IT Nation Explore 2020 recap
After four exciting and jam-packed days of sessions, networking, and training at our first ever fully virtual conference, IT Nation Explore has come to a close. IT Nation Explore was record-breaking this year with over 12,000 attendees, not to mention our 27 exhibitors and 70+ sessions—making it the biggest event in IT Nation history! While we missed all the hugs, handshakes, and high fives that accompany our in-person events, we managed to make the most of our time together. Let’s take a look at the highlights.
ConnectWise company strategy
We kicked off Tuesday afternoon from the IT Nation Explore stage for the ConnectWise company strategy keynote. CEO Jason Magee shared the ConnectWise company strategy, which focuses on a unified platform, expert services, customer success, and business transformation. Chief Customer Officer Craig Fulton spoke about the 15 amazing years of The IT Nation community created by ConnectWise, and went on to introduce an all-new IT Nation property created to address the growing need for thought leadership, education, and certification around cybersecurity—IT Nation Secure.
Jason introduced the ever-evolving ConnectWise strategy, designed to empower technology solution providers to realize their vision of success by identifying and solving TSPs’ biggest pain points and challenges. This multi-year strategy will allow us to lead the way through innovation and by providing a transformational partnership with TSPs through the ConnectWise platform, our services and products, the ecosystem, and our immersive community.
Jason then spoke about how the legacy Continuum products have been transitioned to the ConnectWise master brand as the next step towards the unified ConnectWise platform. Jason also spoke of what ConnectWise is doing for the IT community to aid in COVID-19 rapid recovery as well as some noticeable opportunities brought forth by COVID-19, including working from home, customer acquisition, and cybersecurity. He also touched on ConnectWise’s ongoing commitment to cybersecurity, including the launch of two new products from ConnectWise Fortify™ before closing out the session and officially kicking off the rest of the week’s exciting events.
ConnectWise platform update
ConnectWise Chief Product Officer Jeff Bishop, VP of ConnectWise Automate® Brett Cheloff, VP of ConnectWise Manage® April Taylor, and Sr. Director of Product Management at ConnectWise Carl Resnik took the virtual stage on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the latest updates to the ConnectWise platform, including an updated ConnectWise Recover™ to include coverage of cloud SaaS solutions, such as GSuite, Microsoft® 365, Microsoft Dynamics, and Salesforce. ConnectWise Fortify also announced an updated Assessment in addition to their new product for SaaS Security. Jeff introduced the ConnectWise current product team, which is centered around quality, security, and transparency.
Brett then spoke about ConnectWise’s unified platform, which will increase scalability, innovation, and security. Carl then brought attention to how product team is making life better for RMM product champions. ConnectWise Command™ can now be accessed from within ConnectWise Manage. Available in Q3, ConnectWise Command will also have deep integrations with ConnectWise Control® and BrightGauge®, a ConnectWise solution. In addition, 2020 is known as the “Year of the Admin” for the ConnectWise Automate product team, as they have been hard at work improving the product with maintenance mode, script schedules, SSO desktop client, and user management.
April discussed how ConnectWise Manage and ConnectWise Sell® product teams have been focusing on getting TSPs paid faster by guaranteeing quotes are both accurate and profitable, as well as increasing invoice clarity. She also introduced new, multi-level approvals in ConnectWise Sell and improved billing in ConnectWise Manage.
ConnectWise’s VP of Product Management – Security, Brian Downey, and VP of Cybersecurity Initiatives, Jay Ryerse brought their expert perspectives on Thursday afternoon to talk all things cybersecurity! Brian opened the keynote by speaking to ConnectWise’s security strategy: to provide a unified security solution that enables TSPs to efficiently sell and deliver effective and comprehensive security solutions. This unified strategy includes protection, detection, response, and visibility through the ConnectWise Fortify security platform. In addition, ConnectWise now offers an RSS feed for Security Bulletins. In Microsoft Office, subscribe to our RSS feed by visiting the URL https://www.connectwise.com/RSS/SecurityUpdates in the New RSS Feed dialog box so you and your team can stay up to date on the latest security news from ConnectWise.
Jay then joined the conversation to discuss security enablement and education, covering the security journey from MSP to MSP+. He introduced IT Nation Secure, ConnectWise’s newest IT Nation property focusing on security and implementing the MSP+ Cybersecurity Framework, which is designed for MSPs and defines what good cybersecurity looks like based on a maturity model focused on guiding service providers towards cybersecurity success. IT Nation Secure also offers cybersecurity education through IT Nation Certify, as well as must-attend cybersecurity events to help you reduce risk, grow your business, and streamline your cybersecurity service delivery for your clients.
Brian then covered ConnectWise security products and offers, introducing ConnectWise Fortify SaaS and ConnectWise Fortify Assessment, which has helped MSPs drive more effective security sales conversations, including new vulnerability detail. In addition, he unveiled an exciting offer—ConnectWise Fortify MSP+ Foundation Pack at $600 per month for six months, now including ConnectWise Fortify SaaS. Sign up now and use until July 31 with no billing and no cost cancellation.
Brett Cheloff served as moderator for the MSPGeek Panel, featuring speakers Mendy Green, Director of Technical Service at Intellicomp Technologies, Gavin Stone, Technology Director at Impact Computing, Darren White, Senior Systems Engineer at Apex Technology Management, Inc., and Kyle Spooner, Technical Director and Data Protection Officer at Intellicomp Technologies. These industry experts offered in-depth insights on topics such as security, working from home, business metrics, the culture of automation, and platform continuity. In closing, they incited attendees to join the MSP Geek community at MSPGeek.com
While the keynotes made big announcements and drew big crowds, a lot of learning and sharing took place in the breakout sessions. Each day was themed—business automation with focuses on ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise Sell, and BrightGauge, on day one, RMM with focuses on ConnectWise Automate, ConnectWise Command, and ConnectWise Control on day two, cybersecurity with focuses on ConnectWise Fortify, ConnectWise Recover, and security best practices on day three, and service delivery and operations best practices on the final day. With live sessions happening each afternoon and a whole library of on-demand content, there was no shortage of information and education.
Even though we couldn’t hang out in the hallways, share meals together, and have drinks after hours, we made the best of it and got creative with our networking. Our chat rooms were busy all day, filled with interesting questions and answers, rousing conversations, and of course, the most frequented chat room—Pet Parade, where so many of you shared photos of your adorable cats, dogs, snakes, birds, and even a bunny named Bean! You set meetings with one another, shared tips and tricks, and swapped stories.
We were thrilled to welcome 19 of our integration partners and eight ConnectWise booths in our virtual solutions pavilion. Our solution partners showcased their new products and services, gave away prizes, provided demos, and answered questions. It was great to see our vendor friends while we learned about their new offerings.
We’d like to give a HUGE thank you all of our partners, colleagues, and sponsors for making IT Nation Explore 2020 a huge success. We couldn’t have asked for better attendees at this fully-virtual event, and we can’t wait to see you all next year!