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When it comes to delivering managed services, everything boils down to the intimacy of the MSP and the end consumer of those services. The closer that bond, the less likely it is that a customer is going to try to low ball the MSPs on pricing.

With that one goal in mind, ConnectWise has moved to fill a gap in its Labtech MSP platform by acquiring ScreenConnect, a provider of remote control software.

LabTech CEO Matt Nachtrab said ConnectWise will include ScreenConnect within the LabTech platform for free, while continuing to offer ScreenConnect software as a standalone product.

ScreenConnect will replace a slower remote control software that LabTech had previously used, which Nachtrab said is critical because remote control software is the most widely used function within the MSP platform.

In general, Nachtrab said remote control software is crucial because it goes to the heart of the customer experience. By improving that experience, LabTech is eliminating the No. 1 reason MSPs either choose another platform or fail to renew their LabTech license.

Whether it’s to provide “stealth support” or engage an end user, Nachtrab said MSPs need to increase their reliance on IT automation to not only keep customers happy as IT becomes more complex, but also to maximize their profitability. It’s simply not economically feasible to keep hiring additional administrators to support IT environments that continue to scale exponentially.

Longer term, Nachtrab said it’s already apparent that most MSPs will also need to develop programming skills to help automate many of the routine processes that wind up costing MSPs time and, ultimately, money. The trick, he said, is to have enough IT operational maturity in place to not only be competitive in terms of pricing, but also to reduce overhead in a way that makes delivering those services a profitable endeavor.

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