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Since the end of summer, solution providers and vendors have complained to me about how packed the fall schedule is with channel events. On average, there’s one or two major channel events each week through the end of the year, and the first week of November will be among the busiest as three conferences–Symantec, HTG Peer Groups and ConnectWise–converge in Orlando, Fla.

Of all the channel events this fall, the ConnectWise Summit is the anomaly. As many partner and channel conferences are struggling to fill seats, the ConnectWise event already has more than 900 confirmed registrants and a wait list of nearly 300 trying to get in.

What makes ConnectWise different? What is the attraction of this event?

Before proceeding, full disclosure: Channel Insider is among the presenters at the ConnectWise Summit, and ConnectWise sponsors the Channel Insider Cloud Computing Blog.

I attended the ConnectWise Summit last year, where I presented the closing general session panel. This year I will moderate a panel on emerging cloud technologies and opportunities for solution providers. Most of the sessions are about the same in form and structure as any that you’ll find at partner conferences. However, ConnectWise was among the first vendors to shift their education focus away from solely on their products and more on business acumen. That makes a difference, since partners who know how to utilize a platform to its utmost are more than likely to expand their licenses.

What really makes ConnectWise and its event different is passion. For a vendor of its size, ConnectWise has done a superb job of building a loyal and engaged community. Everyone wants to talk about building community and social interaction, but ConnectWise is really doing it. Everything from the case studies on its Website to the tools it provides partners to the support it lends groups such as HTG Peer Groups to the constant outreach and facilitation of regional peer groups, ConnectWise instills a sense of community in everything it does. As Jeannie Edwards, the director of ConnectWise Community, said to me recently, “We really care about our partners, and we constantly give back to them.”

The sense of community generated by ConnectWise is evident in the number of managed service providers beating down the door to get into a conference that’s squarely centered on professional services automation. On the list of sexy technologies, PSA isn’t exactly on the top, but ConnectWise has managed to make it an attraction by changing the conversation from technology to business enablement; from seller-buyer to enabler-collaborator.

To be sure, ConnectWise isn’t unique – particularly in its corner of the world. Competitors such as Autotask and TigerPaw have built equally loyal followings among their managed services partners. Level Platforms founded MSP Partners (recently sold to CompTIA) as an agnostic rally point of education and enablement for the managed services marketplace. And others in the PSA and remote monitoring and management (RMM) markets–including Kaseya, N-Able and Autotask–have vibrant and growing events. But none has matched the success of ConnectWise.

Support for the ConnectWise event isn’t coming just from managed and service providers; vendors are clamoring to get in as well. The high level of engagement and enthusiasm is attracting software vendors and hosted application providers who want to tap into the ConnectWise legions as a means for growing their partner ranks. As one hosted application provider recently told me, ConnectWise is probably the best way to connect with new partners.

ConnectWise isn’t the only vendor that can lay claim to building large, vibrant communities. But from my vantage point, it’s among the best at creating and maintaining a community. While other vendors and channel groups are struggling to get a couple hundred solution providers to their events, ConnectWise is having trouble keeping its summit under 1,000 attendees. That’s the power of community building.