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Looking to offer managed service providers a platform to manage their operations, Atera is making available a Benchmark service through which MSPs can employ a range of metrics to show how their organizations are performing in comparison to their competitors.

Using data collected from hundreds of managed service providers that use the Atera platform, an MSP can now gain access to a business intelligence application that tracks, for example, the type of alerts, ticket load during work hours, response times and resolution times that Atera updates daily, said CEO Gil Pekelman.

Atera is able to provide this capability because its management software is built around an Internet of things (IoT) architecture that runs on the Microsoft Azure Cloud, which makes it possible for Atera to use an instance of Microsoft Power BI software to give MSPs access to anonymized data, Pekelman said.

“We use an IoT architecture that makes use of millions of sensors and agents to drive data into the cloud,” Pekelman said. “That approach also makes it possible for us to make Power BI available to the entire MSP community.

Atera has been leveraging the cloud to disrupt the way MSPs have traditionally been required to invoke remote managing and monitoring (RMM) and professional services automation (PSA) software. Rather than having to buy and integrate these applications separately, Atera makes them available as a unified service running in the cloud. In addition, Altera has changed the pricing model for these applications by opting not to charge by the number of endpoints being supported. Instead, a flat fee of $89 per technician is charged, regardless of the number of endpoints managed.

Computer Geeks President Parker Ledbetter said that approach proved to be an attractive alternative to the previous MSP platform it had been relying on from AVG Technologies.

“Our technicians are finding Atera to be more straightforward and easy to use,” Ledbetter said. “We think that’s going to enable us to grow faster.”

Atera enables Computer Geeks to create a service catalog that its customers can invoke in a way that is less expensive and less complicated for the company to manage and deploy, Ledbetter said, noting that Atera also includes tools for automating patch management and software billing.

Providing the same capabilities in another way might require using multiple platforms from different vendors that would all have to be integrated by Computer Geeks, he said.

At a time when cloud computing is disrupting almost every aspect of IT, it may very well turn out that the way managed services themselves are deployed and managed may never be the same.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for more than 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.