GFI Software, developer of GFI Max, has gathered more than 200 managed services providers (MSPs) for a user conference today in New Orleans. The key theme: Helping MSPs to think and act like paid CIOs rather than technical support trusted advisors. To begin that journey, GFI Max GM Alistair Forbes (pictured) is calling on MSPs to focus on a six-step path to business success. Stay tuned to this live blog throughout today for live coverage from the conference. Here's a recap so far.
Highlights so far:
- GFI is seeking to help MSPs focus on a six-step business cycle that shows attendees how to define, market, sell and deliver services, then invoicing and retaining customers.
- Forbes mentioned that the company now supports 6,500 MSPs and 500,000 engineer logins each month. "You're now responsible for just about everything that plugs into the wall." Plus cloud services and mobile are opportunities upon which to capitalize.
- On hand are Autotask, Cloud Services Depot, ECI fmaudit, ASCII, BrightGauge and MSP Telemarketing.
- GFI has adjusted its managed online backup pricing to be easier to sell -- though I did not hear the specific details.
- The company is beta testing extensive Linux coverage -- Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu.
- Virtualization support is another key theme.
- GFI has introduced broader support for Microsoft patches.
- An iPad-optimized and Android version of the GFI Max management app will be available later this year.
- GFI has acquired some mobile device management (MDM) technologies. The solution is built with an MSP in mind, Forbes said. A session on Thursday will focus more deeply on this.
- David Dadian, CEO of PowerSolution, described how he increasingly focused on marketing. I missed the exact figure, but I think he's spending about $700 to $1200 per month using online marketing solutions such as HubSpot. And he plans to increase his marketing spend 7 percent to 10 percent.
- David Emerald Womeldorff, Power of TED author, is explaining how to address problems and ultimately lower your anxiety. TED is short for The Empowerment Dynamic, a series of books and guides.
- Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator, described how body language -- verbal and nonverbal -- can actually impact your business success.
- The day is wrapping up with a "things we do well, things we should do more" session, in which MSPs are praising GFI Software in some areas, and venting in others. It's like a large support group. And the overall mood is upbeat because it sounds like GFI really listens to its MSP partners...