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Channel Influencer Spotlight: Datto’s Rob Rae

2018 Channel Influencer

… “now or never” predictions being shouted at partners from vendors, analysts and, yes, the media. It isn’t that these technologies don’t hold any promise, but it drives Rae crazy when they’re presented as opportunities that MSPs have to jump on right now or risk epic failure.

“When you tell a group of business owners their businesses are in trouble, that doesn’t help anything. [Those are] scare tactics and it sucks and you’re just creating ill-will. We’ve heard it over and over again,” Rae scoffs. “’Hardware is disappearing and we’re all going to go out of business. Support is disappearing, it’s all going to be outsourced to India, and we’re all going out of business. The cloud is coming, and Microsoft and Amazon are going to take over all of our customers. We’re all going out of business.’”

Yet the channel, he says, is a beast that just evolves. MSPs aren’t dinosaurs. They’re more like crocodiles. They keep evolving in order to stay on top of everything in the food chain. There will always be a need, especially in the SMB space, for IT support. It’s a matter of staying on top of it in a calm and strategic way, not panicking. The cloud has been around in some iteration for 40 years, the internet of things is both ambiguous and overstated, and don’t even get him started on “digital transformation.” What in the world has the channel been up to the last several decades if not supporting their customers through a process of digital transformation? There are no fads in the channel. There are just new technologies that require an evolution in the way partners look at IT and structure their businesses.

That’s not to say there aren’t new opportunities, and Rae says the biggest one is customer education around things like security, cloud and compliance. MSPs have to be able to explain the overarching value proposition of technology to their customers without getting into the weeds about it. When you buy a house, you don’t ask what type of screws were used to build it. You just want to know it will stand up in a storm.

“Datto’s been wildly successful, not just because of our product, but because of our go-to-market strategy. Every MSP needs to think about it from that perspective,” Rae explains. “It’s not the products in your tool belt. It’s how you actually fix whatever problem your end user has.

Rob Rae’s Greatest Hit

When Rae looks back at his career at Datto, his favorite moments aren’t landing big deals or traveling the world. True to form, it’s the moments where he’s helped people — not just Datto MSPs, but its employees, too. He’s been able to groom them and help them evolve in his own Rob-Rae way by coaching them on how to listen and training them on how to teach. He feels blessed that Datto has basically given him free rein to do whatever it is that he thinks needs to be done in whatever way he thinks it needs doing. It’s helped build Datto’s channel program into …

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