Kaseya Connect IT Global 2019: 10 MSP Takeaways

This week's Kaseya Connect IT Global 2019 conference in Las Vegas offered some surprises, healthy debate, competitive showdowns and plenty more for MSPs (managed IT services providers) and IT professionals in the audience.

For those who didn't attend the conference in Las Vegas, here are 10 takeaways (well, 14) that you missed -- including official news, chatter in the halls, and rumors from my inbox.

Fred Voccola, CEO, Kaseya
Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola

1. Yes, Unicorns Can Be Profitable: Money-losing unicorns -- names like Lyft, Uber and more -- may wind up crippling the so-called shared economy and the broader U.S. economy, I believe. But that doesn't mean the term 'Unicorn' is necessarily a negative term. In fact, Unicorns -- privately-held businesses with valuations of $1 billion or more -- can be quite profitable. Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola shared multiple anecdotes about this with me -- ultimately connecting the dots back to the MSP software industry. I'll share more details soon. Who Told Me: Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola.

2. Kaseya Powered Services 2.0: The strategy, simply put, is to help MSPs build multiple $1 million business lines. My personal opinion? If you string together five $1 million business lines -- each with roughly 20 percent EBITDA margins -- you've just built an MSP that's worth between $5 million to $7 million or so. In the world of Kaseya, the Powered Services 2.0 strategy involves four focus areas:

  • Service readiness: Powered Services coach MSPs on how to position and sell the services, including a marketing strategy success blueprint that covers everything from overcoming objections to positioning bundled solutions that drive monthly recurring revenue. MSPs can also drill down into specific verticals such as healthcare, financial services, and legal, Kaseya says.
  • Sales and marketing readiness: MSPs receive sales and marketing playbooks developed to help MSPs along every step of the sales cycle.
  • Service delivery: MSPs receive a 30-, 60-, and 90-day guided course focused on driving product profitably.
  • Business review: Quarterly business reviews measure how participating MSPs are progressing, identify any barriers to success, and share new and current best practices for success, the company says.

3. IT Glue's Next Move: IT Glue launched Network Glue, a network documentation solution that discovers, documents, and diagrams a business’s IT environment, with an up-to-date view on all devices. It's an important move for multiple reasons. First, it affirms that IT Glue continues to innovate under Kaseya's ownership and even after the departure of IT Glue Founder Chris Day. Second, it potentially helps IT Glue to maintain differentiation from Passportal, which extended from password management to document management ahead of a company sale to SolarWinds. We're also checking to see if or how Network Glue competes with Liongard. Who Told Me: IT Glue's PR team.

TeamLogic IT’s Dan Shapero

4. TeamLogic IT: The franchise-driven IT service provider sounds like it's performing quite well. President Dan Shapero, an MSP market pioneer and Kaseya veteran, chatted with me briefly and shared some milestones. Yada, yada, yada. I was impressed. I'll share more details when I have time to ping Shapero for a more official interview. Who Told Me: Dan Shapero, President, TeamLogic IT.

5. Voice over IP Integration: Cytracom, a provider of cloud-based Voice over IP built for MSPs, now integrates with Kaseya BMS, the company's professional services automation (PSA) software. Who Told Me: Terez Leach, marketing manager, Cytracom.

Mark Sokol
Adam Slutskin, CRO, CyberFox
Joe Alapat

6. Liongard's Tipping Point: During a quick hallway conversation, CEO Joe Alapat and Chief Revenue Officer Adam Slutskin shared several Liongard business milestones. The company's flagship software platform, Roar, automates the way MSPs capture and oversee information from cloud services, network, and on-premises systems. So what were those business milestones? Stay tuned. I have notes from Slutskin and new VP of Marketing Mark Sokol. I'll share them in the days ahead. Who Told Me:

Ryan Walsh, chief channel officer, Pax8

7. Cloud Distribution Momentum: Pax8, the cloud-centric distributor, now works with 6,500 partners and has 1.1 million Microsoft endpoints under management. Roughly 35 technology vendors now offer products via Pax8. Who Told Me: Ryan Walsh, chief channel officer, Pax8.

8. Unwanted Feud: Let me state the obvious. ConnectWise and Kaseya continue to spar -- some days more than others. I'll take the high road on the latest "he said, she said" stuff, and state what I heard from MSPs in recent days: Please just focus on partner success rather than competitive jabs. Who Told Me: Four conference attendees during separate private conversations with me. The comments to me were unsolicited.

Rob Rae, VP of Business Development, Datto

9. Datto Update: Can we expect big surprises at the DattoCon19 conference in June? Datto VP Rob Rae was tight-lipped about the upcoming event. But he did confirm a report about Datto hiring Akamai & Unbxd veteran Sanjay Singh as chief sales officerWho Told Me: Datto VP Rob Rae.

10. SOC as a Service: I still haven't seen a de facto preferred standard for MSPs that want to white label SOC as a Service. Plenty of companies are trying to deliver exactly that. If any MSPs see an emerging SOCaaS standard in the market -- particularly the MSP-driven SMB sector -- please email me ([email protected]).

11. Security Momentum: Among the MSP-focused companies generating security buzz at the conference -- names like Huntress, Webroot and Netsurion come to mind, among others. I'm also watching to see if Alert Logic's channel program gains momentum...

12. Beyond Dark Web Monitoring: Yes, ID Agent -- now owned by Kaseya -- has momentum with Dark Web monitoring. But take a closer look, and ID Agent's sales team consults closely with MSPs to help those partners win business deals. It's a safe bet those best practices will soon expand to the broader Kaseya partner ecosystem. Who Told Me: Various conversations with multiple attendees and executives.

Kaseya GM Jim Lippie
Gary Pica, CEO, TruMethods
Service Leadership Inc. CEO Paul Dippell

Bonus - 13. Managed Security Pricing Models: Instead of charging separately for managed security and building out a separate MSSP practice, multiple experts suggested small MSPs (say, about $5 million or less in annual recurring revenue) bake solid security into into their existing service offering and raise per-user pricing accordingly. Who Told Me: Service Leadership CEO Paul Dippell and TruMethods CEO Gary Pica, during a panel moderated by Kaseya GM Jim Lippie.

Bonus - 14. Kaseya CEO Keynote: In case you missed my earlier blog, here's a recap of Fred Voccola's keynote.

What did I miss? What didn't I capture quite accurately? Email me your thoughts and share your conference takeaways. [email protected]. Thanks to those who spent some time with me at the event, debated the industry, pushed back on some of what I write, and ultimately help me to generate our coverage every day.

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.