Five Anticipated Trends At Kaseya User Conference

I'm packing my bags and heading to the Kaseya User Conference in Las Vegas, which runs June 1-3. On the one hand, I expect to hear plenty of "Kaseya" centric news at the event. But I will also be digging deeper, meeting with managed service providers and corporate IT leaders, to hear about their experiences and learnings in the managed services market. Here are five trends or themes I'll be exploring.

1. One Dashboard for All?: As MSPs add additional platforms to their managed services portfolio, it could become increasingly difficult for them to leap from one management console to the next. But through open APIs (application programming interfaces), we could eventually see multiple consoles snap together, much in the way that third-party applications can snap into enterprise platforms like Hewlett-Packard OpenView.

But who's dashboard will become the de facto standard -- or the central star in the managed services universe, as I've written previously? Or will there be some sort of open source approach that brings everyone's information together? Speaking of open source -- I wish it had more of an influence in the managed services industry.

2. Next-generation Services: We're all familiar with managed storage and managed security. But what about emerging opportunities like managed unified communications, managed telepresence, managed video surveillance and managed digital signage (just to name a few)? I'm moderating a panel on June 2 at the conference, and we'll be sure to explore emerging managed services that MSPs plan to offer later this year.

3. The Great Talent Chase: On the one hand, MSPs want to hold the line on costs during a mixed (or even weak) economy. But on the other, I keep hearing from platform providers (Nimsoft, Autotask, etc.) that they're working hard to find qualified talent. So, how are MSPs ensuring that they recruit "the best of the best"? And, what type of turnover do you have to expect when shifting from a traditional VAR model to an MSP model?

4. Buy, Sell or Hold?: We continue to see more and more MSPs buying one another. In fact, my voicemail receives plenty of unsolicited messages from investors and MSPs seeking to understand how to find promising businesses worth acquiring. And many readers want to know what metrics they should use to determine the financial value of their company. A few months from now, when you read about a few Kaseya partners buying one another, remember that the seeds for those deals were probably planted at the user conference.

5. The Economy: There's a myth that MSPs are immune to the economic slowdown. Sure, MSPs are insulated a bit from economic weakness, because customers are under contract. But no business is truly immune to a slowdown or recession. So I'm wondering: How are MSPs feeling about their revenue streams and profit opportunities heading into the second half of 2008?

I'll be exploring those themes -- and more -- at the event. If you're attending the Kaseya User Conference and would like to meet, email me (joe [at]

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