Analysis of the ConnectWise Acquisition of Continuum
Written by: Charles Weaver, CEO of MSPAlliance
It’s the news everyone will be discussing for the next several months. And, understandably so, this is a big deal for the managed services profession with the potential to change things in significant ways, for good or for bad.
Here is our analysis at MSPAlliance as we pick apart all sides of the argument to determine how MSPs can best navigate this momentous deal.
We Told You So
First, we told you so. Earlier this year, we wrote about the possibility of consolidation amongst the Thoma Bravo conglomerate of RMM platform companies. There was a reason behind the accumulation of so many companies all selling to MSPs.
This is just the start
There is no reason to believe the Thoma Bravo will stop. Unless the integration of ConnectWise and Continuum goes wrong, why wouldn’t the private equity firm continue consolidation and combine SolarWinds, or even Barracuda into a giant RMM platform?
Good for Continuum MSPs
This should ultimately be seen as a good outcome for Continuum MSPs and customers. After a rocky road since the early Zenith Infotech days, Continuum’s RMM plus outsourced NOC and help desk has been used by many smaller MSPs. Becoming part of a much larger and arguably more mature RMM platform should benefit those MSPs and the customers they serve.
Tough Choices Ahead for Continuum MSPs
While both ConnectWise and Continuum have competing RMM tools, the question must be asked about which one will be dominant. Fred Voccola, CEO of Kaseya, has some thoughts about what will likely happen. Assuming ConnectWise will ultimately choose one RMM tool over the other, such a decision could mean big decisions (and hassles) for MSPs.
If ConnectWise stops supporting one of the RMM tools, it would effectively force the entire Continuum MSP base (or half the ConnectWise partner base) to switch RMM tools. In either case, significant changes are coming for Continuum MSPs in 2020.
Kaseya and Datto are on notice
There is no way this move by Thoma Bravo can be seen as anything but an escalation of the MSP RMM wars we are now experiencing. We can only hope that API integrations amongst the platforms continue to exist and are not threatened. But, beyond that, the MSP land-grab to secure more MSP partners will be increasing in 2020. Further, Datto and Kaseya will be facing more pressure to innovate and invest in their platforms to maintain competitive pressure on one another, not to mention on ConnectWise.
Does This Limit Choice?
This is the fundamental question to ask; are MSPs limited in their choices of RMM platforms after this deal? I suppose the obvious answer is yes, but more analysis is needed.
I’ve been noticing a definite trend of new RMM and PSA companies being launched, all targeting MSPs. Granted, these are mostly born in the cloud platforms, but the point is these new challengers are emerging and could pose a threat to the legacy RMM vendors. Possibly.
I’m all for consolidation in the free market. Especially if companies are underperforming. I don’t know if Continuum was underperforming. I suppose only Thoma Bravo would know that. In the end, it doesn’t matter. One less RMM vendor is serving the MSP profession.
There are still some great options out there. If you are a conspiracy theorist and wonder if what private equity firm Thoma Bravo is up to, you can always choose Kaseya or Datto. At least those two companies are owned by two separate private equity firms.
Interested in personalized analysis of this deal and how it could impact your MSP practice? Contact MSPAlliance for more information.