MSP, Channel technologies, IT management, Content, Channel technologies

Datto Upgrades Autotask PSA for MSPs


For a managed services provider (MSP), the professional services automation (PSA) software they use literally runs their business. PSA typically tracks tickets and projects, billing and much more. To say it is used frequently in day to day operations would be an understatement. Improving these operations plays a key role in growing an MSP business. Service ticket handling and tech workflow can separate a great MSP from a mediocre one.

Amid those realities, key PSA software companies continue to deliver platform enhancements to MSPs. Among the latest moves: Datto has released Autotask PSA version 2018.2. The update bolsters MSP efficiencies through a highly configurable ticketing and timekeeping functionality, redesigned Client Portal homepage, and new contract visibility options, Datto asserts.

The update is part of Datto CEO Austin McChord's call for faster innovations from the company's PSA platform -- which Datto acquired in the 2017 merger with Autotask. With a nod toward Jeff  Goldblum's line in the original Jurassic Park movie, McChord simply says Autotask PSA, "must move faster" to address MSPs needs. In a recent ChannelE2E interview, McChord said the Autotask team has answered that call to action.

For instance, the new Autotask PSA 2018.2 release addresses:

  • Start/End Time-off Requests: Technicians can request time off for specific time frames. This new feature may eliminate the need for Service Desk Team Leads to flip back and forth between a company calendar and the PSA to check and see if a technician will be available to perform the service. I have seen many tickets fall through the cracks this way, which can definitely affect client satisfaction.
  • Configurable Time Entries for Tickets: The time entry screen will be configurable with additional quick edit fields, such as Queue and Due Date. This builds on the configurable Ticket UI and will help shave minutes off of every ticket for techs who add time and then need to forward and/or modify the ticket. Often when you are entering time for a ticket you can forget to adjust certain aspects of the core ticket. Without having to jump back and forth between the time entry and the ticket, technicians can process tickets much more efficiently.
  • Re-designed Client Portal Homepage: Clients can access the Client Portal with a new friendly URL, and the redesigned Client Portal homepage provides MSPs with improved visual data and insights, with a view of open Service Tickets and Projects. Often the contact at a client will want to be in the know about what projects are currently being worked on for their company, and what kinds of tickets their staff members are entering. Having a client portal that gives them an easy place to gather all of that info is another great addition. It may help improve communication between the MSP and their clients.
  • New Contract Visibility Options: MSPs can protect critical information with newly deployed contract visibility levels (no visibility, limited, or full), ensuring staff and clients only see the minimum level of contract information needed. Honestly, there are only very specific things a technician needs to know about the contract with the client, the main one being whether or not they can help the client with the problem they are calling in about. Beyond that, staff members that do not deal directly with the contracts don't need that information to do their jobs properly. Having some visibility into this helps them determine if the support request is covered, and allows them to assist accordingly.

No doubt, Datto faces intense PSA competition from entrenched rival ConnectWise, emerging entrant Kaseya, with additional competition in some sectors from the likes of Tigerpaw Software and SolarWinds MSP's ticketing software.

We're also watching to see if or how Salesforce for Small Business, ServiceNow and other alternative systems potentially move into the small business MSP market.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.