ConnectWise Debuts Robot Process Automation Enhancements At Automation Nation Event

Building on its ongoing hyperautomation push, ConnectWise this week reintroduced its Automation Nation event and announced advancements to its Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solution and ConnectWise Sidekick artificial intelligence companion. ConnectWise also introduced two new per-pay solutions, RPA Pro and RPA Essentials. Both ConnectWise RPA and Sidekick leverage workflows, bots, and AI within the ConnectWise Asio platform for IT and security management.

The technician-focused event is meant to get attendees “reengaged with what is hyperautomation,” says Jeff Bishop, EVP and GM, product management and the Asio platform, in a conversation with MSP Success. “As hyperautomation hits the MSP space, we know it’s going to be extremely impactful for the MSPs and those technicians. We’re going to see new job titles. We’re going to see new roles and responsibilities and technologies that they’re going to need to roll out. And so, what we wanted to get started here was giving them a roadmap, to start talking about how do you plan this? How do you implement it? How do you put the right structure and process in place?”

Jeff Bishop

Automation Nation, which had been on hiatus since before the Covid pandemic, is taking place this week during two separate but identical two-day sessions at ConnectWise headquarters in Tampa, Florida. It offers hands-on training and breakout sessions on Asio workflows and ConnectWise Sidekick for Business Management, scaling automation in Automate, AI-generated scripting, building custom actions within ConnectWise Asio workflows, and designing an automation workspace. The company plans additional Automation Nation events this year in other regions of the country, according to Bishop.

Bishop and ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee delivered the “Roadmap to Hyperautomation” keynote on the opening day of both sessions.

Attendees heard details of the enhancements for RPA and Sidekick, which were initially introduced at IT Nation Connect partner conference last November.

The ConnectWise RPA enhancements include a streamlined search experience, enabling users to quickly locate and utilize the appropriate bots; an enhanced onboarding process that now provides warning messages for empty device configurations and missing parts during Microsoft onboarding; increased site mapping capabilities that allow for more comprehensive and accurate data mapping, resulting in improved efficiency and accuracy in RPA operations; and new device and company sorting features in RPA bot input forms to streamline the process of managing devices and clients.

As far as Sidekick goes, “the models behind the scenes are becoming more mature in how they interact with sales and marketing personas within the PSA,” says Bishop, who adds that triaging tickets is getting more effective and sentiment analysis is becoming more refined.

He says Sidekick is “still very PSA-centric from our go-to market motion right now.”

Beyond PSA, he notes that “the very first implementation of Sidekick was our PowerShell script creation inside of Automate. … You’re going to see that the RMM team is starting to add AI into other areas of RMM. You’re seeing AI go into security, you’re seeing AI go into RPA and into the bots aspects of it. So, it’s starting to proliferate out across all the different products and the platform.”

The new RPA Pro and RPA Essentials will enable partners to maximize efficiencies tailored to their specific business needs. For instance, MSP partners will be able to design and implement custom actions in the workflow as well as integrate actions from external applications that support API access.

RPA Essentials “is principally the workflow engine … we launched at [IT Nation] Connect with the 30 products. And now with the custom actions, which extends it to basically unlimited products.”

RPA Pro, he explains, “is that workflow engine with the bots on top of it.”

Pricing for RPA Essentials is around $1 per endpoint and RPA Pro is about $2 an endpoint, Bishop says. “Essential is tied to the next release, which will be sometime before the end of the month.

ConnectWise is also improving the user experience for bots. As part of this initiative, bots are now categorized into distinct categories such as User Management and PC Management. Additionally, ConnectWise has implemented visual differentiators, utilizing icons to clearly distinguish between cloud, on-premises, and endpoint bots.

Concludes Bishop, “You’re going to see RPA be a huge automation and cost savings for MSPs.”

The PowerShell script released at IT Nation Connect, for instance, “is probably saving people anywhere between 15 to 30 to 45 minutes in what they would’ve spent writing a script versus the jumping off point that this gives them. Of course, an MSP needs to go back and proofread this and review it and probably tweak it, but they’re spending five or 10 minutes doing that instead of the 45-50 minutes … Time savings is money at the end of the day.”

Next up for ConnectWise is IT Nation Secure June 3-5 in Orlando.

Images courtesy of ConnectWise

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Colleen Frye is executive editor of MSP Success. A veteran of the B2B publishing industry, she has been covering the channel for the last 17 years.

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