Channel technologies, CSPs, IT management, MSP, VAR

Salesforce’s Emerging VAR, MSP Management Suite

Share continues to push deeper into the SMB IT market, this time unveiling Desk 360 to help small businesses improve their support teams' performance. That move, coupled with the SteelBrick acquisition, could pressure traditional IT help desk and sales quoting tools, ChannelE2E believes.

With Desk 360, Salesforce claims "SMBs can empower their support teams to engage more effectively and knowledgeably with customers and provide them with the top-notch, personalized experience they deserve."

On the one hand, Salesforce is going broad and focusing on the overall customer support experience. On the other hand, it's clear there are IT help desk implications here.

Quiet Momentum with VARs, MSPs

While Salesforce isn't a powerhouse within the IT channel, the company's automation platforms are gradually catching on with MSPs and IT consulting firms that specialize in professional services. Desk 360 could further that journey.

Set to launch in the second half of 2016, Desk 360 includes three core capabilities for SMBs: Customer and Company Views, Customer and Company Insights and Opportunity Insights.

Dig a little deeper, and Salesforce says the platform will allow help desks to "cross-sell and upsell customers to meet their needs on the spot." Hmm... Isn't that the point of many MSP tools on the market today?

Salesforce: A Business Automation Suite for MSPs?

Now, connect the dots between Desk 360, Saleforce Steelbrick and third-party platforms like FinancialForce. The result could be an end-to-end business automation suite for IT channel partners.

Think of it this way:

  • Desk 360 automates the help desk and customer service.
  • Steelbrick speeds quoting and sales proposals (in other words, the quote to cash process).
  • And FinancialForce claims to be the fastest-growing cloud PSA platform.

String them all together and what have you got? I suspect more and more MSPs and VARs will be weighing that exact question late this year when Desk 360 officially launches.

And the trend stretches beyond Salesforce. Take a look at the new Google Stackdriver platform, and you'll discover a new generation of remote monitoring and management (RMM) built for cross-platform management (Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services). Generally speaking, I think traditional RMM software providers are late to that opportunity.

Do Cloud Giants Really Understand MSPs, VARs?

Still, it's important to note: Many of the tools emerging from Salesforce, Google and their cloud ISVs are NOT purpose-built for VARs and MSPs.

  • It's one thing to use a CRM system. It's another to leverage a purpose-built PSA platform for an MSP.
  • It's one thing to leverage a generic help desk platform. It's another to leverage a purpose-built help desk system for an MSP.
  • It's one thing to offer an end-to-end generic business suite. It's another to purpose-build that suite to manage an IT services business.
  • It's one thing to push an RMM, PSA or BDR CEO for better channel support. It's another to try and reach Marc Benioff, Sundar Pichai and other Silicon Valley titans.

Try before you buy/subscribe. And get to know the faces behind the products/platforms.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.