Autotask Execs Provide Details on Soonr Buy, Perspective on Future Acquisition Plans
Autotask’s announced acquisition of file sync and share platform provider Soonr last week marked another deal for the professional services automation company as it seeks to assemble a killer package of tools for its IT service provider customers to use in operating their businesses. The deal follows Autotask’s September 2014 purchase of remote monitoring and management platform provider CentraStage.
Is Autotask in an acquisitive phase of its corporate history, or do these two deals complete the company’s toolbox? MSPmentor caught up with Autotask CEO Mark Cattini and Vice President of Product Pat Burns last week to find out. Here’s what they said.
But first, some quick background about the Soonr deal. Financial terms were not disclosed. The company had about 40 employees, several hundred customers and some OEM agreements, was venture capital funded and is based in San Jose, California – Silicon Valley. It offers file sync and share, competing with companies such as Dropbox, Box.com, and eFolder, but it does not have a backup component. The company did sell direct, but Cattini said it will now follow Autotask’s channel-only model going forward.
Autotask’s big plan
So how does it fit in with Autotask’s larger plan? CEO Mark Cattini told me that we can expect more acquisitions to come for the PSA company as it creates a platform of essential tools for managed service providers and other IT service providers.
“There is a broader picture. We want to be the global leader. That’s the guiding compass of who we are.”
RMM is mission critical for MSPs, so Autotask acquired CentraStage. Also mission critical is how MSPs manage their customers’ data, which led Autotask to look at adding file sync and share to its portfolio. And, yes, Autotask looked at a number of providers before it struck a deal with Soonr.
“We are never going to be a ‘me too’ provider,” Cattini said. “We had to feel we added value above what already exists.”
That’s what the company did with CentraStage, he added, noting that the CentraStage business, now called Autotask Endpoint Management, has tripled over the last few months. Autotask essentially brought the platform to the PSA company’s installed base of almost 7,000 managed service providers, and it plans to do the same with the Soonr technology.
Demand for file sync and share
“The phones are ringing off the hook,” Cattini told me last week, hours after the deal was announced. “We already have a large customer signed up.“
Cattini and Burns told me that modern file sync and share solutions such as Soonr are designed to fix the ugly mess of stitched together technologies that haven’t evolved to meet user needs. Collaboration has moved to the cloud and users are more geographically dispersed. But Sharepoint with a VPN is cumbersome for lots of users, so those users sometimes opt for so-called shadow IT solutions instead – unsanctioned cloud storage that may not be secure and certainly puts data outside of the control of the MSP customer company.
Bringing that data back under control is a big deal for businesses and their MSP partners. As an important sidenote, Cattini and Burns told me that Autotask will continue to support APIs and integrate with other file sync and share providers.
Soonr integration plans
But Autotask partners can probably expect an even tighter integration with Soonr. Pat Burns told me about the plans to integrate Soonr into the Autotask platform, and as usual, there’s a short term plan and a long term plan.
The first stage will be automating the billing and provisioning functions and providing an end-to-end customer lifecycle through the Autotask platform. MSPs will be able to automatically create contracts. And if you are in the Soonr portal and provisioning it from there, the system will automatically create a contract in Autotask.
“It will provide both deep efficiency and automation,” Burns told me. “That’s the near term. As you would guess, we also have some ideas around other opportunities.” And we’ll all have to wait to hear more about those.
Delivery of the near term integration is targeted for the September time frame. The long term “will be sometime after that,” Burns said.
Other acquisitions coming?
So what about other acquisitions? Will Autotask be pursuing more? And if so, what types of companies are on the list?
Cattini told me that, yes, Autotask will pursue more acquisitions, but it’s unlikely the company will do another one in 2015. Autotask wants to digest Soonr before moving on another deal. When will that happen? Cattini said 2016 is extremely likely for the next acquisition. And if we look at the time elapsed between the CentraStage deal and this one – about 10 months – we can look at Spring 2016 for the next deal.
Cattini also said that when Autotask was acquired by Vista Equity Partners in Spring 2014, the company had a wish list of functions it wanted to add to the Autotask toolbox for MSPs. So what’s next? We’ll have to wait and see.