Live From Tampa, Fla: Six Questions for ConnectWise

The snow continues to pile up in my back yard on Long Island. So, I decided to escape for the next 48 hours or so -- landing in Tampa, Fla., to get an update from ConnectWise. In addition to catching up with CEO Arnie Bellini, I'm checking in with a range of ConnectWise team members to see how 2011 is shaping up for the company and its partner base. Among the top six questions on my mind...

First, some background for those who are new to the managed services market. ConnectWise develops PSA (professional services automation) software, which helps VARs and MSPs to manage customer relationships, marketing, trouble tickets and more. It's sort of a CRM or ERP system specifically designed for solutions providers. Generally speaking, ConnectWise competes with Autotask and Tigerpaw Software -- though the industry has been evolving rapidly.

Now, my questions... organized around anticipated interviews...

1. For CEO Arnie Bellini: I'd like to focus on two subjects...

  • Consulting: You've been on the road in recent weeks consulting with ConnectWise partners. What are you hearing during those visits and why did you decide to focus some of your personal efforts on consulting in recent months? Also, how are MSPs and VARs performing as they try to defend the "last mile" of IT from big cloud companies?
  • Your Cloud: ConnectWise has launched clouds in North America, Europe, Australia and most recently Africa. What types of adoption trends are you seeing, and how do those trends potentially differ from one region to the next?
2. For President and COO David Bellini: You had been responsible for ConnectWise's IT services business in Tampa, plus you oversee the ConnectWise Capital investment portfolio. So please don't throw me out of the room as I jump between multiple subjects.
  • Tampa: How has the local solutions provider market evolved in the past two to four years, and what impact -- if any -- has all the cloud computing chatter had on the local IT services market? Also, are customers starting to refresh their IT infrastructure amid the apparent economic recovery?
  • ConnectWise Capital: How are the investments in Labtech Software and CharTec performing? Can we expect more ConnectWise Capital investments or is the portfolio set for a bit? Also, is there a long-term exit strategy for ConnectWise Capital and the portfolio companies?
3. For CTO Linda Catrett Brotherton: You've been with ConnectWise since 1998, overseeing and enhancing the ConnectWise code base. How do you prioritize enhancements, and how have trends like mobility and the cloud influence your priorities?

4. For Director of Community Jeannine Edwards: You're just back from a Chicago User Group meeting. What was the mood among attendees, and what are their top priorities for 2011? Also, can we expect more user groups to launch in 2011 or have you reached near-term critical mass.

5. For Earl Provin, Director of Support: ConnectWise has made aggressive moves into Europe and Australia. How have you evolved your support approach to address the new markets? And how do you see your overall support efforts evolving in 2011?

6. For Kathy Smith, Director of Consulting: You're responsible for expanding ConnectWise's onsite consulting and educational efforts. Are you focused mostly on North America or do you have global ambitions? Also, I've often wondered if there's a potential market for VARs and IT consultants who can deployment and configure ConnectWise for aspiring MSPs? Any thoughts there?

Of course, I'll be sure to ask additional questions throughout my meetings on January 19. If you'd like to send across potential questions feel free to email me (joe [at] NineLivesMediaInc [dot] com) or post a comment.

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