Small and midsized businesses (SMBs) often want to run the same technologies in their IT environment that enterprises already use. Whether it is cloud technologies, data protection, disaster recovery, high availability, networking, security, or storage, SMBs want them. They also want the right people with the right skills to manage this IT infrastructure.
Historically, SMBs could not afford these technologies. Further, even if they do acquire them, they may still lack the in-house expertise to effectively manage them. Delivering on these competing but complementary SMB requirements for IT technologies and skills requires a company focused on them. Based upon what I saw at the recent Kaseya Connect Global conference, Kaseya stands poised to do so.
SMBs Lagging In Key IT Technologies and Skills
The last few decades SMBs have operated at a technology disadvantage when compared to enterprises. Enterprises have had access to advanced technologies, at a price, for years if not decades. These features provided enterprises with the high availability, robust data protection, networking, reliability, and security features they sought. This IT environment was then typically managed by trained and well-compensated IT personnel.
SMBs also desired and often needed these same technologies. They were, however, often unable to afford them and the people that managed them. This left them with deploying a mix of consumer and enterprise-grade technologies to meet specific IT needs. Then even once deployed, they struggled to identify and hire individuals who could effectively manage this IT environment.
This situation created multiple challenges. On one end of the spectrum, they possibly did little or nothing with technology. This controlled IT costs and complexity but left them with limited abilities to cost-effectively scale and grow their business.
On the other end of the spectrum, SMBs embraced the IT technologies they could afford. SMBs then often asked (or expected) their IT staff to manage this environment. This situation often led to their IT staff being overworked, overwhelmed, or both.
Resolving this situation requires:
- Enterprise technologies to become easier to deploy and manage.
- Reduced technology costs with technologies ideally available as-a-service.
- Improved support options from technology providers
- All these pieces brought together as one offering.
Kaseya Stands Poised to Deliver Transformational IT for SMBs and MSPs
Meeting these various technology challenges by delivering and supporting them from a single provider represents Kaseya’s transformational vision. In late April 2023 I attended the Kaseya Connect Global Conference where I got a firsthand look at Kaseya’s progress in realizing this vision. Here are some of my thoughts and observations coming out of this conference, albeit a few weeks after the conference’s conclusion.
A Standing Ovation
The Global Connect conference was well attended with nearly 5,000 enthusiastic people in attendance. I have attended technology conferences for over 20 years as both an end-user and an analyst. This conference struck me as one where the attendees were eager to be there.
For instance, in attending the opening keynote Kaseya’s CEO Fred Voccola walked on stage to address the audience. Without any prompting, much if not all the audience stood and enthusiastically applauded. Granted, there is nothing inherently technical about that. However, that response indicates to me an energy exists in its user base. I see that only very rarely in my experience.
Also noteworthy, the attendance of this event was up by nearly 33 percent from the previous year (1600 first time attendees.) Further, managed service providers (MSPs) represented two-thirds of those in attendance.
This is the key demographic that Kaseya wants to attract and, frankly, must attract. MSPs primarily sell to and support SMBs, the target audience for Kaseya’s technologies. If MSPs like the technologies that Kaseya offers, I take that to mean the MSPs’ SMB clients also like them.
A Firm Grasp of SMB Challenges and Opportunities
As an analyst, I like statistics and I really like meaningful statistics. Kaseya’s Voccola was armed with ones that firmly support Kaseya’s focus, investments, and initiatives. Some key stats he shared included:
- 90 percent of SMBs plan to spend more year-over-year (YoY) on technology.
- 74 percent of SMBs plan to spend more on technology even as economic conditions worsen.
- In 2015 48 percent of SMBs claimed to be dependent on technology. By 2023 that percentage had climbed to 93 percent
In that vein, Voccola observed that simply deploying technologies to address challenges was not enough. These technologies must be integrated and supported. He shared two notable stats (source unknown by me) to support this point.
- If a technology integration was only cosmetic (think integration using PowerPoint,) it was doomed to fail within two years.
- If a provider integrated the technologies and made them a workflow, there was a 97 percent likelihood they would remain permanent for the life of the platform.
These last two statistics represent the huge challenge that SMBs, MSPs, and ultimately Kaseya face. If they can integrate existing technologies into a workflow, they become a permanent, relatively speaking, method of how a company does business.
This represents Kaseya’s challenge and opportunity. Few MSPs and even fewer SMBs have the resources to integrate all the technologies they manage. Conversely, Kaseya has acquired numerous technologies in recent years that can solve the key technology problems SMBs face. By integrating these disparate technologies together in a meaningful way, Kaseya positions itself as a sole source technology provider for MSPs and SMBs.
Kaseya’s Portfolio of the Right Technology Companies
Kaseya’s understanding of its target market led to it acquiring companies that possessed the right technologies for them. While they can and do scale into enterprise environments, they focus on meeting the specific needs of SMBs and MSPs. This has led Kaseya to acquire or merge with numerous companies over the past few years that include:
- IT Glue
- Rapidfire Tools
This gives it access to many if not all the core components that MSPs need to offer SMBs to manage and protect their IT infrastructure. Further, Kaseya continues to integrate these technologies more closely together so MSPs can manage these technologies using one management console.
Kaseya’s “1+1+1+1” Acquisitions Equal Much More Than One
Kaseya acquiring a bunch of complementary technologies does not automatically make it a “good” technology company. Acquiring all these technologies and then not integrating them together generates a result akin to “1+1+1+1=1”. For these acquisitions to equal more than one, Kaseya had to integrate them in a meaningful manner.
Based on what I saw, heard, and discussed while at Kaseya Global Connect, Kaseya’s portfolio of technologies equates to much more than one. Kaseya has acquired the right technologies and then integrated them together so its customers may more easily deploy and manage them. This provides the synergies that SMBs, MSPs, and ultimately Kaseya all seek and need to happen for their respective businesses to thrive in today’s technology-driven world.