New Managed IT Peer Groups Structure Enables Collabrance Dealers, IT Partners to Maximize Value of Service Leadership Alliance

Greg VanDeWalker, senior vice president of IT Channel and Services for Collabrance and GreatAmerica Financial Services

Seeking to make more effective use of its alliance with Service Leadership Inc., Collabrance LLC announced two new peer groups that will focus exclusively on copier dealers and partners who use the Collabrance managed IT services platform.

Two new peer groups are being rolled out in 2018. The first is specific to copier dealers who use Collabrance, with its initial meeting slated for Dallas on April 3-4. A second peer group, which will hold its first meeting in the fall, will be geared toward IT companies who rely on the Collabrance platform.

Previous peer group affiliations with Service Leadership have entailed a mixture of office equipment dealers who had built their own managed IT platform, acquired the competencies or used the Master MSP services of Collabrance. According to Greg VanDeWalker, senior vice president of IT Channel and Service for Collabrance—a subsidiary of GreatAmerica Financial Services—the move provides for a more tailored peer group agenda for those copier dealers and IT companies who have partnered with Collabrance. Service Leadership will continue to manage the peer groups, called S-L GAMIT Groups, for dealers who have built or purchased IT competencies.

“Part of the reason we decided to create these new peer groups was because there were a lot of things that would be discussed in other peer groups that really didn’t apply to Collabrance partners,” VanDeWalker explained. “For example, Collabrance takes care of the help desk and the NOC for partners, so when past discussions would center on those topics, (Collabrance partners) would have to sit through it and wait for a topic that was relevant to them. Now we can focus on issues that are really relevant to our partners, share best practices, and continue to do the financial benchmarking. It really helps our partners be able to compare what they’re doing against the best-in-class managed service providers.”

MSP Metrics

Collabrance and Service Leadership have conducted peer groups together for six years. Service Leadership, backed by its Service Leadership Index benchmark, is an IT business transformation consultancy that provides more than 80 critical best-in-class MSP metrics, fostering performance improvements and risk reduction in all areas of the partner’s managed IT business.

Collabrance enables its office equipment dealer, MSP and IT solution provider partners to profitably grow their business quicker and with less risk by providing high Operational Maturity Level (OML) managed IT services through its U.S.-based network operations center (NOC), service desk and fully-vetted technology stack. It also provides partners with access to industry thought leaders, a virtual sales manager, MSP best practices, sales training and proven processes to help them grow faster with fewer challenges and a smaller investment.

“Service Leadership has been benchmarking IT organizations for 10 years and they have a tremendous amount of historical data that’s great for showing trends,” VanDeWalker said. “They slice the data into best in class, mid and quartile, so partners can see how they trend in different parts of their business relative to best-in-class providers.”

One effective metric in the Service Leadership toolbox is SLIQ, which enables users to focus on what they need to do to improve their managed IT services businesses. SLIQ defines a user’s OML, taken from a series of 30-37 traits within functional areas of strategy, finance, sales, service and compensation. It then creates a detailed, prioritized progression plan specific to the user to achieve optimal OML for better service quality and profitability. The user then assigns actions within its organization aimed at enhancing traits, with further reassessments of the OML resulting in updated action plans for providers to take their performance to the next level.

“There are step-by-step, tangible actions office equipment dealers can do and best practices they can observe to enhance their managed IT services business,” VanDeWalker observed.

Advisory Panel

The new managed IT peer groups also serve as a Collabrance advisory panel, providing input that can the Master MSP can augment in their roadmap. Collabrance can then, in turn, layer in products and services that speak to their partners’ needs.

“We’re going to be depending on these peer groups to give Collabrance guidance that assures us we’re going down the right path and providing value,” VanDeWalker added.

“Using Collabrance gives office equipment dealers, MSPs and IT solution providers a way to stay focused on growth and to reduce their risk as they grow their managed IT business,” said Paul Dippell, CEO of Service Leadership. “Combining our high-performance managed IT best practices and S-L Index benchmarking with the Collabrance overall partner success program, is a great way for MSPs to get to best-in-class value creation in their IT businesses.”

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.