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The Consolidation Of Channel Tools

So you go into a restaurant and the waiter hands you a menu with 20 items. You want to order the fish but the waiter recommends that you order the chicken instead. He claims that it is the best dish that they have and you will love it! Sounds good, so you order the chicken…. Later, you found out that the real reason why the chicken was recommended is that the chicken was the dish that management wanted to sell. In addition, that was the only dish that the waiter got a spiff on! Now, how do you feel – even if the chicken was good?

We have all seen the consolidation of IT companies through mergers and acquisitions. Many up and coming companies are gobbled up by bigger players for all sorts of reasons. Does this make their products better? Is it better for the channel? Removing competition or absorbing newer technologies is a good thing for the bigger players as it keeps them ahead of the technological curve and sales growth. But, what if these companies were to remain independent and continue to evolve their technologies?

In the past, Autotask’s (a PSA company) neutral message was well played against Connectwise’s (another PSA company) early acquisitions of a RMM and quote company. So now, what will be the message since they have acquired CentraStage (a company specializing in cloud-based remote monitoring and management (RMM) solutions)? Will Autotask also acquire a quoting company? It seems obvious that a company’s recommendations will be tilted towards their acquisitions. Other RMM companies that were recently acquired, like Level Platforms and N-Able, also had similar conflicts.

Once the neutrality of business partnerships goes away, it opens the door for conflicts that may shift the dynamics in unpredictable ways. It’s early to predict, but we will soon see the reaction from other RMM companies and MSPs to the recent acquisition of CentraStage by Autotask.

“Our goal is always to provide exceptional value to our customers by improving the technical aspects of their operations and empowering them to make fact-based decisions to achieve business objectives,” said Mark Cattini, President and CEO of Autotask. “CentraStage shares our vision of providing a superior customer experience, demonstrated by their exceptional satisfaction and retention rates. The unique value of our combined businesses will provide customers improved ROI and real-time visibility across their clients’ entire computing environment.”

As demand for technology and data continues to rise, scalability has become crucial for effective technology service management. RMM companies like CentraStage deliver a highly scalable, cloud-based architecture that enables users to remotely monitor and manage all of their endpoints (i.e. servers, computers and mobile devices) with complete visibility and control. Autotask’s acquisition of CentraStage hopes to take endpoint management to the next level with the combined offering to empower customers to more quickly, and easily deliver value in a true SaaS environment. The spirit of this goal may be a good thing.

As the battle for PSA and RMM continues, Cloud apps are expanding and will increasingly overlap on managed services. Most software applications are already auto updating. Data Centers have automated most of the hosting and data management services. Hardware companies are adding more automated RMM smarts into their products to continually manage the device and its performance.

As the new technologies replace all of the older stuff, what will be the role for PSA or RMM tools? Seems like the technology is all moving towards an automated self-management direction with minimal touch points. Will the push towards more self-automation put some of the channel partners out of a job?

Take for example Apple, where software for their computers and mobile devices are all automatically updated without a monthly service fee. All software, just like music, is just a one-click task to buy and download. Apple now includes automated backup, syncing of e-mail, calendar, music and photos. Now, they want to replace our watch, monitor our health and handle our payments. It is all great news for Apple and possibly the end-users, but not so good news for the resellers.

It is clear that to remain relevant, the VARs, MSPs and ITSPs must build a stronger business by using ERP, CRM, PSA, RMM, E-commerce and others tools and services. Actually, there are about 30 tools and services that they need to become successful (Learn more at VAROfficeSuite). Companies who continue to watch from the sidelines may be risking their success. The time to act has already passed, now it may be a question of better late than never.

VAR Office Suite is emerging as the latest resource to help VARs, MSPs and ITSPs find the right tools and services that they need to better streamline, manage and market their businesses. All of the tools are from independent companies who are continually competing and improving their technology to offer the best solutions. VARs, MSPs and ITSPs do need a lot more than just a RMM and a PSA tool to run their business. A good variety on a menu is always a better choice.