LabTech Software: The 2012 Business Plan (Revealed Here)

LabTech Software: The 2012 Business Plan (Revealed Here)

LabTech Software, which develops remote monitoring and management (RMM) software for MSPs, is preparing to launch mobile device management (MDM) capabilities for Apple iOS (iPhones and iPads) and Google Android tablets. The MDM capabilities will surface in LabTech 2012, a software upgrade set to debut in April, according to CEO Matt Nachtrab. But there's a bigger story here..

It involves the next chapter of LabTech leading up to the Automation Nation conference (June 11-13, Orlando, Fla.) and beyond.

LabTech's core goal for 2012 is to increase MSP stickiness. Over the past decade, many MSPs have jumped from one RMM vendor to the next based on the quality of a specific product release -- and the lack of quality of a rival release. In stark contrast:

  • LabTech wants to make sure MSPs remain fiercely loyal to its RMM platform. The idea is to offer in-depth training at Automation Nation, helping MSPs to unlock the platform's full power and driving techie loyalty.
  • As part of the broader ConnectWise Capital strategy, LabTech also wants to coordinate release schedules with ConnectWise and Quosal. Eventually, product releases across the three companies will likely be synchronized, much in the way Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint upgrades are synchronized as a single Microsoft Office release.

LabTech 2012: Coming In April

First, the nuts-and-bolts product updates. Nachtrab said LabTech 2012 will include:
  • Five free mobile device management (MDM) agents for MSPs running the LabTech 2012 server. I don't know the cost of additional agents.
  • Full versions of LabTech's Mac and Linux agents, which have been in beta.
  • VMware monitoring.
  • Additional Intel vPro management capabilities.
Most of the major RMM software providers are introducing MDM capabilities. The loudest launches have involved Kaseya (in 2011) and Level Platforms (in recent weeks), though I suspect every major RMM platform will offer MDM by the end of 2012. LabTech has also made good on a promise to extend its on-premises software into the cloud. Here again, most RMM rivals now offer on-premise and cloud versions.

Education and Automation Nation

LabTech has grown significantly since receiving ConnectWise Capital funding in 2010. I believe roughly 100 partners signed up for LabTech per month in 2011.

Even as LabTech works closely with ConnectWise, LabTech wants to stand on its own -- hosting the Automation Nation conference this June for roughly 275 to 300 MSP attendees. Before this conference, LabTech hosted its major annual event in coordination with ConnectWise's IT Nation, a massive multi-vendor gathering typically held each November.

CEO Nachtrab sees Automation Nation 2012 as a deeply educational event for tech engineers. It's about peeling back the layers of LabTech's software, going deep with the user interface, and really understanding how the tool can deliver ROI to MSPs, Nachtrab suggested. That education will create stickiness and loyalty to LabTech's software, asserts Jeannine Edwards, director of community at ConnectWise and LabTech. (Edwards is now officially wearing both hats, according to the ConnectWise and LabTech websites.)

Automation Nation 2012 will also broaden the Labtech spotlight beyond Nachtrab.
  • CTO Greg Burke will describe LabTech's product roadmap.
  • Director of Development Brett Cheloff, Director of Product Development Tony Thomas and a range of additional experts will be on hand.

Coordinating Release Schedules

Longer term, watch for LabTech, Quosal (quoting and sales proposal software) and ConnectWise (professional services automation) to pursue coordinated software release schedules. ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini hinted about that during the IT Nation conference in November 2011. He showed ConnectWise, LabTech and Quosal as three puzzle pieces snapping together to form a complete pie.

Right now, ConnectWise is upgraded roughly three times per year. LabTech and Quosal are striving to move to similar release schedules so that integrations are more clearly coordinated and synchronized. Still, Nachtrab concedes the coordinated R&D schedules is challenging since each product group may have slightly different customer and partner priorities at the top of their agendas.

Everybody's Growing?

Here's the interesting twist: LabTech's rapid growth apparently hasn't harmed key rivals.

Earlier today, N-able CEO Gavin Garbutt told me he expects the N-able customer base to double again this year -- though he declined to discuss anticipated revenue growth, since N-able is privately held. (More on Garbutt's thoughts next week.)

Every major RMM software company has told me in recent weeks that they grew significantly in 2011, and each RMM company said it expected more growth in 2012. Plus, all of the major RMM players seem to be holding road shows right now that are attracting strong audience participation. It almost sounds too good to be true and I keep wondering how everyone can be growing...

Either way, some of those event attendees continue to jump from one RMM platform to the next. LabTech, however, hopes to inspire stickiness to its own RMM platform. That message will surface at Automation Nation.
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