Business continuity, Channel partner events, Channel partner programs, MSP, Storage

DattoCon16: Five Things for Datto MSPs to Track

Several hundred MSPs are set to attend DattoCon16 (June 20-22, Tennessee), Datto's annual gathering of customers and partners. CEO Austin McChord (pictured above) and Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak are set to keynote. But what key cloud, storage, data protection, business continuity and networking trends can MSPs expect to see at the channel conference? Here are five things to watch, care of ChannelE2E.

Author: Pete Rawlinson
Pete Rawlinson

1. Datto and MSP Branding: Datto has started to promote its brand directly to SMB customers -- via TV ads and city billboards. Does that mean Datto is starting to sell direct? Absolutely not. The data protection company wants SMB customers to know and understand the Datto brand, and to ask for Datto solutions by name when working with MSPs. Moreover, the company is promoting specific channel partners on regional billboards -- a major perk for MSPs seeking to establish home field advantage over regional rivals. PS: Keep an eye on emerging strategies from Chief Marketing Officer Pete Rawlinson, an AppSense veteran who joined the company in March.

Datto Network Appliance (DNA)

2. Datto Network Appliance: Announced more than a year ago, Datto Network Appliance (DNA) attempts to extend the company beyond storage toward networking. Frustrated by traditional WiFi routers, CEO Austin McChord and the R&D team have been designing the DNA appliance with simplicity, reliability, scalability and partner profits in mind. The safe bet: DNA launches at the conference. The big question: What's the pricing model for DNA -- up-front purchase, hardware as a service (HaaS) or something different?

3. Datto Pricing Model: Datto announced a more predictable, fixed pricing model for its data protection offerings in January 2016. On the one hand, the move ended special promotion offers and occasional discounts. On the other, MSPs gained a more predictable model to help set their own long-term pricing for end-customers. How's that all working out? We'll check at the show.

4. Datto Drive: Datto launched a freemium file sync and sharing service a few weeks ago. The goal: Get SMB customers to sign up for Datto Drive, and then forward those customer leads to MSPs. Datto leveraged some OwnCloud technology for Datto Drive. OwnCloud itself appears to be a distressed company at this point, but Datto says have no fear -- the company's file sync and sharing platform remains a safe long-term bet for MSPs that want alternatives to Box and Dropbox. Side Note: Rumor has it Datto no longer is welcome to attend/sponsor Autotask Community Live in the fall of 2016 -- perhaps because of potential competition between Datto Drive and Autotask Workplace. We're checking on the rumor and the companies' relationship.

Author: Datto’s Rob Rae
LiveAction CEO Brooks Borcherding

5. Overall Growth Strategy, IPO?: Datto Chief Revenue Officer Brooks Borcherding is managing four growth levers to help drive growth while working closely with MSPs. Meanwhile, VP of Business Development Rob Rae and his team continue to crisscross the globe, promoting the company's brand to MSPs at regional and national conferences. Datto is a rare unicorn ($1 billion-plus valuation) that actually generates profits. The company has raised venture capital as recently as 2015. The big question: Will Datto pursue another VC round, hold steady or perhaps even push forward with IPO plans? Hmmm... We're checking on those potential scenarios -- and others.

6. Bonus: After wrapping up our DattoCon16 on-site coverage, ChannelE2E is heading directly to ConnectWise's Automation Nation 2016 conference for MSPs running LabTech. Here's a preview.

What Else?: Got any other tips or questions about the conference? Email me: [email protected].

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.