Co-managed IT services sound great on the surface as you get the best of both worlds – the task flexibility, internal knowledge, and fast responsiveness of an internal IT team, in addition to the wider expertise, established systems, and unique viewpoint of a third-party MSP.

Later in this blog, we’ll explore in greater detail how to find success with a co-managed approach to IT services.

In summary, it comes down to good leadership. However, it is also important to consider why you should go through the process in the first place.

With the challenges that can potentially arise, why not just opt for an easier option – fully managed IT or 100 percent in-house?

There are two reasons why co-managed should remain a preferred option if you have an in-house IT team:

1.  It’s the only option that is actually viable to ensure there are no skill gaps

2.  The benefits are too substantial to miss out on

Before going any further, let’s first establish what we mean by co-managed IT.

What is a Co-Managed Service Model?

In a co-managed IT service model, you blend your internal IT team with an MSP, keeping some services in-house and outsourcing others to the MSP.

Working together, your internal IT team and appointed MSP provide the IT support and services that your business needs.

Advantages of Using Managed Services to Supplement Your In-House Team

How to Make Co-Managed IT Work

Now we get to the big question – how do you ensure your internal IT team can coexist with your MSP and vice versa? How can you make co-managed IT services work?

We mentioned earlier that the answer is leadership, but what does that mean in practical terms? There are four essential ingredients required to make co-managed IT work, and they all require input at the most senior level of your organization:


Communication is the cornerstone. Without good communication, the other three elements will fail. Communication between your internal team and MSP should be frequent, honest, and open, where everyone is pushing in the same direction.


Responsibilities need to be clearly defined to ensure your internal IT team knows what comes under its remit and the same for your MSP. It is also important to have crossover understanding, i.e. your MSP should have a clear understanding of the responsibilities of the internal team and vice versa.


Both the internal team and MSP need to be accountable for their actions, and they need to be held accountable, too – for good things, as well as bad. Good communication and coordination are crucial to achieving good accountability. It also helps if there is a culture of learning and improvement rather than a culture of blame.


This is probably the most difficult element to achieve, but it is possible, particularly when you first establish communication, coordination, and accountability. The goal is to get everyone pushing in the same direction. Quickly and decisively dealing with non-cooperative situations is also important.


Part of running any business is ensuring the dynamics are good within your team. This is also true when you choose a co-managed IT service model, as the secret to success is to foster positive dynamics between the two teams.

At StepUP IT, we have extensive experience working with internal IT teams under a co-managed IT services model. To learn more about how to make co-managed IT work in your organization, or to discuss your requirements, please get in touch.