Two veterans of RMM software pioneer N-able have joined forces a second time to launch a company dedicated to helping MSPs manage cloud-based resources as effectively as they do on-premises assets.
Called Augmentt and officially open for business today, the new vendor is led by Gavin Garbutt, who founded N-able and served as its CEO until selling the company to SolarWinds in 2013, and Derik Belair, a senior leader at N-able who was vice president of marketing at SolarWinds after the acquisition.
Belair is the new company’s president and CEO. Garbutt is its chairman.
According to Belair, Augmentt’s goal is to build a next-generation RMM platform for selling and managing software-as-a-service applications rather than physical infrastructure like devices and networks.
“Cloud has really taken over the world of technology,” he says. “The opportunity is there for the MSP to capitalize on that trend.”
To do so though, he continues, they need a consolidated view of every cloud-based solution their customers use. Belair and Garbutt created Augmentt last year after concluding that while solutions for managing an Amazon Web Services or Office 365 environment existed, no one else was making a tool that supports multiple cloud environments.
“What we really didn’t see was one vendor providing to the MSP community a platform for managing multiple SaaS applications with the concept of helping the customer understand what their entire SaaS usage is, what is the security implication of all of that SaaS usage, [and] what is the productivity or cost implication of using all of that?” Belair says.
At present, the Augmentt portfolio contains two solutions. The first, called Discover, helps channel pros assemble a comprehensive view of a client’s cloud estate, including both officially sanctioned products and “shadow IT” systems purchased by employees.
“What we basically do is help the organization understand what is the entire scope of what’s being used, not just what’s known and what the company is paying for, but what does the entire landscape look like and where are the potential issues?” Belair explains, adding that businesses are usually surprised to learn how many cloud applications they’re using.
“It’s always four or five times more than what the organization thinks,” he says.
The second system shipping now, which is named Optimize, shows organizations who’s using their officially licensed SaaS applications, how much capacity those systems are consuming, and how much money that consumption is costing them.
A third solution called Manage, which is scheduled to arrive in November, will enable centralized provisioning and administration of cloud applications and infrastructure.
Buyers can run all three systems either alone or in combination. “They are licensed independently, but they work together in that they all share data,” Belair says.
At present, none of Augmentt’s products shares data with the RMM and PSA platforms MSPs use to manage on-premises environments, but integration discussions are underway with several leading vendors. “We want to make it easy for the MSP to add customers and add employees to our system, and we know that that data typically resides within the PSA or the RMMs,” Belair says.
Pricing on Discover starts at $49 per customer organization per month, with volume discounts. Optimize sells for 49 cents per end user per month. Fees for Manage, when that product ships, will be based on the number of technicians using it.
All of Augmentt’s products are available in both “essential” and premium editions. Premium licenses include bonus features like support for more data sources.
To help channel pros get an Augmentt-based cloud practice off the ground quickly and affordably, the company also offers a “freemium” starter bundle containing 50 essential-level Discover licenses and 300 essential Optimize seats for $200 per month.
“What we’ve done is really made it simple, and tried to make it as cost-effective as possible, for MSPs to get into business with us,” Belair says.
A separately billed consulting service called Augmentt Assist is available as well to help partners with one-time issues like setting up a SaaS operations center, integrating SaaS platforms, or executing especially challenging data migrations.
The roots of Augmentt’s product strategy date back to when Garbutt and Belair were still running N-able. “We saw less and less software being deployed locally, and a lot more SaaS applications being used,” Belair recalls. “We always had a vision that as an RMM platform, as a PSA platform, there was going to have to be an evolution to start embracing that shift.”
That evolution never materialized though, he continues, leaving MSPs without the software they need to cash in on exploding adoption of cloud technologies, which has only accelerated this year as businesses have embraced work-from-home computing in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re seeing a lot of shift in the types of applications and the number of applications being used,” Belair says. “People want to start to control it.”
Belair and Garbutt drew chiefly on their own money to launch Augmentt, along with around $1.5 million raised from friends and former colleagues in June. They plan to roll out further products in the future.
“We know that there are maybe 10 different SaaS services that an MSP could and should be doing,” Belair says, citing security audits, integration, and migration as examples. “What we’re really trying to do is try to create a portfolio of products on a common core platform that will enable those services to take place.”