IT Nation Conference Expands Beyond ConnectWise Partners

IT Nation Conference Expands Beyond ConnectWise Partners

Roughly 1,500 VARs and managed services providers are expected to attend the IT Nation Conference (Nov. 9-11, Orlando, Fla.), hosted by ConnectWise. But if you take a close look at the crowd this year you'll notice something new: Non-ConnectWise customers also are invited to attend the event. Here's the background.

The IT Nation conference got its start as ConnectWise Partner Summit. It now ranks among the largest channel partner gatherings of the year. And generally speaking, I believe it's the largest annual gathering of MSPs. Now, ConnectWise is opening IT Nation's doors a little wider. On the one hand, I believe the vast majority of this year's registrants remain ConnectWise customers, running the company's PSA (professional services automation) software. But on the other hand, it sounds like there's room for roughly 200 or so non-ConnectWise customers and partners to also attend the event.

ConnectWise says registration for IT Nation 2011 is running ahead of last year's conference. Plus, a lengthy list of technology companies have signed on to host mini-conferences as part of the broader event. And HTG Peer Groups, a member-driven organization that includes scores of VARs and MSPs, coordinates its annual Q4 meeting with IT Nation. So IT Nation attracts channel partners from across the globe.

But at previous IT Nation conferences, all of those channel partners were ConnectWise customers. At this year's event, ConnectWise is opening the doors to non-ConnectWise customers. My take on the situation: In the age of coopetition, where MSPs mix and match their software solutions, inviting non-ConnectWise partners to register makes sense. For instance, Level Platforms hosts a major partner gathering at IT Nation -- and there's a chance some of the target Level Platforms' attendees may not run ConnectWise's software. Similarly, LabTech Software -- funded by a ConnectWise Capital investment -- hosts partner gatherings at IT Nation, and some LabTech partners don't run ConnectWise.

Starting with IT Nation 2011, those non-ConnectWise partners can register to attend the event. Can ConnectWise potentially try to switch some of those new attendees to ConnectWise's own software? Yes. But that's been a tradition at partner conferences since the dawn of the IT channel. Plus, ConnectWise builds plenty of business-centric content into the agenda, ensuring the conference is far more than a PSA discussion.


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