ConnectWise focuses on business intelligence with 2012.1 launch

Jeannine Edwards, ConnectWise community director

, community director

With its first release for 2012, vendor ConnectWise is aiming to offer its MSP customers more business information.

As more run their business on the software, it’s become increasingly important for ConnectWise to function as a sort of “mini ERP,” said Jeannine Edwards, director of the ConnectWise community.

“For a lot of solution providers, what you can manage can be a moving target, and it’s hard to manage what you can’t measure appropriately,” Edwards said. “It’s a super-important piece of the puzzle.”

The biggest change is a revamped financial dashboard, which now presents information about customer profitability but also gives users a view of the agreements it has in place with customers, and how the MSP is measuring against those agreements.

“If you’re going into the red with a customer, you can quickly react to it,” Edwards said.

The new dashboard also makes it easier for solution providers to track labour costs against a customer to help maximize the value and the efficiency of technical resources assigned to working on a given client.

Other updates include a new service board view that includes full information about customer SLAs, and better connections to external accounting software packages from ConnectWise’s billing module, which “help put the GL and the invoicing piece together,” Edwards said. 2012.1 also sees the integration of LDAP for user information synchronization and policy enforcement across ConnectWise.

2012.1 sees updates in its user interface, beginning to pave the way for a new continuous release cycle and providing the underpinnings for an updated Web interface. That Web interface will see a major update in 2012.2, due out in July.

In 2012.2, Edwards said ConnectWise would turn its attention towards updating the user interface for its Web edition, bringing the Web-based functionality more in-line with the native app. Today, the browser version of ConnectWise offers “limited functionality” that was really focused on what the technician in the field would need access to, but the company is shifting gears to “make the browser the centre of the experience.” The 2012.2 release will also important additions to the projects, procurement and inventory modules, Edwards said.

The 2012.1 release also includes three feature updates that were at the top of the ConnectWise community’s “most wanted” list, as voted on in a forum in the site. The new version sees favourite tweaks including aditions to invoice details, the ability to e-mail invoices to multiple contacts, and the ability to automatically send an e-mail response when a quote is changed.

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