N-Able Technologies held its quarterly partner meeting last week, attracting 300 MSPs to Chicago to hear the latest from the company. N-Able had only expected 250 partners, but scrambled to find room for 50 walk-ins. It's a sure sign that managed services is becoming more important in the marketplace, said Gavin Garbutt, CEO of N-Able. Garbutt spoke this week with CMP Channel about the event and what's going on in managed services, including the impact of Dell's entry into the space. The following are excerpts from the conversation:
CMP Channel: What was the vibe at your Chicago event?
The state of the industry is so different now. What's really interesting is the mentality of the service providers. Before, they were very hesitant, other than with a few core customers whom they really know, to get [a managed service] product into people's hands.
We're really seeing these guys going through major mind shift. Instead of viewing managed service software and the cost of setting up a customer as being prohibitive, they're really embracing the notion. I know it's around the big guys like Dell getting in [to managed services] and they're worried the big guys will come in and eat their lunch.
So Dell's acquisition of Silverback Technologies is having an effect on the market?
I was at CMPs' TechInnovators XChange show, and there was one of our partners there. The first day, he stopped by our booth and said 'I really have to talk to Gavin. I have to talk to Gavin.' Dell had sent him an e-mail the week before, asking him to join the managed service program. Within that same week, one of his customers got an e-mail forwarded from a customer trying to sell him a service contract. My keynote was around the notion of building a managed services practice.
Now is the opportunity to do the land grab. There are 78 million seats in the U.S., and under 5 percent are in managed service contracts. The space is wide open, but you better do it fast. Dell is starting to market it. Now we've heard from Ingram and Best Buy doing it. Best Buy will resell managed services through Ingram Micro Service Network. Staples will be doing the same thing.
Now that the technology is at mass distribution models, they all want to get basic monitoring at the customer site. It makes total sense. As you know, if you're monitoring the customer, then you have all their asset information, lifecycle information. You're able to do all the break-fix, reports, capacity planning, predictive analysis. At the end of the day, whoever monitors the customers, owns the customers.
Next: A Shifting Market