Kaseya Turnaround: An MSP Reality Check

Kaseya, the MSP software provider, described multiple business milestones today. The company, which underwent a business reset of sorts this year, points to a "strong finish to 2015" while promising continued milestones in 2016. But just how far has Kaseya come in the past year?

Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola
CEO Fred Voccola

First, a little background. Insight Venture Partners acquired Kaseya in 2013 and rolled a range of additional acquisitions into the business. History shows the moves were too much, too soon for the company to manage. Kaseya faced fierce competition and apparently suffered from too many priorities (for instance, MSPs vs. midmarket customers) and too many technology digestions in recent years. A reset occurred in 2015 when Fred Voccola arrived as CEO.

In recent months, Voccola and the Kaseya management team have met with hundreds of MSPs -- gathering feedback and setting up a Customer Success Program to strengthen relations with service providers. In a November 2015 interview with ChannelE2E, Voccola shared many of the milestones as part of an overall progress report on the company.

Fast forward to present day and Kaseya says the milestones continue. Overall, ChannelE2E believes the company is making progress with MSPs. But challenges remain. Here's a quick update.

1. Kaseya Customer Engagement

In August, Kaseya rolled out a "comprehensive, global-wide Customer Success Program designed to enable customers to derive maximum value from their relationship with Kaseya and to help them drive maximum revenue growth and profitability from their Kaseya product investments. The program included an initial investment by Kaseya of over $6 million and has received an overwhelmingly positive response." Moreover, the executive team has met with more than 300 customers while also relaunching and rebranding a customer advisory group -- now known as Kaseya's Customer Success Council.

ChannelE2E Spin: Kaseya's smartest step was clarifying who the customer is. Instead of chasing mid-market IT managers, the company has doubled down on MSPs serving small and midsize businesses. The challenge? That market is now saturated with rivals -- many of whom have had consistent MSP messaging for nearly a decade...

2. Kaseya Product Innovation

Kaseya points to multiple innovations, including the launch of Kaseya VSA 9.2 with Windows 10 support. The enhancements, Kaseya asserts, were based on MSP feedback. Also of note, more than 600 MSPs now leverage Kaseya AuthAnvil (identity and access management); while the company has continued to enhance Kaseya 365 Command (Office 365 management) and Traverse (SLA management).

ChannelE2E Spin: We'll poke around a bit to gather feedback about Kaseya VSA 9.2 (give us some time on that). Overall, it's good to see a diverse product portfolio -- but many of the Kaseya offerings now face heavy competition. For instance...

  • Kaseya 365 Command: Kaseya acquired that technology in 2013 -- though multiple companies now offer Office 365 management tools to MSPs. Examples include LogicNow and ConnectWise's CloudConsole. Overall, the MSP software market has to move far more rapidly toward Azure and Amazon Web Services management.
  • Kaseya AuthAnvil: Kaseya acquired this technology in August 2014, as part of the Scorpion Software buyout. No doubt, two-factor authentication, single sign on and password management are hot niches for MSPs. But here again, nimble rivals have emerged. Chief among them: PassPortal.

3. Kaseya Growth

Kaseya says its MSPs now manage more than 10 million endpoints, and the company added more than  1,000 new customers in 2015. New or expanded offices have taken root in New York, Miami, Las Vegas, London, and Dublin. Annual R&D is now more than $25 million.

ChannelE2E Spin: It's difficult to quantify that "1,000 new customers" claim -- especially since some customers could be tiny MSPs leveraging a one-off product (say, 365 Command) for a handful of customer seats. Still, the overall message from Kaseya (i.e., "We're growing") is a positive one.

Bottom Line

Overall, it seems clear that Kaseya -- as a company -- is in better shape this year than it was in 2014. Perhaps more importantly, Kaseya is back in listen-mode -- meeting with MSPs and gathering their feedback and guidance.

Still, there's additional room for improvement. ChannelE2E has heard from a handful of MSPs that abandoned Kaseya this year, concluding that the company's pricing was either too high or turnover on the sales team has been too dramatic. Some MSPs even received annual lump-sum bills -- a serious "No, No" in the age of pay-as-you-go managed and cloud services.

Stay tuned for more updates. ChannelE2E hopes to speak with Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola in the days ahead for his views on the company's progress.

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.