Autotask Community Live: Monday, April 19 Recap

Autotask Community Live: Monday, April 19 Recap

The main content sessions kicked off today at the Autotask Community Live conference in Miami, where roughly 500 VARs and managed services providers are sharing best practices. Here are nine pieces of news and chatter heard during the conference today.

1. Building Community, Part I: Autotask expects to have at least eight regional user groups in North America by the end of 2010, with informal groups also expected to pop up in Europe and Australia, according to Mark Crall, executive director of community and business development.

2. Building Community, Part II: For larger solutions providers, Autotask is helping to organize a so-called VARs at Large Group. The group will include roughly 12 companies, each of which has at least 50 employees, according to Crall.

3. Safety in Numbers: Quite a few companies specializing in anti-spam and email protection technologies are here. Key players include ExchangeDefender, Spam Soap and Reflexion. If there are additional security and spam protection companies in the house please let me know.

4. Gone But Not Forgotten: Eric Webster, former channel chief at Intronis, the online backup company, didn't make it to the event. Apparently, Webster is about to join another high-tech firm. Intronis didn't make it to Autotask Community Live, but sources say Intronis remains fully committed to growing its base of white label VARs and MSPs. Neither Intronis nor Webster have been available for comment about Webster's alleged career move.

5. Elbow Room?: Most of the well-known RMM players are here... itControl Solutions, Kaseya, Level Platforms, N-able and Zenith Infotech, just to name a few. Still, Kaseya seems pretty quiet here. And quite a few MSPs met for a private lunch today to discuss whether to embrace Kaseya 2 -- a new platform that apparently has hit a few bumps with early adopters. Some of the attendees appear apprehensive about the upgrade.

Meanwhile, a few attendees allege that Autotask declined to allow LabTech Software -- a recent ConnectWise Capital investment -- to sponsor the event. I haven't asked Autotask and ConnectWise for an official comment... but I think I already know the answer before I even ask the question.

No doubt, the ConnectWise vs. Autotask competition remains fierce... but the old PSA wars are changing quite a bit. Autotask is talking up product sourcing (via VARStreet) at the conference. Meanwhile, ConnectWise is out on the road at Los Angeles and Seattle user group meetings, according to the ConnectWise Twitter feed.

6. Hardware At Your Service?: Jay McBain, director of SMB for Lenovo, is networking (as usual) here at the conference. I could be wrong but I think Dell and Hewlett-Packard aren't here. Big Mistake. I'm not sure why many PC suppliers continue to miss MSP-centric events.

7. Two More Opportunities?: Zenith Infotech is talking up its SmartStyle cloud and virtualization efforts, and Vu Telepresence offerings. Assuming they work as advertised, SmartStyle and Vu represent potential hardware as a service (HaaS) opportunities for VARs and MSPs.

8. No Revolution Needed?: Keep an eye on, from Alpheon CEO Greg Donovan. I expect more details Tuesday.

9. What's Next?: That's it for Monday, April 19. We'll be back April 20 with more coverage from Autotask Community Live, before heading on to the Ingram Micro VTN conference in Hollywood, Fla.

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