In the Eye of the Storm: IT Nation 2022

Not even the wind and rain from Hurricane Nicole could dampen the enthusiasm of attendees of this year’s ConnectWise IT Nation Connect, held in Orlando Nov. 9-11. The storm was fortuitously timed in that it had little impact on travel days for much of the audience, instead simply forcing those in attendance inside for the evening events, resulting in an apparently legendary rap battle, among other things. Entertainment aside, though, the storm had little impact on the business portion of events.

Although there wasn’t a new product announcement on the scale of last year’s introduction of Asio, the company has been busy and the event showcased numerous improvements, integrations, and innovation as ConnectWise continues its mission to be a “consistent center of gravity for the IT solution provider ecosystem.”

“We wanted to show we’re alive and kicking,” Raffael Marty, executive vice president and general manager of cybersecurity management, said of the event. “There’s a lot going on behind the curtain. Lots of improvements, release updates, features in different product lines.”

At the 2022 event, ConnectWise took the opportunity to introduce the new milestones and partnerships powered by the Asio platform, a modern, unified, open, and extensible platform that offers partners unlimited scalability, intelligent automation, value-added reporting and insights, and a common user interface.  During day two of the conference, the company noted their power to move from ideas to implementation faster than ever before to update and enhance products across the portfolio.

“We need to start thinking about how everything unifies itself, because the technology stack is more than just the endpoints,” said ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee. “You’ve got cloud services or SaaS management. There’s endpoints and networks. And all of that has to come together in an intuitive way for our MSPs to easily manage all those things. Things are moving faster into the cloud. Things are moving to all SaaS; how do we enable those things for our partners?”

Once such enhancement was made to create single-pane-of-glass interfaces and reduce the amount of clicking between multiple platforms.  For example, ConnectWise PSA (Manage) now has an ITBoost overlay that enables partners to link to and access ITBoost data within tickets and the broader system without leaving the PSA. Similarly, an integration with SmileBack, another ConnectWise solution, merges customer feedback directly into the Service Desk module. ConnectWise also demonstrated the Microsoft Intune integration with ConnectWise RMM, which allows partners to see the compliance status of all devices without clicking around.

ConnectWise has also prioritized improving and enhancing ITBoost. Attendees got a close-up look at this refreshed solution, which now includes the ability to perform bulk actions and mass updates on core assets and custom templates, all critical to an MSP’s success.

Continuing the demonstration of improvements, the company also featured its plans for Wise-Sync, a recently acquired payments automation company.  Wise-Sync has already integrated with ConnectWise PSA and Wise-Pay for ConnectWise CPQ, and the company plans to expand Wise-Pay to PSA, according to the company press release.

In addition to upgraded platforms, ConnectWise is continuing its strong focus on cybersecurity, announcing it has increased its cybersecurity portfolio to offer even more capabilities, in some cases by teaming up with other providers such as Exium to deliver secure access services edge (SASE) cybersecurity to its partner ecosystem, offering even more protection across end-user devices. “[Security] has been a top priority in the company since I’ve been the CEO,” said Magee. “We make tremendous amounts of investments every year and it continues to grow and grow and grow.”

According to Marty, the company is continually looking to build partnerships, or, as he referred to it, an ecosystem. “You can’t do it alone,” he said. “The goal is to really build out the ecosystem so that we become the one-stop shop, where they come to us and work with us and we have the right components that we can give to the MSP to help them secure themselves and then help security customers.”

In addition to the focus on new products and innovations, the conference had its lighter moments as well. ConnectWise announced it has raised over $140,000 in its Beard Shave for Charity (IT guys have a LOT of facial hair), with proceeds benefitting Women Who Code, Hackers 4 Vets, the Diversity Cyber Council, Bits N Bytes and The Bike Walk Wichita.

A busy IT solutions pavilion showcased more than 150 exhibitors, including new partner and Platinum sponsor Arrow, as well as some faces familiar to the dealer channel including Intermedia and GreatAmerica, and big names like Cisco, Acronis and Microsoft.

Cybersecurity companies like WatchGuard, Malwarebytes, Nord and Bitdefender made up a good chunk of exhibitors, just as cybersecurity was once again a hot topic on the floor and in education sessions. It is, after all, hard to talk about IT without bringing cybersecurity into the mix, and when we say “IT” we include any company involved with networked devices and customer data (looking at you, dealer channel). Part of that has to do with the explosion in cloud infrastructure, as Matt Scully of backup solutions provider Redstor explained. “In the very near future there’s going to be much more cloud infrastructure – it’s going to blow up 70% over the next two years,” he said when we stopped to chat with him. Redstor promotes smart, AI-enabled cloud backup, which he said is simply his company getting ahead of the game. “In 2026, CIOs are going to rely on AI for 90% of their workloads and strategies,” he said. “This is going to be a completely different (vendor floor) in three years.”

Keep an eye out – barring a natural disaster, I’ll report back in 2026 (if not sooner).

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.