Channel technologies, IT management, MSP

Midmarket PSA Software Rivalries Intensify

MSPs are familiar with fierce competition in the PSA (professional services automation) software market, where rivals like Autotask and ConnectWise have traded blows for more than a decade. Now, a similar PSA battle is unfolding in the midmarket. That's where FinancialForce hopes to disrupt NetSuite OpenAir and other entrenched offerings.

The latest jab: FinancialForce says Greenway Health, an IT provider in the healthcare market, has jumped from OpenAir to FinancialForce's PSA and revenue management offerings. It's a significant customer win. Greenway had roughly 1,700 employees as of 2015. I don't know current headcount or actual FinancialForce seat adoption. But consider this: Greenway's business touches more than 100 million lives per year through partnering with thousands of providers across more than 40 specialties, the company claims.

NetSuite and Oracle vs. FinancialForce and

It's unfair to "hype" a single customer transition from one platform to another. After All, OpenAir rings up plenty of customer wins of its own each quarter. But the Greenway customer case study is particularly timely.

NetSuite is best-known for its SaaS-based ERP applications. Generally speaking, PSA has been a healthy secondary business for the company, ChannelE2E believes. Now, throw in this wrinkle: Oracle is in the process of buying NetSuite for $9.3 billion -- though NetSuite shareholder T. Rowe Price is pushing for a higher buyout price.

FinancialForce, which claims to be the fastest-growing cloud-based PSA offering with BI capabilities, clearly senses opportunity. The company is attempting to capitalize on potential NetSuite customer uncertainty amid the Oracle-NetSuite deal. Plus, FinancialForce is built to run with -- essentially giving customers CRM, PSA and financial capabilities in an integrated platform.

The potential upside for Greenway? Having everything on one platform -- FinancialForce and Salesforce -- gives Greenway Health's team the data they need to keep projects on track and on budget, better manage the business and improve productivity, the company says.

PSA: Scaling Up and Scaling Out

It's a familiar message. Autotask and ConnectWise are quick to describe their own software suites in similar fashion. Generally speaking, that duo has historically focused most on recurring revenue service providers (i.e., MSPs). But I think they're also on a collision course with FinancialForce and OpenAir (and plenty of additional PSA options) for IT consulting firms and VARs.

Indeed, PSA conversations in the IT channel have moved far beyond MSPs that support SMB customers. PSA also offers upside to VARs, midmarket IT consulting firms and professional services organizations across all technology verticals. And the midmarket certainly isn't reserved for FinancialForce and OpenAir...

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.