Kaseya SaaS Pricing: A Debate About Nothing?

Kaseya SaaS Pricing: A Debate About Nothing?

Some Australian managed services providers allegedly are in an "uproar" over Kaseya's SaaS pricing vs. on-premise pricing. But take a closer look at the situation, and you'll likely discover the SaaS "uproar" may actually involve an apples-to-oranges price comparison of tools that offer vastly different capabilities. Here's some perspective.

The controversy started when CRN Australia reported:

"Kaseya's launch of its software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, announced on Monday in partnership with Ingram Micro, has sparked anger among some of the vendor's resellers. Kaseya has denied accusations from some Kaseya resellers that the low pricing of its SaaS service - $9.95 for an account and $1.50 per seat per month - has undercut the cost of bulk licences sold directly by the vendor."
Ingram Micro is one of several initial Kaseya SaaS partners worldwide. Now here's the twist: CRN Australia and the Australian resellers didn't spend much time probing and explaining the difference between the base, low-cost SaaS tool (called Kaseya IT Toolkit) vs. the more expensive, on-premise platform (Kaseya's Master IT Service Provider Edition). Before you get into a "price" discussion, you need to look under the hood. Comparing the two Kaseya offerings, in my opinion, is a bit like comparing Intuit QuckBooks Online vs. an on-premises Oracle Financials deployment.

I realize some on-premises managed services software is a bit pricey. And I also realize there have been alleged shelfware problems in the MSP software market. But the Kaseya SaaS vs. On-premises price debate requires VARs and MSPs to really look at the capabilities and intended target markets -- rather than jumping right to the price list.

Third-party Perspectives

Some long-time Kaseya partners echo my opinion. Rich Forsen, president of Network Depot (an MSP that runs Virtual Administrator,another Kaseya SaaS partner) thinks the pricing "controversy" is nothing more than an apparent miscommunication between Ingram Micro and resellers.
"While Ingram could perhaps had done a better job of communicating the limitations of IT Toolkit in comparison to the full Kaseya platform to its customers, I’m not really sure what all the fuss is about here.  As one of the few companies in the world that actually has had permission to provided hosted licensing to the resellers, we at VirtualAdministrator.com are in a pretty good position to understand the impact of the SaaS offerings."
There are two elements that should be clarified here which will probably tone down the rhetoric, said Forsen:
  • First, IT Toolkit is currently designed to be limited to 25 users, so any impact this pricing has on anyone doing any level of volume should be minimal.
  • Second, the IT Toolkit product is really designed to provide Kaseya and its partners with an answer to LogMeIn and similar “remote only” platforms.
"The LiveConnect feature allows some nice additional functionality above and beyond just remote control, but at the end of the day, IT Toolkit is a “per instance,” live use product, and is priced appropriately," says Forsen. "Any reseller that wants to take advantage of the full bevy of K2 features should look either at buying their own on-premise version, or look into the upcoming ITCenter product. Having had several conversations with people all the way to the top of the Kaseya ladder, it appears to me that Kaseya’s primary intention here is to remove barriers to entry to the Kaseya technology and get more partners into the Kaseya family.  IT Toolkit is a great way to do that.”

Readers Decide

Ultimately, I believe the CRN Australia article screams "fire" where there might be no smoke. But I concede: I'm not running Kaseya's IT Toolkit nor am I running Kaseya's on-premises software. So I'll be curious to see where readers ultimately stand on the SaaS vs. on-premise pricing discussion. Is there really a controversy here?

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