GFI Max: 3,000 Managed Services Channel Partners and Growing

GFI Max: 3,000 Managed Services Channel Partners and Growing

In the ultra-crowded managed services software market, GFI Max, owned by GFI Software, has generated exponential growth since 2009, according to CEO Walter Scott (pictured). The company develops a range of hosted IT solution -- including RMM (remote monitoring and management), anti-spam and antivirus solutions. Roughly two years ago, GFI set a fixed price for its services and made a commitment to its channel to never raise its price above that rate. So what is that rate?

GFI won't disclose it, but Scott did give some hints when describing what type of MSP can most benefit from the company's products. "Our biggest value is to small MSPs, " he said. "We make it easy to go from having an idea to having a functioning business. You don't have to sign a contract and [our hosted services cost] pennies a month." That 'pennies a month' comment was probably a bit of sarcasm, but he made it clear that GFI Max doesn't get paid until their clients do. And with over 3,000 VARs and MSPs using the company's software, GFI has great incentive to see them succeed.

And why won't the company reveal its fixed rate? One reason is that its products -- over 50 percent of which are used in Europe -- are only sold to MSPs and channel partners, and the company has no plans to begin offering its services to individual customers. So a non-disclosed fixed rate is a way of keeping its sales away from people who may compete with GFI Max in the future.

Some of GFI's growth has come through acquisition -- including the 2009 buyout of HoundDog Technology Ltd. The Malta-based company is expecting its steady growth in users to continue in 2011. In fact, GFI Max is in the process of hiring 10 new developers and placing them in their new Edinburgh, Scotland office -- a strategic office placement for a company with a clear vision of the type of developers it's looking for. "A number of the top ten software development universities are in and around Edinburgh," said Scott. That's where we like to get our developers." GFI Max has yet to try recruiting developers from other companies. That, says Scott, would put the "company culture" at risk.

At GFI Max, company culture goes beyond a common work ethic. Scott described an ideal GFI Max team member as someone with good judgment, an eye for innovation and a person who does what needs to be done and does not wait to be told what to do. "If someone says something needs to be done a certain way, and you find a better way to do it and you get it done, that's rewarded, not discouraged," said Scott.

The direction of the company's product development is dictated by its customers. Scott has personally sat in on focus groups to learn what the clients want to see out of GFI Max's services. Based on that feedback, the company released GFI Max MailProtection and GFI Max MailEdge in early 2010-- two products intended to allow SMBs to leverage both their cloud-based and onsite security systems. Throughout 2010, the company focused heavily on "one-to-many" integration, and in the last 4-5 months, it has steered toward a new remote control feature and patch management.

So what to expect from GFI Max in 2011? Besides the new office Edinburgh office, the company is working on an email filtering system. It's main focus during 2011, says Scott, is going to be allowing more sophisticated MSPs to create custom works. We'll track the progress and keep you updated.

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