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It’s no secret that MSPs (managed service providers) have a history of switching between remote monitoring and management platforms to deliver their services to customers.

Some have treated platform vendors such as N-able Technologies, Kaseya and Zenith Infotech like the self-serve trays at a Chinese buffet — sampling one, then moving to another until going back to fill their plates with what they really like. A new Channel Insider survey found that 25 percent of MSPs have switched platforms three times in the last three years, 18 percent have switched twice, and 13 percent, four times. Seven percent said they have switched a whopping 10 times or more!

Presumably, as the managed services space starts to mature, providers will settle on a platform or two and stick with them. But, it turns out temptation is never far off. A lesser-known player is vying for the attention of MSPs with a basement-price offer of its software to remotely maintain secure, standardized desktop environments.

ManageEngine, which to date has played primarily in the direct enterprise space, is setting its sights on the channel with its MSP Center Plus suite, offering providers a yearly $25-per-managed-device fee deal.

ManageEngine says it built the MSP Center Plus platform based on experience from working with more than 350 MSPs who used earlier versions of the software. Through a graphical interface, the software allows providers to handle asset, power and patch management, as well as network monitoring, SLA management, Exchange monitoring and help desk.

Unlike competing solutions, according to ManageEngine, MSP Center Plus doesn’t require extensive for routine management tasks.

“By simply selecting from MSP Center Plus’ more than 50 templates and 250 pre-loaded policies, MSPs can easily apply and maintain desktop policies across an entire computer group,” the company says. “Everything from power management to firewall and registry settings and more can be standardized across thousands of endpoints with a simple mouse click. Templates even make security management easier.”

Be it for the ease of use, low price of entry, or both, ManageEngine is sure to find willing partners in the channel, at least to try it out, Chinese buffet style. It wasn’t that long ago, after all, that Zenith Infotech was a relative unknown. Today, the vendor’s name is typically one of the first to come up in conversations about managed services vendors.

But whatever the attraction to ManageEngine may turn out to be for solution providers, they had best make sure the vendor’s software is the best suited to their customers’ needs. According to a recent Aberdeen Group study, customers are getting pickier about what they want from providers of managed services.