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SolarWinds MSP: Five Potential Next Moves to Watch

SolarWinds MSP‘s partner and customer conference — Empower MSP — is set to kick off September 18 in Arizona. What’s on tap for the company’s managed services provider (MSP) ecosystem? Here are five potential updates, moves and developments to watch.

SolarWinds MSP SVP John Pagliuca

1. The Overall Business Strategy: Senior VP John Pagliuca will provide a status update during his keynote Tuesday morning. Pushing beyond traditional RMM (remote monitoring and management) and backup, the company has been rounding out its portfolio through:

The company has started to more aggressively emphasize its own PSA (professional services automation) and ticketing system (MSP Manager) while maintaining PSA relationships with third-party vendors like ConnectWise and Datto’s Autotask PSA. But that’s not all…

2. Expanding Portfolio, Key Focus Areas:  An expanded business and partner strategy is emerging. Among the key areas to watch:

  • Threat Management: The company acquired Trusted Metrics in July to bolster threat management and SOC opportunities for MSPs.
  • Risk Intelligence: Introduced Expanded Data Breach Risk Scan (ExDBRS), helping service providers to discover and identify risks from security vulnerabilities stored on endpoint devices.
  • MSP Business Management and User Experience: Launched N-central 12.0 with deeper PSA application integration, enhanced patch management, and support for NetPath. The NetPath capabilities set the stage for MSPs to improve end-customer user experiences.
  • MSP Education and Benchmarking: Introduced business-oriented education services and tools — including  MSP Institute (a playbook for MSPs that features business, sales, marketing, and technical tracks) and the MSP Pulse benchmarking tool (developed in partnership with The 2112 Group).

We expect to potentially get a “cross business” update from SolarWinds MSP Vice Presidents Greg Lissy and Mav Turner.

Senior Director, MSP Evangelism Dave Sobel

SolarWinds MSP VP Tim Brown

3. Managed Security Services: Surely, that will be a big theme at the gathering. Here again, the Trusted Metrics acquisition will attract attention. Trusted Metrics provides real-time threat monitoring and management software, and security operations center (SOC) technology.

We’ll get the company’s complete managed security strategy from VP Tim Brown, Senior VP Denny LeCompte and perhaps one other key leader…

4. Emerging Opportunities: Dave Sobel, senior director, MSP evangelism, is a former MSP business owner. He understands the entrepreneur mindset. He has access to the SolarWinds roadmap. And he’s attended third-party conferences like AWS re:Invent and Google IO. Roll all those items together, and Sobel has some unique perspectives on where MSPs should focus their efforts. We hope to share some details from Sobel soon.

5. Initial Public Offering: Silver Lake Partners and Thoma Bravo — two private equity firms — acquired SolarWinds in October 2015. The deal involved 66 days of intense negotiations.

Most private equity firms hang onto their investments for roughly five to seven years. But it sounds like SolarWinds could pursue an initial public offering sometime this year.

I don’t think we’ll hear anything official about the potential IPO plans during this conference. But we’ll be digging around for updates. The reason? A SolarWinds IPO could be a bellwether event for the MSP software industry, and the overall IT management market. The move would reveal key business metrics that the rest of the industry could study as they chart a course for more growth and potential M&A moves.

My schedule is fully booked at Empower MSP. But if you’re attending and at least want to grab a few minutes to say hello and compare notes please email me (Joe@AfterNines.com).

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