From The Editor | April 20, 2010

VARs at Large


By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor

It's hard being big.

Well, at least if you are an MSP looking for ways to automate and streamline your business processes. Often, when I am at events such as the Autotask CommunITy Live in Miami, a gathering for several hundred Autotask channel partners, I find my conversations are with SMB MSPs. They are 20-30 employee businesses serving similar sized customers. But that is not the case with Tushaus, an MSP from Milwaukee. With 120 employees, this large MSP needs tools built to handle an entirely different set of problems. I sat down with Tim Smiley, manager of Tushaus special projects, and talked about a group he is spearheading.

VARs at Large is a new user group Tim is working on with Autotask, with the goal of brainstorming and advising Autotask on features large VARs and MSPs need integrated into the product line. Tim explained to me that when Tushaus selected Autotask for its PSA, it wanted a product that provided strategic visibility into its business. Not only was the MSP looking for a product that helped it become more efficient, but showed exactly what was working, and what wasn't, in terms of business process. The hitch is that some business processes are entirely different at the SMB level than when you are larger IT services organization.

So, at this, Tim's first partner event, he is looking for those large partners (50 employees or more). The goal of the peer group is to not only share best practices among themselves, but discover feature sets that they uniquely need, and then escalate those requests to Autotask for consideration in the product roadmap. Tim says that while Tushaus has its own wish list, which includes billing and security needs, he is interested in what the group as a whole will end up recommending.

The group's first meeting will be here at Miami tomorrow, and I hope to grab Tim for an update. Want to get involved? If you are an Autotask partner with 50 employees or more, contact Tim Smiley through the company website at or Autotask.