ConnectWise is building a next-generation app store and e-commerce system for technology solutions providers -- including VARs, MSPs and CSPs. Chief Product Officer Craig Fulton (pictured, above right) briefly touched on the strategy at the ConnectWise Automation Nation 2017 conference yesterday in Orlando.
The original ConnectWise Marketplace launched in 2012 with about 70 applications and services, all of which integrate with the company's PSA platform (now called ConnectWise Manage). The marketplace is mostly for window shopping and reading about third-party integrations for security, IT management tools, business availability and more.
But it sounds like true e-commerce -- allowing partners to purchase ConnectWise's suite and third-party solutions in real-time -- is under development. Partners will be able to click to get more agent or user licenses and even third-party tools, Fulton said. "We'll make click-and-buy easier," he says.
Moreover, it sounds like partners will be able to make add-on purchases from within ConnectWise's applications -- with no need to actually visit the marketplace, I believe. More details will potentially emerge at ConnectWise Automation Nation 2017 in November.
ConnectWise: Cloud Distributor?
ConnectWise has relationships with hundreds of ISVs (independent software vendors). The company already resells multiple cloud security and business continuity solutions from a range of companies. But many of those transactions are labor intensive both for ConnectWise and its partner/customer base. The e-commerce strategy could eliminate or greatly reduce manual tasks in each transaction.
I'm not suggesting ConnectWise is seeking to compete head-on against established cloud distributors (example: Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace) and upstarts like Pax8. The company continues to have close relationships with numerous distributors. But the app store strategy is a key move as ConnectWise strives to compete against a range of foes, including traditional rivals (Autotask, Continuum, Kaseya, SolarWinds MSP), emerging rivals (i.e., ServiceNow and FinancialForce at the high-end; Atera at the low-end) and e-commerce systems like the AWS Marketplace.
By the way: Fulton never officially used the term "App Store" during his keynote yesterday. Those are my words, not his. But that's my reading of the emerging e-commerce strategy.