ConnectWise outlines Unified Platform vision at IT Nation Explore

Bringing together all the ConnectWise products so they work together as a seamless unit will build on a similar initiative Continuum had started before ConnectWise acquired them, and is expected to take 12-18 months.

Jeff Bishop, Chief Product Officer, ConnectWise

Today, at the ConnectWise IT Explore partner conference, ConnectWise laid out its vision for their unified platform, which will give MSPs a much smoother experience, and provide them with a metaphorical meal of ravioli. It is scheduled to be delivered within the next 12-18 months.

“We have a lot of best of breed products today, and we’ve worked to make sure they integrate well together, but at the end of the day, its about synchronizing data to make sure that whatever job you do can be done easily,” said Jeff Bishop, Chief Product Officer, ConnectWise. “What we want to move towards is more of a true platform look and feel – so that when you move into one product, you basically move into all of them. That means one platform where when you log in, you can do that job from start to end. That exists now in enterprise platforms, but we are bringing this into the SMB and MSP space, so that the MSPs don’t have to jump between products. “

Bishop said that while the legacy ConnectWise solutions look basically the same, the experience isn’t as smooth as it should be.

“If you are in the PSA and want to check the status of a backup and recovery or check a ticket, you have to hop to another product,” he said. “By centralizing these things it gives us more scale and flexibility.”

Brett Cheloff, VP of ConnectWise Automate, outlined the plan in the ConnectWise Product keynote on Wednesday, comparing the evolution of platforms over the years to a menu at an Italian restaurant.

“When we started in the late 90s, virtually all our products were in our infancy in terms of how we oriented them,” he said. “The result was a very spaghetti- oriented architecture, with everything touching each other. That made things hard to maintain, and risked messing things up as you made a change.”

Over time, Cheloff said the industry moved to more of a lasagna-oriented architecture – a layered monolith – with each service reliant on the other. The problem in making changes he compared to trying to eat one layer of a lasagna.

ConnectWise’s goal with the new architecture is to have ravioli.

“With ravioli, you can eat one piece without affecting another – and that’s what we need to build our new unified platform toward,” he said.

The problem to overcome, Cheloff stated, is that the different ConnectWise products are in different stages of their lifecycle.

“The goal is to bring it all together in a unified platform that allows for cross product co-ordination,” he emphasized.

“We want to take scalability off the table, so it all scales with your business,” he said. “We want to emphasize innovation making sure we as a product suite can create as quickly as possible and deliver it to you very quickly, so we don’t have large release cycles or large feature enhancements all at once, and you can take it one chunk at a time. With security, we want to make sure we can address the entire partner base immediately, so no one is vulnerable. This unified platform helps with that cause.”

Cheloff gave some teasers of future things this unified platform could do.

“It will let us do innovative things with software, services or both combined,” he said. “This includes business insights, or how to price services, or what KPIs to look at to grow your business. What if we could make a customized maturity plan for all of you, no matter how big or small, or how mature or immature?”

Cheloff said the new platform would be able to give MSPs a list of KPIs customized for them to iteratively prioritize and develop their skills.

“Nobody else in this space can do anything like this, because nobody else has this combination of software and services,” he said. “When you hit a threshold, you will get new KPIs, for a different level of maturity.”

ConnectWise intends to deliver this over the next 12 to 18 months, leveraging work that had been done by Continuum.

“Continuum had started down this path themselves,” Bishop said. “This accelerates our push, by building on what they had already started. We will continue to unveil things over time.”