MSP, IT management, Small business

Live Blog: ConnectWise IT Nation Thursday #ITN16

ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini
Arnie Bellini

ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini just took the stage at IT Nation 2016. What's on tap? The age of Breakthrough developments, he asserts. He's describing how technology solutions providers (TSPs) can deliver breakthrough performance -- while connecting the dots back to ConnectWise's rebranded and more deeply integrated business management tools.

1. What we already know: ConnectWise remains the company's flagship software brand. But the other core products (Quosal, LabTech, ScreenConnect) will officially be rebranded around "activities" like sell, manage, automate and control. MSPs and VARs can still purchase the components individually, but the lines between the products are fading away.

2. User interface updates: We expect plenty of them -- now and over the next 12 months or so. Demos are set for this morning's keynote. I suspect much of the GUI work will be completed in time for Automation Nation 2017, which is set for June.

3. What's At Stake: It's been a year since ConnectWise reorganized multiple investments and acquired assets into a single company. Now, the company most prove that it can innovate and integrate at modern cloud speeds.

4. IT Nation News So Far: Here's a recap of what we saw and heard on Wednesday. Plus, a link to all of our IT Nation 2016 coverage.

Arnie Bellini's Keynote: The Age of Breakthroughs

Bellini just took the stage. He's describing a world where business, industry, economy and culture achieve breakthrough accelerators at a faster and faster pace.

What's driving the breakthroughs?

  • Processing Power -- doubling every two years or less.
  • Bandwidth -- like the arrival of 5G, which will be 50 times faster than what you're experiencing today.
  • Storage Capacity -- this is doubling every 12 months.

The results?

  • Transportation: Autonomous, self-driving cars that connect with each other. "Tesla started with a computer and connected everything to it" and linked it out to the Tesla car. "It's a smart car that actually keeps getting smarter. It's not really a car -- it a robot that takes over all driving responsibilities from me."
  • Power Industry: By 20215, coal companies will be out of business. Every house will be its own power plant. Beautiful tile roofs will absorb the sun, power your home, charge your car and more, he predicts.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Computers will reach human intelligence in our lifetimes, he asserted.
  • Internet of Everything: Anything with an on-off switch will be connected to the Internet by 2030.

Top Breakthrough Opportunities for 2017

Bellini is now connecting the dots back to the partner ecosystem. The top opportunities for technology solutions providers for 2017, he says, are...

  • Cloud: While traditional on-premises IT spending will be flat to down through 2020, all the major growth will involve cloud through at last 2020. Bellini pointed to Duncan Reid, co-founder of Icelantic, as an MSP that has successfully transformed for the cloud age.
  • Security: "It's the center of every business and boardroom conversation." Here, Bellini pointed to Karl Bickmore, CEO of Snaptech IT, and his success building a managed security practice. The company has grown from 1 to 65 employees in less than a decade, and is dropping 20 percent to the bottom line. It's a 20 percent up-charge for customers to leverage his managed security practice.
  • Co-Managed IT: Check in with Kelly Siegel, CEO of National Technology Management. Instead of running away from internal IT staffs, Siegel embraces them and works with them.
  • World Class Service: "As applications move to the cloud you can be replaced if you don't provide world-class service." A simple data point: 71 percent of chat users are satisfied with chat; only 61 percent are satisfied with email; and 44 percept are satisfied with phone support. Got chat support?

ConnectWise Product Evolution

Craig Fultin

Craig Fulton, VP of product, is now onstage describing ConnectWise "Breakthroughs" for partners in three key areas: Onboarding customers, working in teams and cloud monitoring.

At this point, ConnectWise is still referring to its products by their classic brand names (Quosal, ScreenConnect, LabTech, etc.). But keep an eye on the branding transition today and you'll likely see the shift to the  sell, manage, automate and control monikers.

Among the sound bites that caught my ear:

  • ScreenConnect: A new ScreenConnect Free release for those who need to remotely control or troubleshoot family and friend PCs.
  • CloudConsole: Pre-billing capabilities for Azure. Plus, BDR capabilities integrated in for SkyKick, Acronis and StorageCraft -- as ChannelE2E reported yesterday.
  • Office 365 Discounts: Use CloudConsole and receive a 20 percent rebate on all new Office 365 licenses...
  • Campaign Director: Watch for social media integrations to help track your marketing campaigns.

The product demos continue. Check in with ConnectWise directly for the highlights.

Arnie ties it all together: "It's one company, one platform and now one interface. Anyone can integrate -- even our competitors."

ConnectWise Alliances, Integrations and More

We're set to attend dozens (yes, plural) of meetings today. Stay tuned for more updates bout alliances, integrations and more.

Updates continue every few minutes. Keep checking back...

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.