Autotask, Field Nation Partner In CRM Offering

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Autotask and Field Nation are joining forces to offer a combined service that allows partners to find and hire IT resources while simultaneously managing IT business operations and performance. It's a move that expands partner reach and bolsters value, and will likely become more common as smaller CRM players leverage cloud to gain a competitive advantage over well-established industry giants.

Field service technician provider Field Nation has joined forces with hosted IT management software firm Autotask, a joint effort that aims to fulfill different ends of the service spectrum by finding and hiring IT resources while simultaneously managing IT service businesses.

It’s a move that gives MSPs the tools to bolster their own value by ramping up efficiency and maximizing profits for customers -- and one that heralds similar opportunities for smaller players leveraging cloud capabilities in order to take a crack at market share and take on industry giants.

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Among other things, Autotask’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform gives partners the ability to identify clients that are most profitable, determine whether projects and services are priced correctly and assess if billable resources are meeting and exceeding utilization goals. The platform also helps determine the cost of a specific project – a capability that gives organizations the ability to make informed decisions prior to placing future bids.

Meanwhile, Field Nation’s Web portal provides an online workplace where users can connect and market their services. The portal gives managing partners the ability to set up their customers’ “storefronts” in the marketplace, promote their services, search for projects, bill for services and get paid quickly once they complete a project. The platform can also be leveraged to find the right technician to support specific projects.

The amalgam of the two platforms provides a comprehensive service that both finds talent and manages performance and operations, while automating and scaling service delivery. That integration allows partners to select technicians best suited for their customers’ needs based on experience, project ratings and recommendations provided in the Field Nation marketplace.

It also streamlines workflow by feeding Autotask services into the Field Nation marketplace, while simultaneously giving a big boost to Field Nation’s reach with an expanded customer base.

“We knew we could provide a combined platform our collective set of clients would use to improve how they run their businesses,” said Len DiCostanzo, senior vice president of community and business development at New York-based Autotask. “Now, clients can make one work order and with the click of a mouse, that order will feed into the Field Nation marketplace to help identify technicians so businesses can select the right staff to do the job.”

“By integrating our solutions, we’re able to help businesses manage their bottom line and solve the ever growing human capital issues,” said Mynul Khan, CEO of Field Nation. “The integrated platforms give users the best of both worlds.”

And the combination will likely generate a strong value-add for partners who could leverage the combined offering to build out an array of high-dollar specialized services in an evolving CRM space.

By numerous reports, Customer Relationship Management has shown strong growth, propelled by cloud and big data trends. An IDC report indicate that the CRM software market posted 11.2 percent year-over-year growth, with the strongest gains driven by marketing automation, sales automation and customer service.

Similarly, a report predicted that the Global Network Performance Management market would likely grow at CAGR of 11.2 percent between 2011 and 2015, with one of the key drivers being better end-user experience generated from cloud and other burgeoning technology trends.

Earlier this year, Gartner predicted that worldwide Software-as-a-Service market would reach $14.5 billion by the end of this year, a 17.9 increase from 2011 revenues of $12.3 billion, and will continue robust growth through 2015, where it is projected to top out at $22.1 billion. So it might not come as a surprise that Gartner also estimates that 35 percent of all CRM implementations use SaaS -- a number projected to grow to more than 50 percent by 2020.

But it’s also a market that is dominated by well-entrenched industry players. Cloud, then, will give smaller players a fighting chance in a well-established IT management SaaS market dominated by legacy players with an ability to form new alliances, acquire new features and integrate services. Subsequently, partnerships like the one between Autotask and Field Nation will likely give smaller firms a leg up in creating new and higher value that will keep the market innovative and fresh.

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