Autotask Conference Preview: 5 Anticipated Discussion Points

Autotask Conference Preview: 5 Anticipated Discussion Points

Autotask Community LiveAmy Katz and I land in Nashville, Tenn., this Sunday (March 29) for the Autotask Community Live conference. The grapevine tells me roughly 300 IT service providers and managed service providers will converge on Nashville for the conference, plus many of the remote monitoring tool providers will be on hand. Here are five discussion points we'll be tracking at the event.

Take a look...

5. SaaS vs. On Premise: Yes, the vast majority (nearly all...) Autotask customers have embraced the SaaS (software as a service) configuration. But those service providers also run remote monitoring and management tools. A good number of those RMM tools started off as on-premise systems. But now, they're increasingly shifting to SaaS configurations. The big question: Are MSPs easily and effectively plugging multiple SaaS-driven tools together?

4. Collaboration Without Walls?: Autotask spends considerable time describing how customers use the Autotask online community to collaborate. ConnectWise says the same thing about its rival online network. But increasingly, companies want to open up their systems. In Autotask's case, the company is connecting to OnForce community members, and even service providers that don't have PSA (professional services automation) tools. I'm interested to hear from Autotask users who are collaborating "without walls" with non-Autotask users. And watch for lots of talk about managed outsourcing between MSPs.

3. The Microsoft Angle: Microsoft continues to test and launch a range of SaaS and cloud services (check out Azure and the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite) for partners. But how will PSA and remote management/monitoring tools assist MSPs with their Microsoft SaaS efforts? We'll ask plenty of questions at the conference.

2. What's After Web 2.0?: Let's face it. Just about everybody has jumped on the Web 2.0 bandwagon, launching RSS and Twitter feeds, Facebook groups and so on. Yawn. I'm getting really tired of Web 2.0 talk. We've all joined -- and left -- our share of lame Facebook groups. We've all seen our share of blogs that never get updated. Where is the next generation of community, collaboration and evangelism tools? What tools have caught the collective attention of MSPs? And which ones are flaming out.

1. The Economy: Sorry, there's no avoiding this discussion. In recent days, I've heard upbeat statements from Autotask CEO Bob Godgart, Level Platforms CEO Peter Sandiford and Nimsoft CEO Gary Read. Now, it's time to hear from hundreds of MSPs first-hand. Tuesday marks the end of 1Q 2009. How did everybody do?

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