Friday, June 02, 2017

RMM Survey Results

I recently did a quick survey of RMM (remote monitoring and management) tools on my blog (here). My plan is to issue two reports on the results. This is the first, covering the basic responses.

RM Survey Results Part 2 is here.

- Most users love their RMM and wouldn't switch
- Most users have implemented most features of their RMM

Of course this is not a massive survey. But it's also not just the results from just one magazine readership or another. And it's not a vendor-sponsored survey. So it just represents the people who answered the survey.

Here's what we found among respondents:
Click to Enlarge

SolarWinds MSP (formerly LogicNow) is the #1 RM vendor with 28% of the market. After that, there's a gaggle of predictable tools with low double digit market share each. These include Continuum (13%), Kaseya (11%), LabTech (11%), and Autotask AEM (10%).

In all, that's about 73% of the market. Nine other brands make up the remaining 23% of the market. Only about 4% of readers had no RM tool at all. For vendors, there are two areas of growth. One is to broaden the market and sell into a growing sector. The other is to steal customers from other vendors. If 96% of the market is using something, then the growth has to come from displacing another vendor.

How easy is that? Let's see.

Note: When I ran the survey, I forgot that N-Able is now in the SolarWinds family. That makes the SolarWinds MSP share, which takes them to 35% of the market. And that means the five front-runners hold 84% of the market, leaving eight other brands with 15% altogether and 4% of the market with no RMM solution.

Overall, people love the tools they've chosen. Seventy-three percent (73%) rate their overall satisfaction with their RM tool as either Good (49%) or Very Good (29%). Only 4% of all respondents rated their tool as Poor or Very Poor.

Over half of all readers (54%) have had the same RM tool for three or more years. Almost half of that (24% of the total) have had the same tool for six or more years. About 18% have had their RM tool for one year or less.

This suggests not only that RM tools are almost universally used, but there's a strong tendency to stick with the tool you have. Additional research would have to tease out how often companies have changed tools or used two or more RM tools at the same time.

When respondents were asked, If you could go back in time with perfect knowledge, "Would you buy this RM Tool again?" Sixty-one percent (61%) said yes. But, a very significant 30% said they don't know. That's a huge swath of managed service providers who might be lured away by another tool. And of course there's the 9% who would not buy their current tool. They are clearly candidates for a switch.

One bit of common wisdom we often hear is that these tools do not get fully used or fully implemented. This survey suggests otherwise. By far, the largest share of respondents (42%) say that they have implemented 76% to 99% of all features. Another 8% claim to have implemented all features of their RM tool. Twenty-four percent (24%) placed themselves in the category of implementing 51% to 75% of features. In all, a whopping 76% of respondents with an RM tool say they have implemented more than half of all RM features.

Among respondents who have used the same RM tool for one year or less, 59% still report using more than half of all features. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say they've implemented three quarters or more of all features. It would be nice to see other surveys validate these numbers. They certainly dispel the myth that most users have not implemented most features of their RMM.

Our respondents also found implementation to be rather trouble-free. Twenty-seven percent (27%) said they did most of the implementation themselves while 55% said they did all of it themselves.

About 16% said the process was "Super Easy" while another 36% reported implementation to be "Pretty Easy." So, while implementation may not be the easiest thing a managed service provider takes on, it's certainly a manageable undertaking.

Feature, Feature, Feature

Overall, readers are happy with the specific features of their tools as well. Eighty-three percent (83%) ranked their overall feature set as good or very good.

One area that should make vendors very happy: Users like the interfaces! An impressive 79% of respondents rated their RM interface as either Good or Very Good. Only two percent rated their interface as Poor.

It's not all good news for manufacturers as 20% of respondents gave their remote control utility a rating of fair. While the Good and Very Good categories are impressive (26% and 47% respectively), the very large evaluation of "Fair" suggests that there's room for improvement with the remote control component.

Not every RM tool ships with a preferred anti-virus tool. Among respondents whose RM does have an AV tool, 47% rated the AV tool as very good and another 26% rated it as good.

Click to Enlarge

As for price, I suspect perception of price is about where vendors would like it to be. There's a pretty normal distribution, with 42% reporting the price to be middle of the road, 28% saying the price is Not Expensive, and 8% saying it's downright Cheap!

And while that's good news, it's not great news. A total of 22% say the product is expensive or too expensive. Again, some follow-up may be useful with regard to switching tools or considering switching tools.

-- - - -


The majority of respondents (67%) working in companies with five or fewer employees. Another 15% have six to ten employees, and 13% have eleven to twenty-five employees.

About 18% manage fewer than one hundred endpoints. The majority (53%) manage 100 to 500 endpoints. Twenty-seven percent (27%) support 501-5,000 endpoints. The chart below breaks this out a bit more.

Click to Enlarge
Our respondents have been in business awhile. Thirty-six percent (36%) have been in business at least sixteen years! Another 28% have been around 11-15 years, and 24% have been in business 6-10 years.

As for services offered, readers almost all provide a variety of options:

  • 80% sell hourly labor
  • 72% sell flat-fee project labor
  • 78% sell ongoing maintenance for a flat fee
  • 81% provide support to client who sign an ongoing monthly maintenance contract

This survey was conducted May 23rd to May 31st via the Small Biz Thoughts blog. There were 158 respondents total.


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  1. I'd really like to see the breakdown of nodes supported by OS.
    I'm very happy with GFI/Logic/Max/Solar/whatever and have been with them since my first client.
    I am however looking at my options as we support a fair number of OSX devices, and the RMM support simply is not there.

    1. Anonymous8:05 AM

      what kind of RMM support are you looking for OSX devices Vince?

    2. Vince: Rather than look, send me your wish list and I'll link you to the product management team for Mac. We're doing some active development here, and there's some exciting new enhancements coming for our existing OS X agents.

      Dave Sobel
      Sr. Director of Partner Community
      SolarWinds MSP

    3. @Vince: Alternative to waiting on future development from Solarwinds, I'd be more than happy to discuss what Autotask provides when it comes to monitoring OSX devices, ready to go and simple to deploy.

      I've added my LinkedIn profile as a link when you click my name above so feel free to get in touch.

      Jack Sims
      Senior Account Manager at Autotask

    4. Thanks, Jack. Although, when I clicked your name I didn't get to your LI profile. Could be a temporary thing.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Vince. I'll add that to the next blog post on this.
    There were LOTS of comments, so I want to tease out some more details as well.
    Stay tuned.

  3. Thanks for the info Karl. My opinion regarding changing RMM tools is that it is a high risk, not very high reward proposition for most MSP's. You don't know what you are getting until you have the product in place for a while (aka longer than 30 days, and running it against your live clients.) I've been on calls w/ RMM vendors and when they say 30 day trial, or no cost to cancel, i have to patiently explain that our time is worth WAY more than the cost of these tools anyway. I think the RMM vendor that actually embraces a methodology that helps MSP honestly evaluate their tools will win a ton of new business from those looking to make a change. Think about it, we use LabTech and we pay them close to $2k/mo. just for the base rmm product (almost that amount again for add ons.) If I was looking to evaluate alternatives, some enterprising vendor would actually assign a sales tech to INSTALL and CONFIGURE their product for me, integrate it w/ my PSA (which supports multiple RMM's) and then make sure that it was tuned for max functionality, and then show my team why their product is superior. Sure, it might cost that vendor 20-30 hours of time, but guess what? Now I know what the product does and how we will manage it long term - takes alot of guesswork out of the decision making process. This is a potential 6 figure deal ($24k/yr x 5 years = $120k revenue assuming costs are similar for just the base product.) When we changed from Kaseya to LabTech about 5 years ago, it was because we wanted to get away from Kaseya, so almost anything was viewed as an improvement. Most MSP's aren't in that boat. So vendors, if they want to get us to switch AND have a good experience, they have to put up or shut up. Just offering a 30 day trial to an already busy MSP, that sales conversion rate has got to be pretty low. If the MSP thinks like we're a prospective MSP client, the one thing that keeps a prospect from changing their current MSP to a new one is fear of change. How well we can navigate our prospects through the change process determines our success. Why should products from RMM vendors expect something different? After all, all of them like to say that they "know our business" but their sales process doesn't really reflect that.

  4. I am leaving Solarwinds MSP. I have had about 15 remote access tickets since Solarwinds bought MaxFocus. About 13 of those tickets were not resolved within approximately 2 weeks so I just let the tickets close. I have already moved nearly all of my Apple computers to a different RMM tool and will move my remaining Windows computers to another RMM company as well.

    My phone support hold times have dramatically increased. My average wait is about 45 minutes.

    I am not interested in Solarwinds creating more services for us if the foundation services deteriorate.

    1. I'm really sorry to hear that. If you want to reach out, I would appreciate knowing which tickets and would commit to getting to the bottom of it. We're committed to fixing things, so I'd really like to know where we dropped the ball.

      Dave Sobel
      Sr. Director of Partner Community
      SolarWinds MSP

    2. We are currently transitioning away from Solarwinds.

      We used them for a little over a year. Then I hired a new technician to manage our RMM. He happened to be Kaseya Certified. Within a month he was making a case for switching. I asked our account rep to make sure our tech received quality answers to his questions, so we could make an informed decision. We were met with nothing but belligerence and condescension, and basically all but told that there was no reason to what he was inquiring about (how to confirm systems were still in compliance with policies we'd set for them within the RMM for example).

      This, combined with the less than accurate answers regarding HIPPA and PCI compliance during the sales stage, was the final straw. FYI, the on premise server is not compliant and the official stance is that it does not need to be.

  5. TS: Thank you for the note.

    I will probably write about my experiences at some point. I have switched RMs several times. It's a serious undertaking, but not nearly as big as changing PSAs.

    We started with Kaseya and ran that for about four years, back when no one else was ready for prime time. We ran Kaseya and Continuum (Zenith) side by side for a year. Then we switched over to just Continuum for about five years. About the time I went to sell my business, I was doing work with LogicNow so I added their product and we gradually moved clients over to that.

    When I sold that business, Michael moved to 100% LogicNow. Two years later he sold the business again and I started a new MSP business. I went only with LogicNow.

    I agree with you on "trials" for these major expenses: Hard to do if you have more than five clients. It costs time and money. So it's hard to know how to give prospects a sense of what the tools can do without having them run in real time.

  6. Karl:

    Curious where the pool of MSPs came from? This is interesting data, but I know you have done some work with the SolarWinds companies in the past and wondering if that could possibly have impacted your results. My guess is you both thought of and addressed that possibility but wanted to get clarity.

  7. This was not in any way sponsored by SolarWinds, if that's what you mean. I would certainly have disclosed that. I'm sure it's possible that the work I've done in the past with ConnectWise, Continuum, Kaseya, SolarWinds, Autotask, and others may have affected the respondents. I didn't attempt statistical confidence intervals because I don't think we good sense of what the universe looks like.

    If these data represent anything, it is safest to say them might represent readers of this blog and my weekly newsletter.

  8. Anonymous12:42 PM

    My take away here:

    N-able: 8% of market share. 100% of our hearts.

  9. Anonymous5:09 AM

    Hi all. I am wondering whether any of you knows about some kind of more comprehensive research about number of MSPs served by RMM vendor, number of endpoints, revenue, etc. It would really help me :) Thanks

  10. Anon: Such numbers get published from time to time. They are mostly speculation and reverse engineering based on public statements. My 2 cents.


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