Zenith RMM Expects To Invest In MSP Technologies, Programs

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When Summit Partners bought the rights to spin off Zenith RMM from Zenith Infotech, it did so with deep pockets, meaning MSPs should expect to see the company start to spend sooner than later, said Zenith RMM CEO Michael George.

In particular, George expects to begin looking at acquisitions of complementary technologies to expand Zenith RMM's capabilities.

"I see a pretty fragmented market today. There are some interesting technologies that exist outside this industry to broaden the [portfolio] of products and services that MSPs can engage in. You're likely to see us do acquisitions in areas of technology rather than aggregating the market," George said during an interview with CRN at ConnectWise's IT Nation 2011 conference. "We're not going to go buy customers but bring more more technology to the MSP community."

George wouldn't detail what technology areas that Zenith RMM would pursue acquisitions in, but possible areas include backup and disaster recovery (BDR, an area where Zenith Infotech plays), mobile device management and network management. Partnerships with other companies to strengthen Zenith RMM's offerings are also possible, George added.

Investment into technology was welcome news to Paul Rouse, president of Rouse Consulting Group, a Moline, Ill.-based MSP invited by Zenith RMM to sit in on the interview with George.

Rouse said he started looking for a new remote monitoring and management platform vendor earlier this year because he was frustrated in Zenith Infotech's lack of investment into the RMM business. He changed his mind after Zenith RMM was formed as a separate company with solid financial backing.

"We're excited. This [Summit Partners] is a company with $12 billion behind them. It has a lot of other tech-type companies which they have their fingers into. The management team understands business and fiannce. We think they'll take the product down a good road and give it the attention it didn't get the last two or three years because of limited resources," Rouse said.

George hopes to convince Zenith RMM's 1,200 other MSPs to do the same, but he faces the challenge of dealing with even-more frustrated partners after Zenith Infotech defaulted on some $85 million in convertible bonds.

Though Zenith RMM is now separate and not a part of Zenith Infotech's financial issues, competitors are using those scare tactics to woo Zenith RMM's partners. Thus far, he said, almost every company has stayed put.

"The RMM side of the business, with the exception of the [last 18 months] where Zenith Infotech shuffled resources to its cloud initiative and did so at the expense, perhaps, of development and investment in the RMM side, the loss rate has been minimal," George said. "The good news is that [Zenith Infotech] was so far ahead of the RMM side that they didn't fall behind the market. We have the resources and the talent to give [MSPs] support."

As competitors swoop in to try to grab Zenith RMM partners, George also went on the offensive, attacking Kaseya and others as only being "RM companies" because they offer remote monitoring but not true management.

"Is that a full service to your customers? Is that a labor-free environment or do you have to go out and hire a $65,000-a-year-technician that has to answer his pager at 2:30 in the morning? We will never be the low-cost leader in this market. In a dollar-an-agent model, I'd hate to see how little money those guys are putting into R&D. Is that sustainable? We think this a short-lived bit of noise in the market," George said.

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