Channel partner events, MSP

IT Nation 2015: 10 Monday Updates B4 They Happen

As the IT Nation 2015 conference gets set to kick off this week (Nov. 11-13, Orlando), ChannelE2E has noticed several points of chatter ahead of the show. Moreover, we've spotted some clues about ConnectWise's evolution, based on the company's communications about the channel partner conference. Here are 10 key items to note.

10. Long-term Commitment: Does ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini have a long-term vision for his company and its respective brands -- LabTech Software, Quosal, ScreenConnect, etc.? Here's an absolute "yes" to that question: Dates and locations are already booked for IT Nation 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 as well as LabTech's Automation Nation 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, ChannelE2E has confirmed.

Leonard DiMiceli
Leonard DiMiceli

9. Emerging Player: Relyenz, a startup division of CharTec, positions itself as a value-added distributor (VAD) that offers unified security solutions to MSPs. The team includes VP of Sales and Marketing Leonard DiMiceli -- a veteran of Spam Soap and Nuvotera (another SaaS distributor now owned by Excel Micro). So what is Relyenz's growth strategy... and how was the business division funded to make some key hires? Hmmm...

8. DevOps & Application Monitoring: As MSPs seek to push beyond traditional PC and server management, keep a close eye on application-level monitoring from folks like LogicMonitor. I certainly believe there's more opportunity ahead for LabTech. But as ChannelE2E watches the future of RMM tools we're drawn to application-centric solutions that could help customers with DevOps across their on-premises, hybrid and cloud systems.

7. Amazon Cloud Connections: Back in 2012 or so, I mentioned that the Amazon Web Services and IT Nation communities were converging. A key example: TekLinks, a total service provider, typically attends both IT Nation and the annual AWS Re:Invent conference. And at this year's IT Nation, watch for companies like CloudMGR to show off tools that help ConnectWise partners to build AWS cloud businesses.

6. Rivals: ConnectWise informed several companies -- names like Continuum and Quotewerks, I believe -- that they can't sponsor/attend IT Nation because of competitive concerns. Some cross-platform MSPs were upset... but I'm not alarmed or shocked. Remember: This is a private ConnectWise event. It's common for vendors in maturing markets to block some rivals from the their events. Just ask Google, Microsoft and VMware (among others) about their practices. Instead of worrying about the faces in the crowd, IT service providers should focus on making sure all vendors keep their integration APIs open.

5. Neighboring Event: Continuum won't be at IT Nation 2015 but the company will be at HTG Peer Groups' Q4 2015 meeting, which is held in Orlando starting today (Nov. 9). By the way, the dates for HTG Peer Group's Q1 2016, Q2 2016, Q3 2016 and Q4 2016 conferences are now on the ChannelE2E Technology Event Calendar.

4. Rise of the GM: Several ConnectWise leaders are now general managers, according to a ConnectWise invite for a media roundtable discussion, and several LinkedIn profile updates. The media participants include:

  • Craig Fulton – General Manager, ConnectWise Business Suite
  • Kent McNall – General Manager, Quosal
  • Brett Cheloff – General Manager, LabTech
  • Jeff Bishop – General Manager, ScreenConnect
  • Linda Catrett Brotherton- General Manager, ConnectWise
Linda Brotherton

Take a closer look at that list. To the best of ChannelE2E's knowledge, ConnectWise's GM title likely didn't exist until September 2015 or October 2015 or so (that's when Fulton and Bishop changed their respective titles on LinkedIn). Most folks carrying the GM title have extensive experience with their specific brands. Brotherton, for instance, had been CTO for ConnectWise. To us, the GM title suggests ConnectWise has quietly reorganized to deliver tighter product integration across the ConnectWise Business Suite (ConnectWise, Quosal, LabTech, ScreenConnect).

Jeff Bishop

3. Bishop in the Spotlight: Of the general managers, Jeff Bishop is the new addition to the ConnectWise family. He joined the company through ConnectWise's February 2015 buyout of ScreenConnect. Amid his GM title, ChannelE2E believes ConnectWise sees ScreenConnect as a really big opportunity (look out, LogMeIn) rather than a tuck-in for the LabTech code base.

Matt Nachtrab

2. Where's Matt Nachtrab?: As you look at that list of general managers check out the following... Quosal CEO Kent McNall essentially remains aligned with his brand as GM. Yet LabTech CEO Matt Nachtrab is missing as GM of his brand (Cheloff, a long-time LabTech veteran takes that slot). Is Nachtrab now Senior GM or something equivalent for LabTech? I suspect not. Is something amiss? I suspect not. Nachtrab will be at the conference. ChannelE2E looks forward to a catch-up interview with him. Hmmm...

ConnectWise Arnie Bellini

1. Arnie's Update: CEO Arnie Bellini is set to host a roundtable with media representatives (i.e., reporters and journalists... and a chatter-hungry blogger) on Thursday, Nov. 12. Surely, you know where to tune in for live coverage with exclusive insights from the conversation...

PS: Now, read our Tuesday coverage of IT Nation 2015, before the conference starts...

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.