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September 19, 2017 |

Autotask Links Platform Unification to Digital Transformation

In a keynote at this year’s Community Live partner event, CEO Mark Cattini (pictured) argued that the productivity Autotask’s integrated software suite makes possible frees up time MSPs can use to re-invent themselves as digital technology strategists.

Seeking to connect one of the most important trends in MSP technology with one of the buzziest topics in IT, Autotask Corp. used the opening day of its annual Community Live partner conference in Hollywood, Fla., to draw a direct line between integrated managed services software and digital transformation.

Tightly woven solutions like the PSA, RMM, and other systems in the “unification platform” East Greenbush, N.Y.-based Autotask has been rolling out since last April make MSPs more productive, said CEO Mark Cattini during a keynote address this morning. That, in turn, frees up time that providers of mere administrative services can use to become virtual CIOs equipped to help clients innovate through the power of digitization.

“There’s never been a period of such dramatic change,” said Cattini, citing companies ranging from Uber and Airbnb to Amazon and Netflix as examples. “It’s really electrifying and it’s around us every single day.”

It also has not just enterprises but SMBs looking for trusted advisors with the know-how to help them capitalize on the new opportunities and efficiencies digital technologies make possible.

“Many of you are going to have to think about being a business technologist, and many of you already are,” Cattini said.

That process takes time though, he noted, and the same technologies empowering market leaders to disrupt venerable business models are making IT management increasingly complicated.

“There’s more data, there’s more devices, there’s more complexity,” Cattini observed.

Autotask helps mitigate that complexity, he continued, by automating time-consuming manual administrative tasks. In the process, he added, it opens up bandwidth MSPs can use to re-invent themselves as strategic digital consultants.

“We provide a platform of capability that allows you to focus on your business rather than in the business,” Cattini said, calling particular attention to the added efficiencies Autotask’s integrated software platform delivers by enabling users to share data seamlessly across applications.

“The products in their own right are world class and stand-alone,” Cattini said, “but there is just so much differentiated advantage and innovative opportunities when you start bringing the power of those products together in a really, really thoughtful way.”

Autotask, which was known for many years as one of the industry’s top makers of PSA software, began pursuing that multi-product vision in September 2014 when it bought RMM vendor CentraStage for an undisclosed sum. Some 10 months later, through its acquisition of Soonr, the company added file sync and share capabilities and ultimately endpoint backup capabilities to its portfolio as well.

There may be further acquisitions to come. “I hope at some point to be able to announce other significant managed services into the platform,” Cattini said, without elaborating, in the closing seconds of his keynote.

Len DiCostanzo, Autotask’s senior vice president of business and channel development, dropped similar hints later in the day during an interview with ChannelPro.

“We’re certainly interested in finding other solutions that we can unify that make a difference,” he said. “It’s just going to make it much more efficient, much more profitable, for our partners to work with us and use more of our stuff.”

According to Autotask, some 98 percent of attendees at this year’s Community Live conference already use its PSA software, and some 50 percent use its RMM product. Far smaller percentages, topping out at no more than 10 percent, use its backup and file sync and share solutions so far, but inspiring MSPs to adopt more components of the unification platform is a top priority for the company this year.

“We want to see them use the products more,” DiCostanzo says. “We’re trying to help them at the same time we help our self.”

Autotask is far from the only managed services software vendor pursuing cross-product integration. PSA leader ConnectWise originated the managed services suite concept back in 2010 when it invested in, and ultimately absorbed, RMM vendor LabTech and then purchased quoting vendor Quosal a year later. RMM leader Kaseya Ltd., meanwhile, introduced a PSA solution based partly on intellectual property it bought along with Vorex Inc. last year.

Similarly, SolarWinds MSP, the present-day home of the former N-able and LOGICnow product families, now offers RMM, PSA, BDR, and security software.

Product unification isn’t the only way Autotask says it helps MSPs save time, however. Cattini touted significant progress on technical support performance this morning as well. Some 70 percent of support issues are now resolved on the same day, he said, a 42 percent improvement since the beginning of the year. Average waits for phone support are down to five minutes, furthermore, while response times to queries submitted via chat are below three minutes.

Autotask Community Live concludes on Tuesday.

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