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20 PSA Software Tools, Alternatives for MSPs & VARs

As a managed services provider, you know the basics: You need PSA (professional services automation), RMM (remote monitoring and management) and other automation tools to boost customer service, drive down costs and increase your profit margins.

In the PSA sector, Autotask and ConnectWise are two of the best known options for MSPs and IT service providers. But a lengthy list of alternatives has found a home in this highly fragmented market.

Here’s a look at 20 PSA software and cloud platforms that we’ve tracked over the years, along with some anecdotes about where they potentially fit in the MSP and IT services provider markets.

20 PSA Software Tools for MSPs, VARs

1. Accelo (formerly Affinity Live): As of early 2016, Accelo had quietly integrate its PSA platform with Continuum, Kaseya and Logicnow — three well-known providers of RMM software for MSPs. Accelo has a growing focus on IT service providers, though I don’t have a feel for the company’s overall following among MSPs and VARs.


2. Atera: Atera’s roots stretch back to 2011, when the company began writing code for its cloud-based RMM platform. From the start, Atera also planned to include PSA functionality in the offering. That code began to take shape in 2013. Fast forward to present day and the company offers a blended PSA-RMM platform — hosted in Microsoft Azure.


3. AutotaskWidely considered one of the top-two PSA providers to MSPs and IT service providers (the other is ConnectWise). Owned by a private equity firm, Autotask spent recent years localizing its cloud software for IT service providers worldwide. The company has also acquired RMM and file sync and sharing tools.



4. ChangePoint: Changepoint is a provider of project and portfolio management (PPM), IT portfolio analysis (IIPA), and professional services automation (PSA) applications to more than 750 global customers. Large technology businesses like IBM, Microsoft and Oracle run ChangePoint’s business management software. However, we haven’t heard about adoption among MSPs and VARs.


5. ConnectWise: Widely considered one of the top-two PSA providers to MSPs and IT service providers (the other is Autotask). ConnectWise set the early pace for PSA-RMM integration, acquiring multiple IT automation tools that now form the ConnectWise Business Suite. The company co-founders got their start in the IT services market, supporting customers in Tampa, Fla.


6. FinancialForce.comFinancialForce, which makes an ERP suite for the Salesforce.com cloud ecosystem, now has more than 1,000 customers and subscription revenue grew roughly 60 percent in 2015. Take a closer look at the ERP suite, and it includes an increasingly popular professional services automation (PSA) platform. A healthy list of IT service providers now run FinancialForce.


7. HarmonyPSA: Based in London, HarmonyPSA positions itself as an all-in-one platform. MSPs don’t need to buy add-on PSA modules because pricing covers the entire platform. However, the company doesn’t publicly publish that pricing information. And we don’t have a feel for HarmonyPSA’s installed base.



8. Karisoft: The company’s founders are IT service provider veterans who ultimately wanted to build a better mouse trap in the PSA market. Karisoft’s flagship offering, IT Pro Dashboard, specifically targets IT service providers. Adopters include MSPs, though we don’t know how big the installed base is.


9. Kaseya Business Management Solution (BMS): Kaseya extended beyond RMM in 2015 and acquired Vorex, a niche supplier of PSA. CEO Fred Voccola insists MSPs should pay less for PSA, and Kaseya BMS certainly has some adopters in the PSA market. But we haven’t seen it truly “disrupt” the PSA market.


10. Krow SoftwareKrow makes Project and PSA software specifically for Salesforce.com. We haven’t seen a specific IT services-centric sales push, however.

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6 Comments

Comments

    Clark:

    You missed the biggest of them all ServiceNow!

    Joe Panettieri:

    Clark: You raise a great point. We’ve been watching ServiceNow’s business moves — including that recent security strategy. Also, we mentioned ServiceNow a bit in our closely related ZenDesk coverage… Lots of moving pieces to watch here.
    -jp

    Arthur:

    Dyn is a great PSA solution for MSPs who want to optimize and scale management of Internet performance for cloud apps and platforms on behalf of their customers. Dyn can also be used by MSPs for growing their own business, whether prospecting for new sales, winning competitive bids, or planning with and servicing new and existing accounts.

      Joe Panettieri:

      Hey Arthur: Thanks for the background on Dyn. Not sure if it really fits in the “PSA” category or if the solution is closer to RMM (remote monitoring and management)… Let me know.

      Readers: Arthur is VP of biz development at Dyn.

      Best,
      -jp

    Ray Barber:

    Hi Joe,

    Great coverage as always. Here’s another one: http://www.computicatepsa.com/ (disclosure: I know the owner, but I am not currently affiliated in any way)

    I agree on the point of Unification vs Integration and my guess is many may not fully think through the consequences. I see Unification as a great concept like the holy grail of ASPOG (A Single Pane of Glass) was for RMM. It faces a couple of major challenges; 1) For the vendor: Technology changes fast, building a truly unified platform of RMM/PSA etc. is a lot of work and means making some major development decisions and investment, if the market changes it’s then hard to change with it 2) For the MSP: If it’s good unification the MSP will become dependent upon it, even more so than just an RMM or PSA – it will be extremely difficult to move if it if it turns out there is a mismatch with your business model and/or overall functional needs, which often isn’t obvious in the beginning.

    Which is not to say that it can’t be a good thing, it just needs to be judged carefully before committing your MSP to that path, Unification has to be judged on the merits of its implementation, don’t just assume Unified is better.

    What I believe is missing is _great_ integration in a lot of the PSA/RMM players. Many, if not most of the platforms are last generation or even 2 development ‘generations’ old (Kaseya, Connectwise for example, I’m sure they’d argue otherwise, but having to install SQL and IIS is so 2000!), which means true integration is really hard for external parties (speaking from a lot of experience). This is where the other less ‘traditional’ players are going to start making an impact. Smart MSP’s have developers onboard and know that some level of ‘lite’ development is a part of doing business now. These guys look for the platforms that support RESTFul API’s etc. and up-to-the-minute real-time cloud integration concepts that make not just data but also objects inside of their systems truly “available for use”.

    I believe that integration will be a key differentiator in many ways over the next few years, and that is a MUCH sticker model for the vendors if they can see past having to own every part of a market, plus it still gives the partners/customers (MSP’s) the flexibility to use the toolsets that meet thier needs and plug gaps where necessary.

    Sorry for the dissertation, big subject! 🙂

    Ray

      Joe Panettieri:

      Hey Ray: Thanks for adding some timely perspectives. We covered Computicate a few hours ago here and we will be sure to stay in touch with the company.
      -jp

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