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Following Kaseya-Datto Blockbuster Deal, MSPs Eyeing Choices

C.J. Fairfield

‘Our team is discussing if we should go through a due diligence effort on our core vendor (ConnectWise) and their offerings,’ says Matthew Hildebrandt, president of StrataDefense. ‘That is not to say we are going to move, but worth evaluating where our most critical vendors stack up.’

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Although Mark Essayian is happy as a ConnectWise partner, he said he may have to take “another look” at Kaseya after the company announced its plans to buy Datto for $6.2 billion.

“If you don’t look, you’re stupid,” said Essayian, president of Lake Forest, Calif.-based MSP KME Systems.

In the wake of the acquisition, though, he believes both Kaseya and ConnectWise have to “up their game in taking care of us, their partners.”

It’s not just ConnectWise that has to look at what it’s doing, Kaseya must too, he said.

“It’s nice for the MSP to know that there are two competitors that really go to market well,” said.

“It’s healthy, but acquisition is a challenge,” he added. “I think it’s good for the industry to see some consolidation, and I think it’s good for us.”

Essayian said he has a good experience with ConnectWise with a great team that supports him.

“Do we have issues with ConnectWise? Of course we do,” he said. “Do we have good people that are shepherding us through that process? You’re damn right we do.”

He knows other MSPs who have issues with ConnectWise but believes that’s a given.

“That’s the deal with any company,” he said. “I think it’s a factor of is the partner committed to the business partner.”

[Related: Kaseya-Datto Deal Creates New MSP Leader, Puts Pressure On Rival ConnectWise]

“We’re a Datto partner, so I guess now we’re a Kaseya partner,” he added. “So I look forward to seeing what that means.”

As MSPs said that the Kaseya-Datto deal puts pressure on ConnectWise, ConnectWise said it’s still on course for success.

“This changes nothing about ConnectWise’s plans or focus,” ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee said in an emailed statement. “We intend to support our partners by staying laser-focused on previously communicated plans and commitments to TSPs. With our Asio platform coming to life at hyperscale speed, the momentum for our new ConnectWise RMM solution, and the many other advancements on the horizon for the TSP community—from product to partner experience to business transformation offerings—we couldn’t be more bullish about the ConnectWise value proposition and our trajectory as a leader in this space. Kaseya and Datto are just beginning a lengthy integration journey. We are here to help the community in any way we can and look forward to seeing everyone at IT Nation Secure in June.”

Matthew Hildebrandt, president of StrataDefense, a Wausau, Wis.-based MSP, agrees.

“I don’t think this does anything for ConnectWise other than for them to continue to be ConnectWise,” he told CRN.

He said everyone used to refer to ConnectWise for their ticketing solutions as an industry standard.

“They’ve been around longer than most,” he said.

But with acquisition comes growth and also risk, he added.

“I don’t know that you’re going to really see anything out of it for anybody at least in the immediate future,” he said. “But it probably sets the whole industry on alert that consolidation is still continuing.”

In December 2020, he told CRN that ConnectWise needed to enhance their helpdesk support. While he said ConnectWise support has gotten better, “at the same time they continue to struggle, like everybody. And you always remember the issues instead of the wins.”

He does participate in roundtable discussions with ConnectWise to give feedback on what it can do better when it comes to support.

“We’re struggling with pieces of current technology that they’re offering us and ways to make it better,” he said.

Going forward, he will continue to give the line of communication to ConnectWise management to discuss areas of improvement.

“We’re a unique shop in that we’re an on-premise ConnectWise partner,” he said. “We’re a limited group of MSPs that are still in that space. We’ve been given a high-level roadmap as to what that looks like in the future, but seeing something a little more concrete to that would be good.”

And in putting together his own strategic initiatives for his business, he has to make sure ConnectWise falls in line with that. But that may include looking to other vendors.

“Our team is discussing if we should go through a due diligence effort on our core vendor (ConnectWise) and their offerings,” he said. “That is not to say we are going to move, but worth evaluating where our most critical vendors stack up.” 

CJ Fairfield

CJ Fairfield is an associate editor at CRN covering solution providers, MSPs and distributors. Prior to joining CRN, she worked at daily newspapers, including The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey and The Frederick News-Post in Maryland. She can be reached at cfairfield@thechannelcompany.com.

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