The new functionality enhances a platform for MSPs based on extreme simplicity and a lower price point. Atera is making a push into North America this year, in particular among solution providers who have been turned off by the complexity of getting an MSP business up and running.
While the RMM industry has recently been buffeted by a round of price cutting, the entry into the North American market of a new entry, Atera, introduces another disruptive factor. Atera’s differentiation from other players is that they have a purpose-built and fully integrated RMM-PSA platform, which, among other things, makes it relatively simple to deploy. Now the company has enhanced it with a series of new features from partnering with other vendors.
Atera initially released its product in 2012, with just its RMM functionality, and continued to build out the PSA part of the architecture, releasing the full solution in Europe and Israel in 2015. It is a SaaS offering, not software, or software put into the cloud.
“The architecture was always designed as a single system, to include PSA as well as RMM,” said Gil Pekelman, Atera’s CEO. “There was no need to integrate it. But the architecture of the solution is really designed for the Internet of Things environment, and can hold millions of nodes. It is very complex. The PSA system is a closed environment, so was implemented separately.”
This internal complexity of the solution is also why it was initially limited to Europe and Israel in the full rollout.
“We didn’t want to go above the radar before we thought the product was really ready,” Pekelman said. “We wanted to make sure that it was proven and reliable, and that it could handle the scale we made it able to handle.”
In North America, what Pekelman described as “a soft launch – very soft” was undertaken in April and May of 2015, before the full roll out in January 2016.
“We wanted the dry run to assess key parts of it, in particular its simplicity for the MSP,” he said. “A very important part of this simplicity is to be able to onboard on your own.”
This simplicity to the user of Atera’s integrated platform is a key part of its appeal
“We have a lot of customers who had product x synced to product y, who were looking for something simpler,” Pekelman said. “We are a very different kind of platform. An MSP can onboard literally in 20 minutes because the RMM and PSA are fully integrated together, and you have a remote connection. That’s a huge differentiator. There are no APIs to fit together, no codes to write. The implementation is free because they don’t need it – and if they do, it would still be free.”
This simplicity is particularly attractive to smaller MSPs, Pekelman added.
“We are SMB-focused, and probably about half our MSPs are smaller MSPs,” he said. “We do have some larger ones, who were looking for a more modern piece of software than they were using, as well as one that was less expensive and less complex on their end.”
Atera offers a unique flat rate-based pricing model, which provides MSPs with unlimited servers and workstations, no onboarding costs, and a 30-day free trial. Three levels of service – Standard, Professional and Enterprise – are available.
“Our technology is disruptive, but our pricing model is also disruptive in itself,” Pekelman said. “Offering everything at a flat rate lets them monitor everything and provide better service. It’s a paradigm shift.”
What Atera is announcing now is four features from partnering from other vendors, plus a new monthly report capability, which includes activity information and the state of the network. PowerShell scripting task automation and configuration framework from Microsoft lets admins perform tasks on both local and remote Windows systems. Integration with Citrix GoToAssist provides a single source for initiating remote-support sessions and viewing support details. Check Point Firewall integration offers best-in-class end-to-end security protection.
While all these partners are familiar, the fourth one, Zapier is not as well known.
“Zapier has a tremendously cool product that lets you connect without an API to any of 500 apps, so you don’t need a programmer,” Pekelman said.
Pekelman also stated that what’s really important about the integrations is the total sum of the package.
“It shows the fact that we are playing nice with everybody else,” he said. “We also have a road map to implement continuous integrations, as part of our plan to release a new version of the platform every 30 days.”
Pekelman said that while they believe Atera has appeal to many current MSPs, they also see a significant green fields opportunity in the many IT support companies that have not yet made the transition to a recurring revenue model precisely because they haven’t had access to this kind of offering.
“This will appeal to people for whom the incumbents in the space are way too expensive and too complicated,” he said. “We are also very much internet based and engage prospective partners through platforms like Reddit. Once they try it, the proof is in the pudding.”