N-able cranks up automation message with N-central 9.0 launch

Gavin Garbutt

N-able CEO Gavin Garbutt

Anyone who’s followed Ottawa-based remote monitoring and management vendor N-able Technologies in recent years knows that automating commonly-performed MSP tasks is one of the company’s biggest talking points, and what it sees as one of its biggest opportunities for differentiation.

And with the launch of version 9.0 of its N-central RMM platform Tuesday, it’s building on that concept with a new Automation Manager component.

Never shy in offering his evaluation of the company’s new wares, N-able CEO Gavin Garbutt is clearly excited about the new release. “This is the Holy Grail for MSPs,” he said. “Any MSP that wants to scale and grow their business is going to find it incredible.”

It’s worthy of such high praise, Garbutt said, because Automation Manager will allow the company to use a drag and drop interface to automate tasks that could previously only be automated by senior techs with deep scripting experience.

The real upshot here: N-able believes that Automation Manager will allow it to free up that its most senior technicians spend on routine tasks, and free them up for higher-value roles. Sure, for more complex workflows, a senior technician with a scripting background may be needed to create the automation workflow in the first place. But once that one-time task is completed, and hopefully documented, more junior resources should be able to run the newly-created workflow from there on in, across an MSP’s multiple customers.

“We’ve set up the framework so that senior technician can tweak and tune to meet his whims, or he can even re-write our processes completely,” Garbutt said. “Then, they’re free to be out there on high-end projects or doing what they should be doing, personal CIO-type visits, and winning new business.”

By doing so, the company says MSPs will be able to reduce their overall costs or delivering regular services to their customers, while creating scalability in their organization because the time and effort of technicians is maximized.

“This is about driving down the costs and driving up the simplicity,” said Robert Grapes, director of product management and marketing.

While the focus is on ease-of-use, it is a new module, and some training is required to get up and running, but like most of the company’s products, text and video training materials are available in the products.

Automation Manager also works hand-in-hand with the company’s MSP Technican Runbook, the company’s “recipe book” for best practices on setting up services, NOCs and ensuring consistent delivery. Many of the best practices assembled for that Runbook are now default services built into Automation Manager.

The company has been running a beta with some 85 partners around the world with Automation Manager, but now the flip is switched and its available to all of the company’s partners as a “freemium” portion of N-central 9.0.