News | March 26, 2012

Quest's New PacketTrap Integrates RMM, PSA

Quest Software is looking to disrupt the conventional managed services market with the release of its new remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool, PacketTrap 6.2, which boasts deep integration with the company's newly acquired professional services and automation (PSA) platform.

"Often we find that our target customers are not in the business of running businesses. By utilizing an intuitive platform that is far less cumbersome then other solutions on the market, yet offers the same functionality, MSPs can focus on providing new services to their own customers and marketing to new prospects," said Matt Bolton, vice president of product management in Quest's networking management division, in a statement.

Managed services has always been a market reliant on two core tools: RMM, which enables the remote management and administration of client devices, and PSA, which provides the task and account administration. Most MSPs use these tools as the foundation of their business, but must source them from different providers.

The RMM market is dominated by companies such as N-Able, Level Platforms, LabTech Software, GFI Max and Quest. The PSA market is lorded over by the likes of Autotask, ConnectWise and TigerPaw. There are many other players in both technology segments, and many major vendors dabble in similar technologies. NetSuite and Salesforce, for instance, are often used by larger integrators for PSA support. Cisco's OnPlus and Microsoft's Windows InTune have RMM characteristics.

Only Kaseya has both RMM and PSA capabilities, but its PSA tools are relatively immature compared to the market leaders. ConnectWise, through investments of its venture capital arm, has built a suite of complementary offerings to its PSA platform, including LabTech for RMM and Quosal for automated quoting.

Quest jumped into the PSA fray in February when it bought BlueFolder. The intent always was the simplification of PSA adoption and utilization. The integration with PacketTrap was a natural progression that's happened surprisingly quickly. What Quest is attempting to create is an end-to-end managed services solution that addresses the whole MSP management lifecycle.

"Among the many enhancements to PacketTrap MSP, integration with our standalone PSA solution was a strategic development investment, as it meets MSPs' demand for technology that can be used to more easily complete many common business tasks," Bolton said.

To date, the PSA and RMM vendors have been mostly content to stay on their respective sides of the MSP line. PSA vendors, by definition, must maintain open platforms to appeal to the broadest number of RMM users – their best feed of new managed services users. It's a sound strategy as MSPs are known for frequently switching RMM providers, while their preferred PSA provider remains a constant.

Part of that consistency in PSA loyalty is not in the products themselves, but rather the complexity of the PSA platforms. Many MSPs say it takes years to implement and fine tune their PSA tools. After making such an investment in money and time, it's difficult to rationalize switching providers even if an alternative has better features.

The bigger question: What's the opportunity driving Quest's entry to the PSA segment? ConnectWise and Autotask have a strong lock on the managed services market, and both are looking internationally for new growth. TigerPaw, a distant third in the market, is making headway by providing PSA capabilities to telecom agents and resellers. Quest is entering a field that is supposedly locked and difficult to penetrate.

Managed services is saturated, but continues to expand. MSPs and vendors report not just seeing real growth, but the potential to grow exponentially as more services and capabilities are added to the managed services mix. Cloud applications, virtualized infrastructure and mobile device management are just a few of the offerings that will propel managed services to greater heights.

Surprisingly, though, managed services is not as distributed as providers think. Many large integrators and service providers are only now beginning to explore managed and cloud services opportunities. While their integration and professional services business continues to drive sales, managed and cloud services are seen as the potential accelerate to growth. This won't necessarily mean more competition for existing managed services, though, as the target customers are in different segments.

Quest's entry to the PSA market is a good sign that there's still plenty of headroom for growth in managed services. It will be interesting to see if Quest expands the addressable market or tries to engage in share shift.

SOURCE: Quest Software