Channel technologies, Channel partner events

Business Intelligence, Big Data Reality Check at IT Nation 2015

At first glance, big data and business intelligence (BI) won't be central topics of discussion at IT Nation 2015, the annual IT service provider conference hosted by ConnectWise. But if you look closely enough and listen carefully, you'll hear numerous BI and big data channel trends emerging throughout the conference.

First, the background. From RMM (remote monitoring and management) to PSA (professional services automation), we're all familiar with management dashboards and reporting in the MSP sector. But overall, the Big Data tidal wave hasn't reached most IT service providers just yet. We've seen some key waves building -- such as LogicNow's LOGICcards and IBM promoting Watson to every partner that will listen. But data-driven decisions aren't yet the norm in the IT channel. Not for most partners. And not for most small business customers they serve.

Business Intelligence at IT Nation 2015

Still, the signs of progress will be all around us at IT Nation 2015. BrightGauge, for instance, has positioned itself as "Business Intelligence for IT Service Providers." The company's dashboards deliver key business performance metrics to each piece of the business -- executives, service professionals, sales, finance, etc.

Eric Dosal

When BI finally goes mainstream in the IT channel, BrightGauge will deserve some of the credit. Brothers Eric and Brian Dosal spun the platform out of their Miami-based MSP around 2010. BrightGauge product updates have arrived regularly, and it sounds like some new surprises are in the pipeline for the next two weeks or so...

Meanwhile, I also plan to reconnect with ConnectSmart. Last I heard, more than 1,200 MSPs used the company's business intelligence dashboards to analyze data and track KPIs (key performance indicators). Additional BI platforms on display or discussed at IT Nation will likely include MSPCFO and Clarity Intelligence Platform. (Whom did I miss?)

Machine Learning and Big Data at IT Nation 2015

Meanwhile, some machine learning and big data chatter will also be heard at the conference. Check in with Cisco's OpenDNS business, for instance, and you'll hear how the cloud-based security platform leverages machine learning to spot potential security issues before they trigger a crisis. (That's all I can say... for now.)

Where does the conversation head next? ChannelE2E will host a "Big Data for MSPs" panel discussion at IT Nation 2015 on Thursday, November 12 at 1:45 p.m. ET (Room: Bayhill 17).

For many IT Nation attendees, the session may mark the start of the big data discussion. But for BrightGauge and many other BI veterans, it's the latest proof point that data-driven decisions will become universal across the IT channel.

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.