CSPs, IT management, MSP

Sources: ConnectWise Preps Office 365 Management

ConnectWise and its LabTech Software team are set to unveil major cloud management capabilities for Microsoft Office 365, sources say. An official announcement could arrive during IT Nation 2015 keynotes or sessions on Nov. 12, the sources add.

UPDATE, Nov. 12, 9:45 a.m. ET: ConnectWise confirmed the new tool. It's called ConnectWise Cloud Console...

ConnectWise and its LabTech platform are best known for MSP business management and automation tools -- stretching from PSA (professional services automation) to RMM (remote monitoring and management). Most of the technologies originally were designed to remotely manage and optimize on-premises hardware and software.

But in recent years, ConnectWise and many of its rivals have been extending their capabilities toward hybrid and full cloud management features. In ConnectWise's case, the company apparently has developed or acquired tools that vastly improve Office 365 management, sources say. The management features include a range of billing capabilities, the sources add.

ConnectWise Office 365 Management Questions

Still, plenty of questions remain. ChannelE2E hasn't determined whether the Office 365 management tool is a standalone offering or built into LabTech's RMM platform. Some sources suggest the Office 365 management tool can integrate with ConnectWise PSA without having LabTech's software present. Other sources suggest the tool's capabilities will eventually fold into LabTech.

Most sources agree that the tool has a Web-based interface that ConnectWise could potentially extend and evolve to manage additional SaaS applications.

Amid this vague blog with few real details at hand, it's unclear how ConnectWise will differ its Office 365 management tool from LOGICnow's MAXfocus, which has offered AppCommand (an Office 365, Google Apps and MaxMail management tool) for roughly two years.

There's also 365 Command, which Kaseya acquired in 2013. A range of distributors also offer Office 365 cloud management tools. And AVG Technologies' Managed Workplace platform has offered Office 365 administration features since August 2014.

Still, AVG has stumbled a bit recently in the SMB market, and Kaseya is striving to restore momentum with MSPs after ownership and management changes in recent years. Current Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola says the company is rebounding.

ConnectWise Office 365 Management: More Than a Rumor?

Admittedly, ChannelE2E has not confirmed ConnectWise's alleged Office 365 management tool plans. We reached out to a source at the company around 10:00 p.m. ET this evening but have not heard back. (Understandable, considering most key ConnectWise and LabTech sources are busy at an IT Nation reception this evening.)

ConnectWise Arnie Bellini
Arnie Bellini

So, is this tool real or vapor? The answer will likely come during ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini's IT Nation keynote on Nov. 12, or perhaps from LabTech Software CEO Matt Nachtrab at some point during the conference, sources say.

Oh, and just to make things extra interesting for the close of this blog: Is Nachtrab's title still LabTech CEO? Hmmm...

Stay tuned.

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.