Craig Fulton boasts a career of more than 20 years in the industry and is currently the SVP for ConnectWise's IT Nation. He oversees the support, consulting and onboarding of teams.
IT is a fundamental part of all companies, and while some are able to have their in-house IT departments, others rely on third-party companies to get the job done.
If you are not familiar with IT Nation, its a global community of “peers, thought leaders and experts dedicated to pushing the industry to new heights," although our talk with Craig Fulton goes beyond IT Nation itself.
In other words, if the IT sector is something that holds value to you, your business, or your company, then by all means, read away.
Spotlight: ConnectWise reported that “small and medium businesses (SMB) will create over $90 billion of new spending toward managed IT services between 2021 and 2026.” What does your company offer and why should SMBs partner with your company?
Craig Fulton: Whether it is a multinational corporation or a small company, IT touches every aspect of a business, from communication and customer relationship management to data management, management information systems, and beyond.
Today, it has become imperative for organizations to employ IT solutions and methodologies that allow them to stay ahead of the competition and meet or exceed their customers’ expectations.
However, choosing the right IT solution provider is not an easy task. This is mainly because of the cost associated with these services and also the lack of tailor-made and cost-effective services.
This is where ConnectWise comes in.
ConnectWise is a platform that connects businesses to an ecosystem of best-in-breed solutions that helps them deliver exceptional service and productivity. […] The company’s success is due in large part to its beginnings as a managed service provider (MSP), making it uniquely positioned to understand the needs and challenges of its partners.
Looking beyond customer satisfaction, SMBs should partner with ConnectWise because we have been (and always will be) committed to the immediate success of our customers, partners and the ecosystem as a whole. As chief customer success officer, I oversee the ConnectWise global partner community and ensure that partners are growing their businesses and exceeding their goals.
And to prove just how dedicated ConnectWise is to the success of our SMBs and MSPs, we even refer to our customers as partners. We make sure to provide more than just the software they need to run their business, but also the tools needed to contribute to their success.
The company has been in the industry for over 40 years now. When and why did you decide to build a global IT community?
ConnectWise started in 1982 as an MSP itself and by 1995 had developed its own remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool, which it then used to morph into a provider of technology solutions to other MSPs.
When ConnectWise came together, it was about community first. It was about working together to grow our businesses and protect the space that we’re in.
This is why ConnectWise invests heavily in this community and strives to deliver solutions that allow partners to provide exceptional service more efficiently, around the globe.
In 2005, two years before I joined the team, ConnectWise really hit the ground running with its global community.
From the early days of the MSP movement through today, ConnectWise has been building, nurturing, and facilitating the most engaged IT community in the world (also known as “the IT Nation”).
The IT Nation is a worldwide community of IT peers, thought leaders and experts ready to share, educate, and connect with a focus on collaboration and commitment to push technology forward. The community initially started with conferences, user groups and events then ConnectWise started building The IT Nation.
Today, the IT Nation includes 100,000+ IT community peers, thought leaders and experts dedicated to pushing the industry to new heights.
Building a community like IT Nation takes time. What are the main challenges you encountered and when did you first realize its success?
The world of business today is fast-paced, quick to change and tough to predict. Business owners and leaders are looking to not just stay afloat but to get ahead in the market, and they are looking for the right approach to longer-term value-creation success.
MSPs catering to the SMB market are facing many of the same challenges simultaneously, particularly around attracting and retaining talent and managing increased risk, but also challenges around accelerating recurring revenue, conveying the business value of managed services, how to grow sales and how to scale staff productivity.
The ones that are succeeding in this difficult environment– even growing through market downturns– are doing so because they have advanced their operational maturity to build resilient, differentiated businesses.
Other main challenges we’ve encountered while building the global IT community include migrating to the cloud and hybrid cloud infrastructures as well as the constantly evolving cybersecurity threat landscape. How do we move to managed services and stay profitable? How do we still add value with the great migration to the cloud?
And with cybersecurity, it’s all about keeping threats at bay and protecting. Thanks to the incredible ecosystem of support we have in place, product development and technological innovation teams and deep industry knowledge, we’ve successfully managed to navigate around these challenges with relative ease over the years.