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It’s 3 PM on a Friday afternoon. Late October. New England. The leaves have fallen…the days are getting shorter…the frosty air lingers from morning ‘til night.

On this day, the most dependable Network Administrator on your IT Support Team (you know, the one you were sure you could always count on) walks in. He hands you his resignation.


That’s the burning question.

“I thought you liked it here? We’ve tried our best to meet your needs and hopefully, to fulfill some of your wants. What gives? Why now?”

The answer hits you like a bucket of cold water.

“I’m scheduled to carry the pager in three weeks, and I am not going to go through another holiday out in the cold while the rest of my family enjoys turkey and football.”

While this might be a bit dramatic, it’s a story that is not all the uncommon in our industry.

Can anything be done? What alternatives can your MSP try?

Stories of IT Technician’s On-Call Pains

On-call responsibilities have long been thought of as “part of the job.” Additional compensation was once considered unheard of. But the IT culture is rapidly changing.

Here are just a few of the many stories we’ve heard from IT Technicians in the community…

  • Great opportunities are turned down, all because they included on-call coverage.
  • Technicians with the pager were not actually available due to lack of childcare if called out.
  • Rumors that some on-call Techs were highly compensated, regardless of if they’re called out or not.

And the list of responses goes on…

Now let’s get into some solutions because after all, isn’t that what you need?

On-call Afterhours Alternatives for your IT MSP

Here are three solutions to the on-call problem that your IT MSP may want to consider implementing:

  • Partner with MSP’s around the globe so you can put “follow the Sun” coverage in place.
  • Add a second shift to cover the majority of the calls during their regular hours.
  • Outsource after-hours to a qualified Service Desk & NOC.

Consider ‘Follow the Sun’ Partnerships:

These partnerships have been a great idea for many years, but to my knowledge, haven’t really taken off. It surprises me that with our International Vendors such as Autotask or ConnectWise, Ingram, etc. that we cannot locate three partners strategically placed in Europe and Asia/Australia to form 24-hour Service Desk & NOC coverage.

The first response I always hear is “how will they handle on-site work?” On-site work is a given, but what percentage are we talking about?

Think about this: If the number of times a Tech needed to respond on-site were reduced to 10%, we would not be losing Techs at the rate we are.

While this can be difficult to assemble and manage if you are able to find a group of like-minded MSPs who follow similar processes to your own it certainly can be done.

What About A Second Shift?

It might surprise you, but this has been tried. There were some advantages, such as continuing to work on the Level I and Level II queues after the day ended. Yet even with a second shift, there still seemed to be plenty of work left in the queues unresolved.

Despite the benefits, there just does not seem to be enough volume in most cases to justify the second shift. After about a year and a half, our gut instinct (backed up by real data) showed that this solution did not offset the expense. Ultimately, the program was zapped.

Outsourced Service Desk & NOC:

So you can’t afford to add a second shift. Don’t have access to an international ring of MSP owners that you can partner with.

Enter the Outsourced Service Desk & NOC model.

By partnering with a company like GMS Live Expert you are able to very quickly gain access to their economies of scale including 24x7x365 coverage and their SOPs derived from millions of interactions.

There are a number of ways you can work with such a provider to walk before you run, and still address the after-hours capacity constraints amongst your team.

  • After hours help desk phone calls, chat and ticket management
  • After hours NOC alert monitoring and/or remediation

While evaluating an outsourced partner it’s important to consider how well your customer environments, as well as customer and team expectations, are documented as this serves as the foundation for any partnership.

To learn more about how a partner like GMS Live Expert can help your MSP business please take a moment to review this 3 minute ‘rapid pitch’ overview.


Stephen Buyze

Stephen leverages over 30 years of Technical Management experience to help IT Managed Service Providers improve their Service Delivery operations. He’s walked many miles in the shoes of Service Managers and IT Professionals and is passionate about giving back. Learn more about “How He Helps” at: