Demand for Level Platforms' managed services software platform -- called Managed Workplace -- is on the rise. The key evidence: Revenues at Level Platforms are up 41 percent over the same period in 2010, according to CEO Peter Sandiford. Looking ahead, Sandiford thinks Level Platforms can help MSPs manage cloud applications, declaring that client-server is dead and all computing will be hybrid cloud.
First, a little background. In recent days, companies like ConnectWise and N-able Technologies have described their rapidly growing user bases. And now Level Platforms is weighing in with significant revenue growth.
Still, it's difficult to pinpoint actual revenue performance and profitability in the MSP software market since so many companies are privately held. Also of note: Software sales models vary dramatically -- some companies require up front purchases while other software companies focus on recurring revenues. So I caution readers: I suspect many of the top MSP software providers are growing and profitable at the moment, but I can't really "prove" that thesis beyond a reasonable doubt.
Level Platforms' Next MovesBack to the story at hand: Level Platforms. The Managed Workplace 2011 release began to generate positive buzz around March 2011. Sandiford started talking about Managed Workplace 2011 R2 in July, and now he's back with more updates. In a quick email exchange Sandiford and I covered the following...
MSPmentor: You just announced a distribution relationship in Japan with Hitachi. How long were you working on that deal? Is this Level Platforms' first major move in Asia?
Sandiford: Over one year. Hitachi had assessed the market in Japan and identified this as a major opportunity. They spent time evaluating potential partners and selected Level Platforms based principally on our technology, which they considered best suited for Japan because of its scalability, flexibility to support diverse business models and modern architecture as well as our mature and proven cloud implementation. We had spent the previous year internationalizing the product so that we could easily localize it into any language.
Note that for an RMM platform this goes far beyond simple UI as we need to monitor and manage operating systems with multiple languages, storing, collating and reporting on all this so it all makes sense. Hitachi and ourselves worked as partners to complete and test the localized version. It all went surprisingly smoothly and Managed Workplace now operates perfectly in Japanese. Based on this success we see a clear path to full globalization of the product and this is now underway.
MSPmentor: About how much of Level's revenues come from North America vs. outside the US?
Sandiford: Currently 75% of our revenues come from North America. We see international sales growing very quickly in 2011 and 2012.
MSPmentor: What are you seeing so far with the cloud? Are MSPs using Level to monitor cloud apps yet or are they still kicking the tires?
Sandiford: Most MSPs now clearly understand the critical role of cloud monitoring and management as we have defined it. We continue to execute on our strategy and MSPs continue to adopt and implement. At the Microsoft WPC in LA last month I was showing a Microsoft Exec a mock up of our Office 365 Service Module. A large UK service provider happened by and looking over our shoulders declared "This is exactly what I need."
This is a huge opportunity for MSPs and yet to my continuing surprise we seem to be the only RMM vendor that holds this view. Client server computing is finished. All computing will be Hybrid Cloud and an MSP that does not recognize this reality will be marginalized, commoditized and in a few years be out of business.
(MSPmentor Side Note: I respectfully disagree with Sandiford's claim that Level Platforms is the only RMM vendor focused on cloud monitoring. I think quite a few RMM players offer cloud monitoring, though certainly the approaches vary by company, and Level was one of the first companies to monitor Microsoft BPOS -- now Office 365.)
MSPmentor: What's next for RMM software integrations? Yes, I've written a ton about PSA, storage and security companies integrating with RMM. But are there key niches I'm overlooking? What other areas do you think will integrate with RMM?
Sandiford: Our tag line is "See All. Manage All" for a reason. Just as cloud and RMM need to integrate so does every other technology in order to be supported by MSPs that today must think of themselves as helping their end customers implement and enjoy a successful experience with the ever-expanding range of technologies. We have a number of significant areas we are working on in this area and will start to role these out this Fall. It is very exciting.
MSPmentor: How are you feeling about your executive team? Pretty much in place or are you looking to fill any other leadership slots?
Sandiford praised the established Level Platforms team and said he's very comfortable with the current team managing the business amid continued growth.