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May 3, 2011
ConnectWise, which develops business management software for VARs and MSPs, is taking an indirect step into Microsoft’s cloud. Indeed, the ConnectWise Capital fund apparently has invested in Quosal, a quoting software platform and proposal system for VARs and MSPs. Quosal is available both on premise and via Microsoft SQL Azure — a cloud database platform. The ConnectWise-Quosal relationship sets up some interesting possibilities for channel partners.
First, a little background:
ConnectWise is a PSA (professional services automation) software platform for VARs and MSPs. It’s available both on-premise and in a hosted configuration. PSA software is akin to CRM, ERP and business management software specifically designed for solutions providers.
For a deeper look at how ConnectWise and Quosal play in the IT channel, take a look at this MSPmentor story.
For this blog, however, let’s take a closer look at Quosal’s cloud strategy — and the potential implications for ConnectWise and its partners. Instead of building a cloud platform from scratch, Quosal deployed its software on the Microsoft SQL Azure cloud. According to a Microsoft-Quosal case study:
“Almost overnight this 10-person company [Quosal] gained access to a worldwide market of customers who benefit from having their Quosal databases hosted in the cloud, rather than managing their own on-premises servers. In 10 months, Quosal increased its customer base by 15 percent and global sales by 50 percent—while avoiding a planned U.S.$300,000 in infrastructure costs and ongoing monthly maintenance costs of $6,000.”
Quosal’s SQL Azure cloud experience could be quite valuable to ConnectWise and its partner base. Over the past year or two, ConnectWise has launched cloud versions of its software in North America, Europe, Africa and Australia. But here’s where things get interesting: ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini has been piecing together a modern office business strategy. The goal is to help VARs and MSPs identify key IT opportunities, even as big cloud computing companies attempt to sell direct into the SMB market.
As part of the modern office strategy, ConnectWise Capital has invested in:
CharTec, which started out as a HaaS (hardware as a service) specialist but has made backup/disaster recovery moves in more recent months.
And now, apparently, Quosal, the quoting software available on premise and via the Microsoft SQL Azure cloud.
Longer term, it’s safe to expect ConnectWise Capital to connect the dots between each of its investment portfolio companies. As a result, Quosal’s experience launching and deploying an application in Microsoft’s cloud could be quite valuable — potentially giving ConnectWise a global platform and repeatable approach for deploying SaaS applications worldwide.
Of course, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. ConnectWise Capital has yet to confirm the alleged investment in Quosal — though trusted sources tell me the deal is official. Also, Microsoft SQL Azure is only about a year old and Microsoft has been working overtime to win third-party developer support.
If ConnectWise Capital decides to shift more applications into the Windows Azure or SQL Azure clouds, Microsoft will surely be waiting with open arms.
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