Autotask Enhances Platform To Help MSPs Assess Customer Needs

Autotask is adding new features to its managed services platform aimed at helping MSPs better understand their customers' businesses through enhanced access to data. The updates are being formally announced at the Autotask Community Live conference, which is under way this week in Phoenix.

"Business outcomes are what people care about," said Mark Cattini, Autotask's president and CEO. "We're enabling MSPs and customers [by removing] basically all of the repetitive tasks and hassles associated with delivering managed IT. We want to help them increase productivity, automation and efficiency so that they can better focus on business outcomes. Anything else is irrelevant."

Product enhancements include new performance dashboards that present dynamically compiled data in Excel workbooks that can be used to support service desk management, project management, financial management and sales management.

[Related: IndependenceIT, Autotask Partner To Simplify MSP Cloud Management ]

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"It's the difference between reporting and true business intelligence," said Patrick Burns, vice president of product management at Autotask. "We've abstracted the data into a high performance environment that can provide complex information on their service desk and CRM functions. We do all the legwork to build formatted views and graphs that present information in a context that really lets you understand how you are performing. The data is interpreted for you in a digestible and easy-to-consume format that everyone is familiar with."

The data is expected help MSPs improve performance, assess customer satisfaction and provide similar feedback.

"We've showed this upgrade to 30 or 40 customers, so far," said Cattini. "It's gotten great reviews."

MSPs and other partners can leverage the data toward better consulting in additional sales opportunities.

"I'm really excited about being able to look inside of my business much more deeply than we'd been able to do in the past," said Vince Tinnirello, CEO of Anchor Network Solutions, Inc., a Denver, Colo.-based MSP. "It will help to determine where we're making our money, who's profitable and who's not. And on the services desk side, we can more clearly see any issues that might exist. One might argue that the information has always been there, but we'd need to spend a lot of time that we could not spare. So this is going to give me data that I didn't even know I wanted until I saw it."

NEXT: New ITIL Modules, Streamlining Problem Management

In other news, Autotask is becoming ITIL-compliant by adding problem management and change management modules to its offering. The problem management component is being delivered this month, and change management is expected shortly thereafter.

"Change management introduces the concept of the change order to the system," explained Autotask's Burns. "Previously, somebody could use a service ticket as a change order, and just put a different classification on it, but now the product supports full change management workflows, including approvals, automatic notifications, etc."

The opportunity to streamline processes and procedures, especially problem management, resonates with Tom Clancy, vice president of sales, at Valiant Technology, a New York City-based managed service provider.

"The problem management [module] is going to make a big difference for us because we provide service for 60 or 70 companies in our market, and a problem can extend across a number of customers so this gives me the ability to track issues more efficiently," he said. "The updated project module is also very efficient. As we add our tasks in the specific steps to the project, the actual calendar is going to automatically populate. And if we end up having to delay, I can delay the entire list of tasks on a dynamic basis simply by doing a project slide."

Other aspects, such as service-level management, configuration management, complaint management and knowledge management are all already supported, according to Burns.

"ITIL compliance will help us to follow the same standards because they're shaping the product around it," commented Tinnirello of Anchor Network Solutions.

Conference attendees will also hear details of a new instructor-led training program that will be used to augment training delivered by electronic means. Product road maps will also be discussed, particularly around an enhanced security framework and a forthcoming sales assessment planner.

Approximately 700 people are expected to attend.

PUBLISH MAY 31, 2013