Every day brings dozens of new software products, plug-ins and integrations to the IT channel as advances in automated solutions, the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning speed up the pace of innovation. OEMs can no longer carry closed APIs and develop all of their own IP behind veils of corporate secrecy if they hope to keep up with the demands from partners. Savvy vendors know that good ideas can come from anywhere and that their next bright and shiny product release very well might not be born in their own developer pool.
Recognizing this, ConnectWise on Wednesday announced a contest for software integration proofs of concept for its popular IT management solutions. The company knows in order to stay competitive and maintain a commitment to next-gen solutions, it has to be open to innovations from every corner. Tech Tank is open to partners, prospective partners, vendors and professional or citizen developers who want to build upon ConnectWise technology to deliver forward-thinking solutions to the company’s partner ecosystem. The winning concept will receive up to $100,000 to transform the idea into a working integration, with cash awards for second- and third-place winners too.
One of the big challenges for solution providers today is having to manage an increasing number of disparate systems if they want to broaden their set of offerings and maintain a competitive edge. ConnectWise’s business depends upon its ability to offer those integrations to its partners within its existing platform while providing the proverbial “single pane of glass” capabilities managed service providers (MSP) are clamoring for.
“High-quality integrations make this possible,” Craig Fulton, ConnectWise’s chief product officer, told Channel Futures.
ConnectWise has promoted its open API for more than a decade and boasts more than 200 product integrations as a result that run the gamut of business functions. There are marketing integrations that streamline the handoff of leads from campaigns to the sales team, sales integrations that make it easier to get real-time pricing from distributors and accounting integrations that make billing processes more efficient and enable data-driven financial decisions.
Fulton recounted that at one of ConnectWise’s recent events, a partner created a service-ticket integration with artificial-intelligence capabilities that processed a customer’s text input to determine their mood. If the algorithm, through text analysis and cognitive capabilities, deduces the customer is upset, it gives the technician and service manager a heads up so they’re prepared for a possible escalated call.
“Pretty cool!” Fulton exclaimed. “We believe our commitment to an open ecosystem, as evidenced by our open APIs and now Tech Tank, will result in even more creative integrations.”
The company’s hope is that the financial support provided from Tech Tank will fuel innovation by giving smart, creative people the opportunity to overcome any funding issues that might have been holding them back. The company is looking for creative integrations for ConnectWise Manage business management software, ConnectWise Automate remote monitoring and management software or ConnectWise Control remote control and remote access automation software. Proposed integrations must use ConnectWise’s open APIs and SDKs.
Proofs of concept will be evaluated on their innovation, business potential, user experience and best use of ConnectWise APIs and SDKs. A team of ConnectWise judges will evaluate submissions, and the company’s partners will also be able to cast their votes at ConnectWise’s Automation Nation 2018 conference.
Entries will be accepted through April 30, and the winner will be announced during the conference keynote on June 19. Tech Tank is free to enter. Applicants can access the entry form and a full list of contest rules on the ConnectWise website.