Content, Channel partner events, Channel partners

ConnectWise IT Nation: One Brand, Four Big Community Bets

Pete Sorensen
ConnectWise VP Pete Sorensen
ConnectWise Founder Arnie Bellini

ConnectWise has bet its community strategy on the IT Nation brand -- essentially shifting the software company's peer group, user group, and conference gatherings to fit under the well-known IT Nation moniker. Moreover, peer group veteran Pete Sorensen is leading the unified charge, taking on the new title as VP of The IT Nation.

ConnectWise develops business management and automation software for IT professionals -- particularly MSPs, technology solutions providers, channel partners and technology teams. Instead of getting caught up in such monikers, ConnectWise generally refers to its partners (i.e., customers) as IT professionals.

Through a series of organic launches and acquisitions, the company has spent three decades building communities (face to face and online) that allow entrepreneurs and IT pros to grow professionally and personally. “One differentiating factor of ConnectWise over the past three decades is our whole-hearted embrace of partner collaboration and learning,” CEO Arnie Bellini said today in a prepared statement.

IT Nation: One Global Community, Four Partner Opportunities

The community initiatives, updated with new branding unveiled today, now include:

  • IT Nation ConnectIT Nation Connect is ConnectWise’s flagship conference for thought leadership. It's held every November and is open to everyone, including ConnectWise competitors, the company says.
  • IT Nation ExploreFormerly called Automation Nation and originally built for LabTech Software partners, IT Nation Explore takes place every June. This solutions-focused conference features ConnectWise product training and networking with technical experts.
  • IT Nation ShareIT Nation Share is the new name for the ConnectWise User Groups. These regional gatherings around the globe give partners and prospective partners a complimentary opportunity to connect, collaborate and learn. The user groups have typically be been held quarterly, I believe.
  • IT Nation Evolve – This is the former HTG Peer Groups Community, which ConnectWise acquired in January. IT Nation Evolve focuses on igniting success for partners and solution providers both in business and in life via accountability and facilitated peer-to-peer quarterly meetings.

Peer Learning: Looking Back, And Ahead

Both ConnectWise and HTG Peer Groups developed strong community engagement before ConnectWise acquired HTG earlier this year.

Scott Scrogin
ConnectWise VP Arlin Sorensen

On the HTG side of the table, former CEO Arlin Sorensen and leaders like Scott Scrogin helped to popularize peer learning across the MSP ecosystem over the past decade. Through accountability and shared best practices, HTG members typically improved key company KPIs like revenues, profits, profit margins and customer churn rates.

On the ConnectWise side of the table, Arnie Bellini spent more than a decade plowing big financial investments into conferences, educational gatherings and other peer-driven efforts to drive partner success. That partner success, Bellini accurately theorized, would drive more software consumption.

Enter Pete Sorensen

Now the leadership baton passes to VP of The IT Nation Pete Sorensen -- who leads the newly combined team of community professionals at ConnectWise.

Pete Sorensen's goal: Ensure that all members of the ConnectWise ecosystem and the IT Nation, including partners and solution providers, are "well-prepared to succeed no matter where they are on their business journey." Key lieutenants include Andre Gilmore, an HTG veteran who takes on a leadership role for peer and user groups.

In a call with ChannelE2E, Sorensen described the seven-month journey since January 2018 that pulled together ConnectWise and HTG community leaders. "ConnectWise has, from an organizational standpoint, taken great care of us. They worked to integrate HTG with ConnectWise systems and processes. And they ensured that we, as new colleagues, have a strong voice in the company."

Now, ConnectWise and HTG will speak with one voice while working with partners -- The IT Nation community voice.

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.