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Autotask Community Live! - 2010-05-03

Autotask pledges product improvements for the channel

Hosted IT business management software vendor is working to make it easier for partners and customers to manage and run their businesses

4/21/2010 By: Maxine Cheung

MIAMI, FLA. - Autotask held its second annual Community Live user conference here this year, where the company announced it would spend $9 million-worth of product improvements and enhancements this year.

Autotask is a hosted IT business management software vendor, with a flagship Web-based software solution under the same name. The company markets its solutions towards value-added resellers, managed service providers (MSPs) and IT service providers so they can sell, implement, deliver and bill for their services offerings.

The Autotask software solution helps businesses better manage their automation and management people and project processes.

Adam Stewart, vice-president of engineering at Autotask, said the company currently has nine priority product tracks that it focuses its efforts on when it comes to innovations, which includes: core modules, infrastructure, innovations, integrations, rapid response, reporting, taskfire, usability and VARStreet.

Joe Rourke, director of product management at Autotask, said there will be a number of improvements made to Autotask which will be coming out next month; some of which include, allocation codes on time entry, custom notifications, enhanced opportunities and quote workflows, VARStreet Advanced Quoting and Taskfiire Parent/Child Solution.

Taskfire is an add-on hosted service desk and ticket managment system that works with the Autotask Client Access Portal that helps to manage internal IT service issues by providing customers with a direct link to their preferred IT service provider. The co-managed service offering is a fully-integrated platform that helps accept, assign and remediate service issues within an organization and can be used as as outsource service desk, a fully co-managed service desk, or an outsource help desk.

Partners have the option to deliver Taskfire as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering, as a value-added solution to their customers, or they can deliver the solution as a managed service.

Jacob Braun, president and chief operating officer at Hadley, Mass.-based security managed services provider, Waka Digital Media Corporation, says his company has been an Autotask user and Taskfire partner for about a year.
"By leveraging Autotask and Taskfire for our services, we can service our clients better and they also allows clients to have better budget utilization by utilizing services they may not have been able to in the past," Braun said. "We're leveraging these utilities as part of a total solution, so we're seeing double digit growth in services and more attachment rates."

Now with the new Parent/Child capabilities in Taskfire, partners can also go after business with larger-sized businesses, who have offices in multiple locations.

"The larger the client is, the more locations they'll have which means more users and IT needs," Patrick Burns, director of product innovation at Autotask, said. "That's where Taskfire Parent/Child Solution comes in. With the Parent/Child functionality, the client can support multiple locations to improve their overall service."

The company also used the conference to announce its VARStreet by Autotask offerings, as a result of the company's acquisition of VARStreet, an e-commerce solution vendor, last month. These solutions are designed to help partners with their businesses by offering them an easier and more affordable way to manage, buy and sell technology products.

The VARStreet by Autotask solutions are currently available in the U.S., with some beta customers in Canada, The solutions are expected to come to Canada sometime this second quarter, with worldwide availability expected at a later date.

Kris Benson, president of Calgary-based managed service provider, Benson and Associates, says his company is "very excited" about the VARStreet by Autotask solutions.

His colleague, Justin Joson, operations manager, Benson and Associates, says in his role, he's responsible for procurement and quoting for the company.

"VARStreet by Autotask would significantly decrease the time it takes for me to quote and look for products," Joson said. "It will definitely give us a more competitive advantage in the market too."