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Autotask buys Soonr, integrates file sync and share into platform

Following its buyout of Soonr, Autotask plans to deeply integrate file sync and share into its business management platform; plus, more IT channel news from the week.

Autotask Corp., the maker of the Autotask business management platform, has acquired file sync and share (FSS) company Soonr. While Soonr will remain available as a standalone data management product, Autotask plans to integrate Soonr into the Autotask platform.

Headquartered in East Greenbush, N.Y., Autotask provides its business management platform to about 7,000 customers worldwide -- 6,500 of which are managed services providers, said Mark Cattini, CEO and president of Autotask. The Autotask platform incorporates a number of critical business functions, including help and service desk, customer relationship management, project management, billing and contract management. But the real value of the platform, Cattini said, is how that functionality integrates, allowing companies to run their businesses better.

With the Soonr acquisition, Cattini said Autotask will address a "pent-up demand" among its customers for a sophisticated file-sync-and-share product. "All of our customers deliver [an FSS] solution to their customers. And sometimes it may be elegant. It is somebody else's FSS solution. Or maybe it's a combination of backing up servers or VPN or even as basic as storing some files as attachments in email. We hear this all the time."

Mark Cattini, CEO, president of AutotaskMark Cattini

Cattini believes Autotask can differentiate its Soonr data management offering by deeply integrating it into the Autotask platform. "We don't want to be a 'me too' FSS provider," he said. None of the functionality that Autotask provides exists around Soonr today or any file-sync-and-share product, "but it will be if you're an Autotask customer," he said.

Differentiating through integration

Autotask will follow the same strategy with Soonr that it took with CentraStage, a remote management and monitor (RMM) tool it purchased in September 2014, Cattini said. CentraStage has since been rebranded as Autotask Endpoint Management.

With the acquisition of CentraStage, Autotask looked to differentiate the RMM tool by deeply integrating the product into the Autotask business management platform. "There are lots of RMM vendors out there. Some of them are fairly good. What we wanted to be able to do was to be able to differentiate by innovating. … The product is outstanding in its own right, but it's really about how it integrates into Autotask that's really critical. And that's really the differentiated value that we've been able to create for our customers: very, very deep integration, almost sort of a merging of the platforms over time.

"That strategy has worked perfectly for … Autotask Endpoint Management, and we're really employing the same strategy with Soonr," Cattini continued. "We want to participate in that [file sync and share] marketplace, but we only want to do it if we can differentiate value, and the way that we differentiate value is the way we're integrated with Autotask," he said.

IT channel news roundup for the week of July 27

Here's a look at the channel news highlights from this week:

  • Networking vendor Plexxi signed a distribution agreement with Arrow Electronics Inc. Under the agreement, Arrow will offer Plexxi's networking products, including Plexxi Switch and Plexxi Control, to its base of reseller partners.
  • Cloud backup vendor CloudBerry Lab announced that CloudBerry Backup products support Google's Cloud Storage Nearline.
  • NTT America entered a strategic agreement with distributor WTG to provide WTG's agents and value-added reseller partners with information and communications technology. Partners that sign up through WTG will have access to all of NTT America's portfolio products and services, including disaster recovery as a service and the software-defined networking-based Enterprise Cloud.

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