IT Glue: The Future Of SaaS Is About Smart Integration With The Right Partners, Technologies

Documentation Demand

Software-as-a-service startup IT Glue has seen significant demand for its documentation platform among the managed services provider community in recent months, and the fast-growing company has ambitious plans to continue feeding that voracious appetite.

The software tool helps MSPs and other businesses more efficiently manage their internal documentation processes with features such as device tracking and password management. Founded in 2013, IT Glue already boasts more than 3,000 partners worldwide, with "two or three thousand" new users adopting the documentation platform every month, said VP of product Luis Giraldo.

The Vancouver-based company is working on a mobile app and functionality that helps solution providers create documentation for backup – this on the heels of IT Glue introducing a sell-through product earlier this year that MSPs can offer to clients.

CRN caught up with Giraldo to discuss IT Glue's rapid growth and its plans for the future in the lightly-edited Q&A that follows.

IT Glue experienced some tremendous growth in 2016. Has that continued?

We've had a pretty explosive year. Our company grew from a 25-person staff to 80-plus staff over the last year. We've seen hyper-growth adoption of our platform among IT providers, and we're really happy with that. We're doing something right there, and the message is really getting out that documentation is a key piece to delivering services efficiently, reducing waste in businesses and helping those IT providers leverage their time a lot better.

Where might IT Glue expand to continue that growth?

The U.S. and Canada are fairly large markets for us already. In Europe and the Middle East, there's an interesting opportunity. For IT providers, the maturity scale happens first in the US. Technology is being adopted here first, and then it seems to spread out to other geos. We're seeing the beginning of adoption in the UK and Europe, and we're seeing some pretty explosive growth there.

What have been the key drivers behind the demand for documentation software?

Recovering the waste of time people experience in their business and often creating value with your time is about leverage. How can you take an existing resource – whether it's software, somebody's time or any kind of effort – and maximize its output? When you look at creating value-based delivery of services, you've got to maximize those resources as best as possible. It really resonates with our offering in the sense that IT Glue helps reduce waste by up to 20 percent in a business and gives them a lot of that time back to create value for their own delivery of services.

What are some ways service providers could more efficiently use their time?

One of the things IT providers could do better is have customer-facing conversations about risk, about their environment and about how to keep their environment and technology moving forward. If those things happened more regularly, customers would stay more current with their technology, which in turn reduces a lot of issues and keeps productivity high for the end-users. The challenge is complacency, to some degree. You take on a new client, do some work and wait for the phone to ring, instead of staying on top of things. It's simplified, but in the grand scheme of things, that's what it comes down to.

IT Glue was "born in the cloud." How have you seen managed service providers handle the huge shift that has taken place around cloud?

It's interesting to see how the offerings around cloud-based services are maturing, and how IT providers and MSPs are starting to take the need to adopt those services much more seriously. It seems like we're really at a turning point where you just can't ignore it anymore. "The cloud" is no longer just a fad term; it's a model for delivery of services. I don't think a lot of people want to buy expensive equipment anymore. They want to count on the uptime and availability of a service provider that's positioned to do just that.

Do you see solution providers that aren't evolving as quickly as the IT landscape changes?

I can't remember if it was Albert Einstein who said that the ability to change is a sign of intelligence, but it's never been more true than now. I see IT providers that are really stuck in their ways. They don't want to change. They don't want to sell a customer that server, even though they're demanding to move to Microsoft 365 or whatever other cloud-based service it might be. It might spell the demise for that kind of provider when they don't want to adapt to the change.

What's on the horizon for IT Glue? Where could you potentially expand your software offering?

Documentation is still something a lot of IT providers struggle with on a few different levels. It might be internal adoption of those processes and systems, because the reality is not a lot of techs enjoy the process of documentation. One of the things we're trying to do is make that easier through integration. One of our big focuses in the next few months is building the platform that allows any provider with the kind of data they need to document also to integrate to us. If I can avoid having to double-enter any kind of data, that's going to incite me to document the things that really matter more often.

What would be the benefits of cross-platform integration?

One of the challenges right now is IT providers have multiple systems where they document things about customer networks and customer processes. But those systems don't necessarily talk to each other. They end up having re-enter a lot of the same information in a different place to be able to make sure it's contextual. You know this process relates to this server or a specific resource. Our tool tries to reduce that dramatically by allowing us to talk to all the different systems that they use, whether it's a PSA tool, an RMM tool or a network monitor of some kind.

Do you foresee IT Glue adding any new capabilities outside of documentation?

IT Glue is very specifically a documentation tool. There are a couple of things people seem to be requesting that we don't quite do just yet. Stuff like business process management (BPM) is not quite in our camp, but we see a lot of people wanting to resolve some of those challenges or problems by using our software. It's something that we're obviously curious about.

How would IT Glue potentially tap into the BPM space?

There are a couple of tools out there that we've looked at. They seem to have made a pretty good wheel, so we don't want to necessarily reinvent it. The future of SaaS is in the integrations. If you can leverage an existing tool and make a pretty deep integration, I think you can go to market a lot quicker than trying to rewrite that whole thing and possibly not do it as well. That's been our focus; look at existing things where we can do a deep integration.