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Xcellerate: MSP Accelerator Leverages ConnectWise, Kaseya, LogicMonitor

Tommy Wald

Ray Barber

Xcellerate, the MSP accelerator that recently hired CEO Tommy Wald, is building out MSP community infrastructure that leverages ConnectWise Manage, Kaseya and LogicMonitor for PSA (professional services automation), RMM (remote monitoring and management) and performance monitoring. But that’s not all.

Tommy Wald shared some details with ChannelE2E during CompTIA Annual Member Meeting last week in Chicago. Then he led us to Xcellerate Partner Ray Barber for more details.

Xcellerate is seeking to work with MSPs with roughly 10 or fewer employees. The idea is to plug those MSPs into a standardized technology platform and a best-practices business ecosystem. The model is based on learnings from CodeBlue, a New Zealand-based MSP that CSG acquired for $15 million(NZ) in 2015. Former CodeBlue CEO Ken Davis and several other executives are the driving forces behind Xcellerate. 

In addition to leveraging ConnectWise, Kaseya and LogicMonitor, Xcellerate’s technology build-out will include additional IT services that are finely tuned for MSP members and partners, according to Ray Barber, a partner at the company. Barber concedes: “Sure, MSPs can go get a hosted PSA, RMM or NOC solution on their own. But who will teach you how to configure them and operate them?” Barber is an expert on the topic. Before joining Xcellerate, he held key positions at CodeBlue, Autotask, CentraStage, and Kaseya.

Xcellerate’s strategy doesn’t end with tools. Precisely configured MSP tools, in fact, are only one piece of the overall strategy. The real trick is aligning the tools with Xcellerate’s MSP Blueprint — a guide that marches MSPs toward standardization, optimization and automation. MSP members and partners also gain processes, training, and tools to building profitable and sustainable business, the company says.

Potential Rivalries? Sort Of

Take a closer look and Xcellerate resembles a range of different companies and business models — without necessarily competing head-on against any single model or business.

For instance:

  • Continuum offers managed RMM, NOC (network operations center) and BDR (backup and disaster recovery) services for MSPs. But unlike Xcellerate, Continuum outright owns the RMM, NOC and BDR software code.
  • TruMethods is a best-practices organization for MSPs that also built myITprocess, which allows members to organize and maintain their technology standards.
  • HTG started as a peer group for MSPs but has evolved to also offer coaching and consulting services.
  • Service Leadership maintains an operational maturity level benchmark for IT service providers, which helps MSPs to pinpoint their performance vs. overall market metrics.
  • VirtualAdministrator has positioned itself as an MSP onramp over the years, helping VARs and IT consulting firms to activate managed services.
  • Various companies offer outsourced NOC and help desk services, which free up MSPs to focus on sales and higher-margin services.

Xcellerate’s Secret Sauce: The MSP Blueprint

So what makes Xcellerate unique within a sea of potential rivals? Perhaps the fine-tuned tools are a start. But the alignment of those tools with the company’s MSP Blueprint for standardization, optimization and automation could be the real differentiator.

Moreover, both Ken Davis and Tommy Wald have successfully launched, built and sold their own MSPs. That experience could bode well for Xcellerate but it isn’t entirely unique. TruMethods CEO Gary Pica and Service Leadership CEO Paul Dippell, for instance, also have built, sold and acquired MSPs over the years.

Still, Barber points to Xcellerate’s overall blend of people, technology and best practices. “Tommy and Ken — they know what it takes to build successful MSPs. There’s no silver bullet or magic wand. It’s about bringing all the pieces together, and then having a sustainable strategy to scale over the long term.”

Moreover, Xcellerate plans to proactively enforce its best practices. “We’re not [telling partners] ‘hopefully this is the way you operate,'” Barber says. “In fact, we’re telling them ‘this is the way you will operate.'”

Potential MSP Upside

So what’s in it for Xcellerate’s MSP members? Based on business performance, some of them will graduate to become full-blown MSP partners in the system. The net result should be improved profits for each MSP in the system.

But I wonder… is Xcellerate planning to hatch an even bigger plan? Is there a potential MSP rollup in the making here? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, Barber and team are plenty busy expanding the Xcellerate platform with new features, functions and services that align with the MSP Blueprint. “We have an extensive roadmap of technologies that we want to get rolled into this,” Barber says. “We’ve got big, big plans. A lot of people are asking, ‘What is the new flavor of MSP?'”

Xcellerate’s strategy may ultimately answer that question…

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