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ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee On Growth, The New Asio Platform And Dispelling Rumors
“People do acquisitions, people do things and then people speculate when big events come up. They probably expected some pretty big acquisition announcements or something like that.”–ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee on why he sought to dispell rumors during his keynote at ConnectWise IT Nation.
Along with announcing the new Asio platform, ConnectWise RMM and doubling down on its people-first strategy, ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee (pictured) also had to address rumors during his keynote speech at the global vendors IT Nation event in Orlando, Fla., this week.
“In typical ConnectWise fashion, there’s news and updates for sure,” Magee said. “Those rumors, not true.”
He didn’t elaborate or allude to any of the rumors on stage and quickly moved on to discuss how the company is evolving with two new platform launches.
Asio, ConnectWise’s newest platform that headlined the keynote, includes a single user interface that provides partners a better user experience and allows them to easily manage end user access -- all in a single pane of glass.
ConnectWise RMM, another new platform, aggregates both software and human elements, covers the spectrum of do-it-yourself and do-it-for-you delivery options, and integrates an intelligent automation engine.
CRN sat down with Magee and Jeff Bishop, chief product officer for ConnectWise, to further discuss Asio, 2022 strategies and what Magee meant when he mentioned those rumors.
During your keynote on Wednesday, you started by saying the rumors aren't true. What rumors were you talking about and why do you think rumors started swirling?
Magee: I‘m not going to address what they were but it turns out [to be] silly stuff. There were people who were actually betting on which one was true. I mean look, it’s a community. People do acquisitions, people do things and then people speculate when big events come up. They probably expected some pretty big acquisition announcements or something like that.
The reason why I addressed it is because I was asked by, lik,e five people leading up to it, so I just figured I‘d get it out there.
One rumor I want to ask about is that ConnectWise might be going public. Is there any truth to that or are there any conversations happening around that?
Magee: Like any other company, we‘re growing our company and becoming operationally mature. If there’s an exit to be had, we’ll evaluate what the best path is. Obviously public markets have pretty good multiples going on and so on, but right now we’re just focused on the stuff that we presented yesterday and delivering on that.
I know a lot of people thought something was going on because we did debt refinance. So when we‘re doing that, we’re chatting with bankers and so on, so I think there was some speculation from that aspect.
Let's talk about the new Asio platform. What was the idea behind it and what makes you most excited about it?
Bishop: I get really excited about it. We’re spending so much time building some of the same functionality in all the different products. We want to start moving faster and really start to innovate. It‘s like Lego blocks, it’s microservices. Every time we build something new, we were just building every single piece and putting it all together. Now we’ve got pieces sitting there. So when we were going to build that next new application, we can just pull the pieces off the shelf, put them together and we jump off from that point.
The ability for us to start to build something one time and then use it across all the products and extend it out to the third parties, I get really excited about that. The other part is we get to reimagine and reinvent all the products that we have. We want to do new things. We want to innovate and we want to get you really excited. The Asio platform is the starting point for that.
Magee: Instead of having a handful of scrum teams all working on the same thing in different platforms, being one platform means one scrum team. Now all those other people could do a lot more for the IT nation. So it’s the first promise of more innovation faster. Not that we weren‘t innovating, but we’re going to be able to do more and we’re going to be able to do it at a quicker pace.”
What do you think of the Department of Justice’s and FBI's actions in the Kaseya ransomware case, and about the help Kaseya provided the government?
Magee: I think it‘s great. In this industry we all have our businesses and want to get more customers and have our customers buy more from us, so from that standpoint we compete. But things like that don’t do the industry any good, so if anyone’s able to help and do the bad guys some harm, then great.
Has ConnectWise ever worked with a government agency to pursue any cyber criminals?
Bishop: We have actively worked with the Secret Service and FBI in different capacities throughout the years for different threats concerns that have happened around the world. That‘s probably about all I can say, but over the years for sure we’ve worked with both groups.
Magee: The way you describe this stuff with Kasey, a it probably was not to that extent, but then again we haven‘t been asked or needed to.
What are some growth areas you see in ConnectWise and how do you plan to tackle them in 2022?
Magee: From a high level, it‘s cybersecurity. It’s the biggest growing risk, but it’s also the biggest opportunity that managed service providers and TSPs have in front of them. We’re going to stay a bit more laser focused…and cybersecurity is a big part of that. And then operational maturity because that will make our partners in the IT nation better to be able to capitalize on whether it’s cybersecurity opportunity or anything else.
In terms of revenue, how do you think you’ll end this year?
Magee: Double digit growth. We’ll leave it at that, keep my competitors guessing.
During the whole keynote on Wednesday, there was a big emphasis on “you,” meaning the customers and the partners. How does it feel to be back in person again?
Magee: It feels great. It‘s awesome. This is how ConnectWise makes a lot of things happen, including the engagement and interactions with our partner base. The way we were most efficient in communicating to our partners and effective from that standpoint is when that all went away two years ago and we were all virtual. We had to try to reinvent the engagement with our partners, so this is awesome having it back.
How do you plan on showing those partners that everything ConnectWise does has a people-first approach going into 2022?
Magee: It‘s about things like this. We host what we call executive connect calls where it’s 60-some leaders in the company are on the phone with 500 [partners]. By the end of Q1 we’ll be over 1,000. We’ll continue to scale that program for the better part of next year till we get in the thousands where all the leaders will be on the phone monthly with the same group of partners talking about what’s important to them, what’s plaguing their business and how can we be better and so on. That’s going to be a big part of how we deliver on the partner need in mind first.