The case against RMM

IT Business
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I’ve certainly written my fair share about the RMMpocalypse and you’ve proportionately flooded my mailbox regarding the need for such a tool. I admit, the deadpool of the RMM consolidation is not in a significant way an indication of a dying MSP business – it’s just that the MSP business is transitioning towards the cloud and value proposition is well… what I’ve blogged about for years. At the same time we have an RMM-like product in the ExchangeDefender portfolio and I’ve gotten countless emails similar to this one:

“When can we have a conversation about the Unicorn? I know it’s not on the same level but you’re one of the last places left that actually cares about partners and I need a long term solution.”

So far I’ve declined all such calls because even though the Unicorn will get a major update this quarter, it is not going to be an RMM.

Community Service or Business

Vladville is community service.

User group presentations, community presentations, podcasts, etc are a form of community service.

ExchangeDefender is a business. Structurally speaking, it’s a software business – we spend a lot of money to build a solution and get paid over the long term. And long term business case for management of PCs and servers is bleak at best.

Business Issue

There are less and less MSPs.

There are more and more types of devices to manage.

Those are opposing forces that make a financial model for building an RMM platform extremely difficult. The worst part? That’s not the bad news.

The bad news isn’t in the fact that there are fewer people to sell the software to or the fact that it would cost more and more to produce a management platform that covers Windows, Mac, Android, Windows Phone, iOS, Blackberry (ha!).. No, the bad news is this:

Development of an RMM platform to centrally and neutrally manage devices is against the business model of OEM device makers who are less and less likely to open up the API to third parties that may eat into the potential profits.

Microsoft, Apple and Google do not want developers that marginalize their platforms. The major brokers – Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and every other mobile operator – want the service, warranty and management business. With the developer not allowing you access to the device and the carrier/provider fighting you for the service, where do you take the RMM platform?

This in fact is the reason you’ve seen what you’ve seen with the RMM industry – it’s not that it’s consolidating, it’s that it’s a feature with a large deployment base that will never get any bigger and it’s maximum value is what it’s worth right now + any additional business it can generate as a part of something bigger.

Come to Jesus Meeting

Guys, I love you. I do. I appreciate everyone that gives me money. Building an RMM solution would not be doing you a favor. If you want to hurt yourself there are more thrilling ways that will at least make you feel like a real man in the process:


Instead of spending time trying to figure out another RMM, another scripting language and another way to pursue the shrinking and more difficult market.. Please. Just stay with what you got, keep the money printing machine stuck in legacy mode and keep on cashing it in as long as the clients are willing to pay.

But if you’re going to put some time and effort into a major business initiative (like switching an RMM platform) for the love of god call me. Let’s work on something that is actually growing, creates additional ways to provide consulting and implementation revenue, let’s talk about something that the industry cannot get enough and let’s talk about the stuff that is positively impacting MSP opportunities.

Let’s talk about the cloud. Before your competition does. Your vendors are already bombarding your clients – profit from the momentum, don’t fight it.