So now we had Connectwise merrily humming away taking care of the business aspect at Oakson, handling tickets, doing invoicing and the like. Time to turn to the functional side of IT support, the RMM tool. I’m not a massive fan of RMM tools in general for a whole load of reasons (find me on Facebook or Twitter and I can talk about it for hours).
There’s been a huge amount of movement in the RMM market in the last few years and it was inevitable that some of the PSA providers would look to bolster their features by partnering, or plain buying up, an RMM tool. In Connectwise’s case they took on Labtech and Autotask took on Centrastage, both very respected and reliable RMM tools, and both are marketed as part of a package of tools by those vendors.
Labtech’s scripting knocks this out of the park. The ball goes so far out of the park that there’s a little green man on some distant asteroid shouting and complaining about the smashed windscreen on his new spaceship.
Both Connectwise and Autotask take different approaches to integration with their RMM tools, Labtech and CentraStage respectively. Autotask are very rapidly working towards a system where you can access both your tickets and your RMM metrics from one UI, and you can already access many of the device metrics in reports and dashboard widgets within your ticketing environment. As both AT and CS are web based it makes sense to bring them together in to one big web interface and that work is happening at a pace.
With Labtech being a windows based app, and not having a…er…very robust web interface, CW easily take such an approach. However the integration between the two is really very very well thought out. Rather than just merge the two apps they have given you the ability to precisely choose which companies and devices are synchronised between both apps, which tickets are transferred to your boards, how you want escalation paths to play out. There’s a tonne of options. It was nothing less than we expected really and certainly it works well.
Now I’m a big believer in de-skilling the day to day support processes – taking the pressure away from the technician and automating as much as you can, so scripting features to me were vital. This is were Labtech excels, and also where you might see some of the steepest learning curves in the package.
Most RMM tools allow you to upload batch files, Powershell scripts, perhaps shell scripts as well. Some of those will also allow you to upload files so that the script and it’s associated exe’s can be delivered to the remote PC on demand. Labtech’s scripting knocks this out of the park. The ball goes so far out of the park that there’s a little green man on some distant asteroid shouting and complaining about the smashed windscreen on his new spaceship.
Labtech choose to use their own programming ‘environment’. Rather than – or perhaps ‘as well as’ might be better – just uploading a batch file, you can create your script using one of many dozens of commands. This makes it much harder to start scripting in Labtech than just using notepad as you have to ‘learn’ a new scripting language, but it allows Labtech to expose their own datafields to your script and for you to interact with Labtech in a way that is hard to explain.
So for example, maybe you want all the machines on the network to perform a full AV scan if two machines detect a virus. Some AV tools will allow you to do this as standard, but you have many clients, all of whom have one or more AV tools in place, and you want the same functionality across the board. You can create a script that checks for event logs showing AV detections. Each time one is detected you can increment a variable at the client level, and when that variable is at 2 or more you can schedule another Labtech script, on all the clients devices, which will run a forced scan and upload any logs back to Labtech.
That there is power. And it’s something that I haven’t seen in any other RMM style tool aimed at the MSP market.
I’m really looking forward to finding some time to do the reviews over the next few months. I hope you found my thoughts on our decision making useful but please don’t be swayed by me. Each tool on the market has it’s strengths and there are some really, really good RMM and PSA tools coming up on the heels of the main rivals, and that’s a good thing.
Do get in touch with me using any of the socials links on the site if you want to ask me any questions.