Contact Richard:   +44 (0)121 663 0223 +44 (0) 7703 355045

Autotask Community on Tour – London – 18th Nov, 2011 – New larger venue to accommodate popularity!

imageA heads-up that the Autotask Community on Tour event that takes place this Friday 18th November in London has *exploded* in popularity over this past week!

I understand the team at Autotask were expecting around 100 registrations, but with the upsurge in new Autotask users within the UK over the past few months and the strong line-up for the day, at the close of business on Friday registration had exceeded 200!

To their credit, Autotask haven’t backed away from the situation and instead have moved the event from the original venue of the Holiday Inn in Oxford Circus to the Grand Connaught Rooms in London. If you’ve ever visited the Connaught before, you’ll know it’s a great venue!

What’s more, Autotask MVP Lee Evans of Vital dropped me a line on Friday to say that thanks to the new bigger venue, he’s contacted those non-Autotask users who expressed an interest in attending the event to welcome them along. As Lee said, “… it’s become less of a user group and more of a road-show come industry event that everyone is welcome to attend, and we are now able to accommodate more!”

I know that as well as Autotask flying in CEO Mark Cattini (who I interviewed on this blog a few weeks ago), Senior VP Len DiCostanzo and other senior staff, also in attendance will be GFI Max, Doyenz, Synaxon and the team from LogMeIn – who will be hosting a Cocktail Reception at the venue after the event.

And if I had to guess, I’d bet on the fact that due to the increased exposure of this event, more recognisable names still will be in attendance…

If all that sounds too good, the downside is that I’ve been asked to present to – but you can tolerate 30 minutes of me talking about Backup and Disaster Recovery for MSP’s, right? Smile

Registration is free, so regardless of what PSA or RMM tool you’re using (or even if you’re not) – if you’re an IT Solution Provider or Managed Service Provider, get yourself across to http://www.autotask.com/ontour/london/ and register now.

 

Building a Community – Lessons from GFI Max

One of the ways you can tell if a good product or company is gathering momentum and becoming popular is by how much of a community is building up around that product or company. When people are passionate about something they want to talk to other likeminded people about it.

GFI Max LogoOver the past couple of years, GFI Max is one such company where I’ve observed a growing community of people who want to spend time together talking about the Max RMM tool.

Whilst this isn’t something that has happened entirely by design, it’s not something that happened by accident either.

LinkedIn Forums

GFI have helped facilitate their community by providing the GFI Max LinkedIn Forums – a place where Max users can chat, exchange ideas and give feedback to the GFI team – good or bad. Whilst these forums are monitored and members of the Max team participate in discussion themselves, they aren’t moderated in the sense that if a Max client has a gripe about the product or the company that they air with their peers – the GFI team don’t delete the message or shy away from it, they respond to it directly. This attitude towards being open and transparent hasn’t gone un-noticed by the SMB Community.

Members of the GFI Max LinkedIn forums are usually the first people that get to hear about new features and the forthcoming Max Roadmap too, further building a sense that the community is valued.

User Groups

Earlier this year, GFI responded to a request from the Thames Valley Small Business Specialist User Group led by Chris Timm. The group, which has a high proportion of GFI Max users within it, was looking for a new sponsor, and GFI agreed to step in and help that group continue to grow.

All of these things on their own aren’t enough to persuade people to use GFI Max products. You still need a really good product and service delivery (which I believe GFI Max has). But if all things are equal, and an IT company is faced with choosing between two or more really good products – as is the case in the RMM market populated by GFI Max, Labtech, Kaseya and others – people tend to choose the product that their peers have recommended to them.

Make it, don’t fake it

You can’t fake this stuff. Building a community of raving fans isn’t something you can acquire. People can tell the difference between a paid endorsement and genuine goodwill towards a company or product. It takes time and it’s not easy. Most IT vendors give up because it’s too hard. They want immediate returns. Those vendors will still sell stuff, because generally their product is good, but retaining clients and as importantly, having clients who will talk about their product to others? That takes commitment.

Conferences

GFI Max Global Conferences 2011Over the next few weeks, GFI Max will be taking another step towards supporting their community and will be hosting their first GFI Max Global Conferences at four locations across the globe.

The UK Conference takes place in Oxford on October 20th.

The USA Conference takes place in Florida on November 8th and 9th.

Not forgotten, Australia gets it’s Conference in Sydney on December 1st, and Europe has a Conference on November 23rd in the Netherlands.

I’ll be attending the UK Conference on October 20th, and will be looking forward to getting together with a whole load of GFI Max users.

Are you a GFI Max user and attending too? Let me know!

Take a look at MSPComparison

I’m often asked for my opinion of the tools of the trade for Managed Service Providers. Which RMM tool do I recommend? What do I think of this PSA  versus that PSA product? What Mail Filtering vendor would I use?

The fact is, I’ve got experience using many of the tools available to MSP’s – and have my own preferred products and vendors amongst them. I will happily share my opinion on what I think the pro’s and con’s are of all the tools I’m aware of are, but when offering this opinion to somebody looking at investing in such a tool for their Managed Service Practice, I always suggest they speak to their peers for feedback also.

Nothing beats hearing the real-world feedback of other businesses in a similar position to your own.

MSPComparison.com

MSPComparison.com LogoWith that thought in mind, I’m delighted to have been asked to be a part of the Managed Service Expert Panel over at MSPComparison.com, a site that I hope will help to educate MSP’s about the options for tools available to them.

MSPcomparison.com is intended to be an independent product directory site, which provides Managed Service Providers the ability to compare and contrast solutions from user ratings and reviews.

James Fletcher

The site was founded by James Fletcher, who is an employee of CentraStage, themselves an MSP Vendor. After speaking with a lot of MSP’s across the UK, and understanding their need to research and evaluate the products they need within their business, James decided he would setup the site to help MSP’s find the right solution – even if it isn’t the solution he’s selling!

I wouldn’t have agreed to contribute to the site myself if I didn’t think it was vendor neutral – and so far we’ve had reviews of all manner of products from contributors – speaking openly and honestly about the products they use, and like… or dislike!

The site is community driven, so the more members who join and participate, the more useful the site is to all.

If you’re an MSP of any shape or size – check out MSPComparison.com and get involved!

 

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