They are the Three Tenors of the PSA (professional service automation) software market. ConnectWise, Autotask... and The Other Guy. But starting in October, The Other Guy -- Tigerpaw Software -- will step out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Indeed, the first Tigerpaw User Conference runs Oct. 6-8 in Dallas, Texas. The gathering is expected to attract a couple hundred attendees. Perhaps for the first time, Tigerpaw's user base will come into vivid focus for the IT channel media. And Tigerpaw President James Foxall will have his chance to describe his vision on his stage in front of his crowd. Here's a preview.

For the uninitiated let me set the stage: The PSA market is fiercely competitive. And for good reason. Savvy VARs and MSPs leverage PSA to manage the bulk of their business operations -- everything from CRM to marketing to team management.

ConnectWise has been the most vocal PSA provider, organizing 10 user groups worldwide, each of which meets quarterly and typically attracts more than 100 attendees. The company's annual event -- ConnectWise IT Nation (formerly ConnectWise Partner Summit) -- is expected to attract more than 1,400 attendees in November 2010. Rival Autotask is best-known for its successful SaaS approach and has launched an annual conference (dubbed Autotask Community Live) that will celebrate its third anniversary in early 2011, along with some user groups that are starting now.

Silent Success

What about Tigerpaw? Plenty of users respect the company, but Tigerpaw has been the silent tenor for most of its history. Things began to change when James Foxall (pictured) was promoted into the president position in April 2010. More recently, the company has launched an online community and pushed into international markets like Australia.

Plus, it's clear that the Tigerpaw User Conference will become an annual event; that's no small feat since annual user and partner conferences require plenty of cash and staff commitment.

So what key themes can customers and partners expect at the inaugural Tigerpaw User Conference? It's safe to expect Foxall and other company executives to discuss the four pillars of success for IT service providers. Plus, watch for Tigerpaw to talk up integrations with Labtech Software, Quest Software and AlarmTraq, among others.

Encore? Encore?

Tigerpaw will need to maintain a steady voice after the conference. ConnectWise knows how to rally its partners on a daily basis. And Autotask has been making strides with its community efforts.

Hard to believe but I suspect less than 10 percent of the IT channel is running PSA software. The race to grab the other 90 percent of the market is going to be fun to watch... and track.

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