Kaseya Connect User Conference: Six Highlights From Day One

Day Two of the Kaseya Connect User Conference is set to start in about an hour. Roughly 400 to 500 MSPs and technology partners are attending the event here in Las Vegas. There's been plenty of official managed services news here -- including Kaseya's buyout of Intellipool and a mobile device management demo that wowed attendees. But some of the most interesting managed services chatter occurred in the hallways and during a dinner reception last night. So, here are six observations gathered behind the scenes at the conference.

1. No Cloud Hype: There hasn't been much cloud computing talk here. Yes, Kaseya remains committed to its SaaS tools for managed services providers. But most of the R&D chatter here involves on-premise software upgrades.

Cloud and SaaS partners such as Axcient, ExchangeDefender, Spam Soap and  Virtual Administrator are here. However, I haven't heard much about the Kaseya SaaS Partner Program, which initially included ASCII Group, Cloud Services Depot, Ingram Micro, Jamcracker, Lenovo and Virtual Administrator when it launched in 2010.

Ironically, the loudest cloud discussions involve a company that isn't here: Microsoft. Several attendees mentioned to me that Office 365 -- the forthcoming Microsoft cloud platform -- is already impacting customer buying decisions. I'll share more thoughts on our sister site, TalkinCloud, later today.

2. New Faces, Growing Audience: This is my fourth consecutive year attending Kaseya Connect. Many of the attendee faces here are new to me. I think intense competition has led to some turnover in Kaseya's MSP customer base. However, I also think Kaseya has sharpened its focus on MSPs in recent months, and new customers are certainly embracing the platform. I suspect about 20 percent of the attendees are from outside North America. Also, there are whispers here that Kaseya wants the 2012 event to attract as many as 800 to 1,000 attendees -- up from the 500 or so this year.

3. The PSA Question: Kaseya is set to discuss its PSA (professional services automation) integration strategy later today. Yes, PSA platforms like ConnectWise have already written integrations to Kaseya. But it sounds like Kaseya is going to introduce its own homegrown integrations as well. I believe Kaseya will offer the PSA integrations free with the Kaseya 2 platform. But as some attendees told me, there is no free: It will be part of the maintenance fee. Interestingly, I don't think Kaseya will be using ConnectWise APIs to write the ConnectWise integration. Also, integrations to Autotask and Tigerpaw Software apparently are planned. Kaseya will share the deeper details later today.

4. Deep Global Bench: One of Kaseya's greatest strengths is international management. When I bumped into Martin Ashby, senior VP APAC (Asia Pacific), in the elevator, Ashby gave me a quick update on Kaseya's moves in China, Japan and other Asia locations. When I walked up to the registration desk, I bumped into Koby Amedume, marketing director for the UK. And my inbox frequently receives emails from Kaseya's South Africa team.

I guess my point is this: Most MSP software companies are busy flying their North American executives across the globe to meet with potential customers in Europe and Australia. Meanwhile, Kaseya has hired senior executives -- most recently IBM veteran Dermot McCann in Australia -- to ensure localized leadership and support on multiple continents.

5. No Shift Necessary: Microsoft's new Windows Intune remote management tool generated a bit of chatter here. But most Kaseya users say they won't go to Windows Intune because it's so Windows-centric at a time when SMB customers are deploying a mix of platforms and devices -- Windows, iPhone, iPad, Android, Linux servers, etc.

6. Next Stop, Dallas: Quite a few Kaseya Connect attendees will be continuing on to the HTG Dallas peer group gathering this week. That's my next stop, too. I'll be poking around to see if the rumored ConnectWise Capital investment in Quosal is true.

In the meantime, Day 2 of Kaseya Connect is set to start in less than an hour. More updates soon.

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