Cloud distributor SherWeb previews 2021 roadmap at Accelerate event

Company co-CEOs and co-founders Peter and Matthew Cassars reviewed additions to SherWeb’s capabilities since last year’s event, and also announced the availability of one of their in-house solutions, Performance Cloud, which is powered by VMware.

SherWeb co-founders and co CEOs Matthew (L) and Peter Cassars

On Wednesday, at their annual Accelerate event which was held virtually on the home turf of Sherbrooke Quebec rather than the scheduled venue of Hollywood Florida, cloud distributor SherWeb reached out to their MSP partners, on the first day of a two-day event. They reviewed what they added in 2020, and shared some of the things on the roadmap for 2021.

Matthew Cassars outlined what the distributor considers to be a novel and practical approach for conducting the virtual event in a way that will maximize the amount of practical knowledge MSPs come away with.

“Stage one is what we are doing today and tomorrow, hearing current trends and opportunities, and letting you ask questions, interact with speakers and network with one another,” he told the audience. “We will create a foundation for work you will do in stage two and stage three.” In stage two, MSPs will take what they learned and draft a business plan, guided by SherWeb experts. Then, in phase three, they will execute it.

“Ultimately this experience was created to give you a strategic jump start on 2021 and beyond,” Matthew Cassars stated. “SherWeb is your value-added Cloud Service Provider. We go far beyond licensing and standard migrations, to support you with business strategies, cloud services operations and Go-To-Market expertise to help you grow your business the way you want. We help you reach their full potential by creating a tailored approach for your needs.”

The keynote was divided into four distinct pillars: business strategy, operational effectiveness, cloud expertise and cloud solutions.

Peter Cassars reinforced the need for more knowledge to be imparted about business strategy, citing data from a study from IT trade association CompTIA, which illuminate some of the reasons behind the three-stage strategy of the event.

“The CompTIA study shows 73% of channel businesses don’t have marketing plans, 58% don’t have sales plans and 47% don’t even have business plans of any kind,” he indicated. “Business strategy has to be one of our four pillars, and a huge part of our mission. It’s clear that the demand is there.”

Remote work, communication and collaboration tools, and security are the three market opportunities SherWeb is emphasizing this year.

“At Accelerate 2019, we talked about how MSPs should be working towards becoming MSSPs and that trend hasn’t changed,” Peter Cassars said. “More than half of MSPs say acquiring cybersecurity skills will be the number one action to help ensure good performance over the next two years. Enabling partners to act on insights and opportunities like these is one way SherWeb provides value through business strategy.”

He then reviewed what SherWeb had introduced in this area in 2020.

“We introduced updated partner benefits with additional incentives and perks to help partners reach their targets faster and recognize those partners that are hyper engaged and high performing. Our partner success team has been working on new ways to address partners’ needs, such as marketing health and training. In 2020 we revamped our marketing program, and introduced both Partner University, which is coming before the end of the year, and the Knowledge Centre.”

The Knowledge Centre, which is now in place, and the pending Partner University, were both expanded on in the discussion of the second pillar, cloud expertise.

“We are the Microsoft partner with the highest number of certified employees in Canada – aligned with business and goals for growth,” Peter Cassars stated. “Partner University and Knowledge Centre are solid examples of how we are working to make our knowledge more accessible to partners.”

Partner University will be an online training hub where partners can access video training on many different topics, and Knowledge Centre is a forum for organizing webinars, seminars and partner connect events where partners meet and discuss a particular topic or issue.

“Our presales team is another area where we strive to put our expertise to work for partners,” Peter Cassars said. “We can help you draft proposals for clients to navigate complex scenarios and win tough deals. Our solution architects help you ensure your solutions are meeting your clients’ needs and help you make changes  if they are not up to par. To get involved with presales, simply reach out to your account manager to get started.”

Also new for 2020 was SherWeb’s partner to partner network initiative.

“We have the right expertise to support your business, but sometimes we are not the best person to help you out,” Peter Cassars said. “Another partner is, and it can be a real asset to be matched with someone potentially in the same geographic region, with the particular skillset you are looking for to solve whatever issue or whatever project it is you are working on. Our P2P network was created with the intent of creating opportunities for partners to benefit from one another’s skills.”

Peter Cassars said that the third pillar – operational effectiveness – was ranked by channel members as one of the top areas of value SherWeb provides.

“The chief goal is to simplify the way you work and make life easier for your MSP with systems we have put in place to save you time and money, through our portal, PSA tools and available integrations with the business-critical issues you use every day,” he stated.

SherWeb now has five integrations available through their portal: ConnectWise, AutoTask, Kaseya, Tigerpaw, and QuickBooks integrations.

“Our QuickBooks is now available with QuickBooks online version and a desktop version, and that’s exclusive to SherWeb and something we are really excited about,” Peter Cassars noted. “By making QuickBooks available through the SherWeb partner portal, we put partner business priorities front and center by automating and organizing billing processes, making them hassle-free for your clients. This helps you divert resources away from manual tasks to generate higher revenue for your organization. This fall and through 2021, we will be taking our partner portal to the next level by incorporating API capabilities for clients and billing management. The aim here is the same. Our goal is to help reduce your operating costs, save partner time through fewer related manual data processing and improve the accuracy and reliability of your information.”

Another operational efficiency introduced in 2020 was SherWeb’s reimagined NOC services where SherWeb  provides low level infrastructure management to partners to help support their operations.

“We act as your NOC and extension of your internal team,” Peter Cassars said.

The fourth pillar, cloud solutions involves selecting the best possible products and solutions.

“We try to emulate a cloud department store for our partners,” Peter Cassars commented.

“In 2020, we made a number of improvements to our partner portal with respect to managing relationships with Microsoft, including Microsoft partner agreement and MPN ID. We also added capabilities for TigerPaw, Kaseya and a number of security functions within the partner portal. Additionally, we officially launched Bitdefender and NOC services as well as our QuickBook integrations.

“But behind offering leading solutions from Microsoft and other vendors, SherWeb is proud to develop our own IP that continues to deliver excellent service for our partners,” Peter Cassars added. “We start with OfficeProtect, a Microsoft 365 add-on that increases cybersecurity. Next is Performance Cloud, powered by VMware. We have upgraded our in-house cloud offering to help MSPs be more competitive in this space. Performance Cloud by VMware has fixed rate plans, deep discounts for resellers and the highest performance to cost ratio available out there. This solution is officially launching here at Accelerate 2020.”

Peter Cassars also highlighted SherWeb’s voice offerings.

“With the explosion of remote work solutions this year, and the incredible growth of Microsoft Teams, it is not surprising that our voice and unified communications as-a-service offerings have also seen positive growth.”

Matthew Cassars then unveiled the remaining future roadmap items for 2021.

“Managed security products will continue to be a major focus for us in the coming year,” he stated. “The importance of security is only increasing and we will continue to beef up support for partners in this area for some time to come.

“We are planning several new products focused on security and MSP services,” he continued. “We are excited to announce we will be launching Letssignit, an email signature management tool that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365.” SherWeb announced their partnership with Letssignit, which brings that company’s technology into the MSP market for the first time, in July.

The final preview for 2021 is another operational effectiveness item — more open platform integrations.

“This will continue to make partner transactions and client management as simple as possible,” Matthew Cassars said.