During my last salaried job, I first spent a month looking around. How does everything work here and how do people do it? I indicated from day one that I wasn’t going to think about anything for a whole month but wanted to watch and learn a lot. Only then did I start looking for the perfect integrations with Autotask and Datto.
How it started
At that time we were working with PRTG, Nagios, Osticket and a self-written application for time registration and invoicing.
In retrospect, I dare say I really understood very little about ICT. I thought I knew quite a few things from my Consultancy period, but what did I run into with my lack of knowledge!
What I did was what seemed logical to me, what I’m really good at: figures, KPIs and processes. I knew what I had to do.
From that moment on, I started looking along with the engineers, project managers and basically everyone. I wrote down every action and extracted all the data from Nagios, PRTG, Osticket, VOIP switchboard, and so on. After a few days of analysis, digging through numbers and building tables, I noticed something.
Hours were not complete, systems did not integrate with each other and mails were manually retrieved from mailboxes. That had to change! We were losing at least 40 hours a week in administrative work.
If you have 13 engineers who deal with 17 tickets every day and you reduce the administrative pressure by 3 minutes per ticket through smart integration, this saves 56 hours per week.
To measure is to know
In all my enthusiasm and ignorance, I then went out into the market looking for opportunities. At the time, 90% of my group of friends worked at two companies: Autotask and Solarwinds. So that’s where I started!
I compared Topdesk, AFAS, Freshdesk, Zendesk, Solarwinds and Autotask PSA (now Datto). Then I also compared various RMM tooling, but that quickly left Kaseya, N-able Solarwinds and Datto RMM.
After many discussions, pluses and minuses, we came to the conclusion that Autotask PSA in combination with Datto RMM (at the time Autotask Endpoint Management / Centrastage) was the best solution for this company.
It was not an easy conversation, it involved a serious investment. We went from (almost) completely open source to a tool that costs serious money per month. That required a different view and it took some time.
Integration and Consolidation
The reason I finally got an agreement was my calculation of the potential savings from reducing administrative pressure. To this day I think this is the most important thing an Operations Manager or ICT manager should be concerned about: How do I make sure that my engineers can work on technology as simply and easily as possible?
Technicians are a disaster in administration, let’s just call it by its name. They do documentation with a sigh and book hours because they have to. Fine, right? They chose engineering and not administration. Irritating? Sure! But let’s just accept the reality and support them with what they are good at.
Looking back and with the experience I have now, what do I think is the selection of software packages you should take in combination with Autotask PSA?
The following list came about after years of poking around on the internet and many conversations with various Managed Service Providers. There are, of course, numerous other options, but these stand out for me.
If you were to put a gun to my head and I had to rattle off a list quickly, this is my list. Not exhaustive, but a good base.
Checklist Autotask integrations
VOIP RoutIT in the Netherlands
Reporting PowerBI, Brightgauge, CloudRadial and Warrantymaster
RMM Network Auvik
RMM Datto RMM. Nothing for you? Check out Connectwise Automate, Solarwinds or Kaseya.
Phishing and Awareness Usecure.io
Password manager ITGlue or Keeper
Drawings Lucidchart, integrates perfectly with ITGlue. Free alternative which works fine is Draw.io
Customer feedback Smileback or built-in option in Autotask
Accounting Yuki with connector, for larger organizations AFAS with Application link
Antivirus Sentinel One
Backup Datto Continuity, N-Able MSP Backup or Acronis.
Vulnerabilities Liongard i.c.m. Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection.
In addition, a no-name mention for Topleft and Cloudradial.
What else is missing from this list? There are a number of vendors that integrate well with Autotask but I will leave these aside for now. Otherwise, be sure to check out MSP Navigator, a free platform where you can build your own tech stack.
Don’t make it too hard on yourself, see if the above works for you and don’t customize if you don’t have to. I have no connection with these parties mainly want to make your search shorter, easier and better.
All this tooling is of course a serious investment. But you earn it back through increased productivity and quality. Don’t look at the costs but what it gives you.
Besides: Who needs manual operations?