ORLANDO, Fla. -- IT solution providers help other companies run their businesses but if the providers don't get help running their own businesses, well, they might not be all that successful. That’s why about 1,800 IT service providers, VARs, ISVs and MSPs are here this week at ConnectWise IT Nation 2013.
Kicking off the ninth IT Nation event, ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini today delivered the opening keynote, putting an emphasis on “encouragement” and how the mission of ConnectWise is to encourage the partner community to do better things.
“Because even if something seems like a daunting task, you can accomplish great things -- with a team, with best practices and with belief,” he said, taking a page out his own book, which includes his recent successful swim across the English Channel after a prior failed attempt.
Bellini called ConnectWise a skill building company that helps partners create success via a pyramid-shaped model that includes, from the base up, best practices, expert system software, support, education, consulting and community. He spent more than an hour elaborating on efforts that the company is making in each of those areas.
For example, after independently looking at best practices associated with all aspects of the IT industry (product development, marketing, CRM, sales, quoting, provisioning and procurement and consulting) and identifying more than 200 key performance indicators associated with success, ConnectWise will deliver those KPIs via dashboards. The first of these dashboards, Service, will be available in ConnectWise in the first quarter of 2014.
At the same time, the company is rolling out a reporting module, called Report Writer. “We keep gathering the data; now we’re giving you the dashboards and Report Writer as a way of giving the data back to you,” Bellini said.
The company also put together a series of Path to Success workbooks, which contain best practices for all aspects of a partner's business, and is offering 10 related breakout sessions at ConnectWise IT Nation 2013.
Also discussed were the company’s Solution Sets for business processes. They are templates -- oriented toward business functions such as accounts receivable and client onboarding -- that help with the initial setup of ConnectWise. The Solution Sets are generated from the work done for the Path to Success workbooks. Partners will also see Service dashboard coming to Solution Sets, in the near future.
Bellini also expanded on a number of enhancements coming to ConnectWise ModernOffice Suite, which includes the ConnectWise business operating platform and professional services automation (PSA) tool, LabTech Software's remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform and Quosal quote and proposal solution.
ConnectWise open APIs allow other vendors to enhance the product offering by integrating their products with the platform. A number of vendors made API-related announcements at the event. For example, Xerox announced on Tuesday a plug-in solution that integrates Xerox’s document management capabilities with RMM software from LabTech. OpenDNS, a provider of cloud-delivered Web security services, announced integration of its Umbrella for MSPs service with ConnectWise, enabling MSPs to centrally manage and deliver Umbrella Web filtering and security services. And Webroot announced integration of its SecureAnywhere solutions with LabTech’s RMM, enabling MSPs to manage their customers' endpoint security from a single console.
Other key enhancements in the works are ConnectWise Mobile, which will enable partners to capture opportunities in the field, and improvements to ConnectWise Cloud, in particular a hot redundant cloud architecture that’s being rolled out in North America.
Attending his second IT Nation, Doug Riemersma, service manager at EGLTech Inc., a managed services company based in Holland, Mich., said that ConnectWise drives his company’s business. “It streamlines business processes and keeps everyone on the same page,” he said.
A ConnectWise partner for seven years, Riemersma alternates attending ConnectWise IT Nation with others at his company, noting that the goal of attending the event is to use more of the software’s functionality. “There’s always more to learn,” he said.
He pointed out that for some partners the integration of LabTech and Quosal with ConnectWise make it more difficult to use because not all partners are aligned with those products. The good news, however, is the open APIs that encourage other vendors to integrate with ConnectWise.