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The two keys to being a successful managed service provider (MSP) these days are agility and automation. Customers want to be able to adopt new and emerging technologies faster than ever. Collectively, customers are also deploying them at a level of scale that—without some form of increased reliance on IT automation—the average MSP would not be able to keep pace.

Fred Voccola, who took the helm as Kaseya CEO earlier this month, plans to double down on MSPs. There will still be cases in which end customers purchase access to the Kaseya MSP platform directly, but in terms of future growth, MSPs are clearly going to be the company’s primary driver going forward.

Voccola, who takes over from Yogesh Gupta, now chairman of Kaseya, said that as part of that effort, Kaseya will spend a lot more time communicating with MSPs about the company’s future product strategy. In the last two years, the cloud-based IT management and security software specialist has invested $20 million in research and development, which he said is way more than any other provider of an MSP platform. To that end, MSPs will see a raft of new capabilities that not only enable them to better automate the delivery of IT services, but also respond more agilely to rapidly changing technology dynamics, he said.

The biggest challenge Kaseya and its primary rivals face, however, may not even be each other. A large number of MSPs have built their own network operation centers (NOCs) around open-source technologies. Rather than paying to use an MSP platform, in their minds, it is more cost-effective to leverage engineering talent to create an MSP platform that is highly customized to their particular business.

However, the days when MSPs could adequately scale their business on the backs of those engineers are coming to a close, Voccola said. MSPs that rely on engineering talent from places such as India and Eastern Europe are finding that that not only are their labor costs are increasing, but also that scaling the business across multiple time zones has become a major challenge. By relying on Kaseya, MSPs will not only be able to deliver IT services at scale, but the quality of those service is going to be a lot higher, Voccola said.

It remains to be seen to what degree Kaseya can bring more MSPs in from the proverbial open-source cold. Open source is often a commitment to a way of IT life as much as it is a business decision. But as the complexity associated with delivering IT services continues to increase, chances are there will be more MSPs looking for help deliver those services at a level of scale that with each passing day becomes all the more unprecedented.

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.