ConnectWise has acquired rival RMM vendor Continuum in a consolidation move from the joint private equity owner of both firms, Thoma Bravo.
In a flurry of acquisition and partnership announcements this week, ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee said he plans to position the vendor as "the epicenter for everything from business management and documentation to service delivery and operations management".
In a move that unites the two Thoma Bravo-owned firms, ConnectWise becomes an all-encompassing business automation tool, combining ConnectWise's PSA, RMM and CPQ platform with Continuum's RMM, security, NOC/SOC and help desk.
"By executing on these deals, we will be able to expand our scope and capabilities to assist the broader community of TSPs in all facets of their business," Magee said while announcing the deals.
"This is a revolutionary play, making ConnectWise the epicenter for everything from business management and documentation to service delivery and operations management, while also making it much easier and more efficient for partners to work with the technology suppliers they have in their stacks," he claimed.
ConnectWise partners can expect to see "additional players of automation" from Continuum's offering in the short term, Magee told CPI in an interview, that ConnectWise will be able to layer on top of its current automate platform.
Partners of both vendors will also have access to both LogMeIn and ScreenConnect in the immediate future, although how long this will continue for was not discussed. A third short-term change for ConnectWise partners will be some patch management check-in services that Continuum currently provides and ConnectWise doesn't, Magee added.
"Those are the three that I feel comfortable saying are low-hanging items that partners should expect to see early next year," the ConnectWise CEO said.
Magee said he didn't expect any challenges or complications from integrating the two firms, but admitted it would "be foolish not to think that there aren't going to be things that come up that we'll have to address and figure out and make sure we're doing right by the communities".
"It's the not knowing and the unknown out there. But at the end of the day, there's so much good and greatness that comes from bringing these two together, that the partner communities are going to benefit tremendously," he said.
ConnectWise partners should also expect to see an acceleration in the firm's security efforts as a result of the acquisition, Magee told CPI. He noted that Continuum has spent the last two years making "significant investments" in its SOC, particularly in the technology partnerships and the platform the firm is building, which ConnectWise partners will now be able to leverage.
ConnectWise partners should expect to be able to utilize this to address cybersecurity talent challenges they might be facing, the CEO said.
"The investments in terms of the platform… helps correlate information and events and helps their SOC get very proactive. So from that standpoint, it rounds out a lot of the technology and people aspect of the cybersecurity offering. Cybersecurity talent is not cheap, so for an MSP to go and hire staff and make sure that their people understand all the aspects of the growing threat out there and that they're fully protected and their house and their customers are protected [can be challenging]. This is a robust solution that we're able to now take to market to the broader ConnectWise community."
The security aspect of the acquisition comes as ConnectWise also announced its "Fight Back" initiative, which is "calling on the entire industry to fight back against cybersecurity threats".
Magee said ConnectWise has spent "years" striving to be better when it comes to security.
"We're not perfect by any means, but we strive to get better every week, month year and so on. Playing off of [former CEO] Arnie's keynote last year, we have received our SOC Type 2 certification and by early 2020 we will be mandating multifactor authentication and two factor authentication across all of our platforms. We are also launching a threat intelligence and sharing organization where we're asking everyone to unite and fight back, enabling us to provide real time information around threat intelligence. That's the premise of the first cybersecurity initiative."
Alongside the Continuum acquisition, ConnectWise also announced it has snapped up IT documentation tool ITBoost, which Magee said ConnectWise partners will be able use to resolve or solve specific issues or events that occur, as well as document specific customer information in detail.
"This way if I have a junior tech or a senior tech having to answer the phone or service a ticket, they're able to deliver that service and/or support consistently, no matter who picks up the phone," the CEO explained.
In a separate interview with CPI, ITBoost CEO Ali Peracher noted that "product functionality" will be the key focus of the acquisition for ITBoost.
While Peracher said the two firms are "still finalizing" the details of the new functionalities, the tool will offer both ITBoost and ConnectWise partners an immediate change that will see a deeper integration with ConnectWise Manage. This will go from approximately a two-hour wait time to "near real time", Peracher said.
Partners will also enjoy more automation of the ITBoost tool, he told CPI. "At this time while I cannot [give details] because we're still finalizing some of [them], we're all about increasing efficiencies, increasing productiveness for our MSPs and all the new features and functionality will be around that. The one thing I can say is it will be more around automation," the CEO added.
To round off its announcements this week, ConnectWise also highlighted its partnership with engagement automation platform Webinfinity. According to Magee this will help MSPs and VARs with their "siloes of chaos" and enhance their vendor relationships.
"Today it is chaos out there as to where partners should get information, as well as having to manage multiple vendor portals… Who's allowed to do what within each vendor program and portal? So this is our task to solve for the partners next year," he said.
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