Instead of relaxing for the New Year holiday, LPI Level Platforms was busy launching Managed Workplace 2009. The new managed services platform debuts today (January 5). LPI Level Platforms CEO Peter Sandiford (pictured) sent me a note January 2 with some quick thoughts about the update.
According to Sandiford:
"Managed Workplace 2009 delivers lots of new features but also sets the stage for MSP 2.0 where solution providers will begin to include virtualization, SaaS, Cloud, etc. in their MSP offerings. We will be putting out a series of subsequent product and partnership announcements based on these core capabilities over the next few months that will reinforce all of these themes including a second pending major release Managed Workplace 2009 R2 planned for March."
Six Items to NoteThe Level Platforms press release highlights six major enhancements in Managed Workplace 2009. Here's a look at some of the claims along with a few of my perspectives:
- MSP Branding: Enabling solution providers to develop customized materials and reports for end customers
- User Interface: Customization and multiple user views of the Service Center central dashboard
- Asset Tagging: To me, this sounds like one of the most critical enhancements. The tagging system, according to Level Platforms, offers automated serial number collection including Virtual Machine IDs from VMWare and HyperVisor, as well as Software Asset Change alerting and reporting allowing for asset management, warranty entitlement tracking and software license management. I've heard a lot about "virtualization sprawl" in recent months. And the asset tagging capability in Managed Workplace 2009 (assuming it works...) sounds like a way to bring virtualization back under control.
- Banner Advertising: This is an interesting twist but I wonder if MSPs will really be able to cash in from Banner Advertising. Designed for the hosted version only, Level Platforms says the banner ad system enables alternate revenue streams or enhanced marketing capabilities for hosting service providers of Managed Workplace 2009. If anyone tries this feature and cashes in I'd like to hear about it. Who advertised? Why? What was the benefit? What was the outcome?
- Policy Module Management Toolkit: Apparently, this streamlines the administration of Policy Modules including bulk imports, global changes, and tools to track and manage the deployment of Policy Modules across devices, groups and sites.
- Third-Party Support: Now here's a smart move by LPI. Many MSP software companies continue to focus on remote PC and laptop management. Level Platforms (like some of its rivals) is expanding the managed services conversation to a range of networking and application platforms. LPI says new Policy Modules offer best practices management for products from Adtran, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Foundry Networks, Gateway, HP ProCurve, LogMeIn, Microsoft, Oracle, Shavlik, Symantec and Zenith BDR. The system now has more than 300 best practices Policy Modules from more than 85 vendors, LPI claims.
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