Who Will Be the Microsoft Windows of Managed Services?

At the ConnectWise Partner Summit in Orlando, Fla., vendors continue to connect the dots between disparate managed services systems. For example:

  • I hear Ingram Micro Seismic Help Desk will soon integrate with ConnectWise's professional services automation (PSA) software.
  • MX Logic today will introduce a free tool that will MSPs generate monthly security reports for customers. The tool integrates with ConnectWise.
  • Sources say Level Platforms will demonstrate some sort of integration with Zenith Infotech's business continuity solution.
MSPs that depend on multiple managed services tools will welcome those efforts.

Still, there is a bigger at story here: MSP software providers are cooperating and competing to  determine which company will become the Microsoft Windows of managed services. Skeptical? Here's my reasoning.

From Autotask to Zenith Infotech, most of the major MSP-oriented software companies have introduced APIs (application programming interfaces) that software partners can support.

Open APIs potentially allow PSA software (examples: Autotask and ConnectWise) to integrate with remote monitoring and management tools (such as Kaseya, Level Platforms and N-able, among many others) and hosted services (such as Amazon Simple Storage Service and Zenith Infotech).

Like the old operating system wars (Windows vs. Mac vs. OS/2), MSP software companies are using APIs to recruit as many ISVs (independent software vendors) to their platforms as possible.

ConnectWise Meets Ingram Micro Seismic, MX Logic

The latest example of this API work:  Sources say ConnectWise and Ingram Micro Seismic are beta testing integration work with a handful of solutions providers, with general release expected in early October. The Seismic Help Desk already has similar integration with Autotask's PSA tool.

ConnectWise, the sources say, worked cooperatively with Ingram Micro to provide two sets of APIs for the Seismic Help Desk development team. Once the ConnectWise-Ingram work is complete, Seismic Help Desk will transmit ticket-related information to resellers using ConnectWise.

In separate news, MX Logic has developed an MSP connector tool that allows partners to generate reports for customers. The reports demonstrate exactly much spam was caught, the number of viruses removed and the total number of emails processed using the MX Logic Email Defense Service, according to an MXP Logic spokeswoman. And yes, the tool leverges ConnectWise's APIs.

Understanding the Managed Services Vendor Wars

To see what's coming next in the managed services market, look back at the old wars between Microsoft (Windows) and Oracle (the database). In many ways, Microsoft and Oracle worked together to grow the market for Windows-based databases. But on the other hand, Microsoft and Oracle wound up competing in the database industry.

Similar cooperation/competition may emerge in the managed services market. PSA software companies and RMM tool providers are working overtime to build bridges between their products. But at some point in the future, both camps may wind up battling to become the Microsoft Windows of managed services.
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