Autotask CEO: VARs Need Hybrid Of Products And Services


Autotask attracted more than 500 VARs and MSPs to its Autotask Community Live conference this week in Miami, Fla., where CEO Bob Godgart introduced new features, new partnerships and new strategies for the professional services automation platform company.

Godgart spoke with Channelweb.com's Scott Campbell about what's new with Autotask, including the company's recent VARStreet acquisition, and where he sees the services industry going. The following are excerpts from the conversation:

What are some of the product enhancements you're announcing this week?

Even before the VARStreet acquisition, we were building a tremendous amount of product, programs and partnerships. The challenge is helping resellers swallow it all. There's so much. We talk internally, more, more, more all the time. But we need to figure out how to help resellers swallow the more of more.

We've spent the last several months putting together new programs for VARs to take advantage of. Last November, we started Autotask Academy, with Lenny DiCostanzo as the "dean." We've created all kinds of basic training materials, Webinars, videos. We've increased the amount of stuff that's there. We have a number of free programs, boot camps that are live in multiple locations, live via Webinar. We've also opened a set of programs called Autotask Answers, which are a series of town hall meetings that we do a couple times week. People send in questions and interact among each other.

We've also been strong in community. Around November [2009] we started user groups. We've been doing two new user groups a month. We're already at a dozen, including a couple of international groups, and people are asking to be leaders. We'll probably have 30 to 40 by the end of the year.

We also did what we called a Top 10 project. We asked everyone to send us their wish list of the top 10 features they want to see from Autotask. It turns out everybody's top 10 was different. There was not a lot of consistency. But we can categorize them into 3 areas: turning time into money, turning product into money and automating more business processes. Some of those will be included in the next release, which will go out after the first week of May, after the new billing period is over.

Before we get to VARStreet, what's new on the partnership front?

With partnerships, we have gotten to the point where we have a number of developers building apps on top of our API. Companies here like Vlad Mazek's s One Web Now, Proactive IT, Travis Austin's MSPIntegrations have built a half dozen cloud-based managed services apps through Autotask. We're excited that we've built out this developer community. Next month we're putting together Autotask Marketplace. It's like Apple's Apps Store. We've got enough third party and integration platform apps now that we have to catalog them. That will be a tool now in VARstreet.

 

Next: The Services Pendulum Swings Back