Last week, three Atlas Professional Services team members attended the annual ConnectWise IT Nation conference in Orlando. Atlas President and CEO Greg Zolkos, CFO Adrian Swaim and Project Manager Kim Shimer partook in three days of presentations and networking events with other IT leaders from around the country.
In addition to attending educational sessions, Greg spoke on two panels as a ConnectWise expert. One focused on U.S. clients and the other on international partners, primarily from the UK and Australia. In the session, Greg talked about how Atlas uses ConnectWise, the benefits they receive and the efficiencies they gain by leveraging the program and investing resources to further automate each product within the business. Guests had the opportunity to ask Greg and the other panelists questions about to their experiences with ConnectWise.
Greg was also invited to sit in on a private Q-and-A session with ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini and best-selling author and The Table Group founder Patrick Lencioni.
For the benefit of those who couldn’t attend the conference, Greg, Adrian and Kim share their thoughts below on IT Nation 2017:
What were your biggest takeaways from the ConnectWise IT Nation 2017 conference?
GZ: ConnectWise is integrating their Manage and Automate tools within one single platform to enhance technician efficiency and customer experience. Soon these two tools will be one! Another takeaway was a personal one and phenomenal gift from a company out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, named NuWave Technology Partners. Two years ago we assisted the brothers Chad and Kyle Paalman with onboarding questions, operational questions and more relating to the ConnectWise product set. Since then, they have become ConnectWise partners and attend the conference yearly. This year they did not disappoint with the kind gift of Tank Bender. The networking is always the largest piece of the conference that I enjoy, the ability to build new relationships and reconnect with partners we have met in the past.
AS: As always, my biggest takeaways were being able to simply chat with other IT executives and discuss how they run their businesses, how they grow their businesses, and likely most importantly…how they handle obstacles in their businesses. Being able to bounce ideas off of others in our industry is an invaluable experience, and one that I look forward to every year at IT Nation.
KS: My biggest takeaways from the conference were from the partners and vendors illustrating and collaborating on Cloud Technology Integration strategies and choices. It was amazing to see the energy and hear the challenges and adoptions from the many marketplaces and the IT community that supports it. This would include all our peers, like IT By Design, that sincerely demonstrated their proven methods of success. A lot of work and effort surely went into creating and implementing these effective and efficient technologies. Sharing this for others to be successful and take their business to the next level is powerful. There is so much room for change and continued review of what we are doing and how we are doing it. IT Nation allows us the opportunity to stop and evaluate these vulnerabilities within our organization and to also provide us the opportunity to share our successes with others.
What was the most surprising thing you learned or heard at the ConnectWise IT Nation 2017 conference?
GZ: The massive size of the ConnectWise ecosystem, including partners and vendors, and the importance ConnectWise places on continued integration and open API to improve the product experience.
AS: I am always surprised to learn just how many different vendors and partners are being utilized across our industry to, oftentimes, accomplish the same goal for our clients. It makes industry conferences, such as IT Nation, that much more important for us because it introduces our team up to new, and possibly better, partners and vendors that we can utilize moving forward to better service our clientele.
KS: The most surprising thing I learned at the conference is how beneficial it is to talk about your own shortcomings with others! Also, keynote speaker Patrick Lencioni and his discussions on the three traits most valuable in a good team player, described as Humble, Hungry and Smart. His analogies were well delivered outlining these traits, the emphasis of these being humility and to think of others before yourself. This brought a lot of awareness to just how being open about your shortcomings empowers others to do the same and can impact the ability to strengthen teams, starting at the top.
What was your favorite part of the ConnectWise IT Nation 2017 conference?
GZ: Friday’s keynote by management consultant and author Patrick Lencioni was on point. He emphasized the importance of being humble, hungry and smart from his recent publication The Ideal Team Player. Within your core values and company culture there should always be a way to incorporate these. After the keynote, I was fortunate to be one of the select few to spend time with Patrick and one of the founders of ConnectWise, Arnie Bellini, in a private Q&A session.
AS: I thoroughly enjoyed the keynote from Friday morning, in which Patrick Lencioni discussed the three key traits of the “Ideal Team Player.” A close second would have to be the after parties every evening!
KS: My favorite part of the conference, even though I learned so much about how to cost-effectively manage engineers, was the After Party!
See photos of the Atlas team at the ConnectWise IT Nation 2017 on Facebook.