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Autotask CEO: Expect Integrated PSA, RMM After CentraStage BuyAutotask CEO: Expect Integrated PSA, RMM After CentraStage Buy

Autotask CEO Mark Cattini told MSPmentor that his company will offer integrations between its professional services automation platform and its newly acquired remote monitoring and management platform, CentraStage. More on that and what else he said here.

Dan Kobialka

September 29, 2014

4 Min Read
Autotask CEO Mark Cattini
Autotask CEO Mark Cattini

Autotask offers professional services automation (PSA) support to customers in over 90 countries, but is this company preparing to make noise in the remote monitoring and management (RMM) software market?

The East Greenbush, New York-based PSA platform provider acquired RMM software company CentraStage this month, one of several moves it has made in 2014.

Mark Cattini, Autotask’s CEO, recently shared his thoughts about the CentraStage acquisition, among other topics, with MSPmentor at Continuum‘s Navigate 2014 managed service provider (MSP) user conference.

Here’s what he said:

MSPmentor: Why did Autotask acquire CentraStage? And how do you believe this acquisition will affect your company?

Mark Cattini: It’s a couple of things. We offer a platform that does everything from ticket and service desk management to billing, invoicing and (customer relationship management) CRM project management. But we offer a platform, not an endpoint solution.

What we’ve seen with our platform is the way other companies have integrated it. We have over 100 commercial integrations. People have recognized that other RMM software vendors, quoting vendors, (backup and disaster recovery) BDR vendors and others have recognized the value of our platform in some way to serve a specific customer need.

We view Autotask as a platform, and a really critical piece of functionality is RMM. We’re going to rethink what RMM and PSA can be. You’ll see pretty soon some new integrated releases, and early in the new year, you’ll see some really innovative ways of thinking about what these two technologies can be.

RMM and PSA provide so much value to our customers. Thousands of our customers are already using RMM solutions, so the proof is in the pudding. Now, we’re giving our customers another RMM choice.

MSPm: Do you feel more RMM vendors could offer PSA in the future, or vice-versa?

MC: It’s been done before. You’ve seen some of the RMM vendors have a service desk offering. It’s not easy; we certainly did not think it was trivial to build a scalable, (software-as-a-service-based) SaaS-based, user-friendly RMM software, which is what we believe CentraStage is.

You get to do three things: build, buy or lease. We decided to buy (CentraStage). Just like it’s not trivial to build RMM software, we don’t believe it’s trivial to build PSA software. So for us, it becomes a task of figuring out fit for purpose for our customers.

We started from a module-based approach and are going to a human-centric approach. For anyone coming into the market today, I believe that it’ll take a long time for them to build what we have. I don’t think there’s that many vendors that can do what we do. In terms of what we do that’s fit for purpose, it’s a tough ask.

I think it’s a great idea for RMM vendors to have a PSA offering, but the question is: How do you execute it? Building from scratch right now is not a really good idea, in our opinion. It’s not an easy problem to solve, and it wasn’t for us, but we solved it.

MSPm: Autotask announced it would update its user interface (UI) at its Community Live event in June. What’s the latest on the new UI?

MC: We anticipate it being available in Q4, probably towards the end of the quarter.

We went out on a mission to rethink the UI, and so far, we’ve done that. You’ll see a really significant difference, and it’s about learnability, consistency and removing the complexity from the application. You’ll see a whole new application. You’ll see a human-centric design that’s not based around modules and is built around the way that people really work. There’s a lot of innovation around ticket management and a lot of innovation around dashboards, and it’s going to feel like a modern web-based application should feel.

The fundamental goal is to reimagine and reinvent what this application can mean for our customers, and it’s about ease of use and accessibility. We’ve refined our processes and spoken with hundreds of customers and gotten tremendous feedback so far. We’ve taken their feedback, and as a result, I think the new UI is going to be a huge differentiator for us.

MSPm: Vista Equity Partners acquired Autotask earlier this year. How has the transition been for your company?

MC: I don’t think we could have picked a better partner in Vista. What Vista brings is a strong financial backing, as we’ve seen through the acquisition of CentraStage.

What Vista also brings is tremendous expertise. Vista invests in SaaS businesses that are focused on a specific domain. In our case, that’s the information technology solution providers. Vista essentially documents all of its partners’ best practices and shares them. As we think about moving our business forward, we’re doing a lot of the right things, but there are some things we could be doing better. We’re going to avoid making mistakes because we can learn from (other Vista partners’) mistakes.

Vista provides business and financial consulting along with financial resources and is a good partner to work with that truly understands our industry.

Share your thoughts about this story in the Comments section below, via Twitter @dkobialka or email me at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Dan Kobialka

Contributing writer, Penton Technology

Dan Kobialka is a contributing writer for MSPmentor and Talkin' Cloud. In the past, he has produced content for numerous print and online publications, including the Boston Business Journal, Boston Herald and Patch.com. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State College (now Bridgewater State University). In his free time, Kobialka enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football (Go Patriots!).  

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