Passportal creates Community Department to engage in MSP education and enablement

Mike Byrne, who has done this kind of work in the past at multiple companies, has joined Passportal as the Director of Community.

Colin Knox, Passportal’s CEO

Calgary-based Passportal, which provides password protection and documentation management services to channel partners, principally MSPs, has announced the formation of a new Community Department, designed to provide education services to partners, and deepen their relationship with Passportal. Channel veteran Mike Byrne has been appointed Director of Community, reporting directly to Passportal CEO Colin Knox.

Passportal emerged out of an MSP run by Knox, which developed a tool in-house to automate password management specifically for MSPs, and found that demand for it was so strong that they started a separate company to productize it. Passportal is now in 33 countries. Their staff has risen to over 30, and last year they doubled their office footprint in Calgary. They also have staff in various places througout Canada , so they could recruit the best talent for specific roles. Ex-Level Platform exec Dan Wensley, Passportal’s President, works out of Waterloo ON. Byrne is based in Victoria B.C., They also have sales staff based in Vancouver.

“We now have a community of over 1500 partners,” Knox said. “Our growth in the number of partners hasn’t been outrageous, but we have focused on the acquisition of top partners and have grown the business significantly, with strong triple digit growth over the last several years.”

Passportal has also extended their solution set. Just over a year ago, they rebranded their cloud-based flagship product as the Ocular platform.

“We also introduced a documentation management product – Docs – and a self-service password reset tool called Blink, a simple mobile app to let users reset their passwords by themselves,” Knox said. “We also enhanced Site, which is a resellable password management-as-a-Service. All of these are fully integrated with each other. Partners are adopting them as well, with at least a 30 per cent adoption rate for Docs, Blink and Site.”

Knox noted that Docs has also been upgraded since it was released.

“At first sight, it seemed to not compete with IT Glue, but it is now feature-comparable,” Knox said. “We haven’t talked a lot yet in the community about how Docs has been expanded in this way.”

That kind of communication is part of what Byrne’s new role is all about. Byrne, who has similar experience in MSP education and enablement at PacketTrap, AVG, GFI Software and N-able, will be the public face of Passportal at events, interacting with MSPs around education and enablement activities.

“As the community has grown, we want to show that we are committed to building a partnership with MSPs who use our tools,“ Knox said.  “Vendors who have committed to this kind of work have done exceptionally well with it. ConnectWise invented the concept. Datto has built a very strong community team, which has done a phenomenal job to build a relationship with the community focused around focused on education and partnership.”

Knox stressed that Byrne’s role has no sales component to it.

Mike Byrne, Director of Community. Passportal

“The Community Department doesn’t report to Sales or Marketing,” he said. “It reports directly to me. The focus is on education, and improving the operational management of MSPs – above and beyond what they buy from us. We wanted to provide a single face to the community for this that will be consistent, and Mike will be our face at shows and events that we attend.”

“A one-on-one model for partner develop isn’t scalable, but the most successful companies around the managed services industry have this kind of program,” Byrne said. “At shows, I will make presentations and deliver keynotes and workshops, with the overarching theme of how best to utilize resources to make partners more proficient.”

Passportal will have a major presence at the DattoCon event in Austin that takes place in June. They are a Platinum sponsor of the event.