, is the team’s mentor that steers the technology direction of the company but also manages IT budgets and staff. The point is, there is not a lot of time for the IT team to learn new technologies, let alone a whole new technology strategy that dramatically affects the way the company does business and how end-users work. These IT teams rely on outside help like a legacy MSP to hopefully help them implement and support newer technologies.
Legacy MSP’s have been a great supplemental resource to internal IT teams because they have helped implement new technologies and educate the internal IT team on the latest products. An excellent example of that is when server virtualization became the standard for 99% of all companies. Virtual hosts needed to be set up and connected to a storage area network appliance. Legacy MSPs were able to help implement these new technologies that they usually recommended and supported the internal IT team to manage them. The continual support engagement of the legacy MSP meant more revenue down the line with support renewals and hardware replacement as the hosts and SANs aged out. Of course, continuing to implement and support the client-server model that has been around for 25 plus years has become not only a flawed business model for legacy MSP’s, it has become bad business for any company. Not only is the legacy MSPs caught up in the perpetual cycle of IT infrastructure replacement every three to five years for their clients, but their support model mirrors that of an internal IT team. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that legacy MSP engineers suffer the same problem as internal IT teams. In that they have no time to train or test the newest Microsoft 365 products and services. Consequently, they cannot adequately support the whole Microsoft 365 ecosystem.
IT engineers that have been in the business any significant length of time knows that it is a crapshoot when you call Microsoft support. With the Microsoft 365 products and service, this has not changed. When Microsoft started putting together the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, they anticipated that partners would move just as fast to bring to market and promote the new cloud model. Microsoft also envisioned that partners would handle support of the Microsoft 365 product and services as they always had with legacy products, but that adoption has been slow. As a result, Microsoft struggles with support, so much that they are contracting with outside companies to provide support. In other words, when you call Microsoft’s support number and request support, the engineer that calls you back more than likely will be a contractor. At that point, you get to start the age-old battle of getting to the right engineer that will solve your problem. You also have to continually chase Microsoft to reengage with your problem every step of the way. All of this leads to frustration for your IT Team and, more importantly, your end-users.
Microsoft’s new cloud model or strategy calls for a new breed of support provider and support model. The new support provider will need to utilize the knowledge of a Cloud Service Provider, which can assess the cloud products or services required by your company. Then successfully migrate your company to those products or services. The new breed of support providers will need to adopt some of the support infrastructure and processes that a legacy Managed Service Provider has developed. Finally, the new support provider needs to create a support model that only focus is the Microsoft ecosystem along with Microsoft 365 product and services. We will call this new breed of support providers Modern MSPs.
As a Modern MSP, Big Green IT is a Tier 1, Microsoft Gold partner and not only do we have expert Microsoft engineers on staff to help those internal IT teams, but we have direct access to the upper echelon of Microsoft engineers. Our Modern MSP business is strictly focused on the Microsoft ecosystem, including Microsoft 365, and we have created Modern Support Plans to assist the Modern IT teams and their Modern Workforce. We stay Modern with Microsoft so that you can keep Modern with your Workforce.