IT Nation Explore 2019 recap

| By:
Corie Leaman

After three packed days of hands-on ConnectWise product training, sessions, and networking, IT Nation Explore has come to an end. We were sad everyone had to go, but we’re excited to see how our attendees take what they learned back to their business. IT Nation Explore was big this year, with 42 sponsors, 111 breakout sessions, and 1370 attendees! We couldn’t have done all of this without you. Now, let’s take a look at what happened in Orlando, FL.

ConnectWise keynote and product update

Friday morning, ConnectWise leaders and product experts took the IT Nation Explore stage for the ConnectWise Keynote and Product Update. CEO Jason Magee kicked things off by welcoming the 1300+ attendees to the event. This was their chance to disconnect from the day to day, network and learn from experts and peers, and to take something back with them to make their businesses, operations, and services better. Jason shared the ConnectWise company strategy, which focuses on customer success, as-a-service, the ecosystem, and cybersecurity. All of which was discussed throughout the morning. Watch the full ConnectWise Keynote and Product Update here.

ConnectWise CISO John Ford discussed cybersecurity and what ConnectWise is doing to combat the evolving threat landscape. Cybersecurity is important, and if you can’t protect your house, you can’t protect your customers. ConnectWise understands that and is making improvements every day to address it, including hiring new staff, bringing training to different teams, updating and enhancing our products, and using our own solutions—ConnectWise Identify and Perch—in our internal cybersecurity efforts.

Cybersecurity isn’t something to take lightly, and the numbers show why. John shared some pretty insightful numbers to show just how devastating cyberattacks can be:

  • The average cost of a cybersecurity breach is $7.35 million
  • 60% of SMBs go out of business after a breach

Even further, not addressing and remediating cybersecurity risks is still leaving SMBs vulnerable. Over 1,000 risk assessments have been done with ConnectWise Identify®. Simple, but important, security measures are still being unaddressed, including employee training as John pointed out that 57% of companies are not performing risk and security training for their employees. There’s still work that needs to be done.

Next, Jeff Bishop, Chief Product Officer, came on stage to talk about exciting updates to ConnectWise products and the ecosystem. To continue the security theme, Jeff explained the measures ConnectWise is taking to make our products more secure for users. These include single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, and improved machine learning to identify unauthorized access to your environments better. Be sure to read all the improvements ConnectWise is making to product security.

ConnectWise is at the center of a growing ecosystem of solutions and integrations designed to make your business and services run smoothly. The driving principle of the ecosystem is the power of choice, and more vendors are being added all the time. Jeff talked about making all of this easier for partners with the updated ConnectWise Marketplace. Partners can easily click through and purchase right from the marketplace. New usage-based pricing takes the guesswork out of figuring out licensing, and billing is automatically generated in user agreements.

For the latest product updates, VP of ConnectWise Manage® April Taylor and VP of ConnectWise Automate® Brett Cheloff came on stage to discuss enhancements to improve business operations and increase technician efficiency.

On the business operations side, it’s all about improving the customer experience. April talked about making it easier for customers to reorder products, gain better visibility into project updates, and improved communication. This includes the newly redesigned ConnectWise Customer Portal. The portal allows customers to submit tickets, view project updates, pay invoices through PayPal, and more from the web or their mobile device.

For technician efficiency, Brett talked about new dashboards inside the ConnectWise products, which give technicians a complete view of all the important business and customer data they need to do their jobs. Improvements to patch approvals make it easier to keep users’ devices and software up to date and secure. Finally, Brett showed ConnectWise View, which allows technicians and end users to stream remote sessions in real time from a mobile device.

Chief Customer Success Officer Craig Fulton came on stage to close the keynote by talking about customer success and how ConnectWise is helping partners build better businesses. This is done through education and resources, starting with the new ConnectWise Business Innovation Center. Here, ConnectWise partners have access to training, resources, events, and more that can help transform their business processes. Craig also talked about the changes ConnectWise is making to our support. ConnectWise will introduce support swarms that are built to have people of different levels working together to learn from each other and support the needs of our partners. To help partners get the most out of ConnectWise’s resources, Craig introduced the partner health scorecard. This will show what areas partners are utilizing the most, where they can use improvements, and the steps they can take to grow.

Guest speaker: Erik Qualman

On Saturday, guest keynote speaker Erik Qualman took the stage to motivate and inspire the IT Nation Explore crowd. Erik is a number one bestselling author and motivational speaker and has performed in over 50 countries and reached 30 million people this decade alone. At IT Nation Explore, Erik shared the idea of a digital stamp, what you share and post online, and how it’s more important than ever to be nimble and aware of what you put out on the internet. Erik talked about STAMP (Simple, True, Act, Map, People), five common habits digital leaders share manage their digital footprint.

IT Nation Explore celebration

No IT Nation event is complete without a little fun. At IT Nation Explore, we hit the track at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games. Attendees put the pedal to the metal and raced around for a little healthy competition. Other activities included laser tag and virtual reality games, so there wasn’t a shortage of fun for everyone.

PitchIT and Hackathon winners

The winner of the 2019 PitchIT contest at IT Nation Explore was TimeZest, makers of a self-serve tool that lets end users book technician appointments for help with support issues. This new system integrates seamlessly with ConnectWise Manage. TimeZest walks away with $75,000 of product development and marketing capital from ConnectWise. Second place went to Halp, creator of a solution that synchronizes popular chat application, like Slack and Microsoft Teams, bi-directionally with service ticketing systems. Halp received $50,000 for development from ConnectWise.

The winner of this year’s Hackathon created an enhanced way to detect offline services. Utilizing ConnectWise Automate scripting and the ConnectWise Control SDK, users have a multi-layered approach to detect when services are offline.

Congratulations to all our winners!

Thanks to all the partners, colleagues, and sponsors for making IT Nation Explore 2019 a huge success. See you all next year!