Autotask Conference Preview: Community, Collaboration

Autotask Conference Preview: Community, Collaboration

Autotask CEO Bob GodgartAutotask will unveil a steady stream of news during the Autotask Community Live conference, starting March 29 in Nashville, Tenn. The event's central focus will involve collaboration and community. Autotask CEO Bob Godgart (pictured) offered some thoughts to me yesterday. And if you look back at some 2008 Autotask announcements, it provides some clues about what's on tap for next week.

To understand where Autotask and its customers are heading, consider this: Using Autotask's online community, managed service providers in the US and Europe are already coordinating IT service engagements with one another, notes Godgart.

For Godgart, that example is part of a larger outsourcing management trend that Autotask wants to accelerate -- on a global scale. This June 2008 blog entry offers Godgart's initial thoughts on outsourcing management, and you can bet he'll further the discussion at the conference.

Autotask and OnForce

Meanwhile, OnForce CEO Peter Cannone is scheduled to attend the conference. OnForce is an online marketplace that allows more than 12,000 VARs and IT service providers to outsource work to one another. VARs can use OnForce to bid on IT engagements across the US and Canada.

Autotask and OnForce announced plans to integrate with one another back in August 2008. Since Godgart and Cannone both will be on hand at the conference, it's safe to expect updates on this collaboration theme at the event.

Small VARs, Big Opportunities?

Godgart offered another interesting tidbit during our call yesterday: He believes MSP activity within very small IT service providers is accelerating -- which runs contrary to some of our reporting.

When the credit crunch intensified in October 2008, MSPmentor reported that small MSPs focusing on small business customers were particularly hard hit. Meanwhile, Godgart concedes sales of Autotask Go -- the company's small business product for one to three users -- weren't quite that hot in December 2008.

Godgart wondered if the December situation was (A) a true small MSP slowdown or (B) more related to VARs being out in the field trying to close last-minute business for 2008. He ultimately chose answer B, because sales of Autotask Go accelerated once the new year began, and they're on pace to set a quarterly record.

Long live the small business MSP. Especially those that collaborate.

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