MSP, Content

SolarWinds CEO Touts MSP Growth, ServiceNow Alternative

Credit: Joe Panettieri

SolarWinds MSP continues to show strong MSP partner and revenue growth rates, SolarWinds CEO Kevin Thompson and CFO Barton Kalsu told Wall Street analysts during the company's Q4 2019 earnings call on  Tuesday.

Moreover, the company says its new SolarWinds Service Desk platform is off to a strong start vs. ServiceNow in the IT service management (ITSM) software platform market, particularly in the midmarket and small business sectors.

Keeping Score: MSP Market Health

SolarWinds is a key bellwether in the MSP software and technology market -- especially as:

SolarWinds MSP: Business Reality Check

Amid that competitive landscape, Thompson and Kalsu pointed to these MSP software business milestones for Q4 2019:

  • SolarWinds MSP delivered a full-year net retention rate of 108%, meaning that existing MSPs are increasing their consumption of established and new products from the company.
  • The company's MSPs now support roughly 850,000 end-customers.
  • The company expects to grow MSP-focused subscription revenue at 20 percent or greater for the foreseeable future.
  • A new advanced endpoint protection product (based on a SentinelOne partnership) has been "incredibly well accepted" by MSPs.
  • SolarWinds will continue to roll its IT professional tools into the MSP market.

SolarWinds ServiceDesk vs ServiceNow

Meanwhile, SolarWinds Service Desk -- a new IT service management (ITSM) software platform -- has a net customer retention of 110 percent, which means existing customers are sticking with the platform and increasing their spend on the software.

SolarWinds Service Desk, based on the Samanage acquisition of April 2019, is positioned as a lower-cost alternative to ServiceNow -- particularly for small and midsize businesses that need ITSM automation. So far, SolarWinds has not positioned the new service desk software as an alternative to PSA (professional services automation) software from ConnectWise, Datto or Kaseya.

SolarWinds' Overall Business Performance

SolarWinds' total revenue for Q4 2019 was $247.5 million, up 11.9 percent on a reported basis. Net income for the quarter was $13.2 million -- a big improvement from the company's $14.7 million net loss in the corresponding quarter last year.

The earnings generally beat Wall Street's expectations, but revenues were about $3 million below expectations, according to SeekingAlpha.

Although SolarWinds expressed overall business strength during the earnings call, company officials conceded that the made some changes in late Q4 to address a sales issue in North America. Specifics were not disclosed, but the fine-tuning delivered immediate corrective results in January 2020, company executives said on the earnings call.

MSP Technology Platforms: What's Next?

SolarWinds financial performance provide key metrics to help rivals plan and measure their next business moves. Here's a look at the broader MSP software market and many of the up-and-comer players in the sector.

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.