When Traditional Outsourced NOC Services Break Down

Traditionally outsourced NOC services (remote monitoring and remediation) are provided by NOC service providers from a pool of engineers that are shared among multiple managed service providers. Shared NOC services offer a number of valuable benefits for small VARs and MSPs including low-cost, efficiency, breadth of support and 24/7 operation to name a few. These are great when your business is growing and you are new to offering services.

However as you grow, your needs may shift some and the shared services model offered by traditional NOC providers becomes less attractive. In fact, some of the items that are most attractive about the model when you are new to selling services are the very things that make the model so unattractive as your services business matures. We discuss some of the drawbacks of shared services for mature MSPs and ultimately some solutions in upcoming posts.

Today’s topic is the fixed processes imposed by the traditional shared services NOC model.
To manage the environments for many end customers spread out across a hundreds or thousands MSPs, shared services providers must unify all their processes. This means they have one way of doing things and that way applies to all their MSPs. This approach allows them to spread out the work across a large team; allowing any team member to do work for any MSP, since all the processes are consistent. This is fine or even preferable when you are starting your services business because you have not yet developed your own processes and your customers are likely smaller and willing to adapt or even unaware of the underlying processes.

As you grow, your team becomes more sophisticated and you begin to attract larger and more demanding customers. At this point you may want to specify things like what days to perform patching or how escalate alerts. In a shared services model, your provider is unable to give you his flexibility. Many will even try, but the end result will not be good, because every time they do a patch or alert escalation for one of your customers, it ill be an exception for their team and an opportunity for an error. This becomes even more problematic when you need different processes for a few big customers.
Our next post will talk about the efficiency sea-saw and delivery consistency.