The IT Nation: a year in review

| By:
Susan Rhodes

Think back to the beginning of 2020 and reflect on what you hoped to accomplish in your business this year. It’s probably safe to say it didn’t turn out as you planned, but we hope that you survived the uncharted waters, pivoted when you needed to, and, most of all, found opportunities to innovate and drive yourself and your business forward.

We are all ready to look at 2020 through the rearview mirror and say “sayonara,” but before we look ahead to the future, let’s take a look back at what we were able to accomplish together as The IT Nation this year. Just as you changed and innovated your business to survive and grow, we too made changes in how to bring The IT Nation together in a virtual world.

IT Nation Explore

In late April of 2020, just two months before IT Nation Explore, our annual ConnectWise product user conference, we were forced to shift this in-person event to an entirely virtual experience. Historically this June event brings about 2,000 product users to Orlando each year. The silver lining of shifting to a virtual event amidst the chaos was the opportunity for any ConnectWise product user to attend an IT Nation conference. With more than 11,000 of you in attendance, this was the largest IT Nation engagement in the history of ConnectWise.

This was a time of great uncertainty for many of you in The IT Nation community, and we hope you and your teams were able to take advantage of the opportunity to learn, share, and connect virtually in our sessions, booths, and chat rooms. We enjoyed getting our first opportunity to bring The IT Nation to you virtually. 

IT Nation Secure

At IT Nation Explore, we launched IT Nation Secure, ConnectWise’s newest IT Nation property focusing on security. Within this branch, we developed the MSP+ Cybersecurity Framework and supporting playbooks, designed to provide TSPs with a baseline understanding of what good security looks like and provide the foundational information necessary and best practices to build a security practice.Download Now.

IT Nation Secure also offers cybersecurity training and courses through IT Nation Certify to help you reduce risk and streamline your cybersecurity service delivery for your clients. This year over 6,000 of you have attended an IT Nation Certify cybersecurity training and downloaded the MSP+ Cybersecurity Framework and supporting playbooks. We created this training and education in the hope that you use it to drive towards keeping your business and your client’s businesses secure.

After evaluating feedback and lessons learned from delivering IT Nation Explore virtually, we launched our inaugural IT Nation Secure conference in October. This virtual conference was designed to strengthen your cybersecurity knowledge and practice while helping you transform your business through this unprecedented time. We look forward to hosting our second annual IT Nation Secure conference in summer 2021 with both in-person and virtual attendance options. If you haven’t taken advantage of IT Nation Secure yet, check out our current offerings here.

IT Nation Share

Also known as our regional in-person user group meetings, IT Nation Share shifted to virtual experiences after Q1. If you’ve never attended one of our regional events, IT Nation Share is a magical mixture of networking, sharing best practices, and product training. Our IT Nation Share groups across the globe all have their own identities and charm, feeling like a small reunion each time they come together.

This year, we were still able to innovate and provide value to our community by offering free ConnectWise certifications through IT Nation Share. We are excited that more than 500 of you took advantage of this benefit. We also launched “You Ask, We Train” sessions offering a new way to answer product-related questions while demonstrating how to solve business problems. ConnectWise partners were able to “show and tell” new ways to solve issues while highlighting and refreshing our community on best practices.

We can’t wait to get our user groups back together in person next year but will continue to offer virtual IT Nation Share events in Q1 2021. Check out our upcoming events here and save the date!

IT Nation Evolve

Having a trusted circle of peers and business advisors who help keep you accountable in both life and business is one of the many reasons IT Nation Evolve members continue to collectively outperform other TSPs in the industry. 

Building and strengthening relationships is key for the business owners, service leaders, and vendor partners in IT Nation Evolve. Without the ability to have in-person meetings after Q1, the IT Nation Evolve team had to completely re-imagine how to keep their members connected, informed, and, most of all, help their businesses survive and grow. We took the virtual shift by the horns and worked hard to increase contact and communication with members during a time of tremendous uncertainty. 

Increasing the frequency of group meetings in a virtual setting with shorter time commitments was one of the biggest changes we made to keep our members engaged. We also created a webinar series addressing topics and issues magnified by COVID-19 and drove cybersecurity training throughout the year with a collaboration with the IT Nation Secure team. In addition to the changes in how the program was delivered, we added some tools to help business owners evaluate their financial health assessing their risk, as well as recommendations on how to remain profitable. 

We look forward to bringing our North America and EMEA peer groups back together in-person sometime in 2021, and our APAC peer groups will be seeing each other very soon! Interested in joining our peer groups? Apply today.  

IT Nation Connect

Every November, The IT Nation comes together to close out the year at our flagship conference, IT Nation Connect. Like all the other IT Nation experiences in 2020, it looked and felt a little different this year. With many of you new to The IT Nation, we were excited to see over 5,000 of you engaging with each other, our colleagues, and our exhibitors! In fact, there were over 1,000 one-on-one meetings booked through the virtual platform!

This year’s sessions and conversations were heavily focused on the impacts that COVID-19 had on the IT industry and the opportunities that emerged. We saw working remotely, customer experience, and security as the hot topics this year. 

Our focus groups helped us understand the new and different challenges you experienced this year, and our chat channels gave you a direct line to ConnectWise colleagues to provide feedback, ask questions, and more. 

While we wished we could’ve hugged, shook hands, cheered, and high-fived each other, there was no shortage of networking at IT Nation Connect this year. We capped off the event with a private concert with Don Felder, former Eagle and Rock’n’Roll Hall of Famer.

Thank you

2020 has been an interesting year, to say the least, and we want to say thank you for being part of The IT Nation. Thank you for being committed to yourself, your teams, your peers, your businesses, and to this community. As we listen, share, and learn from each other, we are wiser together, and we will rise together. 

See you soon on the road and across the globe in 2021!