GFI Software Wednesday took the wraps off App Control, a new tool aimed at letting managed service providers keep better track of their Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps customers.
App Control, part of GFI Max, the Durham, N.C.-based vendor's MSP software unit, lets MSPs manage Office 365 and Google Apps user accounts, mailboxes and licenses using a single dashboard. This saves MSPs the hassle of logging into multiple vendors' consoles to manage customers.
Dave Sobel, director of partner community at GFI Software, told CRN that while many MSPs are doing mobile device management and support, they're not capturing all of the additional revenue that comes with embracing mobility.
With App Control, MSPs can embrace mobility in a more holistic way, taking on a role that's akin to an outsourced CIO as opposed to the traditional "trusted adviser" relationship, Sobel said.
Just as CIOs have a defined role in advising businesses on the use of technology, including things such as compliance and security, App Control can help MSPs play a more strategic role with their customers, according to Sobel.
"MSPs need to embrace the idea of managing users instead of just managing devices," Sobel said.
The greater visibility App Control provides means that MSPs can alert customers to any service licenses they aren't using, which can help save money. MSPs also can use its reporting features to map out their customers' future cloud services needs, said Sobel.
While MSPs are well-versed in the technology side of these discussions, smaller solution providers need to develop business skills, and this is what App Control aims to address, Sobel said.
"It's a marketing and business challenge," Sobel said. "MSPs are good at embracing technology. This is about working with their vendors to better their marketing skills."
PUBLISHED MARCH 12, 2014