Waterloo’s Auvik Networks entering RMM market with MSP Edition

The Canadian cloud-based network management software provider has modified its software to produce a version for the MSP market that has some pluses it believes are missing from the market now. The plan is to sell it direct for a while to establish proof of concept while they work on building a proper channel program.

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Waterloo, ON-based Auvik Networks, which makes cloud-based network management software, is about to launch a new MSP Edition, which will be unveiled next week at the Cisco Live event in San Diego. While they will begin selling it direct, they intend to expand it to an MSP channel.

Auvik, which was founded in 2011 and raised $6 million in its first round of venture capital funding in 2013, has a mixed DNA of people who come from both Blackberry and from equipment vendor Sandvine. Auvik’s founding objective was to bring a new approach to network management.

“Network management has been around a long time and it generally sucks, because it is done the same way it was done 20 years ago,” said Marc Morin, Auvik’s CEO. “It made a lot of sense 20 years ago, when all mission-critical software ran on servers on premise. Back then it made sense to have a custom solution curated by a highly skilled technician.”

The move to the cloud has made that model an expensive luxury, Morin stressed.

“With services moving to the cloud, on-prem IT is shifting more to a supporting role and ensuring access to the Internet, so we questioned if similar skill was needed,” he said. “That was our thesis, and the basis on which we were founded – that we could make it dramatically easier.”

Auvik has been selling their product direct as software, targeting it mainly at the mid-market, as well as SMBs.

“Fortune 100 will be late adopters for us, because they have heavy investments in the specialists our solution can replace,” Morin said.

Most of their software sales have been outside Canada, although they do have some Canadian customers.

“Canadians tend to be a bit conservative in IT, and are less likely to buy new vendors,” Morin said.

Auvik’s plans were always to make their solution available as a managed service once they were ready and the product was mature.

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Auvik’s MSP dashboard

“The MSP edition is an extra feature set on top of the main product,” Morin said. “The product is designed from the ground up to be multi-tenanted.” The system integrates automated network topology, inventory, management, performance monitoring, troubleshooting tools, and capabilities into one intuitive interface that allows to securely see and manage an unlimited number of customer networks.

Morin said that in selling Auvik MSP against platforms that are well established in the business, they will be emphasizing its comparative ease of use.

“It’s extremely visual,” he said. “The existing offerings are more tools for experts. We have a map-centric view that is a key differentiator and makes it easy to see what the network is doing.”

That visualization is what Auvik refers to as the See element in their See, Tell and Do competitive positioning. The Tell component is a recommendation engine which assists in configuration of files for things like VoIP, as well as other ways to improve a customer’s network. The Do is their automation and orchestration abilities.

“These have historically been handled by different products, but we see them as tightly coupled to do the job well,” Morin said.

“Another side benefit for MSPs is that when they bring on a new client, it’s much easier,” he said. Adding a new customer often involves extensive network inventory and monitoring setup to fully understand and manage the network. With Auvik, the inventory is done automatically, and monitoring is in place within minutes via pre-configured alerts.

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RMM remote management menu

Morin also said that while they will be competing against the RMM vendors already in the market, their products aren’t necessarily incompatible.

“They could be run beside each other, because we are very deep on the networking infrastructure side, and offer additional things such as the ability to suggest configuration changes,” Morin said.

Auvik will also be integrating quickly with the tools and applications from the core vendor products that MSPs use to run their business. The first is scheduled to roll out next week, and there is a road map for a half dozen more over the next few months

So when will this offering for MSPs be rolled out to MSPs? It’s coming, but putting together the channel strategy is still a work in progress, Morin said.

“Our thesis was that we needed to go direct with the MSP edition to build traction, but that partners are absolutely necessary,” he indicated. “Selling it direct will also be a way to solicit interest from the indirect channel.”

Given that Auvik doesn’t have channel experience, developing a proper channel strategy and program isn’t something they are able to do out of the gate.

“The channel is important for us, and we are in the process of developing a channel for MSPs, resellers and distributors,” Morin added. “We still have things to prove, to develop that channel properly, and when we have done that we will be able to move forward with it.”

As part of that development, Auvik will be demonstrating Auvik MSP Edition to MSPs and VARs at Cisco Live.

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