Connectwise CEO Bellini On ServiceNow: ‘We’ve Got More Guts’


ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini says IT automation software rival ServiceNow is going in the “right direction,” but Connectwise is in a “better position” to be the platform of choice for managed service providers.

“They’re going in the right direction,” said Bellini in an interview with CRN at the 14th annual IT Nation event Thursday in Orlando, Fla. “They’re totally on top of it. But I think we’re in a better position to be that platform. They’re trying to be too many things to too many people. They’ve got more money than us, but we’ve got more guts. We’re like Boston. We’re like the Red Sox. We have more guts.”

Bellini is a Tampa Bay Devil Rays fan, and used the grit of the 2018 Boston Red Sox only as an example.

[Related: ConnectWise CEO: MSPs Part Of ‘Construction Project’ To Build A Better World]

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CRN repeatedly reached out to Santa Clara, Calif.-based ServiceNow via email and phone calls, but got no response.

ConnectWise is in the midst of a massive automation overhaul, Bellini said.

“We are automating everything,” he said. “Specifically, we are creating security orchestration and an automated response system for cybersecurity.”

ServiceNow, meanwhile, which posted a 39 percent increase in subscription sales to $627 million for its third quarter ended Sept. 30, is gaining momentum in the channel.

Just this week, Solution Provider 500 powerhouse DXC Technology acquired two ServiceNow solutions providers, TESM and BusinessNow.

David Schnardthorst, lead architect at WheelHouse Solutions, St. Charles, Mo., said he sees ServiceNow as "overkill" compared to ConnectWise.

“I can definitely see where they’re trying to capture everything they possibly can versus ConnectWise, which has their built-in modules," said Schnardthorst of the ServiceNow versus ConnectWise battle. "It's streamlined. It’s very flexible. You can do what you want with it. But my experience is that ConnectWise has been more streamlined and tight around what their goal is. ... For companies I’m watching where ServiceNow has been implemented, its almost mind-numbing. They look at it, like ‘I don’t’ even know where to start.’”

Ben Emery, an IT engineer with Central Technology Solutions in Lynchburg, Va., said ConnectWise is more seamless compared to what he called the "clunky" ServiceNow platform.

“I just know from a technician’s standpoint using both platforms, ConnectWise seemed more seamless and seemed to communicate better, where ServiceNow seemed very clunky," he said. "It was simple, but almost too simple where you couldn’t actually visualize what you had and what you needed to do. I felt like ConnectWise had a lot more tools readily available for use. With ServiceNow you had to dig to get to what you needed to do. … No one in the organization really knew quite how ServiceNow works. With ConnectWise, everyone understands it. It makes communication a lot better."

During his keynote remarks Thursday, Bellini unveiled new security offerings for partners that he said will give MSPs powerful tools to assess a customer’s threat exposure. To do this, ConnectWise has partnered with Sienna Group, which it describes as a leading data-centric managed security services provider, to offer the Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Tool to ConnectWise partners. The two companies also collaborated on the development of an agent-based vulnerability scanner that will identify and catalog weaknesses across IP addresses.

“The idea is simple: We want every member of the IT Nation to be able to understand where they and their customers stand in terms of cybersecurity,” Bellini said. “Our partners are responsible for the security and technology footprints of hundreds of thousands of companies, and we want to help them be successful. These tools will give our partners additional opportunities to position themselves as trusted and valued strategic advisers to their clients in an ecosystem where security risks continue to exponentially grow.”

These new tools will analyze the critical controls as defined by the Cybersecurity Framework, provide a risk score, indicate areas of strengths and weaknesses, and provide remediation options conveyed in a language that can be easily relayed to the end user, ConnectWise said in a statement.

Bellini invited partners to join an online training event on Dec. 6 in which he and John Ford, CEO of Sienna Group, will provide best practices about how to set appropriate expectations with customers on where customer cybersecurity liability falls, what to do in the event of a breach, and the role the MSP can and should play.