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Datto Sold Out!

msp msp marketing pillar May 23, 2022

The bombshell of Kaseya buying up Datto has ricocheted throughout the MSP Community, and whilst everybody is now trying to second guess what is going to happen next, it does give you food for thought about what’s going on around all of us in this MSP industry right now.

If you're new here then hi my name is Pete, and after selling my MSP in early 2020, I now help MSPs and IT Business Owners to run better businesses.

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I have a tonne of respect and admiration for Datto. Honestly, in my time running an MSP, they were one of the most giving and helpful vendors that we worked with, and damn do they know how to party too!

I was fortunate enough to speak in a couple of sessions at Dattocon Paris in 2019, meeting the whole team and taking part in that event will still be a highlight of my career.

So what do you do, when one of your favourite vendors gets swallowed up by Kaseya? Kaseya is a company whose online reputation is the equivalent of a telecom business that doesn’t care for the client. All they care about is growth, profit, and long contracts with unfavourable, possibly even illegal renewal terms.

Now I’m not saying that’s who Kaseya is, but that’s definitely the rumour doing the rounds on social platforms right now.

People are seriously worried about what they should do next. What vendor can I switch to for my PSA, RMM or any of the other Datto tools that I had?

One thing that I would say to you, both from personal experience and just something we forget over time, is everybody sells up in the end.

Whether that is a:

Timed and well-executed exit strategy

Handing a business down to someone else to run

Poor health and perhaps expected or even unexpected death

Everybody will be forced to step down at some stage. To achieve what Datto has done since its inception is something that many of us can only aspire to do ourselves. To grow a business that well, to market it well, to command a whole sector of the backups and disaster recovery market the way they did, is tough work.

I had NO exit strategy in place. No plans, I didn’t care about what the company looked like from an ‘I’m going to sell it’ point of view. But when I did, damn did I wish I’d planned a bit more. 

So my first piece of advice here is to take a good look at yourself and your business, and even if you have NO plan to sell or exit your business, it makes good business sense to be aware of what drives valuation whilst you’re actively running it.

Because you’ll find that those same indicators that you use to ‘exit’ your business, are actually indicators that you are running a healthy business too.  EBITDA is the one I would start with. So figure out what that is, what your EBITDA is, and look at how you can move the numbers to be better.

The second piece of advice here, and getting back to the topic of this post with Datto and Kaseya, is that it is now down to Kaseya to prove to us as their customers that their intentions with Datto are good. 

That they’re not going to try the same tricks that have tripped them up before.

Would I currently be looking at switching my tools over to someone else? 

I don’t think it’s wise to panic and jump ships right away. But what I do believe is that you, as the MSP Owner, should be constantly looking at improving what you do, and that means using the best tools to deliver that service.

So I believe you should be regularly reviewing the tools you use, not just reacting to current news, but every other year, have a plan in place to just do a demo or trial of a few alternative platforms, just to see what you’re missing out on. You never know, you may find a tool that’s better at doing something than your existing tool.

The recent Kaseya acquisition of Datto only reinforces that you should have this sort of process in place. But - with that said, ethics mean a lot to me, I don’t have any patience or time for people who think they need to do dirty tricks or do underhanded deals to better themselves. I don’t want to help those people line their pockets when they obviously don’t care about anybody else but themselves. 

I’m sure we’ve all seen things do the rounds since that announcement has come out.

So if you do truly believe that one of your vendors isn’t being ethical, and you don’t want to line their pockets any further - then yes. I would do everything I could, as long as it didn’t impact my business negatively, and even then, perhaps I’d suck up a bit of extra money, to move away to someone that I do trust.

BUT, there’s a warning here, because acquisitions are happening all around us. The IT Industry is really thinning out right now, with the big vendors ultimately being owned by a very small handful of overarching businesses or investment funds.

So be careful not to jump to a new vendor, only to be disappointed when you find a few months later they’ve also been acquired. 

What this does open the doors for though, is the new breed of vendors to come through.

I’m talking about the likes of Halo PSA, Zomentum and Superops - Some very interesting, well designed, well thought out tools that are doing something that none of the big vendors can or will do right now, which is starting with a fresh piece of paper and building, from the ground up, what the best tool in their industry would look like TODAY. Not trying to steer this massive behemoth of a product with small incremental improvements as the likes of Kaseya, Datto, or Connectwise are now having to manage.

Actually, on that note, drop me a comment if would you like to see some of those new tools? I’ve been thinking about covering some of them on this website, so I’d be really interested to know what you think, or if there are any other tools you’d like me to check out.

I hope this was helpful to you today, I know it’s not my usual sort of post, but hopefully, it helps those of you currently processing those same thoughts as to what to do next.

If you like this sort of thing, why not head over to my YouTube channel and subscribe for more MSP videos. 


Thanks for reading!

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