Mike Cullen is in Ottawa. No, Orlando. Scratch that. Perhaps he's in Europe, Australia or South Africa today. Such is the life of Cullen, senior VP of sales at N-able Technologies -- which develops remote monitoring and management (RMM) software for managed services providers (MSPs) worldwide. All that travel seems to be treating N-able well. Amid Cullen's international push, it sounds like a major N-able partner in South Africa has won a huge mobile device management (MDM) deal.
Cullen shared clues about that MDM engagement -- involving thousands of nodes -- during a sit-down with MSPmentor last week at IT Nation, the annual MSP and VAR conference hosted by ConnectWise. The MDM win -- involving some details that have yet to be disclosed -- is particularly impressive since N-able is essentially beta testing its management software for Google Android and Apple iOS tablets and smartphones.
But this is more than an MDM story. It's also about N-able getting its ducks in a row. While CEO Gavin Garbutt focuses on long-term strategy and Cullen zeros in on sales, COO and President JP Jauvin oversees business processes and day-to-day operations. Jauvin has been on the job for roughly two years -- an addition that helped N-able to improve the quality of its software launches and overall execution.
2012 MomentumOne result: N-able's MSPs are scaling their businesses. The company now has roughly 45 "super elite" MSPs, each of which has at least 2,500 customer nodes under management, I believe. Among the major areas of growth: South Africa, where N-able now has about 70 to 80 partners, notes Cullen.
"When I look back on 2012 it has been a huge year for us in terms of international expansion," said Cullen. "We're noticing a tremendous recovery in North America. Everyone is booming and short on staff. Everyone would be hiring if they could find the talent."
Let's put those quotes in context: Within the MSP market, Cullen tends to be a balanced voice -- avoiding empty hype but also steering clear of doom and gloom. Translation: His upbeat words suggest N-able and its partners truly are performing well, though it's tough to say for sure since the company does not disclose financial results.
Next MovesLooking ahead, N-able expects to deliver deeper and deeper integration with ConnectWise and Autotask, while also making an MDM push. Cullen also recommends MSPs stick with the basics: Patch management, anti-virus and backup are three core offerings for many successful MSPs. The big point of differentiation going foward: Cullen is pushing N-able's own development team and MSPs to focus more and more on automation.
While some folks worry about basic MSP services becoming commoditized, Cullen offers this twist: "Monitoring is going to become more important; not less."
The reasons, he says:
- "You can't be proactive if you're not monitoring"
- "If you're not monitoring you can't report"
- "You want to give transparency to customers"