Platform vendor Kaseya International wants to empower its partners to become more well-rounded managed services providers with a newly launched set of support services.

The initiative, which the San Francisco-based vendor has dubbed emPower, consists of three separate elements. The components, called emPower Out-Tasking, Toolkit and Education, are meant to help Kaseya partners successfully implement the vendor’s IT Automation Framework, through which MSPs (managed services providers) remotely monitor and manage their customers’ IT systems.

Kaseya’s launch comes as a new study reveals that almost three in four solution providers rate big IT companies’ support as “good” or “fair.” Only 14 percent rated vendor support as “excellent,” according to the study by Ziff Davis Enterprise, publishers of Channel Insider and eWEEK, and the Crimson Consulting Group, which advises vendors on channel programs.

Respondents rated customer support and pre- and post-sales support as the most important criteria in selecting vendor partners.

Kaseya’s initiative is an acknowledgement that services delivery under the managed services model has changed considerably from the old days of reactive break/fix IT services, which changes the relationship between partners and vendors, said Dan Shapero, the vendor’s vice president of marketing.

Through managed services, customers are starting to expect anticipatory maintenance and round-the-clock services, he said.

With emPower’s out-tasking component, said Kaseya COO Tim McMullen, the company is giving its partners a comprehensive set of services, which includes taking over remote monitoring tasks so that partners don’t have to staff up around the clock to deliver the service to customers.

Through Monitor Assist, as the vendor is calling the service, Kaseya does the monitoring and when a problem occurs or is about to take place at a customer site, the partner is notified, regardless of the time of day or night, to go address it.

“We are their eyeballs, [24/7],” McMullen said. “Depending on severity, we could get them up in the middle of the night.”

Kaseya plans to add more components to the out-tasking piece in the next six to nine months, McMullen said.

“There are more services that we have planned and will be announcing,” he said. “We think demand is going to be significant.”

The toolkit component of Kaseya’s new initiative consists of a set of resources that the vendor is making available to partners, said Shapero.

Resources include guides on how to set up a service desk, for instance, and templates for business plans and SLAs (service level agreements) that MSPs can use for their customers. The kit also includes a free trial of Kaseya’s software.

The toolkit provides what Jeff Kaplan, managing director of research firm THINKstrategies, based in Wellesley, Mass., considers a key component of any successful IT management strategy—effective service desk capabilities.

It’s a component, Kaplan said, that many organizations have failed to design properly, not only to engage proactively with the customer but also to respond effectively when needed.

“Kaseya has also recognized that its partners’ ultimate success will depend on their ability to transform their operations from a break/fix to a proactive IT management orientation, and is expanding its portfolio of training programs to help these companies achieve this transition through its emPower initiative.”

McMullen said the education component of emPower supports the toolkit with study aids and training sessions. Kaseya is developing a curriculum for its partners that will include online sessions, which participants may attend live or, if they can’t make the live sessions, access archived versions at their convenience.

The curriculum covers technical and business-oriented subjects, Shapero said.