The New Center of the MSP Universe?
The VAR Guy drove past Albany, New York, earlier today on his way home from vacation. During the road trip, he couldn’t help but wonder if Albany — yes, Albany — may soon become the center of the managed service provider (MSP) universe. Here’s why.
Sure, there are dozens of MSP options from which to choose. VARs are embracing storage, security, network administration and other managed services from a range of platform providers. Most MSP platforms allow VARs to manage and troubleshoot customer networks. But some MSP platforms are designed to help VARs manage their own businesses. That’s where Albany, New York, comes into the picture.
Just outside of Albany is Autotask Corp., which develops business performance management (BPM) software. Using the BPM platform, VARs can measure their profitability and automate tasks within their own businesses. But to thrive over the long haul, Autotask is stealing a page from the Microsoft Windows strategy. Much in the way that Microsoft nutured a market for third-party Windows developers, Autotask is opening up its BPM platform to connect with other managed service providers.
In some ways, you can think of Autotask sitting in the center of an MSP wheel. Each spoke within the wheel represents an MSP platform provider — such as Level Platforms, N-able, Kaseya and SilverBack Technologies. Through a set of application programming interfaces (APIs), Autotask has been lining up MSP partners to plug into Autotask’s own system.
The latest example: Autotask recently joined Kaseya’s technology alliance program. An API will be added later in the year to ease integrations and collaboration, the companies say. Autotask has also designed an MSP platform for Ingram Micro’s VARs.
Naturally, Autotask has its share of rivals — including ConnectWise. And Autotask will need to carefully cooperate — and potentially compete — with big software, hardware and distribution companies. But the folks in Albany certainly like their chances for long-term success.