ConnectWise IT Nation 2023: The Future is Hyperautomated

IT Nation Connect 2023 was all about hyperautomation. Whether it was in the solutions pavilion, during keynotes and breakout sessions, or at some bar—no one could stop talking about AI. 

In all, there were four keynotes during IT Nation Connect. But it was the opening keynote that really stuck out. ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee stressed the importance of hyperautomation in the age of the fourth industrial revolution. From billing, procurement, and talent acquisition, to sales, marketing, and the executive suite, MSPs will rely on AI in every facet of their business. 

To give us a taste of what working in the hyperautomation era might look like, we got a live demonstration of ConnectWise’s latest products, ConnectWise RPA and ConnectWise SideKick. 

In the first demo, we saw how software bots were able to onboard new employees into multiple applications within seconds. When you onboard a new employee (or customer), it can take 15 minutes to complete the process—and that’s for each application. Adding one user to five applications can take over an hour. During the demo, the folks at ConnectWise were able to onboard a user to multiple applications within a minute—simply by filling a form and prompting a bot with natural language. 

In the second demo, we were introduced to ConnectWise SideKick, an AI-powered virtual assistant. The solution is built into Microsoft Teams and works just like ChatGPT. In the demo, we saw how it can do things like fetch tickets assigned to a technician or present users with their schedule for the day. SideKick does much more than what we saw at the demo (you can read more about that below). 

Magee estimates that, currently, ConnectWise’s hyperautomation technology can help businesses increase profitability by 25%. And by the time the company completes its AI roadmap, he anticipates that MSPs will be able to increase profitability by 50%. Estimates are estimates, after all, so you should take these numbers with a grain of salt. But even a modest estimate—say a low double digit increase in profitability—is a huge deal. 

hyperautomation

Announcements

ConnectWise made several exciting announcements over the course of the three-day event. Many of the latest tools and enhancements are centered around leveraging hyperautomation to optimize processes, overcome labor scarcity, and unearth insights for smarter decision-making, ultimately to help MSPs grow. 

  • ConnectWise SideKick was the most exciting announcement at the event. SideKick is an AI companion that is designed to increase efficiency across the MSP. It helps technicians streamline tasks like creating PowerShell scripts, ticket categorization, summarization, providing resolutions and automated responses for end users using natural language prompts. It can also help leadership and sales teams unearth trends and key insights within client data. 
  • ConnectWise RPA is coming to the Asio Platform. Like most robotic process automation products, ConnectWise’s takes aim at repetitive, rules-driven processes, to help MSPs save time and money and mitigate the impact of labor scarcity. The solution pairs well with Asio’s workflow orchestration engine, which leverages a visual, drag and drop interface to accelerate development time. 
  • ConnectWise SIEM has undergone several improvements, including enhanced monitoring and alerting capabilities and prebuilt dashboards for Microsoft 365 environments. The company also announced its SaaS Security workflow engine, which is basically ConnectWise RPA and visual orchestration for cybersecurity. 
  • ConnectWise announced improvements to its Business Management Solutions based on feedback and suggestions from its partners. The ultimate goal of these improvements are to optimize project management, procurement, and sales processes. Improvements include the introduction of Gannt charts and Kanban boards to help with project management; dashboards and tiles that bring pertinent customer data to the surface; enhancements to quote building in ConnectWise CPQ; and much more. 

PitchIT 

Before any of the keynotes, ConnectWise kicked off IT Nation by crowning a winner of its PitchIT competition. PitchIT is ConnectWise’s business accelerator competition for businesses that are dedicated to serving the MSP space. Of the hundreds of applicants, two dozen were selected to participate in a 16-week business transformation course, and only three were selected to compete in the final round. First and second took home $70,000 and $30,000 respectively (third place took home some knives).  

The participants included Thread (service collaboration platform), vCIO Toolbox (MSP sales and compliance tools), and Nodeware (network assessment and vulnerability detection). Leaders from each competitor had a few minutes to pitch their company to and field questions from judges. Thread was awarded first place, followed by vCIO Toolbox and Nodeware in second and third, respectively. 

The future is automated 

Many people fear AI because they think it’s going to steal their job. IT folks are probably more concerned about Skynet than unemployment. That’s because AI is just another tool that makes life easier for people already drowning in work. And with giant skill gaps and such a scarce and expensive labor pool to draw from, there is no help in sight. This is a growth inhibitor, as limited technicians mean you can only manage so many clients. Hyperautomation helps MSPs mitigate the skill gap and labor shortage barriers, relegating tedious, time-consuming tasks to computers, so humans can focus on tasks that require a human’s touch. 

is editorial director of BPO Media’s publications Workflow and The Imaging Channel, and senior analyst for BPO Research. As a professional writer and editor, she has specialized in the office technology industry for the last 20 years. Prior to that she worked in public relations and has a master's degree in communication arts.