Executive Q&A: Product Roadmap with VP of Product Management, Pat Burns

February 26, 2018  By Patrick Burns

Inspired by the winter Olympics, Autotask executives get candid in this new blog series, MSP – Go for the Gold! Featuring product and industry insights, advice and expertise, this series gives MSPs and ITSPs an inside look at how to seize opportunities and build a winning team to go for the gold in 2018 and beyond.

In this edition of MSP – Go for the Gold!, Pat Burns, VP of Product Management gives us a preview of the 2018 product roadmap. 

Q: What are some of the new features/functionality in our product offering you’ll be showcasing in your upcoming 2018 Roadmap webinar?
For Autotask PSA, the two big highlights are new Project Task UI/UX and Line of Business (LOB)/Multi-Tenancy framework. The Project Task overhaul will include a new visual design, new capabilities for substantial consistency with service ticket functionality, and usability that focuses on efficiency and service management insight. 

The LOB/Multi-Tenancy project delivers a framework allowing MSPs to partition their database into specific functional or end-client groupings and customize the security, reporting and usability, such as workflow, specific to each partition and its associated groups. 

The upcoming Autotask Endpoint Management release is focused on reporting and the infusion of new information into the UI to provide a data-driven product experience. Major reporting improvements include an overhaul of the reporting engine, report scheduling and automation, 16 new bespoke reports, and device health summary dashboards. Sometimes information is more relevant within the context of getting work done, so we’ve also added real-time device summary, patch state summary, and universal antivirus detection. And, there’s a new workflow for end-client ticket submission, increasing automation and efficiency.

Autotask Workplace™ and Endpoint Backup updates will address the themes of standards, security and reporting. GDPR compliance is a top priority and will include functional changes to help MSPs and SMBs to meet their GDPR obligations, as well as consent workflows to establish and document end-client approval. Security improvements will address ransomware detection and alerts, as well as two-factor authentication. Various reports and dashboards will be added to support these improvements.

Finally, we’re excited to announce and deliver a major improvement to the Datto Continuity (BCDR) and Autotask PSA integration. This will include alert automation, contextually targeted device data, and dashboards. It’s important to note: we will continue to have an open ecosystem for other BDR integrations and all new API calls and extensibility will be available to partners currently integrating with either product. 

Q: What was the decision-making process for choosing these particular product enhancements to make this year?
A: Our process is the same every year, and it involves substantial market information and customer feedback. We start with the collection and analysis of all kinds of data: feature request voting, customer surveys, product utilization data, advisory group feedback, market and competitive research. Once we’ve narrowed the roadmap to a reasonable funnel, we measure the projected impact of these items against the cost to build them and the thematic priorities of our product strategy. We then make decisions that optimize all these factors and then circle back to validate our recommendations with additional surveys and feedback. Prioritization is the most challenging and important thing we do in product planning – so we do our best to approach it in an objective, disciplined and multilateral way. 

Q: How will these capabilities impact what ITSPs/MSPs do every day?
A: With all product investments, we aim to increase our core value proposition of Efficiency (operational effectiveness and staff productivity), Accountability (driving prioritization and visibility of resource allocation) and Intelligence (information about the trending performance of the business). 
Some specific examples include:

  • Autotask PSA: Project Task UI/UX is centered around bringing information and insights that guide user behavior. Graphical rendering of important information, color coding of status/priority, and visual hierarchy of information help people complete their work faster and more effectively and maybe even enjoy it more!
  • Autotask Endpoint Management: Device summary and audit is critically important because it represents the building blocks for other features and provides a real-time understanding of device health (not just a static record of something bad happening, once, in the past). This enables technicians to provide better service delivery and leverage information to achieve increased automation and oversight, while reducing labor and saving cost.
  • Autotask Workplace™/Autotask Endpoint Backup: Security improvements such as two-factor authentication and ransomware detection eliminate threats that have significant economic impact and automate the work required to oversee and protect end clients’ business data – resulting in increased client value (retention, higher fees) and decreased manual labor, particularly for remediation of security vulnerabilities.
  • All Products: Continual investments in reporting and business intelligence enable MSPs to better understand their business and make intelligent long-term decisions that drive growth and profitability.

Q: How can our customers take advantage of integrating their Autotask/Datto products? What benefits do they gain?
A: Our existing integrations between Autotask PSA-Datto BCDR and Autotask Endpoint Management-Datto BCDR will continue to improve and deliver more value. The efficiency and productivity they deliver will increase but I’m most excited about the analytics. All the backup and device information flowing into PSA allows MSPs to see it in the context of service activity, client satisfaction, and economic impact. This is not just more convenient than jumping from system to system – it adds meaning and value to the information, transforming it from reporting to business intelligence.
All our products will continue to interoperate with other vendors and we will encourage MSPs to make the choices best for them. We encourage all partners to invest and improve their own integrations into Datto/Autotask products, and will always make it our goal to win new business by providing better solutions and product experiences – not restricting them.

Patrick Burns
Vice President of Product Management
Patrick leads strategic product planning for Autotask’s global IT business management platform. Patrick and his team define the business requirements and set prioritization for new improvements to the Autotask platform, managing them throughout the product lifecycle.

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