N-able's David Weeks: when partners grow, we grow
Sep 30, 2022
N-able's David Weeks: when partners grow, we grow
By C.J. Fairfield on Sep 30, 2022 7:38AM
N-able's David Weeks
From cloud to its new remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform and its Empower conference in October, software vendor N-able has much to be excited about as it gears up for 2023. “We try to anticipate what’s coming,” David Weeks, senior director of partner experience for N-able, told CRN US. “But that’s not just us, we actually do that with our partners. We work strategically with them, have private meetings with them and we discuss the market conditions. That helps us to decide our strategy moving forward as well as ensuring that we‘re meeting the needs of MSPs.”
The Burlington, Mass.-based company, which spun off from SolarWinds last year, launched both N-sights RMM and its cloud user hub this summer, which Weeks says will help MSPs become much more efficient in their business. N-sights RMM uses no-code automation and flexible patch management to keep devices compliant and secure. The cloud user hub is a multi-tenant Microsoft 365 management and automation platform which allows users to automate the management and security of all Microsoft tenants, users and licenses. As the company gears up for their Empower conferece next week, Weeks spoke exclusively to CRN US about latest offerings, his take on the Kaseya/Datto acquisition and what partners can expect from the N-able going forward. How has N-able’s business model changed since the pandemic? You know what is... I think it’s changed to deeper relationships, and I think that was a good thing. We were naturally on our way there but the pandemic forced that and it allowed us into everybody’s homes. As a result, you did have that new relationship with people and I think it became a lot more personal and not just business. That’s part of what we talked about internally as a business, is earn more fans. So we’re very partner focused now since the pandemic and we will continue to be that. That even came from the spin out of SolarWinds, allowing us to have that renewed investment and a single focus on MSPs. N-able recently launched N-sights RMM. How’s that unique from other RMMs? It‘s basically a package. Think about it as the key tool sets that an MSP needs to deliver service. They get the RMM, they get take control, which is remote control licensing, and then they get our ticketing system which is MSP manager. We’ve created that as a package and all of it is within the dashboard. It’s ease of use, it‘s simplified and it’s turnkey, and that‘s what a lot of service providers want. How does it help partners make money? It‘s just the efficiency of it. It’s automation built into it as well. We’re big on automation in our company and it’s in both of our platforms. So we tout that out there and we do it for our head nerds so they push a lot of the automation into the partner base. N-able is transforming the MSP experience in helping them get to the cloud. Talk to me about that process. You know what, there’s a shift today. It’s not just 365 anymore. We know that the majority of service providers are in Azure and so we have to start bringing services to them for that. We recently did the acquisition of Spinpanel which is the ability to do 365 and user management. The security is… we get it, we do it, we have best in class. But the cloud, it’s evolving faster and the adoption during COVID was huge. So our partners asked, they said we need more services around the cloud so we’re going to start building them out. Does that play into N-able’s cloud user hub? Absolutely. It’s part of our mantra that we’re talking about this year, which is all in the cloud and supporting service providers in that. What we‘re doing with cloud user hub is its user and license management which is something we know that they struggle with. When you look at some of the native tools that are out there, there’s no multitenancy…so we‘re bringing that MSP-type value in that product for them. It also allows them to manage their costing, it has automation built into it and it allows them to provision and deprovision users within that product. What can we expect from N-able’s Empower conference? A fun time, but actually a lot of education. Our conferences are built around education. What‘s interesting was we surveyed our base and they want to hear from their peers and industry experts. A lot of the sessions are actually being run by their peers. We have a very open community and we believe our MSPs can work together. They’re not in competition with each other and there‘s enough business to go around for everybody, so it’s heavily focused on that. We‘ve also got a dedicated merger and acquisition track for two days. Obviously, that’s a huge topic. Then we do our product roadmap track. We have a security and data protection track, we have a business owner track, so there‘s a lot of information that we provide. At Empower what we typically get is most of our partners come with three, four or five people so there’s a lot of content that will be there. You mentioned M&A, so what are your thoughts on Kaseya acquiring Datto and how it impacts N-able? You know what, it’s a validation of this space. It shows the investment that’s coming into the MSP space. There’s talk about the MSP space being in a golden era and now they‘re saying it’s a platinum era. Yeah, there‘s consolidation but that consolidation is good and it’ll drive more investment into this space, which I think is a win for all MSPs. What are your partners’ biggest challenges right now and how is it N-able trying to help with that? I think it‘s two prong. One is efficiency and the other is the talent shortage. That’s where you‘re seeing us drive a lot of automation into the community and we’re doing it on purpose because automation can replace people and help offset for the shortage of people. We actually built a PowerShell cookbook (an open resource that includes about 150 PowerShell scripts) that‘s available to any MSP in the marketplace, whether you’re a partner or not. It‘s all scripts that they can run out of PowerShell for automation. There’s no sale sign up form, it’s just goodwill to the industry because we believe, ‘Hey, if the industry is growing we’re growing, because we rely on it.’
What makes you better than ConnectWise? What makes you more efficient than Kaseya and Datto? I think it’s our community. Not that they don’t have communities, but I just believe that we’ve taken more ownership on an automation front. If you go to a lot of service providers and you say, ‘Hey, automate it.’ They say, ‘Okay, I’ve got a blank canvas. You’re asking me to paint a picture, where do I start?’ We’re putting some guidelines and best practices around that. What’s to come from N-able in 2023? What can we expect? You’re going to see a continued focus on our partners and the investment we’re putting in them. You’re going to see more investment in the cloud side, you’re going to see more investment in security, but you‘re going to see a lot of investment in our resources…so our nerds, our MarketBuilder, which is our marketing automation platform… you’re going to see us offering more and more resources to our partners. Again, it goes back to if they grow, we grow.