IT Nation Expands Beyond ConnectWise (Here's How)

What is the IT Nation conference? It started as ConnectWise Partner Conference. But now it's something more and something different. Here's why thousands of MSPs, VARs and ISVs tune in.

Joe Panettieri, Former Editorial Director

October 9, 2013

2 Min Read
ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini addresses IT Nation 2012 What surprises are in store for 2013
ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini addresses IT Nation 2012. What surprises are in store for 2013?

What is IT Nation? ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini coined the term to describe next generation IT service providers (VARs, MSPs, ISVs) that are building sustainable businesses. Many are growth businesses. Some are lifestyle businesses. All seek to stand the test of time (or exit at a high valuation). Many of those IT service providers attend the annual IT Nation (Nov. 13-15, 2013) conference, hosted by ConnectWise. But here's the interesting part: IT Nation is now growing beyond the ConnectWise user base, much in the way that DreamForce expanded beyond a conference. And perhaps that was the point all along.

Rewind a few years (I've lost track of the exact dates…). IT Nation started out as the ConnectWise Partner Summit. Then it shifted to the IT Nation conference — though it mainly attracted ConnectWise partners during the first few years. This year the evolution continues — with IT Nation attracting non-ConnectWise users. Those VIP attendees will get a close look at the conference, and ConnectWise's commitment to community building/education. And yes, it's a safe bet ConnectWise wants to transform the VIPs into ConnectWise customers (i.e., partners).

But here's the thing: Each and every year, the IT Nation conference also attracts novices who want to become experts in recurring revenue, business management and customer satisfaction. A lengthy list of "big" vendors (Google, HP, Symantec, others) have used IT Nation as a search and discovery destination. What's the best way to build an MSP-focused channel partner program? The answers emerge every year at the IT Nation gathering. And big vendors increasingly know it.

Of course, the conference has also been a foundation for "coopetition" (competition and cooperation) among MSP-centric software and cloud providers. I think you'll see more of that this year… … …

I'll be at IT Nation again. For me, the conference represents a book-end event.

  • It's a final opportunity for me to see and hear from MSPs who are ready to describe their current-year performance.

  • And it's a first opportunity to hear about what's coming next for the IT channel (aka IT Nation) in the New Year.

If you're attending and want to catch up just look for me at the keynotes. I'm the guy toward the front of the room blogging, learning and trying to figure out where the industry is heading next…

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About the Author(s)

Joe Panettieri

Former Editorial Director, Nine Lives Media, a division of Penton Media

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