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SolarWinds MSP Preps PSA Software Strategy


SolarWinds MSP expects to eventually launch a PSA (professional services automation) software platform, and it's something that rivals should worry about, according to SolarWinds CEO Kevin Thompson. The company is also preparing an endpoint protection partnership with SentinelOne, Thompson added.

PSA Strategy: Without mentioning products like ConnectWise Manage, Datto (Autotask PSA) and Kaseya BMS by name, Thompson believes the PSA software market isn't evolving quickly enough to meet modern MSP needs.

Kevin Thompson, CEO, SolarWinds
SolarWinds CEO Kevin Thompson

Asked about the PSA opportunity during SolarWinds' earnings call on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, Thompson said:

"I've been saying for a long time, that I believe that professional services automation market, which is one of the key pieces of technology that MSPs buy to manage their back office and manage the delivery of their services to their customers, that technology is old. I don't believe it works very well. I think they try to do everything for everyone and as a result those products do nothing very well.

I think the companies that are in that space are not aggressive, they're not creative, they're not thinking about what a MSP really needs to run their business effectively. And I do believe that great ideas and product integrated with our remote monitoring and management product is that solution."

SolarWinds Service Desk and Samanage: Tomorrow's PSA Software?

On a potentially related note, SolarWinds is acquiring Samanage -- a small but growing IT service management (ITSM) software company that competes with ServiceNow. A product called SolarWinds Service Desk, based on Samanage technology, is expected to launch later this quarter.

In theory, SolarWinds could refine the service desk software to address PSA opportunities. But during yesterday's earnings call, Thompson said potentially positioning SolarWinds Service Desk as PSA for MSPs would take more time. His statement during the call:

"That's going to require a little bit more work, a little bit more definition before we want to launch that product into that market. But it is something you should expect us to do. It is something our MSP customers should expect that we will do over time and that's something our MSP competitors should really worry about."

SolarWinds MSP: Current PSA Options, Challenges

In the meantime, SolarWinds MSP already integrates with third-party PSA software platforms. And the company offers a basic ticketing system -- sort of a PSA light edition -- called MSP Manager.

If SolarWinds launches a full-blown PSA push, convincing MSPs to switch out their business management platforms won't be easy. PSA tends to be the stickiest of all MSP software tools -- somewhat akin to the critical nature of ERP to enterprise customers.

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.