Syncro CEO: ‘We Have New MSPs Coming To Us Every Day’ From The Competition

“The customers that are coming from all of those competitors are saying the same thing, which is, ‘I want a beautifully well-engineered, elegantly written, modern architecture platform for my business,’” says Michael George, Syncro CEO.

While Michael George knows competition is healthy, he believes Syncro’s toolset is perfectly aligned to help MSPs grow.

“I’d like to see really good companies win, whether they’re competitive or not,” George told CRN. “But I hate to see not-so-good companies erode the trust or the confidence of the underlying businesses that people are trying to build on.”

George, who has been on Syncro’s board of directors since late 2023 and assumed the role of CEO in February, said there’s much to watch out for when it comes to the PSA and RMM vendor—and it all starts with the MSPs.

“I’m open-minded to hear from our partner base and from the market [about] what’s important to them and where they’d like to see product investment be made,” he said. “It’s fair to assume that our investments are all going to be made in shoring up the product, getting better integrations and beginning to expand our feature set.

“We have proven to be incredibly successful at helping earlier-stage MSPs get started,” he added. “They get moving, we make the on-boarding process really simple and then, all of a sudden, they’re off to the races and now they’re starting to grow. Some of the things that we are shoring up now is making sure we have a feature set that allows and enables them to grow and expand well beyond what they came here for. We don’t want them to outgrow Syncro, we want them to continue to grow into our platform.”

And while he’s focused on growing the platform and gaining market share, he’s also not shy about the competition.

“The customers that are coming from all of those competitors are saying the same thing, which is, ‘I want a beautifully well-engineered, elegantly written, modern architecture platform for my business,’” he said. “The ones that are available from the larger players are clunky and incongruent.”

CRN spoke to George about the competition, how Syncro is evolving its products and what’s to come from the company in the future.

How do you plan on gaining market share from competitors like ConnectWise, Kaseya and N-able?

They haven’t captured 100 percent of the market so there’s still plenty of, what I’ll call, ‘green space’ in the market. I will speak on behalf of the market when I say we have new MSPs coming to us every day from those companies. The only thing they have gotten from their vendor has been a price increase over the last three or four years—there hasn’t been innovation and there are companies that have very disjointed product sets because they’ve grown through acquisition. A lot of them have become private equity arbitrage players. Why would I buy IT from one of the big vendors if they’re not doing any better or worse a job of integrating it? I think that’s an example of what’s wrong, if you will, with the way some of the larger players have evolved. The customers that are coming from all of those competitors are saying the same thing, which is, ‘I want a beautifully well-engineered, elegantly written, modern architecture platform for my business.’ The ones that are available from the larger players are clunky and incongruent.

How will you differentiate Syncro from emerging competitors in the space like HaloPSA, NinjaOne and SuperOps AI?

Ninja did a recent fundraise that took them out of management’s hands and into the hands of various private equity firms. They’re going to be a slave to some of the economic pressures. I believe they are now at a size and scale where I think they’re going to be challenged by a lot of the same things. I put them in the same category, candidly, as ConnectWise, N-able or Kaseya in that regard. No. 2, they’re really a single point vendor, they’ve done a beautiful job on the RMM itself. They’re going to have to acquire or do the best they can at developing more than that to become a platform provider. I think their innovation will come in the form of trying to replicate things like we’ve done in the PSA world.

Halo does a nice job on the PSA side. From time to time, we’ll have a partner leave us and then within a month or two come back and tell us that it was a lot harder to on-board than they thought. The only good thing was that Halo will sell you an integration resource to help you get on board. We don’t need one. So we have a lot of people leave us and then come back because they find that it’s just not nearly as easy as the marketing promise.

SuperOps AI is an India-based company with an overly ambitious entrepreneur at the helm that is just making a lot of noise. I think it’s a lot of noise and rhetoric at the moment, but I guess I could always be proven wrong.

What do you love about the MSP market?

If you look at first-world economies, you’ll find that it’s the small to medium business that is the engine of growth and strength and resilience. The managed service provider market not only services them but is the underlying infrastructure provider for the SMB community and business market. The complexity of IT has changed exponentially over the last 10 years. The idea of going out and hiring just one person who knows everything about the cloud, infrastructure, business lines of applications, backup and security revenue, it’s impossible. The managed service provider is providing a necessary service to the small- to medium-business economy. This is critical, this is not a nice-to-have. This is an absolutely necessary part of the growth engine of all first-world economies.

Another thing I love about the MSP market is these are entrepreneurs. These are remarkable people that come from all walks of life. This is no longer about academics, that stature and what Ivy League school that you go to. There are plenty of people in this industry that have great academic credentials, I’m not suggesting that this is not the case. But you can have an MSP of somebody that has a high-school degree who perhaps either happened into it or had a high propensity for technology. They might have been in service to the country, we have a disproportionate number of veterans in our industry. There are also underserved minority communities that are in this industry today because it’s a place where entrepreneurialism is born.

What attracted you to Syncro?

There are a few things that are very specific to the company and then just some other things that are specific to what’s happening in the technology field. The company has absolutely terrific technology; the platform itself is solid. It was built from the ground up as both a PSA and an RMM. Everybody’s fighting for integration but these are integrated at their origin. That’s a unique attribute that’s going to become even more important as we move into the wild, wild west of AI. Over the past year, the company spent a lot of its time, energy and resources really shoring up that platform and getting it ready for commercial scale. It’s got a great team of people and some really remarkable leaders that are here already. ...

If you look at the largest players in the market, they’ve been around for a long time and become a bit of a hodgepodge of technologies. You get to a certain size and scale and it can become very difficult to innovate, so the way they expanded their own product portfolios has been through acquisition. Now you have a bit of an amalgamation of products that are not really integrated.

And because of their ownership—you’ve got ones that are managed by private equity companies that are now in the phase of capturing and extracting value because of where they are in the life cycle of those funds. They’re not investing in product and innovation. Second, very few really large companies are great at innovation. You’ve got to be small and nimble. If you’re serving too many customers, once you start to try to move around you’re accommodating a certain constituent but you’re moving away from another. It really just becomes a balancing act and a very difficult thing.

Large companies are just generally not known for being particularly innovative. If you listen to the marketplace in general, they’ll say that largely the only thing they’ve really gotten from their vendor has been price increases. That’s rarely, if ever, a welcomed thing. They’re all a little flat-footed, they’re not innovative and they’re just sort of extracting value out of the marketplace.

So it’s kind of ripe for disruption. Every once in a while, you get a tectonic shift in the marketplace. The internet was arguably the last astronomical shift that’s taken place in our field. With AI, we have a real technological sea change opportunity. So if you look at the elements of the company and then you combine it with the dynamics of the marketplace and a new technological transformation underway, you’ve got the elements of building a category leader in a very, very short period of time. It was the culmination of all of those things that led me here.

Past Syncro leadership took a strong stance on diversity, equity and inclusion. How do you plan on making it a priority?

If you look across the field of our competitors and certain segments of the technology field, it’s woefully starving for more females, more people of color and more people of diversity. We have a world-class team, our head of engineering is a female, our CFO is a female, our chief people officer is a female and our head of sales is first-generation African American. I think we set a new standard for diversity, equity and inclusion and our executive team is exemplary of the rest of the organization. Diversity, equity and inclusion are not initiatives, they’re not programs. They should be part of the fabric of an organization in how it works, how it thinks and how it’s operated. I’ve always felt that way and I will say it’s in the groundwater here.

What do you think the biggest market opportunity is for MSPs?

It’s going to be in adopting automation into the core of their business. Let’s forget about the concept of AI because it’s overused and overhyped, and I’m not sure if people truly understand how to harness it. The biggest area is automating a massive amount of the handiwork associated with this business today. I would say the No. 1 thing that they should pay attention to is the elements of the service delivery model they have today that they can go out and begin to truly automate. The No. 1 cost center is your technician, and the No. 1 revenue driver is your endpoint, your devices. When you can get the technician-to-device ratio right, and then improve that, that’s where the economics for these businesses is.

What is your overall message to partners, and what’s to come at Syncro?

Syncro as a company will look dramatically different and our partner community will be able to have the fastest capacity of growth at the greatest economic benefit of any other MSP partner.