Acquisition of Continuum highlights four-pronged set of ConnectWise initiatives

The others include another acquisition, IT Glue competitor ITBoost, as well as a partnership with a PRM tool provider designed to save MSPs time.

The new ConnectWise family

ORLANDO — CEO Jason Magee kicked off the ConnectWise IT Nation Connect event here by announcing the acquisition of both Continuum and IT documentation provider ITBoost, as well as a new partnership with  PRM tool provider WebInfinity and a new security initiative.

“It’s exciting times here at ConnectWise and in the industry, Magee said. “We are making four transformational announcements.”

The most important of these, by far, is the acquisition of Continuum, whose differentiation in the RMM space has been the integration of their core components during the past year from what had been largely separate siloes into an integrated platform. These include NOC and SOC services, help desk, backup and disaster recovery.

“The most exciting of these announcements is the acquisition of Continuum,” Magee stated. “This is the biggest transformation of those that we are announcing.

Magee highlighted what he believes to be a fairly sharp distinction between the types of MSPs who use ConnectWise’s model, as compared to those who use Continuum’s. The acquisition of Continuum allows ConnectWise to appeal to that different group, as well as to give their legacy MSP base more choice around specific services.

“There are two different mindsets among MSPs,” Magee said. “One is a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach favoured by ConnectWise MSPs. The other is those who prefer Continuum’s integrated managed services model, where they can outsource much of the work to them.” He noted that Continuum has managed detection and response offerings that let partners leverage features like login and Office 365 monitoring, dark web scanning, and SOC-supported cybersecurity.

“Continuum has built a great business around their SOC in particular,” Magee added. “Their model also directly addresses the pain point of talent skill shortages. We can now appeal to the mindsets of MSPs and TSPs who wants to do it themselves, and to those who want to outsource. Those legacy ConnectWise partners who don’t want to invest in more people can have the choice of moving to a managed offering.”

Michael George, Continuum’s CEO, has been vocal in the past about his view that consolidation in the industry is a positive trend, not a negative one, so his willingness to support a sale to ConnectWise cannot be seen as a surprise.

“We have a number of listening posts in our marketplace,” George told ChannelBuzz. “Many of them already use the ConnectWise PSA tool, and work with a number of the different resources around the ConnectWise ecosystem. We have had partners tell us to go buy a PSA, or go join forces with ConnectWise. We have been hearing requests like this for a number of years. We are confident the Continuum base will be elated by this, as well as the ConnectWise base. We see nothing but benefits.”

As far as what the joint company will look like after integration, particularly as to whether both platforms will remain separate long-term, let’s just say that remains something of a mystery. While the RMM/PSA space has seen many acquisitions in the last few years, the closest one to this would be SolarWinds’ acquisition of both N-able and LogicNow to form SolarWinds MSP. In that case, both the legacy platforms survived, and the company continues to be vocal in saying that will continue.

Magee’s comments on the future here were somewhat cryptic.

“It’s too early to tell, but it will be transformational,” he said “We do intend to bring some powerful aspects of both platforms to the other. There are also those two different mindsets of Do-it-Yourself and Managed, and depending how those mindsets shape out going forward may affect the direction that we will go in. ConnectWise is still committed to the power of choice, and we will continue with the API-first mindset.”

ConnectWise’s plans are much clearer for their second announced acquisition, Dallas-based ITBoost. ITBoost makes a documentation platform designed to take on IT Glue in the MSP space, and released the first three .0 versions of their platform at this ConnectWise event the last three years.

ITBoost dashboard

When ConnectWise competitor Kaseya announced the acquisition of IT Glue last year, they emphasized that IT Glue would remain a standalone subsidiary, to protect their substantial business with non-Kaseya customers. That has been a common strategy with their multiple acquisitions over the last two years. ConnectWise is taking a different tack with ITBoost however, since it is a much smaller company than IT Glue was when it was acquired.

“The plan is to integrate them fully, and it should be pretty easy to do,” Magee said. “There are so many great things we can do to fully integrate them through our entire platform. ITBoost can let anyone in the MSP company be able to deliver services and support as needed.”

The third announcement is a new partnership with PRM tool provider Webinfinity. ConnectWise Engage powered by Webinfinity will make it more efficient for MSPs to work with the technology suppliers they have in their tech stacks, around areas like deal registration, co-marketing, product and services procurement, multi-vendor support issues, SKU management, content distribution, training and enablement, and communication.

ConnectWise Engage, powered by Webinfinity

“We have made ad hoc efforts throughout the years to help with some of these issues,” Magee said. “We decided to do it now with a PRM provider that generally works with individual vendors. It will help MSPs and VARs with siloes of chaos,a and putting the power back in their hands so they don’t have to deal with each separately, and log into different portals. We are taking that on our shoulders.”

The fourth element of the ConnectWIse announcement is a new ‘Fight Back Initative’ in security.

Finally, since security is not a problem to be solved, but a risk to be managed, ConnectWise is launching a new security initiative – calling on the entire industry to fight back against cyber security threats. No matter their role, each and every company needs to do their part to help make the entire industry more secure.

“Everyone in the chain has their part to do, and we are only as strong as the weakest link, so we are calling on the industry to ramp up their efforts,” Magee said “We are stepping up our game with SOC 2 Type 2 Certification. Next year, we will mandate 2FA across all our products.”