Kaseya has pulled back the curtain a bit more on its PSA (professional services automation) strategy. In a 17-page PDF prepared for IT service providers, Kaseya outlines its 2010-2011 road map. Dig into the report, and you'll find some preliminary information about the Kaseya Business Center PSA effort. Here are the early details along with some guesses about how the MSP software market may evolve.

First, let's keep things in perspective: Kaseya has a long history in the remote monitoring and management (RMM) market. By preparing Business Center PSA, Kaseya will potentially compete with such PSA software providers as Autotask, ConnectWise and Tigerpaw Software. I emphasize the word "potentially" because Kaseya doesn't have a track record in the PSA space, and most of the major PSA software providers have fiercely loyal user communities and mature, entrenched products that essentially are mission-critical applications.

What's Next?

Still, Kaseya's interest in the PSA space seems to be growing. According to the Kaseya road map shared with service providers:
"Kaseya’s Business Center PSA is where the technical work becomes revenue. It is where you measure and grow your business. Business Center PSA ties together the people and accounting sides of the business with the proven Kaseya IT Systems Management framework, creating a truly unified platform for your IT business."
Moreover, it sounds like Business Center PSA will integrate with the Kaseya 2 SaaS platform through an "integrated web-based service delivery automation module." That module is expected to include:
  • Accounting & Invoice Management
  • Parts & Non-recurring Charges Management
  • Customer Management CRM
  • Sales Management
  • Quotes
  • Vendor Management
  • Agent Management
  • Administration / Management Features
  • Contractor Management
  • Employee Productivity
  • Basic Project Management
Will the PSA system work as advertised? And when will it truly arrive? I'm checking for answers. But remember: The Kaseya service provider road map covers 2010... and 2011.

MSP Software Market Segments

Meanwhile, it's pretty clear that the MSP software industry is evolving into multiple segments. Here's a quick look at how I believe many of the providers intend to move forward, in no particular order...

1. Blending PSA, RMM and More
  • Kaseya with Kaseya 2 and the forthcoming Business Center PSA. Plus, a focus on ERP-like management systems for the enterprise that corporate IT managers run internally. And an online backup service...
  • ConnectWise with its self-named platform plus the ConnectWise Capital investment in LabTech Software. Plus a growing focus on IT as a Service and Hardware as a Service via the ConnectWise Capital investment in CharTec.
2. Promoting PSA and Additional Opportunities
  • Autotask with its self-named PSA platform plus the recent VARStreet acquisition, which attempts to help IT service providers manage product sourcing for IT projects, and the TaskFire service desk for service providers and their end-customers.
  • Tigerpaw, which also has a strong following in the telecom industry. Expect more updates from Tigerpaw during the company's first user conference.
  • Shockey Monkey is an emerging offering from Own Web Now, which offers a range of additional solutions for MSPs and VARs.
3. Sticking with specific RMM Segments
  • Level Platforms, focusing purely on SMB solutions providers and continuing to integrate with large IT partners like Microsoft and HP.
  • N-able, maintaining an SMB solution provider focus while also helping MSPs with mid-market opportunities and freemium opportunities.
  • Nimsoft, focusing on larger MSPs that have potentially outgrown entry-level solutions. Watch for growing synergies with Nimsoft's new owner, CA Technologies.
  • PacketTrap, increasingly diversifying through network infrastructure management. Watch for growing synergies, especially in the SMB space, with Quest Software -- which acquired PacketTrap in late 2009.
4. Moving in Multiple Directions
  • ManageEngine offers an RMM system but watch for growing SaaS synergies with sister company Zoho.
  • Zenith Infotech is perhaps best known for its BDR (Backup and Disaster Recovery) and virtual service desk offerings, Zenith also promotes RMM and the SmartStyle cloud and virtualization solution. But we're also watching Zenith's telepresence as a service strategy from sister company Vu Technology.
5. Emerging Players
  • Citrix GoToManage (formerly Paglo, for remote monitoring) is gaining closer ties to GoToAssist Pro (for remote support). Also keep an eye on NTRglobal, another remote support specialist.
  • Microsoft's InTune is in beta but the SaaS-based system is turning a lot of heads.
I realize the list above is incomplete. Instead of flaming me if I forgot a specific tool or technology, share your knowledge in the comment area below.

Judge Vendors By Their APIs

In some market segments, vendors will increasingly compete even as they cooperate. But here's the important part: Most of the major players have vowed to keep their APIs open, potentially ensuring on-going integrations even as software companies compete on some fronts.

Regardless of which path you choose, push for vendors to keep their APIs open and demand product integrations where you need them. Oh, and remember: Tools are a small piece of your overall managed services blueprint.

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