In an interview at Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2016, ConnectWise GM Craig Fulton and VP Gavin Gamber described several steps that will further improve the company's overall approach to cloud management. Multiple ConnectWise tools, particularly CloudConsole and LabTech, are central to the effort.
ConnectWise announced CloudConsole at IT Nation 2015 in November and launched the platform with Office 365 capabilities in February. Within the first few weeks, MSPs embraced CloudConsole to manage roughly 750,000 Office 365 seats.
Fast forward to the present, and the figure is closer to 850,000, Fulton says. The typical MSP manages about nine separate business customers on CloudConsole, and each of those end-customers typically has about 150 seats, Fulton estimates.
At first glance, competition looms around every corner. A lengthy list of MSP-friendly software companies offer Office 365 management tools. Kaseya's 365 Command is one such offering. In stark contrast, ConnectWise has always maintained that CloudConsole will support multiple cloud platforms. The long-term strategy will involve a CloudConsole API family that cloud ISVs can embrace, Fulton says.
CloudConsole for Microsoft Azure
But the near-term priority? Writing to Microsoft's Azure APIs, which have been in beta. Fulton sees a big opportunity for MSPs and IT service providers to manage line of business applications atop Azure.
His thesis goes like this: Customers are already moving Exchange Server, SharePoint and other on-premises applications to the Office 365 cloud. Those same customers no longer want to buy or maintain on-premises line of business applications. Moving those apps to boutique cloud providers won't make much sense as Microsoft gains more and more momentum across the SaaS and IaaS ecosystems, ConnectWise believes.
With that potential reality in mind, ConnectWise will extend CloudConsole's capabilities to Azure, while also "cloud-enabling" the company's business suite. MSPs will gain an improved ability to track cloud costs, profitability and more. The effort will to LabTech Version 11, which is expected to be previewed (perhaps even launched?) at Automation Nation 2016 in June.
As part of the cloud technology build out, ConnectWise will tell partners to increasingly offer consultative services -- basically, helping customers on their overall digital and cloud strategies -- rather than "fix it" services that the cloud sometimes antiquates.