Kaseya chief strategy officer Mike Puglia says automation 'helps solve everything'

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Kaseya chief strategy officer Mike Puglia says automation 'helps solve everything'
Mike Puglia (Kaseya)

Most of the MSPs Mike Puglia talks to are gaining new clients. Puglia, the chief strategy officer at Kaseya, said many MSPs are in growth mode accelerated by the pandemic and are automating many practices and getting creative with their services to better serve their customers.

“They’re also seeing some selective outsourcing or co-management,” he said of MSPs. “There’s a lot of that now where the IT people just can’t handle what's happened and they outsource maybe the monitoring or some security. [MSPs] getting a lot of business that way rather than 'We are now your IT department.’

With automation at hyperscale, Puglia believes it’s an easier way to operate a business, cut costs and ease the burden of the current talent shortages the industry is seeing.

“AI doesn't solve any problem where it can’t figure out what the right answer is,” he told CRN US. “Having AI look at data is irrelevant unless it can determine from the data which outcome was good or bad.

“When you talk about automation, it's a couple of things that make a difference,” he added. “The good news for the channel is because of the amount of work that people have been doing to take care of everything to basically make the economy actually happen for two years, there are more companies that are now using MSPs.”

CRN sat down with Puglia to discuss what challenges MSPs and their clients are currently facing in a remote/hybrid world, how they’re getting creative with AI and what Kaseya is doing to help them along in their automation journey.

See what he had to say and how automation can help your business.

When you talk to MSPs what is the biggest challenge they're having right now when it comes to the remote-hybrid world?

I would say additional work. You used to take care of an office and you got familiar with it. Now if you’ve got a 100-person company, you have the office plus 100 mini offices. They're really mobile. And that’s just creating 30 percent more work just to take care of the same organization that they did before. Then they started learning about other challenges. Some of their security solutions and older things that they were doing were more problematic, and it increases [the MSP’s] load.

When you talk about automation, it’s a couple of things that make a difference. The good news for the channel is because of the amount of work that people have been doing to take care of everything to basically make the economy actually happen for two years, there are more companies that are now using MSPs. The same challenges MSPs have, they can’t find the IT talent and it's hard to come by and they don’t have expertise in hiring IT. They also can't find the skills because that IT person who has 20 years of experience managing at a municipal power company, he doesn’t know anything about Azure and all this other stuff. They can't find all these skills in one person. So the good news is they’re going to MSPs.

On the MSP side, the amount of manual repetitive tasks that don't need to be done burn people out and they quit. The Great Resignation and all of that, they’re just sick and tired of being sick and tired.

If 80 percent of the time you have a human do something, 'You can't print, let me reboot this, do this and do this.’ Those people are just unhappy with that. Keeping your talent is automating more for them. Let that smart human work on problems that a human mind needs to work on, that interesting, creative work, and they stay.

Are there are still ongoing challenges MSPs are facing with this hybrid-remote workforce?

They're still dealing with the day-to-day stuff, because they’re not in an office. They used to, in many cases, go to the office and if they had to do something they could do it. Now not everybody is there. It used to be, 'Next Thursday we're bringing lunch and we’re doing a training on the new thing we're rolling out.’ It’s harder to do that so they're moving to more online type of zoom meetings and things like that. It’s hard to herd the cats if you will, because they're everywhere. But they’ve adjusted to it and I think they've done a great job.

Now it's about growing again. What are the solutions that we’re doing for hybrid work? Do we have security solutions that handle these remote IT workers? What about performance in the office? It was the Wi-fi and the connectivity where now everybody's working out of their basement or attic. [They] still have to deal with that.

So how is Kaseya helping with automation?

The big thing is when they turn on their computer, and if they're on the internet, to automatically assess the machines for performance before something fails, automatically assess the machine for its security posture no matter where it is and automate the things to fix those things and only escalate the issues that are exceptions to human beings.

If I can wipe out 25 percent of their work, it's like doing a four-day work week and getting the fifth for free. The other big issue is automation helps solve everything for the IT superstar. They’ve got one person that's a star and they do everything and they work themselves to the bone. Now somebody gives them a sweetheart deal that they would be foolish not to take and they leave and you realize that that person did everything and all that knowledge walked out the door. When they walked out the door, none of what they did was automated so they can’t replicate it and none of it was documented. Look out for your superhero who's doing everything. If you haven’t automated at least some of what they can do or documented it, when they get an offer for triple the money you're going to be left holding the bag and spending six months trying to figure out what they were doing that was so awesome.

Fred Voccola [at the Connect IT conference] talked about how SMBs are the backbone of the global economy. What should MSPs be doing to further get a hold of that market and help them scale up?

The question is not, What is an MSP?’ It's, 'When should I use an MSP?’ Most companies use an accounting service, a legal service and now an IT service. Ten years ago that wasn’t the case. I think what [MSPs] need to do is look at what other areas of expertise they can add value to the businesses that they serve. It’s beyond, 'I'm your helpdesk person.’ I think what you’re going to see over the next certainly 10 years, but probably five, is MSPs offering other services that are critical to SMBs outside of pure IT.

I know of a MSP that bought an accounting firm and they basically said, 'We provide for all IT for all the small-to-medium businesses.’ They provide outsourced services such as IT, accounting and legal, those are just business services. Why do they have to be completely separate? So we're starting to see a mass movement of MSP M&A. And the next thing I think you’re going to start seeing is getting out of their pure comfort zone and getting into compliance. You start becoming a business service provider to the SMBs .

What is one thing you still try to help partners with that you haven't nailed down yet?

I think that we’re in a never-ending journey of integrations. We’ve got about 200 platforms and what I think of is what else can we do to tie them together. How do we simplify? It’s a never-ending journey of what we're going to do but it’s finding the right ones. We get a lot of feedback and some of them we never thought about like, 'Hey, if I could click here in this product and see all the data from this other product, it would save me five minutes.’ We never thought of that, so we start to get a lot of that. That’s the part that keeps me up. Where are we going? How many are the right ones to prioritise? And the customers help a lot with that.  

This article originally appeared at crn.com

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