Adding new members to your MSP team can be exciting, and it usually indicates profitability and growth within your organization. While this can be a positive step for your MSP business, it can introduce new challenges as well, such as keeping employees on the same page.

That’s why it’s important to implement documented processes and procedures to standardize technicians’ daily activities. Corey DeGrandchamp, owner of Computing Technologies, recently led his company through this extensive change—and transformed the company from a value-added reseller (VAR) to a managed service provider (MSP). We sat down with Corey to talk about how proper documentation and eliminating redundant systems can help your MSP excel. 

Q & A with Corey DeGrandchamp

Can you share a bit about Computing Technologies and your background?

I have been the owner of Computing Technologies for four years, but we have been serving southeastern Michigan since 1999. When I purchased the company, we started out as the standard VAR/reseller model, and we had very little—if any—managed services. I kept hearing the term MSP, and I knew that was the way things were heading. We slowly started adopting managed services, and anti-virus was our biggest push. Before, all our customers had individual licenses, and if they had issues, we had to remote into the system.

Now, all our services are on one great managed services platform that we can push out to every customer. It took three and a half years to get to that point—so it’s been a slow process—but we have successfully converted from the reseller model to a managed services model. We’re still working on getting some of our existing customers who are resistant to change over to that new model. However, with our new customers, we are strictly offering them a managed service package.

So far, what has been the most exciting part of your company’s journey?

Proper documentation because it has really set us free from where we used to be. We use a platform called IT Glue. We were reluctant to sign up due to cost, because we’re a fairly small MSP, but we talked to other MSPs through the MSP sub-Reddit. Everyone who used the platform raved about it and said that any other solution we were thinking about saving a little bit of money with was just not worth it.

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By the end of 2017, we finished 100 percent of our documentation. When any client submits a new case, whether it’s the tech that usually works with them or somebody new, we have all the information we need to take care of whatever problem they have.

How else has proper documentation helped your business?

Documentation really helps when one of the technicians is sick or if they’re too busy working on another project. We used to have to email, call, text, or use instant messaging to get a hold of them. That has always been a pain point for us because the information was in their head rather than in a secure database. Now we have all the information we need written down and documented properly so that any one of our techs has all the information they need to complete the job in front of them.

Do you have any best practices for implementing documentation processes?

It’s very important to do a scheduled review of your processes. Documentation is great, but if you let it get old and outdated, your team will stop using it. Eventually, reviewing your processes should become part of the process. Double-check and make sure you have everything documented properly.

Another best practice to keep in mind is to avoid skimping when you’re recording information. It’s better to have more information rather than leaving something out and needing it later or leaving something out that might be relevant to another technician. 

How to explain the value of an IT investment

How has eliminating redundant systems helped your business?

That’s really where Barracuda Backup comes into play. Before we partnered with Barracuda MSP, our backups were all over the place. We had some users on Carbonite, Mozy, and local in-house stuff—it was all over the place. We unified our approach, and every customer—except one—is on the same system. Before, our backups were in a scary place. Our customers knew it, we knew it, and we knew we needed to do something about it. After we saw the Barracuda MSP product, we made it a top priority to switch customers over as soon as we knew we could.

Did you have a lot of customers resisting that change?

We let everyone know that this is the one singular platform for backups that we support. We kept pricing the same, and we let them know all the benefits. One downfall of the transition was that we had to run two backups in tandem side-by-side until we were 100-percent sure we had good backups of everything. We found that our customers like when we come forward with new technologies and share the important information.

What advice would you share with new providers?

Research products and solutions and get the right stack for your business. Set up your PSA, RMM, anti-virus, and whatever cloud solutions you want to offer before you start selling managed services to customers. We jumped the gun a little and had to backpedal to replace our previous solution with a different one. It was a bit of a headache for us, but we were eager to get in the game. As a result, it cost us some time and effort. I really encourage new providers to do the research and find the solutions that work best for their environment and the vertical they’re working in.

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Photo: Sergey Nivens /Shutterstock.

Lauren Beliveau

Posted by Lauren Beliveau

Lauren is a content and product marketer with several years of experience in the IT channel. She has created and developed content that helps managed service providers grow their business, and has written many articles featured in SmarterMSP’s The MSP’s Bookshelf and Ask an MSP Expert series.

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