“DattoTask” Combination Means Big Changes For MSPs

We have some big vendor news today. News which could significantly change the face of the MSP vendor community for years to come. Backup vendor Datto will be acquired by Vista Equity Partners, which also owns ticketing and RMM vendor Autotask. It also appears that Vista will be merging Datto and Autotask into a single entity.

“We’re honored to be joining forces with both the world’s premier software investor, Vista Equity Partners, and with Autotask, the provider of the most essential tools for the MSP space,” said Datto’s founder and CEO, Austin McChord. “This unique combination of talent with a track record of success marks a new chapter that will make an even bigger impact for our Managed Service Provider partners, by delivering an unprecedented set of capabilities for them to serve millions of small businesses in the future.”

A combined management team will lead the merged entity with Datto Founder and Chief Executive Officer Austin McChord as CEO. Autotask CEO Mark Cattini will continue to work closely with Austin and the combined team as a strategic advisor to the Board of Directors.

What will this new 'DattoTask' organization look like? Let's examine some possible outcomes.

The Good

Any disruption in the vendor channel is good for MSPs. At least that's my position. We have been in a long period of relative stagnation within the MSP vendor community (companies delivering services/products to MSPs). We started to emerge from this period of stagnation when the RMM and PSA (ticketing) vendors began to be acquired (you can read through some of our other blogs of those acquisitions on this site). Autotask, N-able, Kaseya, and Level Platforms, all were part of the initial M&A activity which saw mergers and re-capilization of these companies over the last 5 years or so.

Combining a backup firm and an RMM/PSA firm seems like it would be a positive move. The resulting combination should yield greater investments into R&D, better technology, increased efficiencies, and happier MSPs. In theory.

The Bad

While good intentions have always paved the way to hell, a combined 'DattoTask' could bring some unwelcome changes to the MSP community. Forced integration of toolsets, increased pressure to cross-pollinate amongst both user groups, and potential for decreased compatibility with competitive firms are all very real outcomes of this merger.

Another potential negative outcome could be in the way this deal influences other vendor behavior. For example, it is now a distinct possibility that both Kaseya and ConnectWise will pursue acquisitions of their own backup solutions. Personally, I think that is a completely useless endeavor but the vendor community has always had a severe case of "keeping up with the Jones's."

The perfect outcome may never materialize but we can always hope. We can always monitor the situation and see what unfolds. Personally, I hope for the best, especially when it comes to how MSPs will be treated in this combination. I have witnessed too many vendor acquisitions over the years and seen too many MSP casualties. I will wish positive thoughts to the leadership of DattoTask that this merger will mean great things to come for MSPs and their customers.

 

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