Content, Business continuity, Channel partners, MSP, Storage, Channel technologies

eFolder Hits MSP Ignition Button

Tom Watson
Tom Watson

eFolder, a business continuity provider for MSPs, is making several strategic moves to bolster partner relationships, strategic alliances -- and MSP profit outcomes.

The latest move involves MSP Ignition -- an education and best practices program led by Tom Watson. A former MSP owner himself, Watson is now director of MSP Best Practices at the company. His strategy includes an eBook and webinar series to help partners sell more services, and add customers -- but only in a profitable manner.

As consultants like TruMethods constantly tell MSPs, the path to success involves navigating a math problem focused on profitability. eFolder has a similar mindset. Early education efforts include the art of the SLA, calculating how much a client really costs, along with MSAs and SLAs.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

Adam Slutskin, CRO, CyberFox
Matt Nachtrab

MSP Ignition is one piece of a larger strategy. It goes something like this: eFolder is positioning itself as the most powerful suite of data protection services in the MSP sector -- "and we own all the intellectual property," CEO Matt Nachtrab says. The key platforms include Replibit, Anchor and CloudFinder. The company also is leveraging technology from the Axcient merger.

No doubt, eFolder is taking aim at Datto -- which likely has the largest installed base of MSPs focused on SMB business continuity. And while eFolder has a respectable, growing installed base in the United States, rival Datto has global reach -- with offices across Europe, Australia and more.

Nachtrab and Chief Revenue Officer Adam Slutkin, two ConnectWise veterans, speak highly of Datto during our conversations. But similar to the famous Avis vs. Hertz ad campaign ("We try harder..."), you can sense that eFolder is gearing up to make more moves.

Not that the underdog is struggling. eFolder generated record financial results in December and overall for Q4 2017, Nachtrab says. "We are the second largest company in terms of revenue in the MSP space," Nachtrab asserts. "We are the Datto alternative, and we're well-positioned for 2018."

eFolder: Potential Next Moves?

In addition to the MSP Ignition education push, channel partner program moves are on the way; new hires in the support group are arriving; and I sense that a keen focus on ISV and Silicon Valley relationships is taking shape.

What will those relationships look like, potentially? Pure speculation on my part but take a look at ConnectWise's recent relationship with Cisco Systems. For more than a decade, big IT companies have largely overlooked, ignored or failed to engage MSPs in the SMB sector. But the recent Cisco-ConnectWise deal has attracted interest from about 1,200 MSPs -- and shows that proper alliance strategies can unlock new opportunities with IT giants.

I suspect Nachtrab has taken note. And I think he's looking beyond the traditional MSP market for strategic alliances. I also suspect more clues about his focus will arrive before the Super Bowl -- or maybe shortly thereafter...

Still, I'm getting ahead of myself. The news of the moment involves MSP Ignition for education and community building to lead MSPs toward more profits. It's a safe bet Watson is working on additional sales, profit and customer engagement guidance for MSPs. We'll share more details as they emerge.

MSP Business Continuity: Fierce Competition

Of course, rivals aren't resting on their laurels. The Datto-Autotask merger sounds like it's proceeding rapidly, and it's a safe bet several major milestones will arrive during or before DattoCon17 in June. The Datto portfolio now extends from data protection to RMM (remote monitoring and management), PSA (professional services automation), file sync and sharing, and cloud-managed networking equipment.

Look around the business continuity market and you'll notice Veeam and StorageCraft also are growing rapidly across the broader IT channel and within the MSP sector. Veeam grew nearly 40 percent in 2017, and booked revenues surged past $800 million. (We'll share more stats soon.) Plus upstarts like Druva have serious momentum up in the enterprise -- and may ultimately come downstream.

The competitive landscape can be overwhelming. Instead of chasing all of those shiny objects, Nachtrab is keeping things simple. He wants to prove that eFolder is "the" alternative to Datto. He wants to show that eFolder out-engineers Datto. And he wants to show that regular, repeatable education will help MSPs build more profitable engagements.

Those are lofty ambitions. We'll be watching to see how they play out.

Oh, and stay tuned for a potential part two to this blog. Perhaps in time for the Super Bowl. But I can't guarantee that...

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.