Toast to Channel Partners – Driving More Innovation

Accelerating the product innovation IT partners can expect from SkyKick

Creating the best cloud management automation platform for IT partners

As our co-CEOs Todd Schwartz & Evan Richman shared earlier in the week, SkyKick completed another successful funding round, raising $130M to further invest in our IT partners’ success across 4 key areas including Product Innovation.

In this blog, we’re excited to share more details about the product innovation we are pursuing on behalf of our partners.

The SMB & ITSP (IT Service Provider) industry is on the cusp of a major new wave– one where partners will need to embrace unprecedented volumes, keep an eagle eye on security and adapt to new macro-trends like “hybrid work” into their business models.  Volumes are rising with 44% of SMBs surveyed post-COVID wanting to kickstart or accelerate their digital transformation.  Further, many of these SMBs indicated security, risk management and governance as a top priority. The partner opportunity around security and compliance will accelerate further as hybrid and remote work stay with us beyond the pandemic. 77% of employees surveyed recently felt they were more productive under flexible work models – and want these options to continue.

In light of these secular trends above, automation will be vital in helping the entire IT Service Provider ecosystem thrive. So, how will SkyKick product innovation accelerate the growth and opportunity for IT partners?

As the multi-talented Maya Angelou says,

A peek over the shoulder – product innovations we released last year

Let’s begin with a few of the recent memorable milestones, which inform where and how we will continue to build a future together with our IT partners.

 1. SkyKick launched the new Cloud Manager to help automate and secure your help desk
With COVID-19, partners were facing unprecedented support volumes and the added complexity of supporting customers in multiple SaaS services across home and work boundaries. In October 2020, we released Cloud Manager to help our partners improve help desk performance, automate complex workflows, strengthen security, and grow revenues by managing cross-cloud.  An average partner easily spends $100,000 per year in support costs, and Cloud Manager users report it can reduce that expense by up to 50%, while improving security and customer experience.

2. Solutions for 3 key MSP priorities – Help Desk performance, Cloud Security & Microsoft Teams
We recently deployed out-of-the-box product capabilities and playbooks to help partners radically simplify day-to-day cloud administration, strengthen security within their walls, and accelerate revenue generating services across cloud security and Microsoft Teams. From efficient and secure management of Teams to an easy-to-operationalize stack of revenue-generating cloud security services to assess, monitor & remediate customer security gaps, these solutions are built on real-world partner journeys and challenges. Partner feedback has been positive and validated the packaging of ready-to-go Cloud Management solutions for ITSPs.

3. Greater ease of use and advanced security with Cloud Manager
We launched 3 high-value new features in Spring 2021. Collections makes it easier to discover, share, and deploy business process-aligned automation. With 91% of SMBs expressing an appetite for Security-related MSP services, the new Monitor & Scheduling capabilities in this release equip partners to get on the front foot on security and compliance. Advanced Permissions and Sharing helps partners securely manage the use of automation.

4. Win with all of SkyKick by your side – Platform Licensing Agreements
To help partners automate the full lifecycle of cloud operations at an unbeatable value, we released brand new Platform Plans that bring together Cloud Manager, Cloud Backup, and Migration Suites into 3 easy licensing plans mapped to the needs of IT partners of varying size and maturity. Partners can save as much as 35% on Backup and Migration license costs under these Platform Plans.

5. Expanded Protection of Microsoft Teams data in Cloud Backup
To help secure modern work environments and mitigate ransomware risks, we expanded our industry-first Office 365 Groups and SharePoint-based backup and restore coverage to include Microsoft Teams. We also expanded the ability to easily deploy Cloud Backup to operate across Azure data centers globally, including Europe and Australia.

6. Cloud Backup is profitable because it is simpler & easier to operationalize
We delivered a range of Cloud Backup management improvements, including a new restore experience that provides monitoring and notifications, troubleshooting, reporting, and one-click actions. We also revamped the subscription plan selector, enabling partners to easily choose the best backup plan for a given need.

7. SkyKick Platform-wide notifications interface to drive efficiencies and productivity
To help streamline multi-project management and help your bottom-line, we have further enhanced the notifications interface on the platform portal to now help identify opportunities and mitigate risks by delivering timely and relevant email notifications to the right people and support tools.

8. New QuantumSync™ Migration technology brings 2-4X gains in performance and security
We upgraded our #1 MSP-rated Migration platform, delivering increased security, faster performance, and a better end-customer experience. Migrations with the new QuantumSync engine are 12x faster in the initiation of data syncing and more performant with 2-4x greater concurrency in mailbox syncs.

While varied, all this innovation has been driven by our focus on giving partners the tools they need to profitably scale their cloud practice. We are grateful for our partners’ ongoing input and collaboration, which has helped shape all this innovation and led to its success.

Looking ahead – reimagine and innovate on behalf of partners

As we look ahead, we are excited that this new investment will help us accelerate the pace of our success together. Here is a sneak peek at a few cool product updates we have cooking in the SkyKick kitchen.

1. Completing the vision for Cloud Manager
with more SaaS, PSA integrations & more
We started Cloud Manger with a vision of a single-pane-of-glass to manage all your Cloud and Hybrid Services. Partner response has been outstanding with over 1000% growth over the past year. Over the next several releases, the Cloud Manager team will be adding features to improve system activation and cross-customer monitoring, code-free automation tools to increase operational efficiency and system standardization, and integrations with popular PSA apps. Together, these enhancements will strengthen and extend the value Cloud Manager brings to MSP support desks, customer co-managed support models, and end-user self-service.

2. Helping ITSPs sell and deliver new managed offerings built around customer security
Security is one of the key global trends in this next wave of the cloud.  Microsoft now reports tracking 50 million attacks and over 8 trillion threat signals per day. 26% of companies experienced a data breach in 2020, and ransomware attacks have spiked 148% amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  Security is not just an “enterprise” problem – in fact 10X more SMBs than larger businesses were hit by a serious security incident in the past year. SMB experts expect to see significant growth in the adoption of employee security training tools, anti-ransomware solutions, hardware-based authentication, breach detection systems, and cloud workload protection. However, as ITSPs look to take on this lucrative opportunity, 53% report a shortage of security-aligned personnel in their operations. SkyKick is focused on enabling ITSPs with automation to strengthen security within their walls, as well as capitalize on these customer trends to package managed security offerings without overloading the team or adding extra complexity to the existing sales processes.

3. SkyKick Migrations – the next chapter
In the coming months, we will be unveiling a major new version of our Migrations platform – easier, faster, and more user-friendly than anything else in the Migration industry today.  Coming out of the COVID pandemic, as many as 44% of SMBs are considering a move to or accelerating their presence in the cloud, and SkyKick Migrations “vNext” will be there to serve ITSPs serve this need efficiently. Migrations vNext brings a reimagined user experience, stronger management tools, and upgraded sync technology to help partners realize even greater productivity and profitability and maximize customer engagement opportunities.

4. Fueling innovation in SkyKick Cloud Backup
As the hybrid workplace accelerates adoption of tools like MS Teams and Viva as the de-facto collaboration and productivity platforms, data protection takes on new frontiers; Cloud Backup remains committed to innovate at the speed of change. We are already well underway, building even deeper coverage for Microsoft Teams use-scenarios including private channels, posts, and chat, along with expanded SharePoint permission and restore options. And to further improve partner productivity and customer experience, we are building expanded monitoring, reporting, and auditing to help partners discover and resolve issues before they impact customers.

5. Cross-SaaS Intelligent Notifications to simplify multi-SaaS Cloud Management

Partners are increasingly managing many SaaS products across multiple customers. A given SMB customer might be using as many as 30+ SaaS apps. And different customers use different apps.  Partners often speak of an “alerts overload” as their teams have to manage a myriad of SaaS services. We are working toward reducing this pain with a unified notifications management platform that leverages AI/ML to create a more simplified dashboard like experience that streamlines observability and action workflows. With a couple of clicks, partner teams will be able to quickly and easily search and filter through multiple notifications and push those notifications to specific users for targeted resolution.

In 2011, our founders launched SkyKick with the single vision of empowering IT providers to profitably manage the billion users who would one day be in the cloud. As new SMBs come on board to the cloud and existing ones rapidly expand their footprint across multiple SaaS applications, that milestone is not too far, and the new frontier of Cloud Management will be defined by both big challenges and amazing opportunities. We look forward to using this investment to accelerate our product innovation to empower IT partners with automation to manage a billion SMB users in the cloud.