ConnectWise partners to gain business help from HTG Peer Groups merger

ConnectWise plans to provide HTG Peer Groups' consulting, coaching and peer group services to a broad spectrum of its PSA software users; other news from the week.

ConnectWise partners can expect a boost in the educational and consulting resources available to them through a new acquisition by the company.

ConnectWise revealed today that it has acquired HTG Peer Groups, a consulting, coaching and peer group organization, as well as a longtime partner to the professional services automation (PSA) software vendor. HTG works with more than 500 companies, which on average have 20 employees and generate about $3.5 million in revenue. Approximately 95% of members currently use ConnectWise Manage, the vendor's flagship PSA system.

According to Arlin Sorensen, founder and CEO of HTG Peer Groups, based in Harlan, Iowa, HTG and ConnectWise have built their efforts on a common mission to help channel firms succeed, making the merger a natural next step for the companies and their respective customer bases.

"[ConnectWise's] customer base has been the target audience that we have served during our entire history," he said. "We have been doing peer groups now for 17 years, and ConnectWise partners have been the exact kind of people that we have wanted to help with their businesses, lives, dreams and goals."

HTG has aspired to globally scale the company for some time, but has faced resource constraints. As a business unit within ConnectWise, those constraints will be dropped.

Arnie Bellini, CEO of ConnectWiseArnie Bellini

"[HTG will] leverage the great work [ConnectWise has] already done and the infrastructure they have built to take our message and our methodologies to a much broader segment of the channel," Sorensen said.

For Arnie Bellini, CEO of ConnectWise, based in Tampa, Fla., HTG has played a strategic role in his company's mission of supporting partners since they first cemented their partnership in 2008.

"HTG has always been the perfect complement to [the ConnectWise] software platform," Bellini said. "ConnectWise has always been right there in the trenches doing everything we can [to help] HTG grow and succeed, because I totally believe in the mission. It is the same mission that we are on."

Scaling the HTG business unit

ConnectWise- will look to create new services for existing HTG members and extend HTG's portfolio of services to a wide spectrum of partner firms, Bellini noted. ConnectWise has more than 130,000 users in 21,000 businesses worldwide.

"We definitely want to move this portfolio of coaching, peer groups and education ... up to the largest partners, as well. We think they are the ones that will really benefit from it," he said.

ConnectWise has always been right there in the trenches doing everything we can [to help] HTG grow and succeed, because I totally believe in the mission. It is the same mission that we are on.
Arnie BelliniCEO, ConnectWise

While Sorensen, who will head the new HTG business unit, and Bellini envision significant growth for HTG services under ConnectWise, they stressed that existing HTG members can expect "business as usual," with the merger posing no disruption on member activities. For now, the only changes HTG members can expect, Bellini said, are "additional synergies" as the companies' teams combine efforts.

"We want to make sure that the existing HTG members are getting more value than they ever have had before. We want to make sure of that before we add lots and lots of additional partners onto that. ... We do believe, though, that it's going to incline on us very quickly," he added.

Bellini also emphasized while most HTG members use ConnectWise Manage, they will be free to use the remote monitoring and management (RMM) product of their choice. He said members currently use a wide range of RMM products, including N-able, SolarWinds, AVG and Kaseya, in addition to ConnectWise Automate.

Arlin Sorensen, CEO of HTG Peer GroupsArlin Sorensen

Sorensen noted the reasoning behind HTG's efforts to standardize members on ConnectWise Manage was so members could focus on their business management concerns and goals, rather than the differences between various PSA software products they might be using.

When asked whether the HTG acquisition has implications for ConnectWise software, Bellini said he sees a potential for the companies to create intellectual property that "is then harnessed and made available through the ConnectWise platform to all ConnectWise partners," making the software a  distribution point for the education that HTG and ConnectWise develop together. 

OPAQ Networks taps partners for security-as-a-service offering

OPAQ Networks Inc. has launched a channel program to encourage managed service providers (MSPs) and other channel partners to sell its security-as-a-service offering to midsize organizations.

The company, based in Herndon, Va., said it will sell exclusively through channel companies. OPAQ Networks' partner program offers go-to-market support, financial incentives and training resources, according to the company. Features include deal registration and market development funding.

Ken Ammon, chief strategy officer at OPAQ Networks, said channel partners have struggled to create security offerings for midsize accounts. He said enterprise-grade security products geared to large customers are difficult -- due to price and complexity -- to take downstream to midlevel customers.

Arlington Computer Products, an IT solutions provider based in Buffalo Grove, Ill., has found that to be the case. At the enterprise level, the company leads with Palo Alto Networks security products and is also authorized to sell Cisco and Juniper Networks security offerings. But smaller customers lack the on-premises resources to implement, or the staff to manage, such cybersecurity products, noted Tom Turkot, vice president, client solutions at Arlington Computer Products.

Turkot said OPAQ Networks' security-as-a-service offering is a good fit for two of the company's customer segments: the education market and commercial customers with 500 to 1,500 seats.

"At that midpoint ... we are starting to make OPAQ our standard," he said.

OPAQ Networks' partner program consists of two tiers: Silver partners that make a $1 million annual commitment and employ one OPAQ-certified engineer and Gold partners that make a $3 million annual commitment and employ three OPAQ-certified engineers.

Silver partners can register deals and take advantage of the company's baseline discount, Ammon said. Gold partners can register deals, obtain market development funding, access a reserved instance with up to a 50% discount and work with a named customer success representative.

OPAQ Networks' partner initiative targets MSPs, managed security services providers and value-added resellers.

"Most of the partners we are speaking to ... are looking to migrate from a VAR model into managed services or from managed services into managed security services," Ammon said.

OPAQ Networks' security-as-a-service platform incorporates next-generation endpoint firewall, SaaS firewall, web application firewall, distributed denial-of-service mitigation and software-defined segmentation capabilities, the company said.

Other news

  • Distributor Arrow Electronics said it signed a definitive agreement to purchase eInfochips, a design and managed services company. According to Arrow, the acquisition would build out the distributor's internet-of-things strategy, adding more than 1,500 IoT solution architects, engineers and software development resources. The companies expect the acquisition to close this month.
  • Flexera is partnering with KPMG Australia to provide a software asset management offering that brings together Flexera's SAM technologies with KPMG's software license management specialists.

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