IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ConnectWise Aims to Unite Everything MSPs Support

At its IT Nation conference today, CEO Arnie Bellini (pictured) showcased ConnectWise’s new Unite portal and forthcoming Developer Kit as key elements of a larger plan to provide one platform for managing every solution an MSP offers. By Rich Freeman

Prospering as an MSP in the new world of IT means supporting a wider range of technologies from a wider range of vendors than ever before. ConnectWise wants to provide the one platform channel pros use to manage all of those systems.

Such was CEO Arnie Bellini’s message today to the over 3,500 attendees at the managed service software maker’s 2017 IT Nation partner conference, which is currently taking place in Orlando.

It was also the unifying theme that linked the two new products the Tampa, Fla.-based company touted most highly to its partners: ConnectWise Unite, the centralized management portal for third-party solutions first unveiled last week and currently being piloted, and a forthcoming ConnectWise Developer Kit that will eventually consolidate and replace the APIs and SDKs software providers presently use to integrate their solutions with the ConnectWise suite.

“It’s about connecting absolutely everything in this ecosystem,” Bellini said of ConnectWise’s overarching strategy. “That’s really our goal.”

ConnectWise Unite’s role in that quest is to give MSPs a single interface they can employ to provision, monitor, manage, and bill for all of the cloud-based solutions their customers use. Available for testing at present through a free trial program that expires on January 1, 2018, Unite currently gives users control over the communications, networking, and security capabilities provided by the Spark, Meraki, Umbrella, and Stealthwatch offerings from Cisco Systems Inc., as well as virtual machines and storage from Amazon Web Services.

Ultimately, however, ConnectWise wants Unite to enable similarly streamlined oversight of any solution from any software vendor. The new Developer Kit, which is due to reach market next year, is designed to accelerate that process by giving software makers a point-and-click means of generating integration code for their products automatically.

“We’re just getting started,” Bellini says of the Cisco and Amazon tie-ins. “We want to enlist the entire vendor community to connect everything along with us. We’re trying to make it as simple as we possibly can with the ConnectWise Developer Kit.”

Unite itself, which ConnectWise built in a matter of months, is an illustration of how effectively the Developer Kit can help programmers realize that goal, according to Chief Product Officer Craig Fulton in an interview with ChannelPro.

“We used that tool to build Unite ourselves, and that’s how we were able to make it so fast,” he says.

Unite is based on CloudConsole, a ConnectWise product for managing Microsoft cloud solutions. ConnectWise will phase out CloudConsole as a separate system and add its functionality to Unite in the first quarter of 2018.

As Bellini explained in a June conversation with ChannelPro and reiterated today, ConnectWise’s strategic objective is to help MSPs assemble customized collections of solutions in categories ranging from security and network infrastructure to audio-visual and physical security. Today Bellini made clear that creating its own solutions in those categories is emphatically not part of the company’s vision. ConnectWise aspires to provide tools for managing BDR solutions, for example, but not to offer a BDR solution of its own.

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