New from ConnectWise is cloud service management, monitoring and billing tool, ConnectWise CloudConsole, enabling technology solution providers to remain proactive in managing their systems when moving to the cloud.

ConnectWise developed CloudConsole because it saw a growing concern among technology solution providers about the management and billing of services as they moved from on-premise systems to the cloud.

Now available in its beta version, ConnectWise CloudConsole will be available free to ConnectWise partners for a limited time, with general release scheduled for early 2016.

Currently covering Microsoft Office365, ConnectWise will continue to expand the cloud-enabled applications managed by the offering.

Not stopping there, ConnectWise also recently launched an updated version of its business management platform, incorporating new features and enhancements designed to accelerate the efficiency and profitability of its customers.

Some of the new features of ConnectWise 2016.1 include customisable views that drive efficiency, wizards that allow new agreements to be set up faster than ever and new features to seamlessly manage teams and projects.

Additionally, the update includes a streamlined procurement process, from serial number entry to shipping, designed to ensure the quick delivery of purchases to customers.

Following on fro these announcements, CIE caught up with president and managing director of ConnectWise International, David Bellini, who answered nine questions on the future of the company.

1. How is ConnectWise looking to continue its efforts to expand its support of technology service providers internationally in 2016?

DB: International expansion will continue to be a key priority for ConnectWise in 2016. We’ve seen fantastic growth in both our London and Sydney offices over the course of the past year and we plan to continue that expansion. 

Some of the specific initiatives we’ll provide to technology solution providers internationally will be the continuation and expansion of the ConnectWise Forums as well as on-going Partner workshops and networking events. 

Providing world-class training and support to our partners (customers) and other organisations looking to join the ConnectWise Community is our number one priority. Helping technology service providers manage and grow their business is what we do best, and that’s why we’ve established the Forum and Workshop programs, both completely free of charge. We are also looking forward to bringing our renowned IT Nation conference to Europe in 2017.

2. How do you plan to make a major impact in the European technology market this year?

DB: The opportunity for ConnectWise in the European market is huge. A focus on growing our offices in areas of sales, support and operations will allow us to better reach our current and prospective partners.

In addition to on-going face to face initiatives we’ve established, we’ll look to leverage our 30 plus years of expertise as technology solution providers to help European TSP’s grow their business, particularly in the area of managed and cloud services. 

3. What are the company’s goals regarding this? Why is Europe an important market to crack?

DB: At the highest level, our goal is to have 50% of our business coming from North America and 50% coming from our international operations. We’ve been underexposed internationally for quite some time. I think a 50-50 split is a healthy ratio.

4. Why the focus on the Cloud?

DB: I think most of our partners understand and have been talking to their customers about Microsoft Office 365, but only a fraction of the Office install base has actually moved up into the Cloud.

That means that a very large percentage is still on premise and many technology solution providers think they would prefer for their clients to stay on premise because that’s how they make money.

The problem is that there are all kind of surveys that say that within about five years, 50% of small-to-midsized businesses say they’re going to put everything in the cloud. And that’s going to happen because they need to be agile, they need to be nimble, they need to have fewer burdens on them. 

“Within about five years, 50% of small-to-midsized businesses say they’re going to put everything in the cloud. And that’s going to happen because they need to be agile, they need to be nimble, they need to have fewer burdens on them”

As these small businesses move to the cloud, they won’t be able to move themselves, so their TSP needs to be ready to move them, and that’s going to create even greater complexity. Imagine what it’s going to look like when a TSP has five different cloud applications that they’re going to have to administer. 

Now imagine they have 50 employees; that’s 50 employees in the first cloud, 50 employees in the second cloud, third cloud, fourth cloud, fifth cloud. That’s going to be a mess. And 50% of them are going to be there in the next five years. So we’ve got time, but we’ve got to get them ahead of it. 

5. What does ConnectWise CloudConsole enable the company to offer to clients that it didn’t before, and why is this important in today’s market?

DB: While on-premise systems are controlled, managed and maintained by technology solution providers, the cloud is not, and losing control of that can be concerning. CloudConsole gives our partners a competitive advantage by enabling them to monitor and manage their cloud services with the same control as on-premise systems.

With management, monitoring, and billing for Microsoft Office 365 licenses, we’re providing the ability to make the CSP model profitable and less daunting. 

6. What new features were taken on for ConnectWise 2016.1 – and why these in particular?

DB: ConnectWise 2016.1 was an exciting release for us. We listened closely to our partners and improved our projects module significantly. Partners can set dependencies and use the new Gantt view to see phases and tasks in one screen, making project management significantly easier. 

We also included an enhancement that allows partners to create an agreement right from the opportunity – this was a huge request from partners and they were excited when we announced it at IT Nation. We also included customisable invoice layouts and usability enhancements with more customizable viewing options.

7. How can companies/customers benefit from the update?

DB: This release was all about driving efficiency for our partners. We included enhancements that allow them access to the information they need with fewer clicks. We also allowed more options for partners to customise ConnectWise the way they want. We say our features are ‘brain-friendly’ because they work the way your brain does.

8. What feedback have you had back thus far regarding ConnectWise 2016.1?

DB: Partners are loving 2016.1 – From what we’re hearing it’s really helping them be more efficient, while saving them time and money. We are excited when we hear that feedback. Our goal is always to help our partners be more successful.

9. What is the company focusing on for 2016?

DB: ConnectWise has aggressive plans to help our partners grow and succeed in 2016. We have officially merged ConnectWise, LabTech, Quosal and ScreenConnect into one company. Our suite of solutions – we call the ConnectWise Business Suite – runs every aspect of a technology solution provider’s business and can now manage, monitor and bill for Cloud services. We have paved the way for our partners to make the transition to cloud service providers in 2016.

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