Several months ago, MSP coach Stuart Selbst told me to keep an eye on Live Virtual Help Desk (LiveVHD), an upstart provider of NOC (network operations center) and help desk services. It was a quick, generic comment from Selbst. But he had a point: Fast forward to the present, and LiveVHD seems to be inking relationships with a range of MSP-oriented software companies -- including a deal with Quest Software's PacketTrap team. So, what's LiveVHD's strategy? My best guess: Competing against NOC and help desk services from the likes of Ingram Micro Seismic, NetEnrich and Zenith Infotech. Here's some speculation...

First, the news. The PacketTrap-Live Virtual Help Desk (LiveVHD) relationship will provide "MSPs an immediate opportunity to offer second-level front-end phone support answering customer calls while addressing tickets and NOC alarms for desktops, laptops, handheld and network devices, and server-related problems at the same time," according to a PacketTrap statement.

Still, I don't think this will be an exclusive relationship. In recent days, multiple sources have told me LiveVHD has been working to line up a range of RMM (remote monitoring and management) integrations and MSP industry partnerships. You can see some early partners listed here.

Selbst, my original source on LiveVHD, is listed as a company partner. So it's easy to understand his brief but favorable statement to me a few months ago. Still, Selbst was right: In early 2010, he predicted a range of LiveVHD partnerships would emerge in the market. And now, they're materializing. The latest example is PacketTrap.

Fierce Competition

Is LiveVHD gaining momentum? I can't say for sure since the company is privately held. Plus, there's plenty of NOC and help desk outsourcing competition in the MSP market.
  • Many Master MSPs offer such services to aspiring MSPs and VARs.
  • NetEnrich offers its global NOC services to third-parties such as Ingram Micro Seismic partners and N-able partners. And Ingram veteran Justin Crotty is set to join NetEnrich in a few days, so I suspect NetEnrich will pursue more distributor-oriented NOC partnerships in the weeks ahead.
  • Also of note: Open source companies like OTRS (Open Technology Real Services) may have their eye on the MSP help desk market.
Translation: More competition is likely on the way for LiveVHD and other NOC providers that are pushing into the MSP market.

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