ConnectWise Partner Summit: New Name, Broader Mission
It’s a small detail that reveals big plans. ConnectWise has quietly renamed its annual partner conference. The 2010 event, scheduled for Nov. 4-6 in Orlando, will be called IT Nation 2010. Previous events were dubbed ConnectWise Partner Summit. What’s behind the name change? Here are some educated guesses from The VAR Guy.
In many respects, ConnectWise Partner Summit has emerged as the industry’s largest annual managed services event. The VAR Guy wasn’t counting heads, but he thinks there were roughly 1,000 or more attendees at the 2009 conference — including a healthy dose of HTG Peer Group members.
But here’s the challenge: The managed services market is only one segment of the broader IT channel. Fact is, many VARs are doing just fine with project work and they’ll never make the switch to managed services.
Skeptical? Consider this case in point: Romi Randhawa, CEO & president of HPM Networks, says his HP-centric solution provider business will grow from $93 million in 2009 to roughly $200 million in 2010. Impressive.
Now here’s the twist: HPM Networks has no plans to launch a major managed services effort, Randhawa told The VAR Guy yesterday.
PSA: It’s For VARs, Too
But PSA software can certainly help VARs and resellers to more effectively manage project work, marketing promotions, lead generation and other business priorities.
Hence, ConnectWise is branding more aggressively around IT Nation — a term CEO Arnie Bellini uses to describe next-generation solutions providers, including VARs, MSPs and IT Service Providers.
ConnectWise isn’t alone. Autotask recently acquired VARStreet to more aggressively engage product resellers. And N-able in 2009 launched a freemium endpoint security strategy to help VARs proactively manage customer end-points, even if the VARs weren’t charging a monthly fee for such services.
Bottom line: The Managed Services marketing continues to enjoy strong growth. But there’s a bigger channel out there. Just ask The VAR Guy… and a growing list of software providers that are balancing MSP and VAR engagements.
Ultimately, the ConnectWise strategy sounds a bit like the RSA strategy. Over time, the RSA Conference emerged as a big industry security event, rather than a pure vendor-specific conference. The VAR Guy thinks ConnectWise has similar plans for the IT Nation conference.