GFI Max User Conference: Four Questions Worth Asking

GFI Max is hosting its first-ever U.S. customer conference this week (Orlando, Nov. 8-9). The customer conference, which certainly includes VARs and MSPs, offers an important inflection point for GFI and its partners. Indeed, parent GFI Software has acquired numerous companies, and the GFI Max portfolio now includes a range of remote management, security and storage solutions. Where do MSPs fit into the conversation? Here are four questions worth asking during the GFI Max gathering.

1. True Integration?: Check GFI Max's solutions portfolio, and you'll notice that the lineup for MSPs now includes:

  • asset tracking and inventory management
  • automated maintenance
  • email archiving
  • email security and continuity
  • frontline defense
  • managed antivirus
  • patch management
  • remote management and monitoring
  • cloud and website monitoring
That's a pretty comprehensive bullet list of services. But some of the services involved GFI Software making acquisitions. Alistair Forbes, general manager of the GFI Max business unit, has previously told MSPmentor that the acquisitions have been seamlessly integrated into GFI Max's software portfolio. (Though he concedes: The integrations take time.)

Each time a new acquisition is completed, GFI Max works to extend key capabilities like single sign-on and single dashboard management to the newly acquired platform. I realize some of that effort remains a work in progress. But how do MSPs rate GFI Max's integration efforts so far? Frankly, MSPmentor has to do a better job checking in with the GFI Max community to get a feel for user feedback.

2. Big Audience?: And in recent weeks, Forbes has claimed that GFI Max is no longer a niche player in the managed services partner market. Without sharing specific deployment figures, Forbes seemed to be suggesting that GFI Max's community of MSPs -- and GFI Max's installed base of managed end-points -- now ranks among the largest in the world. We're still poking around to try and get a feel for GFI Max's installed base and growth rates.

3. Key Channel Leaders?: GFI Software CEO Walter Scott is outspoken and focused. He's overseen an aggressive M&A strategy, including the recent buyout of Monitis, which develops cloud-based network and systems monitoring solutions. Meanwhile, Forbes has emerged as the point person on GFI Max, traveling the global to help engage MSPs on a range of fronts.

But we've also got to engage Andy Langsam, a veteran of ScriptLogic and Quest Software. Langsam joined GFI in June 2011 as executive VP of worldwide sales and operations. I believe he replaced Pat Hume, who joined GFI Max in February 2011 but left by August 2011 to join Convio as VP of worldwide sales.

So how is the partner program running under Langsam's leadership? We need to check in with him.

4. Key Partners?: Autotask is the only third-party SaaS company listed as a partner on the GFI Max conference agenda. It looks like Autotask CEO Mark Cattini and Senior VP Len DiCostanzo are confirmed to speak at the GFI Max conference. I believe Cattini previously spoke at a similar GFI Max conference a few weeks ago in Europe.

The GFI Max conference is located a few miles up the road from the big IT Nation conference, hosted this week by ConnectWise. For the first time ever, the IT Nation event is open to non-ConnectWise partners. I'm curious to see if any MSPs running GFI Max and Autotask in tandem head over to the IT Nation event. I'll be searching for more answers when I arrive at IT Nation on Nov. 9.

In the meantime, MSPmentor is reaching out to Alistair Forbes for his perspectives on the GFI MAX user conference, which is kicking off now.
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