Office 365 Cloud Management Tools War Starts
Most MSPs won't get rich reselling Microsoft's (MSFT) Office 365 cloud applications. But a beautique market (featuring Office 365 management tools for MSPs) is popping up and growing fast. Kaseya made a big move this week. N-able Technologies, owned by SolarWinds (SWI), is preparing moves. So what's the potential upside for managed services providers?
First the news: As Jessica Davis reported, Kaseya has acquired 365 Command, an increasingly popular Office 365 management tool. Short term: I think it's a brilliant move. Long term: I'm not so sure, because cloud trends are hard to predict over a three to five year time horizon.
The 365 Command team seemingly is everywhere — popping up at events like Tech Data TDCloud, and explaining how MSPs and VARs can (A) wrap more management services around Office 365 while (B) automating much of the process to further improve margins.
I've been expecting someone to buy 365 Command in recent weeks. It was an obvious, fast-growth target in an extremely hot niche. Smart move, Kaseya — assuming you can weave all the recent acquisitions (Rover App, Zyrion, Command 365…) into a total management platform.
Meanwhile, N-able Senior VP Mike Cullen hinted that his company is preparing some of its own Office 365 automation and management tools. I don't have the deep technology details (do I ever?) but if Cullen is dropping hints I suspect something innovative is on the way.
Of course, Office 365 management tools is not a new topic. Former Level Platforms CEO Peter Sandiford told me years ago that the Managed Workplace platform will gain more and more Office 365 management capabilities.
Sandiford is now VP of business development at AVG Technologies, which acquired Level Platforms this year. I could use an Office 365 management update.
Can MSPs Profit?
For many MSPs, Office 365 remains the elephant in the room. A lot of MSPs expect to make little (if anything) from the suite. Instead, they wrap it into a broader managed services contract and downplay Microsoft's influence within end-customer settings.
I do think early adopter MSPs have seen value from the 365 Command platform. While speaking with a few partners at the TD Cloud conference, I heard some strong endorsements.
Now, Kaseya owns the platform. N-able is planning some of its own moves. And you can expect more competitive shots to be fired by at least 3 other MSP software providers within 3 months, MSPmentor has heard…