Channel partner events, MSP

Automation Nation 2016: Five Things for ConnectWise LabTech MSPs to Track


After attending DattoCon16, ChannelE2E will head to Automation Nation 2016 (June 20-22, Orlando), a gathering of MSPs that run ConnectWise's LabTech remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform. Among the five trends and/or themes we'll be tracking...

Brett Cheloff, ConnectWise
Brett Cheloff

1. LabTech Leader Message: Brett Cheloff was one of the original LabTech Software developers when the RMM company launched in 2004. ConnectWise invested in LabTech in 2010 and now essentially owns the business. Cheloff has been LabTech's general manager since a ConnectWise reorganization in 2015. Now, he's set to keynote the conference. In some ways it's a role shift for Cheloff. For much of its history, LabTech co-founder Matt Nachtrab was the public face of LabTech, while Cheloff handled the demos. Nachtrab has since moved on, and Cheloff steps into the central spotlight at this conference.

2. Balancing Act: On the one hand, LabTech must further integrate its RMM software with ConnectWise Business Suite. The product integration is particularly important as Autotask, Continuum, Kaseya, SolarWinds MSP (owner of N-able and LogicNow) and several other rivals continue to round out their MSP software platforms. But on the other hand, ConnectWise must also prove that LabTech is a best-of-breed RMM offering -- especially for MSPs that are (A) just getting started or (B) committed to mixed vendor environments.

3. Beyond PC, Server Management: As customer workloads extend beyond PCs and servers to the cloud, ConnectWise must describe how LabTech and CloudConsole (a sister platform) will help MSPs to manage, monitor and monetize those workloads. So far, CloudConsole supports Office 365. But extensions toward Azure and Amazon Web Services are on the way. The big question: Where does LabTech and CloudConsole begin both today and for the long haul?

Jeff Bishop

4. Remote Control Strategy: ConnectWise acquired ScreenConnect, a remote control platform, in early 2015. On the one hand, ScreenConnect is a natural extension to LabTech. In fact, the lines between the two platforms could disappear. But on the other hand, ScreenConnect could be attractive to corporate IT departments, which often leverage remote control software. ScreenConnect GM Jeff Bishop hinted earlier this year that ConnectWise was exploring additional vertical market segments for the tool. We'll check for more clues and updates at the show.

5. From Waterfall to Continuous Delivery: ConnectWise has been shifting all of its product groups toward continuous software delivery. The days of Waterfall development (big upgrades that arrive every few quarters or years) are ending. But how is the DevOps approach working out, and how is ConnectWise timing code sprints across LabTech, ConnectWise, Quosal, CloudConsole and more? We'll pursue a reality check.

Reformed Hacker Kevin Mitnick

6. Bonus: Reformed Hacker for Hire? Reformed Hacker Kevin Mitnick also will keynote the conference. Rewind nearly 25 years, and the FBI was hunting Mitnick after he had broken into several major corporate networks. The FBI even hired a rival hacker -- Justin Tanner Petersen -- to track down Mitnick, according to a certain journalist's coverage in InformationWeek. So how has Mitnick changed his ways in recent years -- and what's his message on cybersecurity? We'll share the details.

What Else?: Got any other tips or questions about the conference? Email me: [email protected].

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.