N-able and more than 350 managed services providers and partners are set to converge on Scottsdale, Ariz., for the N-able Partner Summit. The event, which starts Oct. 14, could shed some more light on several managed services trends. Here are five topics I intend to explore.
Let's start with N-able's strategy. CEO Gavin Garbutt is set to unveil a "sizable investment" that enables partners to move forward, and he'll discuss N-able's overall channel enablement strategy for 2010, according to an N-able spokeswoman. In addition, the spokeswoman says, N-able will preview its upcoming 7.0 technology to partners in attendance (General Availability later this year). I suspect N-able will also reinforce recent partner momentum in mid-size businesses.
Inquiring Minds Want to Know...Of course, I'll be running around the conference asking a bunch of questions... including...
- Cloud Computing: N-able is available in on premise and hosted. But cloud computing noise across the MSP industry has become overwhelming in recent months. Cloud this. Cloud that. The noise will get even louder -- yes, louder -- in the weeks ahead as Kaseya and others make some cloud moves. But what percentage of MSPs will really begin to shift their on-premise solutions into the cloud, and how soon?
- PSA and RMM Convergence: It's coming. My best educated guess is there will be at least one M&A deal before the end of 2009 that pulls the PSA (professional services automation) and RMM (remote monitoring and management) markets a bit closer together. I'll be asking around at the event how MSPs feel about this potential convergence.
- The Application Wave: Most successful MSPs have mastered remote monitoring and management of PCs, servers, routers, switches, etc. But how many MSPs are moving to the application level? And which applications are they monitoring, troubleshooting and/or hosting? Plus, will MSPs host the applications on their own, partner up with larger MSPs, or jump directly into big software vendors' clouds (like Microsoft Windows Azure and Business Productivity Online Suite)?
- Application Programming Interfaces: Plenty of software companies say they're using APIs to plug into RMM and PSA tools. But how much of that integration work actually works? I'm hearing more and more complaints from MSPs who say some integration efforts are weak at best. That comment is directed to the MSP software industry as a whole, and not aimed at a specific RMM or PSA vendor (how's that for dancing around bullets?).
- Have a Cigar: VP Mike Cullen and MSPs from around the world should be easily accessible on Oct. 15, during an evening cigar session. It's a prime (off the record) opportunity (off the record) to hear what's really happening (off the record) in North America, Europe, Australia and so on. But a lot of comments tend to be... off the record.
- Tune In: Stay tuned to our Twitter feeds (@MSPmentor and @TheVARguy) for updates throughout the week from four separate conferences: N-able Partner Summit, Oracle OpenWorld, the Avaya Partner Summit and Astricon.
- Meet Up: If you're at N-able Partner Summit and want to potentially meet, send me email (joe [at] NineLivesMediaInc.com).
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