Greetings from 30,000 feet. I'm flying home from Cisco Partner Summit. The flight marks the end of a rather amazing month of business travel -- though MSPmentor's team will stay on the road in May to keep covering the MSP and channel partner events. In the meantime, here are seven managed services blog entries our team didn't have a chance to write for the week ending April 30, 2010.

7. MSPs Meet Corporate IT (Again): Another example of managed services and corporate IT departments working more closely together... The Utility Company has launched Connected Office (CO) Enterprise, a program designed for "mid-market IT departments requiring supplemental support and expertise.  It includes a standards-based helpdesk, certified network operations center (NOC) and enterprise-class backup and disaster recovery service all in an on-demand, pay-as-you-go model," The Utility company says.

6. Maintenance Contracts: Quite a few MSPs have asked me if anyone has developed maintenance contract tracking software that plugs into MSP systems. I'm not an expert on that topic but I hear one or two new solutions could be on the way. And apparently, they take a different approach than maintenancenet.com.

5. Another MSP Dashboard: I spoke with a source who says a Pittsburgh-area industry expert has developed a dashboard that integrates Google Apps, Autotask, and a range of additional cloud services for VARs and MSPs. I plan to speak with the dashboard developer soon.

4. M&A Honeymoon Continues: It has been about a month since CA Inc. acquired Nimsoft. And Nimsoft insiders keep sending me upbeat perspectives. The latest comes from Todd McKendrick, a Nimsoft team member who previously worked at Dell and Do IT Smarter.

McKendrick says "things are going great for me" amid an expanded role at Nimsoft. He continues to build the Nimsoft Unified Monitoring Alliance Ecosystem; it's like an app store that has about 45 partners so far. McKendrick also is leading Placement Center effort, which empowers MSPs to help Nimsoft deliver Training and Professional services to new and existing corporate IT customers and fellow MSPs.

3. Mastering the Art of PR: Ever wonder how Robin Robins developed her brand and built her business so successfully? In addition to offering advice that many VARs and MSPs embrace, Robins knows how to create buzz. Skeptical? Check this out.

2. Coffee Talk: I spent about an hour this morning in my hotel lobby, sipping coffee, blogging and talking to Heather Clancy. We were both in San Francisco for Cisco Partner Summit. I've always respected Heather's work from afar but this was the first time we actually had a chance to sit down and talk. She's sharp. And modest. A nice combo.

1. Salesforce.com's MSP Plans: So, Salesforce.com plans to work more closely with MSPs and VARs. But here's the twist... contrary to some of my earlier blogs I don't think the effort involves promoting PSA-type software to the channel. Instead, keep an eye on Force.com, the App Exchange and Dallas, Texas, over the next few weeks. More details soon.

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