Preview: Five Trends at ConnectWise Partner Summit

Preview: Five Trends at ConnectWise Partner Summit

N-able Partner Summit 2008The ConnectWise Partner Summit kicks off Nov. 4 in Orlando, Fla. Roughly 900 managed service providers -- including HTG Peer Group members -- are expected to converge on the event. Here are five trends we'll be tracking at the conference.

1. MSP Industry Health: Anecdotal evidence suggests most MSPs suffered a painful 1Q 2009 but are seeing a business uptick now. But are we really out of the recession? This global chart attempts to show current economic conditions on a region by region basis. Since the ConnectWise event attracts MSPs from around the world I'll be curious to hear financial anecdotes from multiple countries. My big question: Is there an MSP middle class, or are the best MSPs pulling away from the pack?

2. SaaS Reality Check: During the N-able Partner Summit (Oct. 14-16, Arizona), lots of MSPs expressed concern about Microsoft selling SaaS direct through platforms like Windows Azure and the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS, featuring Hosted Exchange, Hosted SharePoint, etc.). The big question for most MSPs -- is it time to build your own SaaS/cloud service or do simply remarket/rebrand third-party services as your own? And if you choose to partner, which brands can you trust?

3. Windows 7: Frankly, I didn't think MSPs were all that interested in Microsoft's new operating system. Until our sister site, The VAR Guy, stumbled upon District Computers LLC -- an MSP that is booked solid with Windows 7 projects every weekend through January 2010. Are peer MSPs making similar moves? If so, why? And perhaps more interestingly, what impact will the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) trend have on Windows 7 deployments?

4. Google Is In the House: Google has attended multiple MSP-centric events this year. Next stop: the ConnectWise Partner Summit. As the search giant builds its Google Apps Reseller program, there's growing talk of an enterprise Google push coming in Q4 2009 or early 2010. Will MSPs cooperate or compete with the move?

5. Merger and Acquisition Chatter: Plenty of M&A speculation has swirled around the managed services market in recent months.

Some deals are official. One example: CoreConnex is transitioning its PSA customers to ConnectWise in order to focus on a financial management dashboard for MSPs.

Other chatter amounted to little. For instance: During the SMB Nation conference (Oct. 2-4, Las Vegas), rumors surfaced that LabTech Software had been acquired -- though most sources now say LabTech isn't involved in sale talks.

Can we expect more M&A chatter in the weeks ahead? Dozens of software companies will be at the ConnectWise Partner Summit so I'll be poking around.

What other trends do you anticipate at the conference? I'm all ears.

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