ConnectWise CloudConsole Streamlines Partner Support for Office 365

The latest version of ConnectWise's CloudConsole allows partners to manage, monitor and bill Microsoft Office 365 and offers more integration with distributors.

Barry Bullard, a regional sales manager for the Tampa, Fla.-based professional services automation vendor, told attendees of XChange Solution Provider 2016 in Los Angeles on Wednesday that CloudConsole will make it possible for solution providers to deploy five or more applications for customers from a single user interface.

Bullard said this will make it easier for local and regional partners to support clients across the nation or even internationally.

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"Cloud services is literally going to open up the whole world," Bullard said during a breakout session.

The CloudConsole's powerful open platform is expected to eventually integrate with hundreds of different firms and vendors, Bullard said, providing partners with a unified, seamless package. Although CloudConsole only covers Office 365 today, Bullard said it will one day apply to any kind of cloud-enabled application spanning verticals such as finance and construction.

CloudConsole also tracks cloud usage trends, enabling partners to proactively identify what their clients need. Plus it can prorate bills for licenses that are added mid-month, as opposed to providing the partial month service at no cost. It can take partners up to six months to recoup the revenue lost from not billing customers during the partial initial month, Bullard said.

CloudConsole was developed in conjunction with Microsoft, Bullard said, and ConnectWise is confident that the Redmond, Wash.-based vendor will continue to allow partners to handle Office 365 migrations well into the future.

’They [Microsoft] were intimately involved in this process, because they knew it would help them with Office 365,’ Bullard said.

Partners offering everything from break/fix and managed services to help desk services and network operations centers can benefit from CloudConsole, Bullard said.

The channel has a huge opportunity around Office 365, because just 17 percent of small and midsized businesses have moved to Office 365 so far. And three-fourths of end users have indicated that they plan to engage with a service provider once they're ready to deploy Office 365, according to Bullard.

Similarly, just 12 percent of SMBs have moved their business systems to the cloud today, according to Bullard. But by 2020, half of all SMBs are expected to have moved all their business systems to the cloud.

’Finally, applications are moving to the cloud,’ Bullard said. ’That’s a huge green space for you and your cloud services business.’

CloudConsole is almost completely integrated with Tech Data and Ingram Micro, according to Bullard, and ConnectWise is currently working on integrating with Synnex.

TUC Managed IT Solutions currently has to enter all cloud billing and deployment manually into ConnectWise, according to Marco La Vecchia, vice president of sales for the Ottawa, Ontario-based partner. CloudConsole has the potential to reduce TUC's overhead, La Vecchia said, plus the seamless tracking with Office 365 would be powerful.

TUC is currently introducing Office 365 into its customer base as an alternative to refreshing the on-premise Microsoft Exchange. As a result, La Vecchia expects that identifying ways to streamline the management and monitoring of Office 365 will become increasingly relevant for his business.