Home Business Exclusive: Tampa’s ConnectWise Purchase of Technology Rival Continuum Has Experts Puzzled

Exclusive: Tampa’s ConnectWise Purchase of Technology Rival Continuum Has Experts Puzzled

The merger of two of North America’s largest managed IT services platform providers has raised eyebrows throughout the industry.

In late October, Tampa-based ConnectWise announced it had purchased Continuum at IT Nation annual conference in Orlando, FL. Financial terms were not disclosed.

By combining two of the industry’s largest MSP software and platform providers, the merger positions ConnectWise to have about 30,000 MSPs and partners worldwide. ConnectWise also announced a deal to acquire the IT documentation company ITBoost and a strategic partnership with Webinfinity, which provides partner relationship management tools.

The latest moves are part of ConnectWise’s overarching strategy to offer an end-to-end technology services platform that supports all players from vendors and distributors to managed services providers and their customers.

ConnectWise, based in Tampa, FL, is estimated to have about 950 employees and had $109 million in annual revenue in 2014, according to craft.co. The website reports that Boston-based Continuum had 1,468 employees as of October 2019.

What Does ConnectWise-Continuum Merger Mean for Customers and Industry?

Analysts and industry experts have mixed thoughts on the impact of the ConnectWise purchase of Continuum. Coming on the heels of other major industry mergers, some are cautious about the impact.

“More consolidation. Who will be left — Datto, ConnectWise and Kaseya?” asked Ian Brady, managing director of Steadfast Solutions, an Australian managed IT services provider with offices in Melbourne and Brisbane.

“I am not sure I like it. From experience I am seeing a decline in the support for both ConnectWise and (other MSP providers),” noted Jorge Rojas, a partner with the Toronto IT services firm, Tektonic Inc., who has seen a downgrade in the quality of software releases and customer support.

“The company is getting too big and now things are sliding,” Rojas noted. “We found the same with Kaseya when they got purchased by venture capital.”

Stuart Crawford, CEO and creative director of MSP marketing company Ulistic, is taking a cautionary approach.

“Like with any business merger, it will take time for things to flesh out. I’ll be looking to see if the newly expanded ConnectWise focuses on what’s most important — exceptional services and attentive customer service.”

That’s certainly the intent, according to channel2e.com. Despite some similar product offerings, the new company will likely leverage ConnectWise’s IT automation and business management software with Continuum’s security operations management, backup and data recovery, help desk and network operations center products.

The combined company now offers many business management and managed services products, including:

  • Sales quoting and proposal software
  • Professional services automation (PSA)
  • Remote monitoring management (RMM) for MSP maintenance and security
  • Remote customer service and support
  • Network security services
  • MSP documentation
  • Business continuity services
  • Business software rollup product

So now the fun begins,” noted Dan King, president of K2 Technologies in Gillette, Wyoming. “What does the roadmap/vision look like? The thought of changing or trying to bring those two platforms together is staggering.”

The high demand for MSP services means that this megadeal is unlikely to be the last. The ever-changing landscape means MSPs will need to remain vigilant and attuned to service and quality when choosing business partners.