Support.com (NASDAQ: SPRT) wants to work more closely with managed services providers (MSPs). Toward that end, Support.com is now licensing its Nexus Service Delivery Platform to MSPs, according to Allen Nieman (pictured), VP of business development and software. In some ways, I can see Support.com potentially competing on some fronts with LogMeIn (Nasdaq: LOGM). And there could also be a bit of overlap here with some RMM (remote monitoring and management) software providers. But overall it's unfair to lump Support.com into a single IT services category, because the company is seeking to help MSPs in a range of ways. Here's how.
First, a high-level overview: Support.com has a SaaS-based service delivery platform; mobile and desktop apps; and a scalable workforce of technology specialists. In other words, Support.com offers both (A) the cloud technology and (B) a labor force leveraging that cloud technology to assist customers. Companies such as Comcast, Office Depot, Staples and Symantec leverage Support.com's workforce and/or technology platform.
Demand for Support.com's solutions and cloud-based services is growing. For the third quarter of 2012 ended Sept. 30, total revenue was $18.2 million -- up from $12.4 million in the third quarter of 2011.
Support.com Reaches Out to MSPsNow, Support.com wants MSPs to leverage the Nexus Service Delivery Platform. Nieman says the initial target is the top 50 to 100 MSPs, though he's also in discovery mode -- speaking with various industry sources and gathering feedback to make sure Support.com's offerings align well with MSPs.
To be clear: I think Support.com wants MSPs to use the company's cloud-based technology. But I don't think Support.com is seeking to promote its own workforce to MSPs that want to outsource their NOCs and service desks.
Instead, Support.com is offering Nexus to service providers in three ways. The options include:
- Nexus Standard complements existing service desk and remote support solutions but further automates the service delivery process. MSPmentor's spin: Here, I suspect, MSPs may seek to leverage Support.com hand-in-hand with their existing remote monitoring, management and support tools.
- Nexus Plus adds a complete remote and online support capability to the Standard offering. MSPmentor's spin: Here, I think Support.com will seek to compete with some existing MSP-oriented automation tools.
- Nexus Enterprise offers complete service desk management, remote support, subscription billing and entitlement management. MSPmentor's spin: Here, I think Support.com is seeking to be a potential end-t0-end solution for MSPs.
Support.com's Cloud-based TechnologiesBy now, you're are likely asking: "But what exactly is Nexus, and what cloud-based capabilities does it offer to MSPs?" Nieman and Support.com have a five-part answer covering such areas as:
- Consumer / SMB Applications: This includes a health check app, a desktop client, a subscriber portal and security offerings that drive revenues.
- Tech Expert Applications: This includes a unified workspace that combines remote support, chat, telephony, ticketing and order taking and eliminates the “swivel chair” between applications, the company claims.
- Foundation Services: Here, MSPs can build and manage self-branded technology service programs, promotions, subscriptions and more.
- Web Services APIs: Watch for MSPs to use the APIs to integrate with cloud back, billing, CRM, point of sale and other systems.
- Business Analytics and Reporting: Here, MSPs can track subscription usage and churn, service delivery quality and compliance, SLA management and customer satisfaction.
When cloud-centric companies and IT service management companies reach out to MSPs, my first question is predictable: Does the company have any channel expertise and any base understanding of the MSP market?
In Support.com's case, the answer is absolutely yes. Nieman is no stranger to the IT channel. He has spent three years at Support.com, and previously held multiple channel positions at Microsoft during 13-year stint at the software giant.
During our conversation today, it became clear to me that Nieman and Support.com have been closely studying the MSP industry. Now, we'll be watching to see if the Nexus offering attracts MSPs to the table.