Managed Services Software: Like The 1980s PC Software Market?
N-able Technologies CEO Gavin Garbutt remains on message. For the past two to three years, Garbutt has described a 100 percent IT coverage model: He wants managed services providers to blanket every SMB and every IT device on the planet with monitoring and proactive support. It's a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Crazy stuff. But so was Bill Gates' original vision for a computer on every desktop and in every home. With that thought in mind, I believe today's managed services software market is a lot like the 1980s PC software market, though on a smaller scale. Here's why.
First, a message to the skeptics: I'm not comparing N-able's current growth prospects to Microsoft's actual growth over the past three decades. My best guess: N-able generates tens of millions of dollars in annual revenues. And I suspect the overall market for managed services software (loose definition: RMM software for MSPs) is under $1B right now. In stark contrast, Microsoft grew from a $1B company in 1990 to a nearly $70B company today. Big numbers.
So perhaps N-able isn't the next billion-dollar software company. Generally speaking, neither are many of its rivals and peers. But there's still value in big stretch goals. And when it comes to explaining a growth strategy, Garbutt has stated his vision pretty clearly now for about three years (perhaps more). He's using a freemium software strategy — get a free trial, then shift to a paid approach — to rapidly grow N-able's installed base of managed devices.