Data protection juggernaut Datto and Autotask are becoming one company. And that's suddenly put Datto's longtime partnership with ConnectWise – an Autotask competitor – under the microscope.
MSPs who partner with ConnectWise but rely on Datto for its backup, networking and disaster recovery solutions quickly wondered how the deal might affect their businesses. ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini said in a November interview with CRN that his company would always be open to Datto integration but added that it would be "interesting to see how things progress."
"We're trying to make it business as usual as much as possible," said Datto CMO Pete Rawlinson. "So far, (ConnectWise's) reaction to this deal has been very positive. We already had integrations to the main PSA [professional services automation] vendors before this announcement. Our philosophy isn't going to change at all … There's enough opportunity in the market for us to take an open approach and still provide value to MSPs."
Partners who spoke with CRN agreed that Datto teaming up with Autotask shouldn't significantly affect its ConnectWise partnership. Allen Falcon, CEO of Westborough, Mass.-based Datto partner Cumulus Global, said the data protection vendor had told solution providers that ConnectWise remains a "critical innovation partner." He also believes the Autotask deal will create synergies for his company and other channel partners.
"You don't necessarily want to disrupt your partnership with the market leader, even though you're now owned by the company [Vista Equity Partners] that owns one of their competitors [Autotask]," Falcon said. "I think we'll see more of these types of mergers where the platform providers are moving more toward the role that distribution has traditionally played in the channel."
"There's the possibility of all three of those working in perfect harmony," said Anchor Network Solutions CEO Vince Tinnirello.
Tinnirello is a longtime Datto and Autotask partner who is on both companies' partner advisory boards.
"If you're a ConnectWise partner that only uses the networking product, you might not get integration at that level, but you're going to get integration," he said.
In 2018, Rawlinson said MSPs could expect to tap into cross-selling opportunities from the merged firms as soon as January. The company, which will retain the Datto brand, is meeting Friday to lay out the go-to-market strategy around its PSA, RMM, and BCDR solutions, in hopes that partners can take advantage of a combined offering quickly.
Rawlinson added that decisions regarding how the combined marketing team would brand products, such as Autotask's PSA platform, would be made throughout next year. He said partners would not see Autotask "being subsumed" by the Datto brand.