Congrats to Arnie and the team for taking over HTG Partner Groups; Yeah, yeah, strategic partnership sounds better in a press release but when you force software and invoices down the entire organization it’s pretty obvious what happened. You can read about it here (Peer Power), and listen to Arnie and Arlin here (MSP Mentor).
Moves like this, that close doors to the competition and force solutions, are almost exclusively bad. However, to those of us familiar with the HTG process and mission, this makes a lot of sense on a lot of levels. Arlin has blogged recently about the change over at HTG and how important it will be to have the process implementation shared between peers so that metrics and best practices can be shared and implemented – getting the same reports and intelligence can expose problems and present opportunities much faster. Doing so with a single PSA, that has a significant revenue number on the line in pleasing it’s members, creates a nice VIP role.
Two big questions remain to be answered and I think only the time will tell:
1) Now that ConnectWise controls the PSA solution behind the HTG peer members, what incentive does ConnectWise have to improve and compete on price and features? Given the ConnectWise community commitment they have made as of late with their user groups, it should be interesting to see the features that come out of it tailored specifically for the peer environments.
2) What happens to the people using Autotask and other PSA solutions? That seems to be pretty clear. Make no mistake, there is a significant business behind the membership dues, sponsors, events and so on – so any bets on how quickly we’ll see someone seize the opportunity to launch a peer group organization based on Autotask as the core?
Next year is going to be very interesting indeed. What this move makes painfully clear is that the wave of consolidation is about to hit the IT Solution Provider space very quickly as margins get pressed and big players enter the market (Dell, HP, Microsoft & Co.) The smaller players in the field seem to have no other choice than to look much bigger than they really are through resource / peer groups and networks in order to compete. Having a software capable of supporting and facilitating this networking is pretty much critical.
Disclosure: My employer (Own Web Now / ExchangeDefender) sponsors HTG, ConnectWise and Autotask.