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The battle for control over the backend operations of managed service providers (MSPs) has intensified now that Autotask has made remote management and monitoring (RMM) tools available alongside its existing professional services automation (PSA) software.

As the latest provider of PSA or RMM software to expand into either category, Autotask with the release of its PSA and Endpoint Management platform is designed to make the integration of RMM and PSA applications as seamless as possible, said Patrick Burns, vice president of product management for Autotask.

The Autotask PSA and Endpoint Management platform includes integrated dashboards, automatic elimination of duplicate alerts, real-time asset synchronization and the ability to seamlessly integrate alerts, job tickets and device integration.

While solution providers have been integrating these two classes of software for years, being required to manage the business using two very different panes of glass often led to suboptimal results for solution providers, Burns said.

“A lot of these integrations have been cumbersome and limiting to the business,” said Burns “These two technologies were meant to be comingled.”

One of the first MSPs to adopt the Autotask PSA and Endpoint Management platform is Tech Guru. Previously, the company relied on the integration of RMM tools from Kaseya with Autotask to run its operations, Tech Guru president Micah Thor said. While the Autotask approach may not be any less expensive, Thor notes that the productivity gains of 20 percent across its support staff represents a substantial return on its Autotask investment.

“The real issue for is increasing the number of customers we can support with our existing staff,” said Thor. “It’s not really a cost issue.

At the same time, Tech Guru will benefit from no longer having to maintain the integration of Kaseya and Autotask software, Thor said.

“The fact is that the integrations were always breaking,” said Thor. “As soon as we found out Autotask would be providing RMM tools, we jumped on board.”

Just about every provider of RMM tools is moving to offer some PSA functionality, while providers of PSA software counter by adding RMM tools.

Which way the majority of MSPs will ultimately jump remains to be seen. However, as the RMM and PSA functionality continues to converge, many of those MSPs are about to become a whole lot more efficient.

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.