Recently, the team at Level has conducted interviews with more than fifty businesses about remote monitoring and management (RMM). As part of these interviews, we really want to develop an understanding of the challenges our customers face and the workflows they hope to enable through device management.
After a lot of questions and great conversations about the state of RMM, we have learned a lot! Compiled here are our top takeaways from these conversations. We heard these same themes time and again in our interviews. Needless to say, what we've learned will be guiding what we prioritize and build at Level over the coming years.
Biggest Challenges of RMM Software
The recent explosion of interest and use of RMM software is a great thing! IT teams can diagnose and address problems remotely, without having to be in-person with the device.
While RMM solutions were formerly the sole domain of large enterprise companies, now small businesses can afford to add their own RMM solutions or use a managed service provider to remotely provide outsourced IT.
Unfortunately, as these formerly-enterprise tools reach small and medium sized businesses, we're learning that one size definitely doesn't fit all. Small businesses need less complexity, more ease of use, and wider support. Here's what we heard most often from our interviews:
1. Too Complicated
RMM software is far too complicated to set up and manage, according to our interviewees.
Most solutions require several weeks or even months of configuration and implementation to get agents installed and communicating across all devices. On top of that, add training and ramp up time for technicians to learn the new software and become productive.
We found in our interviews that most technicians only use 5% of the software's functionality, because the other 95% is too complicated. The user experience with existing RMM solutions is not straightforward, and it can be difficult to determine the best way to complete a task.
2. Limited Support
Our interviewees mentioned repeatedly how poor support was for various operating systems and types of metrics.
After going through all the hurdles to set up an RMM solution, you'd expect access to certain device information to be a breeze. However, reporting on some of these arbitrary items like OS build, application versions, or end-of-life devices is difficult or outright impossible with most RMM software.
Moreover, remote management often requires different tools for each operating system (Mac, Windows, and Linux). Often, we heard in interviews the frustration of paying for multiple RMM solutions, one for Windows and another for Mac. We believe RMM solutions should provide native or first-class support for Mac devices and Linux servers.
3. Incorrect Information
A major complaint we hear all the time, both in interviews and online, is wrong or dated information in the RMM software.
If you can't trust the data you're seeing in your RMM, how can it be useful? We heard that agent status (online/offline) was consistently wrong or lagging for some interviewees. Others mentioned outdated metrics or build versions on software that should have already been updated.
When agent status is wrong or devices appear to be unpatched, IT teams have no choice but to schedule an on-site visit or personal call to check up on the device. This ties up technicians doing the work of confirming data that the RMM software should be managing!
4. Difficult to Manage in Bulk
A known limitation of RMM software today is bulk management.
It's relatively easy to get information and perform tasks on a single device at a time. But if you need to install a security update or run a script across a hundred devices at once, you're likely to have a difficult time. Batch operations are poorly supported in today's RMM solutions and the reporting after a batch task has run is similarly poor.
Patch management and keeping devices up to date shouldn't be so hard! Running batch tasks is an important part of automating IT, changing the image of technicians from repair people to strategic thinkers that make decisions that can roll out across the entire organization instantly. It changes IT from reactive to proactive, but unfortunately current solutions leave a lot to be desired.
We Need a New Approach to RMM Software
At Level, we're building RMM software that's streamlined, intuitive, and flexible to fit the needs of growing businesses. Setting up your RMM solution should be easy, and management should happen in the browser from anywhere.
We support various operating systems as equal, first-class citizens in our ecosystem, and device level information is easy to access. With our low latency, peer-to-peer connections and offline invalidation, we can make sure your device information is always up to date. And we're striving to make bulk management and scripting as intuitive as managing a single device.
Device management shouldn't be so hard, and Level is bringing RMM into the 21st century.
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