What to expect from DattoCon 2019

Man speaking in front of audience

If there's one thing that can be guaranteed ahead of any big conference, it's that the host company's hype machine will be in overdrive. Sometimes all this excitement pays off, sometimes it's a real damp squib, but having been to Autotask's Community Live 2017 event in Miami (pre-merger) and then DattoCon 2018 in Austin (post-merger), I'm feeling optimistic about this year's conference in San Diego.

Last year's event in Austin was interesting on a number of levels. It was the first since Datto merged with Autotask, so proved a prime opportunity for the leadership team to talk about what has changed and what has stayed the same.

In talking to many of the attendees, while they had been satisfied with the situation beforehand, they were certainly happier post-merger. So it'll be good to get out on the show floor and talk to this year's delegates to see if that feeling remains constant.

Since DattoCon 2018, quite a bit has happened, though. Austin McChord stepped down as CEO – handing over the reins to Tim Weller, the company's former CFO, COO and president. It will be very interesting to hear Weller's perspective on the changes he's made and seen since January and – perhaps even more interesting for attendees – what lies ahead.

Mark Banfield, former senior vice president of international at Datto (now chief revenue officer at LogicMonitor), said at the time: "We are now starting to see the fruits of our labour. It's been wildly successful. A lot of Autotask customers now sign on to become Datto partners and vice versa. There is huge demand in EMEA."

He added: "We've spent time since the merger making sure we adopt some of the really successful processes – particularly around partner success as that was a bit of a of a special sauce for Datto."

As of DattoCon 2018, the firm's MSP partner-base had surpassed the 14,000 milestone. It'll be interesting to hear how much bigger the numbers are this year, although the company will also be keen to focus on quality rather than just quantity, so we may not see epic leaps in terms of growth.

This year's event promises three days of non-stop networking and learning for the 2,600 MSPs and IT service providers (ITSPs) who have signed up to attend.

Those attending will be able to get hands-on training time with products, as well as taking part in dedicated sessions led by technical experts. We've counted a whopping 90 speakers on the event teaser site, including former hacker Kevin Mitnick and Luis Giraldo, vice president of product at IT Glue (who also once toured with Shakira!).

We also know that one of the things MSPs struggle most with is marketing, so there will be help on hand at the event to cater to that need.

In addition, there will no doubt be a strategy update. This will provide insight – directly from Weller – as to what Datto's product roadmap, investment and innovation plans look like.

Attendees hoping they're going to be 'sold to' (anyone?!) at DattoCon will be in for a shock. Channel Pro was told by Weller back in November – during the European version of the event – that DattoCon "is not a sales conference".

He added: "We do DattoCon for the partners so they're here right now networking over coffee and that's just how we like it. We're not here to sell them anything. We're here to build the channel and if the channel gets built Datto will do just fine."

A key focus area for Datto has been using its global reach to expand, but at the same time continue to provide a local focus. This has resulted in rapid recruitment, so it'll be interesting to see how big the talent pool is now and what the next steps will be in terms of global expansion.

Stay tuned to Channel Pro next week as we'll be bringing you all the news and views from the show.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.