Intel Europe Confirms Managed Services, SaaS Deal With N-able

Intel is leveraging N-able's managed services platform to build a customized SaaS (software as a service) system for MSPs across Europe, MSPmentor has confirmed. David Byrne, business manager for Intel's Multi-Site Director, described the hardware giant's European MSP strategy to me a few minutes ago. And he clarified whether Intel would make a similar move in North America. Here are the details.

Intel's Multi-Site Director is a SaaS platform for MSPs built upon N-able's code, confirms Byrne. (MSPmentor readers had been posting rumors about the Intel Europe/N-able connection in recent days.)

Stealing A Page From The Linux Playbook

But Intel isn't just OEMing N-able. Byrne says Intel is adding localized features, functions and other custom code on top of the core N-able software. To me, it sounds like Intel Europe is applying lessons from Linux and open source: Embrace someone's code base, then add value on top of it to define or disrupt a market. And from what I hear, N-able's code is based on open source.

Byrne confirms that he's in touch with his North American Intel counterparts, but he downplayed any possibility of Multi-Site Director coming to North America because of regional differences:
  • North America: For the most part, solutions providers and the businesses they serve speak the same language, share similar business cultures and have access to a range of SaaS and MSP offerings, notes Byrne. As a result, the market isn't screaming for a single, standardized solution to help drive the industry forward.
  • Europe: In Europe, there are more countries, more languages and smaller suppliers in the IT food chain, notes Byrne. Multi-Site Director's SaaS approach, Byrne believes, can help to deliver features and functions to VARs that want a fast, easy, localized doorway into the MSP market.
"I think [Multi-Site Director coming to North America is] unlikely because the problems we’re looking to address in Europe aren’t the same IT problems Intel sees in the US," says Byrne. (Side note: Level Platforms CEO Peter Sandiford has hinted that Intel North America will be working more closely with his company.)

Intel Europe: What's Real Today?

Multi-Site Director is in production (with a free one-year trial to MSPs) and Intel is promoting the solution to channel partners in the United Kingdom and Germany.

"It's the tip of the iceberg, though," says Byrne. "We'll be covering an enormous region and we'll be rolling this out country by country." Initially, Multi-Site Director will target Western Europe, with a broader push to follow in late 2009 and beyond.

I asked Byrne if Intel Europe would seek to host a PSA (professional services automation) tool (such as Autotask or ConnectWise) in Europe as well. He downplayed that possibility since PSA software essentially is a CRM system for MSPs. In stark contrast, remote monitoring tools help drive demand for Intel's hardware.

N-able: Big Win?

Meanwhile, N-able is surprisingly tight-lipped about the Intel Europe relationship. An N-able spokeswoman earlier this week deferred my questions about the Intel Europe relationship to Intel.

Even without Intel's help, N-able -- and many of its rivals -- have announced plans to open more offices across Europe.

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