Innovation Focus Group: Learning From Datto Partners

October 6, 2015

Innovation Focus Group: Learning From Datto Partners

By: Chris Brunau

The annual DattoCon event held over the summer was a fantastic opportunity for Datto’s User Experience Design team to meet the people and businesses that rely on our solutions to support their customers -- day in and day out. With so many partners attending, we soon realized it would be impossible to talk to each and every partner at the conference, so we jumped at the chance to run an interactive feedback session focused on what else? User experience. Providing an amazing user experience is something we care about, so we were ready to dive in and learn from our users.

Breaking the ice

The session was attended by over 150 partners. First, individual participants wrote down as many common tasks that they perform daily as they could think of in 5 minutes, one per sticky note. Walking around the room we saw topics ranging from “email” to “invoicing,” “server infrastructure management”, “time tracking” and “troubleshooting.” Then, we asked each table to work as a team to remove any duplicates and group them under common headings. This allowed technicians from different companies to interact and compare notes. From what we overheard during these conversations, many found they were grappling with the same issues.

X’s & O’s

Next, we gave each person three orange dot stickers and asked them to put the stickers on items that were the most mission critical. Finally, we asked them to place black Xs on those that were the most painful and frustrating. This was a lot of activity for 150 people to do in 30 minutes, but our partners rose to the challenge. After a few groups shared their two most mission-critical and most frustrating tasks, we were left with a mountain of post-its to weed through and analyze.

So, what did we learn?

Keep in mind that we did NOT ask for Datto-specific issues, but rather anything that is important to and that occupies the time of a technical employee at an MSP. We sorted the issues that our partners grapple with into four categories. Top-most are those things that are most business critical and also potentially painful. Issues with managing backups, communicating with clients, dealing with staff, fleet management via RMM, and virus and malware removal were all in the “critical and painful” category.

The next important category contained issues that were less critical but no less painful. Lots of routine activities such as email, meetings, invoicing, and time tracking fell into that category. In fact, meetings have the dubious distinction of being seen as having little importance, but causing much pain. 

Of some importance, but less pain, were things such as account management, their company’s help desk support issues, troubleshooting, password resets and customer relations. Finally, there was a long list of issues that fall into the least critical and least painful category. Within this category, some partners mentioned monitoring the Datto portal as slightly painful. (The awesome news here is that the portal is being updated and the new version will be available soon! See? We listen to our partners!)

Next up?

Understanding the challenges that MSPs face on a daily basis presents our team with guidance for future research efforts, to ultimately drive innovation -- in service to our partners. We’ve started visiting partners to get additional insight into these challenges. If you are one of our partners and would like to schedule some time to provide us with a look into your particular day-to-day challenges, please contact us at