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IT Nation Connect: ConnectWise's Message Resonating with MSPs

Plus, ConnectWise announces the winners of its second-annual WISE Awards.

Edward Gately

November 10, 2023

7 Min Read
IT Nation Connect Asio booth
The ConnectWise IT Nation Solutions Pavilion, Orlando, Nov. 8, 2023.

CONNECTWISE IT NATION CONNECT — That's a wrap for IT Nation Connect, which focused on MSPs utilizing hyperautomation and artificial intelligence (AI) to meet the challenges of the future.

ConnectWise robotic process automation (RPA) curbs labor costs by enabling teams to automate more of the repetitive, time-consuming processes that take up valuable time, the company said. And ConnectWise Sidekick leverages ConnectWise's generative AI models and large language models (LLMs) to enable technology service providers and their SMB clients to utilize natural-language prompts for automation and timesaving.

In his IT Nation Connect keynote, ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee challenged MSPs to reimagine their futures with hyperautomation and AI. ConnectWise launched a jump-start program for the first 200 MSPs that subscribe to ConnectWise RPA and/or ConnectWise Sidekick.

Magee said the response from MSPs has “exceeded our expectations and the limits that we put in place.”

ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee at IT Nation 2023.

“What I’ve heard is excitement,” he said. “If you go back to my keynote, things that excite the people I’ve spoken with and interacted with this week, the keynote kind of resonated with them. There’s skills gaps, there’s talent constraints, and they look at this as an opportunity to bridge that.”

Related:IT Nation Connect: ConnectWise Unveils New RMM, Cybersecurity Capabilities

Hyperautomation is the culmination of low-code no-code, AI, machine learning (ML) and RPA, Magee said.

“And yeah, you could say at some point it will just be called automation, but I think it helps put an increased focus and emphasis that this is different from what it was awhile back,” he said. “We’ve been an automation company forever, but it was less about AI and ML, and low-code no-code stuff, and that’s where we [are]."

'Great Buzz' from IT Nation Connect

Chris Timms, ConnectWise’s executive vice president and general manager of ecosystems, said he heard a lot of “great buzz” at IT Nation Connect about what ConnectWise has been doing in the background with hyperautomation.

ConnectWise's Chris Timms

“A lot of MSPs have been trying to figure out the signal from the noise,” he said. “There have been a lot of different companies that are talking about AI and hyperautomation, and have launched a couple of key solutions out there, and it's been very complex to understand. ConnectWise really looks to simplify that for the channel so that people could really easily consume it, and most importantly, be able to use it in a more efficient manner.”

The reason people want hyperautomation is that it will make them more efficient, Timms said.

“We built a very robust workflow engine that allows MSPs the ability to do very powerful scripting and to really customize some of the things that they need from their workflows to be able to get their jobs done more efficiently,” he said. “And ConnectWise Sidekick is going to be a virtual AI assistant that we built into the platform, starting with ConnectWise Manage and the PSA. And that's going to be basically the virtual assistant that can come on and really help guide you on how you could do your tasks in a more efficient manner.”

Related:IT Nation Connect: MSPs See Challenges Ahead with AI, Hyperautomation

Partners also are enthusiastic about ConnectWise’s partnership with Microsoft, Timms said.

“We've been working for two years now on a strategic partnership with Microsoft, of which we started to really announce things about a month ago, and there's been a lot of good stuff that we've done that we've got a chance to to really come out to the market with this week. Microsoft is the world's leading SMB software provider, and so being able to go and provide that software and those capabilities through ConnectWise, then through the MSP and then down to SMB is what everyone really figured out as the best opportunity; hence, the four-way win.”

MSPs Have a Lot to Learn

Everybody is going to be learning a lot over the coming months, Timms said.

“From an adoption perspective, what works and what doesn't work,” he said. “What I think ConnectWise really focused on when we were looking to build out our AI concepts is how we allow for value to be created quickly. Where I think a lot of people have gone down the AI route is looking at the data, building out some of the analytics in the background and then returning results on what can be done. The power of AI is then really taking and automating those tasks in a way that you don't have to do with your core staff and you eliminate some of that manual labor. That's what we really focus on. So when we launch ConnectWise Sidekick, we already have a library of [more than] 70 chatbots that can immediately be used and leveraged to help expedite that work. The RPA workflow engine already has 130-150 different components to it that you can already input from the library, and they continue to grow. So ultimately it's going to be a process of understanding adoption. And then over time, as we get to build our libraries out and people know how to use those widgets, that's where the real efficiency kicks in at very high rates.”

Looking ahead, ConnectWise has been “hard at work” on the innovation front and listening to partners on “things that we know we needed to modernize around the tech stack,” Timms said.

“There are a lot of things that we're going to be announcing in the coming months into [the first quarter of 2024 around] those modernizations,” he said. “There were actually so many different great things that we were able to do that we felt that it was too much to announce within IT Nation Connect, so there's going to be more information that comes out as we launch new things. ConnectWise is truly innovating and pushing the forefront of the SMB tech needs in a way that's going to be very good for our partners. Then I think No. 2 is continuing the hyperautomation route. This is the birth of what is going to transform the industry. We feel that we're leading the pack in terms of the capabilities that we've taken to market, and we're only going to accelerate those needs and make sure that we continue to build that out in a very streamlined and aggressive manner.”

WISE Awards

Also during IT Nation Connect, ConnectWise announced the winners of its second-annual WISE Awards. The awards program was launched in 2022 to recognize partners who have used ConnectWise software, services and community, and have achieved their “most ambitious vision of success.”

The program also seeks to recognize those who seek to make a difference and empower others in the broader industry or their local community.

“We are so excited to see another round of excellent candidates go through our WISE Awards program, and even more so to witness the success of each winner,” Magee said. “These partners inspire us to continue innovating on their behalf so they can reach their full potential. We want to congratulate all winners and participants, and look forward to highlighting more partners as this program continues to grow.”

ConnectWise recognized this year’s winners in the following categories:

Business Management Partners of the Year:

Unified Monitoring & Management Partners of the Year:

  • Proton Dealership IT

  • Krantz Secure Technologies

Cybersecurity Partners of the Year:

All-In Partners of the Year:

  • New Era Technology (North America)

  • Air-IT (UK)

  • Atturra Managed Services (formerly The Somerville Group)

Ecosystem Partner of the Year: Business Communications Inc.

IT Nation Partner of the Year: Mytech Partners

Partner Referral Award: Decision Digital

Community Giveback Award: Cheeky Munkey

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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