Is there room for another PSA (professional services automation) platform for managed service providers in the market? PacketTrap thinks so.
Last month, Quest Software (PacketTrap's parent company) purchased Blue Folder and this week released the first fruit borne from that acquisition: PacketTrap PSA, a services platform to compete against the likes of ConnectWise, Autotask and TigerPaw Software.
"We do compete head to head with those guys and we have no problem getting into a bakeoff. But our goal is not to go to all existing MSPs and get them off ConnectWise and onto [PacketTrap] PSA. We believe MSPs deserve a choice," said Matt Bolton, divisional vice president of product management for the Network Management Division at Quest Software, based in San Francisco.
Like many MSP software tools, PacketTrap has several competitors with whom it must also play nice. The company's PacketTrap MSP 6.2 remote monitoring and management solution, released Friday, also integrates with ConnectWise, Autotask, Tiger Paw, et al. So while the company seeks tighter integration with those PSA platforms, it's looking to carve a niche into a pretty crowded field already.
Where PacketTrap PSA looks to differentiate itself is in its ease of use, Bolton said. The solution can be deployed in less than two hours and it offers a simpler package without the "bells and whistles" of the competition, he said.
"We were constantly interviewing customers before acquiring BlueFolder and they kept saying 'Give me something easy that helps me run by business. Don't make me configure it for my business,'" Bolton said. "There's a balance between being feature rich but also having too many little bells and whistles."
Other PSA solutions have matured to the point that they have become cumbersome and too complex for many users, loaded with features that most MSPs never use, Bolton said.
"It's 'feature creep.' You start off saying we'll give you Mr. MSP software you can customize. The problem with customization is it takes an expert to set it up and if that person leaves you're screwed," Bolton said. "You survey 20 [MSPs] that have an existing PSA and probably 15 to 17 of those folks will say they have a dedicated person on staff to run them and it took a minimum of six to nine months to see the value of those solutions. We take a different approach."
After registering for SaaS-based PacketTrap PSA, MSPs see a screen with about 10 checklisted items that include things like uploading their company logo and importing the customer list, Bolton said.
"Then they're instantly ready to go. It takes maybe an hour. We offer a 21-day trial. We don't need to offer more than that. People see the advantage," he said.
Meanwhile, PacketTrap MSP 6.2 delivers new, tighter integration with its PSA cousin, much the same ConnectWise has done with the LabTech RMM solution.
Also new in MSP 6.2 is deeper VoIP monitoring support for Avaya, Bolton said.
Next: MSP 6.2 Adds VoIP, Applications Support
"One of the big things we continue to hear from VoIP resellers out there is that over the last year, VoIP has dramtically commoditized and they're not making money off implementations. The only recurring revenue they're getting is renewing the Avaya maintenance agreement, which only happens once a year," Bolton said.
MSP 6.2 includes Avaya VoIP network performance, packet loss monitoring, call statistics and forensics that can identify poor call performance patterns, according to PacketTrap. Over the next few months, the company plans further VoIP support for Cisco Systems and ShoreTel products, Bolton said.
"We support Cisco Call manager today but Cisco changes things quite often and we'll have [additional] support," he said.
Other improvements in MSP 6.2 include a new workflow called Application Monitoring Template, a one-click feature that includes alerts and remediation for critical applications on a network, according to PacketTrap, which was chosen last year as one of CRN's Managed Service Vendors You Need To Know
"For example, Backup Exec, you want to have that app covered. With a single click you can automatically monitor all the critical services and eents and you can put in auto-remediation capabilities around getting that system healthy again," Bolton said. "We've done that around 15 applications in this release including some security, antivirus, XChange, Blackberry Server and some more business applications."
One thing that's not in MSP 6.2 is monitoring and management support for iOS, Android or other mobile devices. Quest Software believes it's not yet a sore spot for MSPs and end users, Bolton said. "It's getting a lot of buzz right now, but in terms of where MSPs feel pain, I'm not sure it's time for that yet, but obviously it's coming pretty soon," he said.