Unlike at the ConnectWise spring event, StorageCraft announced no new integrations at the fall event last week. The ConnectWise relationship remains critical to StorageCraft however, as they evolve their business models and practices to keep up with changes in the market.
ORLANDO – StorageCraft was present at the ConnectWise IT Nation Connect event here, building on their 10-year relationship with the RMM provider. It’s a complex relationship. On the one hand, ConnectWise, as the largest player in their space, is the entrée to large number of MSPs for StorageCraft. On the other, both ConnectWise and StorageCraft are in essence competing to control that relationship with the MSP. StorageCraft sees ConnectWise as much more of a friend than a foe, however, and has been expanding their integrations with them, to strengthen their MSP channel. Being able to make MSPs lives’ easier is critical to StoreCraft’s model. It’s part of their larger strategy, which is to adapt to customer preferences in business models and product offerings – rather than risk being discarded by them.
“MSPs are a huge part of the business for us, and we have a channel of several thousand partners in the U.S. alone,” said Douglas Brockett, StorageCraft’s President.
StorageCraft has evolved the way it manages these partners as the market has shifted.
“We used to segment by partner type, but today, there are many companies who have a much more blended business model,” Brockett said. “These companies are in transition. Today, the overwhelming majority of our partners have more than 50 per cent of their revenues coming from managed services. We try to be a preferred partner for them by having a business model that fits their business models. It’s as critical to have a business proposition for partners which works as it is to have a good product for the customer.”
Brockett said that StorageCraft also follows this theme with what they call a frictionless strategy.
“That’s an important part of our approach, which recognizes that the way that people used to buy stuff is not the same way that they do any more,” he indicated. “If you want to make that work and minimize churn, you have to eliminate all the labour that is involved in making a transaction happen. If the MSP needs to go from, say, 20 to 22 virtual machines to meet demand, they need to be able to do it just by spinning up a machine, with no purchase order. And we have to be able to automate the extra costs for that which appear on the back end.”
StorageCraft offers MSPs a monthly billing model and usage-based billing in arrears.
“We made it easy for them to do that, rather than have a one-size-fits-all approach,” Brockett said. “It’s a billing and pricing model that fits into the MSP world.”
“StorageCraft actually moved to a monthly billing model almost six years ago, before the distributors and most others did that,” said Marvin Blough, StorageCraft’s Vice President of WorldWide Sales.
A challenge for StorageCraft is harmonizing their MSP model with the RMM vendors, with whom they have a relationship that clearly falls into the co-opetition model.
“MSPs have come directly into our portal to do the management of their licenses historically,” Blough said. “However, over the last two years, more people wanted to consolidate that management into their business application or distributor of choice. We are working hard to fit into that model. Datto, for example, is a huge OEM of our backup software, but we are competitive with them elsewhere. It’s a co-opetition relationship like we have with ConnectWise, and it will be interesting to see how the Datto relationship shakes out over the next 24 months.”
ConnectWise, as the largest of the RMMs, is a top priority. While StorageCraft did not announce new ConnectWise integrations at this event, they had some major ones at ConnectWise’s Automation Nation [now Evolve] event in the spring.
“We announced new integrations at Automation Nation, around the frictionless marketplace, that required a significant integration to make that happen,” Brockett said.
“We want to fit into the ConnectWise world over the next 24 months more seamlessly than others,” Blough said. “ConnectWise is strategic to us as a partner. We will continue to enhance their integration with the goal of being the best at it.”
StorageCraft’s MSP strategy is part of a comprehensive effort to remain relevant to the market
“Most partners today want to deal with fewer technology vendors, and want us to expand what we have, from being a straight backup player to having a suite of related offerings that include Disaster Recovery and Office 365 Backup,” Blough said. “That is why we acquired Exablox. Our goal is to continue to increase our relevance to channel partners so that we are not a point product solution. When I was at SonicWall, before we were acquired by Dell, it was super important to have a range of products that covered the $300 to $300,000 markets, so partners didn’t say they got bigger than what we could handle. We have been looking to repeat that strategy at StorageCraft, and have been doing that over the last couple years, expanding our offerings to fit more partner needs so we can help them without their having to invest elsewhere.”