CompTIA Breakaway: Seven Managed Services Highlights, Day 2

I'm set to moderate a channel chief panel hear at CompTIA Breakaway this morning. But before I unplug to participate in the panel, here are seven managed services trends, news tips and industry chatter that I heard during Day 2 of CompTIA Breakaway here in San Antonio, Texas.

1. Building Loyalty: Several MX Logic partners tell me McAfee's 2009 buyout of MX Logic continues to serve them well. When McAfee acquired MX Logic, some skeptics worried McAfee would undermine MX Logic's established SaaS-based channel program. But so far, partners give McAfee's channel management team a thumbs up.

2. Open Source Hits and Misses: A few people have asked me how open source companies are performing in the channel. Check The VAR Guy's Open Source 50 list and you'll get a complete rundown of open source channel partner programs. But I'm disappointed to say most open source companies skipped Breakaway. One potential reason: I think a growing number of open source companies are focusing more on hosting and SaaS partners rather than traditional VARs and MSPs. But here's an interesting twist: I hear VMware may be looking to acquire another open source firm. More details later today.

3. The Countdown Continues: Based on a few meetings yesterday, it sounds like Cisco Systems is set to unveil its commercial channel partner strategy within 30 days or so. The global effort will include managed services providers, and will target partners serving businesses with 1,000 or fewer employees...

4. Growth Mode: Business seems to be growing quickly at Reflexion, which provides SaaS-based email security services to MSPs. A few quick stats: Reflexion's bookings for the first half of 2010 increased 73% over the year earlier period, while Reflexion's customer base increased 47% and its user base increased 87%, both on a year-over-year basis, according to our MSPmentor 250 research. As of June 30, 2010, Reflexion's community of registered partners increased 45% year over year, while the number of selling partners increased even more at 50%, year over year. During the same period, average customer size also increased by 27%. Care to guess if VP of Sales and Marketing Scott Barlow will land on this year's MSPmentor 250 list?

5. Coming Soon: Speaking of the MSPmentor 250, a few people have asked me when the latest report will debut. We're set to unveil the third-annual list and complete report the week of Aug. 16. Think of the MSPmentor 250 as a Global Rolodex that allows you to find and network quickly with top managed services executives, entrepreneurs, experts, coaches and community leaders. Thanks to those who participated in the survey.

6. More R&D: I hear Kaseya is investing more time and money in research and development on PSA (professional services automation) software. As you'll recall, Kaseya intends to offer "some" PSA functions in the Kaseya 2 platform. But now a few sources in the know say Kaseya will offer "more" capabilities than originally planned. I'm checking in with Kaseya for more thoughts.

7. Google Apps - Big Plans for Small Biz: There are signs that Google is taking steps to more effectively target small business VARs and MSPs. I have some preliminary details and hope to share more info this week.

That's all for now. Back soon with more updates from CompTIA Breakaway. At 9:00 a.m. local time, I'm set to host a Channel Chief Power Panel featuring:

  • Ross Brown, VP, Worldwide Partner Sales, Microsoft
  • Kevin Gough, Head of Partner Marketing, Enterprise, Google
  • Greg Pearson, VP, Worldwide Sales Operations, Intel
  • Andrew Sage, VP, Worldwide Small Business Sales, Cisco Systems
I'll be back after the panel to share some insights and takeaways.

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