A new service module from AVG Technologies will make it cheaper and easier for channel partners to remotely monitor and manage Microsoft Office 365.
The new service module, which was made available Wednesday, will allow MSPs to view all essential Office 365-related information on a single screen without having to log in and out of different applications, said Marco La Vecchia, the vice president of channel sales for AVG, which has its U.S. operations based in San Francisco.
The module is necessary for ensuring solution providers remain relevant to their customers, La Vecchia said, by providing end users with reasons to not purchase Office 365 directly from Microsoft.
The difference is that channel partners can easily offer through AVG Managed Workplace management services, such as user password resets and mailbox, which Microsoft typically will not do. La Vecchia said these services add value for customers and provide channel partners with a source of recurring revenue.
With the new module, MSPs can remotely perform the five most popular management tasks: password resets; tracking mailbox usage activity; viewing mailbox quotas, policies and memberships; setting alerts for license expiration; and checking up-to-date information on subscriptions, usage and license status. They can do this from within the same screen view, La Vecchia said. Other administrative tasks can be accessed without any additional logins, he said.
La Vecchia said roughly half of the channel partners AVG spoke with indicated that they wanted greater functionality in managing client software. More than 60 percent of all MSPs utilize Office 365 for their customers, La Vecchia said, with 15 million paying customers as of November 2013.
AVG acquired Managed Workplace through its June 2013 acquisition of Level Platforms in Ottawa, Ontario, and has found it appeals most to solution providers with between eight and 100 employees, La Vecchia said. The tool offers margins of between 35 percent and 45 percent for proactive support services, he said, and 65 percent to 70 percent for fixed-fee services.
But the appeal of Managed Workplace has expanded beyond its traditional clientele as more longtime AVG customers learn the company now has a remote monitoring and management platform.
Despite typically having between one and four employees and just getting into managed services, solution providers offering AVG's other product, CloudCare, are starting to also carry Managed Workplace, La Vecchia said.
CloudCare debuted in October 2012 as a cloud-based administration platform for channel partners to implement and manage services for small business customers. Managed Workplace is slightly -- though not significantly -- more expensive for MSPs to carry than CloudCare, La Vecchia said.
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