This integration, the first of several Schneider Electric has planned, was soft launched in the spring, but the real push to get partners to see its value came at the recent IT Nation event.
It’s been a long time – 2007 to be precise – since French enterprise power and cooling services provider Schneider Electric acquired APC, whose strength had always been more in the SMB and lower midmarket space. While some of the traditional APC users have fit over time into broader use of the Schneider Electric portfolio as well, many MSPs, of the type that Schneider Electric was talking to at the recent IT Nation Connect event in Orlando, still aren’t that familiar with the company.
“Our challenge in this environment is that the people here don’t know who Schneider Electric is,” said Larry Hann, Director of Channel Field Sales North & Digital Services Strategy at Schneider Electric. “They do know who APC is.”
Hann said the company has had some success in recent years with solutions that fit well into this part of the market.
“We launched cloud-based monitoring and management software in 2018, and it took off in 2019,” he stated. “We have spent the last five years talking with the partner community around it. We also provide analytics so that they can predict downtime. We introduced a couple of different services wrapped around that.”
One was a NOC service, with two flavours.
“In one, we are the NOC, Hann said. “In the other, we provide NOC support for an MSP, and we provide parts and people, while the customer does the monitoring.”
The other Schneider Electric-branded solution introduced then was EcoCare, a service designed to identify issues before they became a problem.
Hann said that EcoCare came out at the start of COVID and was well timed for it.
“COVID was very beneficial for this art of our offer,” he indicated. “We had a a increased number of discussions with customers about how they could create a plan around managing these devices. EcoCare was a perfect fit for that. We built a software and services partner program which taught them how to use and set up their alarms, and provides rebates on services and software. It complements our existing partner program around Hardware. Next year, we will bring out an improved version of the program with separate software and hardware tracks.”
Last year, Schneider Electric introduced a replace and recycle program
“There was a need to take old UPS away and recycle them,” Hann said. “Some partners have the people to do it but don’t want to use their resources that way.”
This years news targeted more at the IT Connect audience was the integration of Schneider Electric EcoStruxure IT Expert, the company’s foundational platform, with ConnectWise PSA to automate power infrastructure alarm workflows.
“This has actually been available since May,” Hann indicated. “But it was more of a soft launch then. We did more messaging for it around this show.”
At the event, Hann told MSPs partner success stories, of how companies had built their practice leveraging the ConnectWise platform.
“This drives out costs from the support model and frees up resources,” he said. The thing about our category is that we have done a good job at teaching customers they need to buy power protection. Partner’s haven’t fully seen the opportunity to give help managing devices. There’s a huge install base, and much of that install base is not being managed today. There are opportunities for partners to fill that void. They do manage other kinds of services. They just don’t think abut power protection.”
Some partners think this market is too small to bother working with, but Hann said that this isn’t correct in many cases.
“The market isn’t customers with one or two UPS, he pointed out. “That is too small. But the real market is customers with 10-20 UPS systems. These customers need help. Some of their tickets are actually because of power issues.”
The Exostruxure integration with ConnectWise PSA is the first to go live, but it won’t be the last.
“ConnectWise was the first one that we did, but we have plans to do an integration with Autotask, and we are also looking at ServiceNow for enterprise. Those are the three on our list.”
Hann said that the APC part of their business still has about 65% market share.
“Customers stay because it works, although on the lower end, there has been some share shift, from people who buy things that they can get through Amazon,” he stated.
“We will keep evolving,” Hann concluded. “We have leveraged partners to give us feedback on things that they need. This ConnectWise integrations is one of those ways we listened to them.”