CompTIA Breakaway: Five Managed Services Highlights, Day 3

During CompTIA Breakaway, I spent most of Wednesday in partner and executive meetings. Most of the chatter, predictably, involved managed services and the cloud. But what exactly did I hear? It's going to take me a few days to pull together some deeper thoughts and analysis. But here are five observations from Day 3 of CompTIA Breakaway in San Antonio, Texas.

1. Exit, Stage Left: itControl Solutions had a strong presence at the conference. And the company's new managed services platform, code-named CAKE, is out in the market. But sources say David Toms, senior VP of global sales and marketing, may have exited the company. If true, it would mark the second key itControl Solutions employee departure in recent months. The other executive, former channel VP Ted Roller, is now channel chief at Intronis.

2. Reverse Engineering?: Some MSP industry players are taking a close look at rivals' software and documentation. The reason: the software companies want to see if specific rivals have violated intellectual property rights... I'm still digging a bit more on this...

3. Making Noise: Lenovo, as expected, gave away a Harley Davidson. I think the lucky winner was a solutions provider in Michigan. But before delivering the Harley to the winner, Lenovo's Jay McBain allegedly took the motor cycle for a short road trip -- in the conference hotel. McBain expects noise about the Harley giveaway to echo on the web for months to come...

4. Top Priority: Autotask's top internal priority (at this moment) involves building out the VARStreet business -- though CEO Bob Godgart also says a new Autotask PSA release will arrive in a few weeks. The key enhancement: Survey software that allows MSPs and service providers to gather and analyze customer feedback. Plus, Autotask is preparing an online marketplace that will allow third-party developers to promote their Autotask-related integrations. I'll follow up with a more extensive blog in the next few days.

5. Where Are the Master MSPs?: In early 2008, MSPmentor thought dozens of Master MSPs -- which empower VARs and MSPs with a range of hosted services -- would emerge in the market. But at this week's CompTIA Breakaway, only a handful of Master MSPs were present. Notable names include Cloud Services Depot, Do IT Smarter, MSP Services Network and Virtual Administrator.

I wonder: Will we see more Master MSPs emerge? Or is it too darn difficult and expensive for new Master MSPs to enter the market? I'm checking...

... but I'm also back on the road, traveling to visit Rackspace, Dell and Spiceworks today. Got questions? Please send me email (joe [at] or post a comment. Thanks for reading.

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