ConnectWise’s latest addition to its business automation software addresses two important challenges in the IT channel—improving partnerships between solution providers and running a business better.
Tampa-based ConnectWise is the maker of ConnectWisePSA, a business automation tool built for solution providers to track projects, customers and business in general. The company has added a partnering component to the software that allows solution providers that join the ConnectWisePSA Partner Network to communicate and collaborate dynamically with each other to extend the reach of their businesses.
Currently in beta, the ConnectWisePSA Partner Network, the latest extension of ConnectWisePSA business automation software for IT solution companies, was to be released as of now, according to the vendor. Solution providers leverage each other’s expertise so they can provide one-stop services to customers with needs beyond their technical adeptness or outside their geographic location.
Without having to leave the ConnectWisePSA software, partner network members will have fully integrated and automated access to functionality such as service ticketing, time entry, project management and billing when working jointly.
“VARs have been working informally with other VARs forever,” said ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini. “The ConnectWisePSA Partner Network is going to help formalize a VAR partner community with no fees or barriers and promote significant collaboration and sharing of best practices.”
With about 1,200 ConnectWisePSA customers using the software, Bellini said he hopes to build a significant VAR partner network. “In the VAR community there are so many needs that go unfulfilled,” he said. “The partner network will help solution providers find each other to extend their geographic reach and expertise.”
Curtis Hicks, president and CEO of Center for Computer Resources, a 26-year-old IT services company based in Oak Park, Mich., is doing just that. The solution provider completed two projects using the partner network. Both involved doing work locally for ConnectWisePSA partners located out of state.
“Partnering with other VARs is something we’ve always done, but the communication was manual, either sending e-mails back and forth or over the telephone,” Hicks said. “Using the ConnectWisePSA Partner Network dashboard, we can query the system to find the right partner, view the ratings on their performance, send a service request, monitor the work in progress and bill the partner.”
Being a ConnectWisePSA user is a prerequisite to joining the partner network. Members will complete a business profile specifying things such as technical specialties, services and certifications, which will be used to populate a searchable database for VARs to find partners.
Solution providers will also rate each other on a scale of 1 to 5 on how well they provided instruction to the partner VAR and how well they performed their service to establish a business reputation profile.
From the get-go, partner network members will be required to agree to the terms of using the network by signing the ConnectWise membership agreement as well as comply with a professional code of ethics designed to establish trust.
By agreeing to the code of ethics, members of the partner network also agree to be subject to an independent arbitration in the event that a partner network member breaches the agreement.
Hicks said he believes that the partner network gives his company new marketing opportunities and the ability to expand its reach in the local metro Detroit area by being able to work with clients who may, for example, have multiple offices outside of his company’s reach. “The partner network will aggregate business that we wouldn’t have had otherwise or might not have chosen to take on,” he said.