ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee wants IT solution providers to “lean forward” and embrace hyper automation, which “may be the greatest thing to impact your business, your career, and mankind.”
Magee stressed reimagining the future of business as a fusion of artificial intelligence, robotics, and human intelligence during his opening keynote on Wednesday to 4,000-plus in-person attendees and nearly 3,000 virtual at the annual IT Nation Connect partner conference, taking place in Orlando this week. As part of that future, he revealed two new products to help managed service providers (MSPs) and technology solution providers (TSPs) do just that: Robot Process Automation (RPA); and ConnectWise SideKick, an artificial intelligence engine built into the Asio Platform, ConnectWise’s unified platform for RMM, PSA, and cybersecurity.
“With OpenAI dominating our conversations in the airwaves,” he told the audience, “we went from ‘What is it and what can it do?’ to ‘How can I leverage this to help me for scalability, automation, efficiency, and growth?’ It is such a powerful, modern tool that could make us faster and smarter. It quickly became an arms race to get AI working for you so you can gain a competitive advantage.”
That said, he turned to some results of that “arms race.”
ConnectWise RPA is designed to make technician workflow more efficient with built-in AI and machine learning (ML), including help desk. It is available now on the Asio Platform.
ConnectWise Sidekick, which the company is calling an “AI companion,” leverages a combination of ConnectWise’s proprietary large language and Azure OpenAI and builds on the initial AI capabilities announced last March. SideKick for PSA, which is available now, allows MSPs to review and update PSA records through Microsoft Teams. It automates triage, summarization, and provides resolution suggestions. SideKick also enables the creation of personalized, AI-generated content for specific roles, including SideKick for Technicians, Service Managers, Sales, and Marketing. SideKick for PSA is available for on-prem ConnectWise PSA users as well.
“MSPs who embrace and adopt this revolution will realize several benefits like elevated speed and precision, enhanced productivity, operational maturity, and excellence,” said Magee. And I’m not talking about this happening in 10 years from now. I’m talking about this happening within months.”
Hyper automation, Magee said, “is not simply automation, robotics, or AI replacing repetitive tasks to gain efficiency. It is the orchestration and application of AI, robotics, and machine learning that makes it so impactful.”
Hyper automation has the potential to alleviate staffing shortages as well as increase operational efficiency, improve customer satisfaction, and boost revenue, Magee said, but stressed that it will require MSPs to make changes in how they operate, including the need to invest in and retrain employees in AI and automation skills. “For MSPs who embrace it, it can mean improvement to your bottom line. For MSP employees, it could mean new career opportunities and a boost in compensation.”
Magee stressed, “MSPs, you are the torch bearers of this movement and the SMBs globally are counting on you to guide them. That’s your opportunity.”
He added, “This is about leaning forward, adopting hyper automation, and growing into your newfound capacity.”
Magee also reassured attendees that the firm’s focus on innovation will not diminish its commitment to maintaining and improving existing products, pointing to “over 600 releases this year with 500 of those on Asio alone, showing the power of a Asio to allow us to move faster and being able to keep up with the speed at which technology and technology needs change.” In those releases, he said, ConnectWise rolled out “over a thousand new features and functions and more than 2,000 issues [were] resolved during our maintenance releases. Our goal is to make sure our product just works, and while we’re not perfect, we’ll continue to be transparent and show our commitment to being the best partner we can.”
As part of reinforcing that commitment, ConnectWise partners will be able to engage directly with product and engineering teams via the virtual community, “going into 2024 and beyond.”
He told attendees to expect continued collaboration with Microsoft too in addition to the recently announced integration of ConnectWise MDR with Microsoft Defender for Business standalone and as part of the Microsoft 365 Business Premium suite. “We’re also working on a ConnectWise RMM and PSA integration with Microsoft Defender for Business—and this is just the beginning,” Magee said.
Magee also stressed ConnectWise’s continued commitment to an open ecosystem. “As much as we’d like to think that one vendor can solve all your needs, and although many try to limit tool sprawl, the reality is that you and your customers do require a multitude of solutions to allow you to what you do best.” He noted that over 365 different vendor products are integrated with the ConnectWise platform, “22 new to this year alone.”
ConnectWise also debuted a spate of other enhancements to its Asio Platform and solutions on day two of the conference. Here are just some highlights:
- As part of the evolution of ConnectWise RMM toward a unified monitoring and management (UMM) solution, the RMM now monitors cloud and backup activities in addition to network monitoring. The new cloud monitoring capability includes support for the Microsoft Azure Cloud, providing visibility into client cloud health and availability. Additionally, custom filters enable proactive monitoring, allowing MSPs to proactively troubleshoot client issues. New backup monitoring capabilities in the RMM support Axcient and Veeam now, with Acronis, Datto, and Windows Backup available soon.
- Enhancements to ConnectWise’s Business Management Solutions (BMS), which include PSA, quote and proposal automation, IT documentation, and business intelligence, include a new user experience (UX) for PSA for projects, including a modernized Gantt and a new Kanban view. Other new features include mass updates and quick views of project workplans and real-time syncing of Microsoft 365 user data to ConnectWise PSA. Also, ConnectWise SmileBack now allows partners to trigger customer satisfaction surveys for client projects from within ConnectWise PSA.
Wrapping up yesterday’s keynote, Magee told attendees, “I’m challenging you to reimagine your future.”