ConnectWise announces two free new tools at IT Nation Explore, and fleshes out upcoming roadmap

ConnectWise announced a new reconciliation tool for ConnectWise Manage, and a simplified version of BrightGauge for analytics newbies. They also announced an extension of their partnership with SentinelOne, and provided a much anticipated update on the progress of their new universal platform.

ConnectWise CPO Jeff Bishop, at IT Nation Explore

On the first day of their IT Nation Explore virtual event, which extends over the next several weeks, ConnectWise announced two new free features. ConnectWise Manage Billing Reconciliation, which is part of ConnectWise Manage 2021.2, and which simplifies the reconciliation process. The other new offering, BrightGauge Essentials, is a smaller scale version of BrightGauge, intended for smaller partners which provides out-of-the box dashboards for free to all ConnectWise Manage users.

“This event will provide a deep dive into products, and uncover new ways to do things,” said Craig Fulton, ConnectWise’s Chief Customer Officer. “The product leaders will cover what we have done, what is to be released, and what is yet to come.”

One of the new announcements, ConnectWise Manage Billing Reconciliation, is a new feature in Manage that provides accurate and timely usage-based cloud billing reconciliation of vendor bills.

“We looked at billing and the process of taking usage-based information all the way to invoices,” said Sam DeMulling, VP of Product Management. “You call this process reconciliation. It can be very time consuming. There are lots of manual steps involved, and not a lot of automation out there. The process can also be error prone, where the wrong number gets into the invoice, which hurts trust with the customer.”

With ConnectWise Manage Billing Reconciliation, manual auditing elimination is replaced by automatic reconciliation of vendor bills. It’s also fully integrated with ConnectWise Marketplace.

“For these direct reconciliations, I don’t even have to do a spreadsheet,” DeMulling said. “It takes 30 seconds to get all Webroot data from our Marketplace into Billing Reconciliation.

Partners can also compare what they are charging to customers with the average community cost and price.

“We tell you what the changes on your additions are before they actually happen,” DeMulling said. “That’s how you put trust in the history. You can also track the history, and see all the changes that have happened, for auditing, reporting and research.”

DeMulling emphasized this won’t be an extra cost item for partners.

“This is a part of Manage 2021.2, not something extra that you have to buy,” he said. “It’s a great step in helping you do your reconciliations every single month.”

The other newly announced offering, BrightGauge Essentials, is a free version of the BrightGauge Business Intelligence solution for TSPs who are just starting to use data-driven insights to help grow their business.

“BrighGauge Essentials is a small-scale version of the BrightGauge product,” said Brooke Candelore, Product Manager of BrightGauge at ConnectWise. “It is  completely free for all partners using Manage.

The solution, which Candelore said will be launched very soon, contains four pre-built dashboards and three reports with actionable financial and operational metrics, to start learning the health of a partner’s business quickly and easily.

“While the full BrighGauge product lets you create your own bench, Essentials makes many metrics easily accessible – including financial – out of the box,” Candelore said. “You can easily identify hours that haven’t been billed, as well as those that haven’t been paid.”

BrightGauge Essentials is currently in pilot with a small group of partners, and will be broadly available in the coming weeks.

Another new announcement is the enhancement of an existing integration with SentinelOne, which was originally made with Continuum and previously involved only the Fortify Endpoint SOC service.

“SentinelOne is now available to all partners, not just ones selling SOC services,” said Jeff Bishop, ConnectWise’s Chief Product Officer.  SentinelOne Control and SentinelOne Complete can now be purchased as standalone products in the ConnectWise security product suite.

ConnectWise also highlighted their new Recover Complete BDR solution, which they launched a month ago.

“We wanted to see if there was a new approach we could take to BDR,” said Dave LeClair, lead for the unified monitoring and management solution at ConnectWise. “Two things jumped out of the discussions. One is that partners were managing multiple backup vendors, typically three or more, so have to jump between different portals and different products. The other is that they spend too much time managing backups.”

LeClair said that focusing on solving these two problems is what Recover Complete BDR is all about.

“It provides a single pane of glass that gives a complete view of the BDR, even if you have multiple vendors deployed,” he stated. “It provides a user experience that allows you to simplify processes you have to do to see what’s going on with backups.”

The solution also has optional NOC services on top of the third-party backups.

“You can let our NOC handle some of the routine backup tasks for you,” LeClair said. “In addition to handling day to day alerts that come in from backups, which can be noisy, NOC takes care of tickets on the weekend, providing an extra set of resources to let your techs focus on other parts of the business.

The first of the third-party integrations to launch was Acronis, earlier this month.

“As we go through the rest of this year, we will be adding additional vendors into the solution as well, including Veeam, Axcient, StorageCraft, Storage Guardian,  and others,” LeClair noted.

Bishop also provided a general roadmap overview, which included things like mandatory MFA being extended across the entire portfolio, the continued expansion of their IP whitelisting, and the removal of AV exclusions we that exist in some of the product lines.

“Our SOC, led by Drew Sanford, will also scan our entire infrastructure of products, both cloud and on-prem,” Bishop continued. “We will start with Automate and move it across the entire cloud architecture, and then we will make that available to our on-prem customers as well, as something that they can opt into.”

Finally, Bishop provided an update on the big platform integration that they teased at last year’s IT Connect event.

“We have had 23 disparate products, and while we tried to make sure we have  great integrations between them, they will always be integrations,” he said. “We are creating a new modern cloud architecture, involving dozens of microservices now being built across product lines. It means that we don’t have to build the same product 23 times. We can build it once.

“You will start to see bits and pieces of this during Explore [over the next several weeks],” Bishop concluded. “The big announcement will be at IT Nation Connect [November 10-12].