ConnectWise has formed a strategic pact with Arrow Electronics to build the distributor’s quoting, procurement, subscription management, and client billing services directly into the ConnectWise platform.
The managed services heavyweight announced the agreement, along with a joint initiative with CompTIA aimed at easing the current shortage of tech workers, on the opening day of its IT Nation Connect event in Orlando.
The distribution alliance, which gives Arrow pride of place among ConnectWise’s distribution partners, will streamline what is now a complicated, labor-intensive set of processes for most channel pros, according to Mark Taylor, Arrow’s president of enterprise computing solutions.
“As a ConnectWise partner, you now have access to a near seamless PSA experience that includes automated pricing, procurement, provisioning, billing, reconciliation, and tracking and purchasing through Arrow,” he said during a general session appearance today. “This will eliminate several manual, time-consuming tasks while giving you access to more products, more vendors, more efficiencies, and all in the ConnectWise platform.”
Arrow will also give ConnectWise partners a dedicated account development rep, Taylor added, and fast access to credit. “You can get an Arrow account set up and credit line authorization within 48 hours.”
As a promotional incentive to drive interest in the new alliance, Arrow is offering an immediate $10,000 line of credit to any ConnectWise partner who sets up an account in the next 90 days.
According to ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee, today’s announcements are a down payment on more ambitious, long-term plans between the two companies. “We’re not talking about a one-time thing,” he said during a keynote presentation. “We’re talking about an alliance where we continually look at how to improve and support this space.”
The joint initiative with CompTIA, called Ticket to Tech, is designed to create a pipeline of badly needed new IT employees. Enrollees will receive 17 weeks of instruction aimed at preparing them for CompTIA’s A+ certification exam. Career readiness skills, including LinkedIn and social media lessons, mock interviews, and resume assistance, are included in the curriculum as well.
“We are offering training, education, and employment opportunities in some of the most high-demand tech occupations, from tech support to cybersecurity,” Magee said today. “More importantly, these trainings are based on national guideline standards created by CompTIA and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor, which means these apprentices will leave the program with the technical and employability skills needed to immediately join the IT workforce.”
Entry-level tech workers are in desperately short supply at present, Magee continued, noting that there are currently over 10 million IT job vacancies in the U.S. alone.
“This is one of the most challenging times in history regarding attracting and retaining your people,” Magee said, adding that it will only get worse in the future. “This is going be a problem that we need to solve for years to come.”
Research from Service Leadership, the managed services consultancy ConnectWise acquired last year, illustrates just how big a problem the skills gap is for MSPs at present. Revenue and profit were both up for service providers on average during this year’s third quarter, the data shows, but would not have been if organic sales growth and inflation-inspired price increases hadn’t outweighed the skyrocketing cost of labor.