Business/E-Business
Commentary
7/27/2009
02:27 PM
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Spiceworks Improves MSP Features

Network and system management has been a problem for many small and medium businesses. Traditionally, these systems were cumbersome to deploy and difficult to manage. Spiceworks has had some success in this market segment by delivering a free (yes free!) system and recently enhanced its product, so third parties can more easily provide managed services to these businesses.

Network and system management has been a problem for many small and medium businesses. Traditionally, these systems were cumbersome to deploy and difficult to manage. Spiceworks has had some success in this market segment by delivering a free (yes free!) system and recently enhanced its product, so third parties can more easily provide managed services to these businesses.Launch three years ago, Spiceworks has taken a novel approach to address small and medium businesses IT management needs: the companys software is free and its revenue comes from advertising. To date, it appears like the model is working: Spiceworks IT Desktop is used to control 35 million devices. Also, the vendor has encouraged MSPs (who number 65,000, according to Spiceworks) to use its tools to develop services for their customers.

Spiceworks made a number of enhancements to its management tools. MSPs can now develop customized portals for each of their clients. With a Remote Site Data Collection feature, MSPs can more easily manage multiple clients from a central console. With MSP Plugins, partners can distribute custom Spiceworks applications, such as custom reports, specialized help desk features, user portal designs and extensions, and language translations.

The new enhancements should appeal to Spiceworks MSPs because they now have a bit more latitude in how they develop services for small and medium businesses. Spiceworks has a solution that has appealed to companies at the low end of the market. As the product has matured, it has become more enticing to larger companies. However, it may difficult for the company to wedge its way up higher in the network and systems management space because there is so much competition in that segment.

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