ConnectWise CEO: Vendor Management, Help Desk Are Keys to MSP Future

As big cloud computing vendors attempt to sell direct into the SMB market, managed services providers (MSPs) can maintain SMB account control by focusing in two core areas: Vendor management and help desk services, according to ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini. In an MSPmentor FastChat Video, Bellini describes his Modern Office vision, and the implications for MSPs. Plus, Jeannine Edwards, director of community, describes how ConnectWise will further engage vendor and user partners. Here's the update.

First, a little background: During his keynote speech at the ConnectWise IT Nation conference, Bellini described roughly 19 business opportunities that await VARs and MSPs serving modern SMB offices. Bellini shared additional details in this MSPmentor FastChat Video, during which he focused mostly on vendor management and help desk services:

Own the SMB Relationship

Instead of sharing a big cloud vision at the conference, Bellini seemed to be reassuring partners that plenty of opportunities continue to await them -- if they build strong customer relationships with SMB owners. Off camera, he mentioned multiple times that MSPs and solutions providers need to be the gatekeepers -- the IT doorway -- that sits between big cloud computing companies and end-customers.

Following Bellini's keynote, a few MSPs privately mentioned to me that they were hoping to hear more about ConnectWise's plans to work in the cloud. I could be wrong, but I suspect Arnie Bellini and brother David will be mulling a couple of new ConnectWise Capital investments over the next few months... potentially in the cloud computing area.

ConnectWise Capital earlier this year invested in CharTec (hardware as a service) and LabTech Software (remote monitoring and management). Earlier today, LabTech unveiled a partnership with The IT Answer, which will offer a LabTechCloud hosted offering in North America. Meanwhile, the ConnectWise Cloud continues to expand across three continents, Bellini noted in September 2010.

Keep On Partnering

Elsewhere, ConnectWise continues to expand six user groups across North America, plus user groups in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. At the same time, ConnectWise is making enhancements to the ConnectWise Developer Network.

Jeannine Edwards, director of community, ConnectWise, offers user group and developer network updates in this MSPmentor FastChat Video:

Chatter Elsewhere

Meanwhile, during private discussions at IT Nation there was plenty of chatter about intensifying competition in the PSA and RMM (remote monitoring and management) software markets. It sounds like the ConnectWise Capital investment in Labtech Software is placing pricing pressure on Kaseya. And at the same time, it sounds like a few RMM vendors are mulling some new PSA partner strategies. We'll be back later with more perspectives.

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