Today’s Managed Service Providers have a lot to contend with. They often work across multiple regions and work from home and are tasked with managing and securing increasingly complex organizational environments and networks.
In today’s remote working landscape, a single administrator could be responsible for hundreds of machines, including dynamic and hybrid architectures that support our ‘always-on business world.
Of course, humans can’t be always-on. As a result, many IT organizations are investing in Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tools to manage client networks remotely and automate many manual or repetitive tasks that come under their control. The most advanced of these software solutions are integrated with other key business software solutions, such as Professional Services Automation (PSA) for helpdesk and other core functionality, Remote Access, Antivirus, and online backup, to name a few.
Atera is a top-tier example of this and has carved out a much-needed space for itself in the MSP world by providing an advanced software platform that allows IT service providers, to move from being reactive to proactive in how they support their clients. We recently spoke to Gil Pekelman, CEO and co-founder of Atera, to discuss the company’s journey so far.
In Conversation with Mr. Gil Pekelman, CEO of Atera
We are glad to have interviewed Mr. Gil Pekelman, CEO of Atera, and gained insights into his company’s journey so far.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
A warm welcome from SoftwareSuggest Mr. Pekelman; our readers are eager to know about your & Atera’s journey so far. So tell us, how did it all start?
It’s a pleasure to be here! If I look back at the early days of Atera, in the beginning, it was just me and Oshri, Atera’s co-founder and CTO, and a small team working with great passion and no office! We started the company from scratch, bootstrapped it all on our own. From the very start, we wanted to help the IT professional, the MSP (Managed Service Provider), but it took us 5 years to get it right.
We started out in 2010 as a Firewall company! We worked all the time, well day and night, for years. We went through a few evolutions. In 2011 we started to develop our RMM and PSA. By 2014, we had dropped the firewall altogether, and we were on the way to creating what would become Atera.
What was the idea or impetus behind creating Atera?
In 2011 we changed direction, and we started developing an RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) and PSA (Professional Services Automation) product.
Our hard work paid off when in 2014, we discovered what MSPs really needed. An all-in-one, cloud-based, Remote Monitoring and Management solution, integrated with Professional Services Automation software, that at its core is a predictive system. This would turn IT professionals from reactive task takers “putting out fires”, to proactive technicians that could act ahead of time to improve operational efficiencies and business operations for their own clients in turn.
We set about creating a platform that could make this happen and that could run the entire business of an IT service provider. There wasn’t any solution out there that was intuitive, easy to use, cost-effective, and would enable users to predict and remedy issues before they become a problem.
With that in mind, we re-launched Atera. Now Atera serves more than 6,000 customers and is growing fast every month!
What separates Atera from its competitors?
Firstly, we’re agile and modern, from the technology itself to the way that we work.
In contrast to our platform, the legacy solutions on the market are clunky, utilizing old technology, and without the ability to scale. They aren’t data-led or intuitive, automation is difficult, and they’re very expensive on top of everything else.
We’re here to change the industry. We’re disruptors, visionaries, and innovators. We were the first to introduce an all-in-one RMM and PSA with our innovative pricing model. We enable monitoring unlimited devices with a pay per technician approach, without contracts or onboarding fees. Atera is intuitive, enjoyable, and simple to use. It’s everything an IT business needs in one place.
Another differentiator is that we’re cloud-based, and we run under a single code base – we’re the only ones in the market who can make that claim.
How has cloud-based IT management evolved in the past couple of years?
The cloud is only going to get more important in IT management, and the pandemic has only confirmed that, validating the cloud’s value proposition. Without the cloud, the remote working landscape of the last year would have been impossible. MSPs need to be able to work easily in hybrid environments, offering security that spans both cloud and on-premises and management and support that can handle new and future-focused deployments, whether that’s serverless, IoT, or anything that could come next.
Organizations are going to continue to move operations to the cloud, and IT architects that can consult and advise on cloud migrations, cost-optimization, visibility on the cloud and more, they will be well-placed to stay profitable in this new reality.
What are your projections for 2021 when it comes to the RMM software amidst the COVID-19 situation?
It’s unlikely that we’re going to see a return to the old way of working. The latest reports show that 82% of company leaders say that they will continue to allow some form of remote work once the pandemic is over. Aside from that, the practicalities of a vaccine rollout will be complex and time-consuming, so I think we can assume that remote working realities will continue at least throughout 2021.
In that case, some organizations who are late adopters or who were waiting to see how the land lies will need to get up to scratch with technology that allows them to continue working from home. That includes aligning with MSPs that have RMM solutions to facilitate that with ease and to utilize offerings like the Atera Work From the Home solution, which allows end-users to log on securely to their office machines from anywhere in the world.
Security, in particular, will continue to be top of the organizational to-do list; the recent cyber attacks prove the importance of that. MSPs need to show that they have the tools in place for best practices when it comes to customer data, even when these customers, and their own employees, are working remotely.
How has your sales & marketing strategy evolved during the shift from normal to new-normal?
Since COVID-19 hit, we reevaluated our roadmap and prioritized features to ease IT professional’s work during these times. For example, we worked around the clock to launch the Work From Home tool that we just discussed, all in a matter of days, which was a huge success with our customers.
One of our customers, a veteran Tenessee-based partner of ours, gave us some feedback that he set it up for his customer base that same day. He said it was the perfect solution at the perfect time that genuinely helped him and his customers. That feeds into our vision as a company from day one.
One other aspect that became obvious to us was that the legacy solutions’ pricing model didn’t make sense. We already knew that it goes against the best interest of IT professionals, but the pandemic highlighted this even further.
Think about it. Suddenly, people had to start working from home, and IT professionals had to monitor 2x or 3x more devices (covering both home and office). With the legacy pricing model, the bill would be 2-3x what it used to be, and the client would have to pay that price tag. This would be unmanageable, especially when the economy is under pressure and everyone is trying to save money. Instead, with per-technician pricing, nothing changed, enabling financial continuity in the most difficult of times.
What is your vision and plan for taking Atera to greater heights in the next 5 years? Any new updates that we should be excited about?
Yes! We’re excited to announce that Atera just secured $25 million in Series A funding with K1 Capital! We see this as a great testament to how hard the Atera team has been working, and the Atera community as a whole, constantly innovating, suggesting amazing new features, and helping us to be the best we can be.
With this funding, we will be able to truly revolutionize the IT industry. Our goal is to create something that transforms the service of the IT provider so dramatically that they are no longer overworked or underpaid. Watch this space; we’re just getting started.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs starting out in this field?
The most important thing is understanding your customer. That means keeping the lines of communication open all the time, as we do with our thriving Facebook community and Reddit channel, with our quarterly Fireside chat webinars where we build relationships with our MSPs, and the personal calls and discussion we regularly have with our customers.
Observe how your customers are working, and you’ll soon see what the pain points are and how you can make their lives easier. Approach your relationships like a consultant and a trusted advisor, not just a fix-it guy who is coming in to solve a problem and disappear. If you can do this, the growth will come.