Nine Takeaways from IT Nation 2022

Despite a hurricane, IT Nation 2022 pressed on and was a success in Orlando. I was fortunate to be able to attend it for the first time. Since starting as a ConnectWise partner earlier this year, I wanted to understand the landscape and specifically discover the accounting pain points MSP owners are facing.

Getting there was challenging as Hurricane Nicole was scheduled to pass through Orlando. This shut down the airport for a couple of days and forced many to remain home, however, I was able to arrive early without incident.

These are observations from my first time attending:

  1. The positioning for ConnectWise was excellent. The sessions I attended were laser-focused on making the partner successful in their business, growing their business, and using the appropriate tools to accomplish that. It is evident from the energy, topics, and testimonies that the industry is prospering even as the world economy teeters.
  2. This is a tight-knit group of people. Many attendees are on a first-name basis with others.  I stopped counting the times I was asked if I knew another person. There was lots of name-dropping.
  3. Collaboration is high and most attendees didn’t see others as a threat to their business. While everyone is running their own company, it felt like there was unlimited opportunity for every company.
  4. The pace of mergers and acquisitions is incredible. Many vendors I met had already sold their MSP and were now selling back into the industry.  The sessions I attended on M&A further reinforced the perception that it’s an industry with amazing momentum.
  5. No surprise here, but the ratio of men to women was like few conferences I’ve ever attended. It really hit home when I had to wait in line for the men’s room as the line snaked into the hallway.
  6. Everyone I met was friendly and helpful. The ConnectWise employees were accommodating and willing to assist with any challenge.  Several personally escorted me to where the location they were describing (evidently my face looked lost).  The fellow attendees were easy to talk to and willing to help me acclimate to the conference.
  7. As I met fellow attendees, I would tell them I don’t run an MSP, rather an accounting firm focused on MSPs.  I didn’t expect that to generate more interest but that’s exactly what happened. Most attendees complained that their accountant doesn’t understand or care about their business. Like most entrepreneurs, they too don’t get the support or timely financial statements they need to run their businesses.
  8. The beard is in! Despite a fundraiser to shave the beard, many of the attendees sported some very impressive beards.
  9. Avoid attending a conference in a hurricane! Hurricane Nicole swept through Orlando in the middle of the conference. There was some strong wind and lots of rain, but almost all the events went off without a problem. I did get to see the sunshine for a few moments on the final day.

The conference was a success. The value brought by the attendees, speakers and vendors made it a dynamic environment supporting the partners’ success and growth. I will definitely be returning in 2023 and I hope to see sunny Florida skies rather than a hurricane!