ConnectWise Manage is a slow, oversold PSA that excels at integrating with better software
February 23, 2021
ConnectWise Manage is a slow, oversold PSA that excels at integrating with better software
Score 4 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with ConnectWise Manage
ConnectWise Manage is used by everyone here as the primary way we record time spent doing anything. This includes the management of tickets, internal projects, hourly employee tracking, and customer sales interactions. We use it for some accounting functions, such as creating and emailing invoices. It is also used to tie other pieces of MSP software together. We use it for scheduling future events as well as record keeping for actual time spent.
- Contract management
- Service ticket management
- Connecting to other software
- Very slow (Cloud version is not usable in real time with customers)
- Terrible quoting system (must buy add-on Sell to modify Quote template at all)
- No two-sided accounting (must buy add-on to talk to QBO or to export some transactions)
- Unusable knowledge base (must buy third-party add-on like IT Glue)
- Unusable documentation management system (no versioning, no wiki, no linking, 100% featureless)
- Slow customer support
- Customer support refuses to assist with any report
- Password management is insecure or absent
- Many incompetent features requiring add-ons not disclosed upfront
- Very difficult to implement (plan a year in advance)
- Increased profitability over no PSA
- Increased time accountability
- Significant time expense waiting on ConnectWise Manage to respond
When we picked this product, it was the best and has since been surpassed. We chose ConnectWise Manage because the salesperson glossed over all of the features we wanted and it ticked all the boxes. We should have done more research. We stick with it because once you get into this product and get all of the other MSP software tied in, it is very difficult to change.
Do you think ConnectWise Manage delivers good value for the price?
Are you happy with ConnectWise Manage's feature set?
Did ConnectWise Manage live up to sales and marketing promises?
Did implementation of ConnectWise Manage go as expected?
Would you buy ConnectWise Manage again?
ConnectWise Manage is the slowest software I have ever regularly used. We use the cloud version. ConnectWise Manage support says things are operating normally if the timing is seven seconds or less between clicks. There is no way to just create a ticket, enter time, and close the ticket from a single screen. This makes it almost impossible to use in real time with a client on the phone. We transcribe notes and time from paper pads after the client has been dealt with. On top of this, it is extremely difficult to setup, train on, and create reports with, among a myriad of other difficulties. We found that we would get really into a feature just to discover that it is unable to get the job done without another product. Where ConnectWise Manage does excel is as one of the easier products for others to integrate with. Most MSP software will integrate with it. Regarding fixing a broken report, their support will just not help you. I recommend a third party to help you with this if you choose this PSA.
Chat support is available but I have spent an hour or two in "position one in the queue". When you do get through, there is a less than 50% chance of solving the issue. There is a better chance that they will tell you "this is a feature request, so please use the feature request forum" or "I can make a paid support ticket for help with that" or "Let me make a ticket for tier two," which will get back to you between two days and two months from now. In the last year, they have been better about answering the chat within 10 minutes or so.
If you are an IT firm and you do not have a PSA at all, then you are leaving money on the table. You need to explore and implement this type of software with care. ConnectWise Manage is one of the best for connecting more competent products together but is probably not the right choice for most small MSPs. Do not just believe the marketing that this software does everything. Very many functions are extremely limited or just outright inadequate. This is by design. They sell an assortment of very expensive and complex to implement and train on products that you will need to buy in addition to ConnectWise Manage. Unless you have time for a degree in ConnectWise Manage (I finished three initially included but they took them away a few months later), you will need outside help with the reporting engine. ConnectWise Manage support refuses to assist that. ConnectWise Manage can do time and contract management pretty well if you if you beat it into shape just right. Remember that ConnectWise Manage is just a centerpiece. There is no trialware with ConnectWise Manage for a reason! Don't buy until you shop around and price out your whole software stack.
ConnectWise Manage Feature Ratings
Using ConnectWise Manage
2 - There are two of us trained in depth (>100 hours) on this product. I recommend outsourcing this function rather than learning it.
ConnectWise Manage gets a firm to integrate everything to it. Once you are in this position, it is extremely costly to change. You are best off doing your research upfront. Make absolutely sure to get a demo copy you can actually play with prior to buying this. Try to make use of whatever your PSA is and talk with a bunch of others using it before buying. Do your homework, as once you are in, you will probably be stuck. During the sales process, have a list of everything you wish to track or do (e.g., mileage time and reimbursements for driving to site or making a quote for new services). Make sure to understand how your clients will be forced to get two monthly invoices if you have a contract with them and do things outside of that. You will find that other suites will combine several of the standalone ConnectWise products into one software with one interface. This is huge. You don't have to have separate PSA, RMM, documentation, sales, and password manager like ConnectWise Manage does.
Evaluating ConnectWise Manage and Competitors
Yes - We replaced a web-based software that we wrote to track these things. It ran at least 100 times faster but it did not integrate with anything. Programming the integration was too much work, so we moved to ConnectWise Manage. At the time, ConnectWise Manage was the best and not owned by Toma Bravo.
- Product Features
- Product Reputation
We were sold on ConnectWise Manage having all of the functions we needed built in. The marketing and sales people checked all the boxes during our evaluation. Sales glossed over so much so quickly that we didn't get to the bottom of how we would make use of the feature. It wasn't until we started using it that we realized that most of the features were missing critical components, making the functions useless (or requiring a separate piece of software to make them adequate). The product had a great reputation but, that said, people that used it universally showed frustration with it. As a market leader with fewer options at the time, we chose to jump in, probably too quickly.
I would write out a list of exactly what we want to see the software do and give it to the sales people in advance. I would divide the list into mandatory things, profitable non-mandatory things, and veto things (e.g., hosted in China). I would make a list of all other software we would need to use with the PSA to be a fully functional MSP and price all of it together. I would require that we actually get an instance to play in from the cloud environment. If ConnectWise Manage won't give you an instance, then evaluate it after you evaluate everything on the market that does. Make sure to talk with a lot of other companies. Call your competitors and get their opinion too. Make sure to evaluate at least three competing products. Keep an exit strategy in mind at all times. Look at the parent company and what other properties they own.
ConnectWise Manage Implementation
Rather than letting them sell you a block of time for implementation, create a list of things that must be completed do declare the implementation complete. The implementer will have the discretion on what they set up and in what order. They will be trying to end their services in as little time as possible and may not get things set up right. You are best advised to hire a third-party wizard that has done many of these setups. Record the audio and video of all of your implementation sessions.
Change management was minimal - You will be doing your own change management in every way if you are a small company.
- Mileage tracking
- Quote creation and formatting
- Different invoice types that can not be combined
- Different sections of the billable hierarchy overriding other ones mysteriously
- Data import--most data was lost in the process due to limited import functions
- Training is quite involved
- Time taken to set up correctly is very high
ConnectWise Manage Support
Kept well informed
Support understands my problem
Problems left unsolved
Difficult to get immediate help
Support doesn't seem to care
Slow Initial Response
Yes. We have ConnectWise Manage cloud with premium support. I really don't know what that means though. If you ask them to assist with any reporting task, they want to sell you a customization ticket. You will need support for this product. You should probably buy two support sources, ConnectWise Manage support (for technical issues) as well as a third-party consultant (non-ConnectWise employee) to actually get the program set up, make reports, and maintain the software. The consultants are expensive and totally worth it. Don't expect to get ConnectWise Manage set up optimally by yourself (unless you have years).
Yes - Resolved? No! We reported slowness (on the cloud version) and had a ticket open for years. They would close it and make a new one but this went on for literally years. The issue was that clicks within the software would take from 6-40 seconds, averaging between 12-20 seconds per click. This cost us dearly. We begged them to make it faster. Once they got clicks to 7-8 seconds, they would bail, saying that this is normal operation. We begged to be moved to a different server in their cloud and they refused saying they were working on it. Make sure to get them to demo cloud speed on your network before purchasing. Actually run through tasks and role play as if you have a customer on the phone.
Sometimes you will have a quick question and once their chat answers (never once having read the question in advance), they will be able to solve the issue. ConnectWise has never provided us with exceptional support in any way on any product that comes to mind. They consistently underwhelm. When I look back at our record we open way fewer tickets than we used to. We got trained to just not bother. I almost never open them anymore. Reddit and forums are faster. Also, if you don't notice that they replied within 10 minutes they will hang up on you. They timestamp replies and one time I opened a ticket toward the end of the day and ended up leaving work. It took them almost 2.5 hours to give an initial response. Admittedly that is less common than a 5- to 15-minute wait.
Using ConnectWise Manage
Do not like to use
Difficult to use
Slow to learn
Lots to learn
- Creating a new service ticket for an existing client
- Organizing tickets onto service boards
- Connecting to other MSP software
- Report creation
- Quoting (100% featureless and unable to even modify the default quote)
- Finding information
- Marketing (unusable)
- Knowledge Base (unusable)
- Setting up a new client
- Logging in on self-hosted versions (kicks out of other logged-in sessions and forces their portal)
- Password management (they claim passwords can be configurations)
- Procurement and product management (best to just track categories and keep details in the notes)
- Tying configurations together (you will need IT Glue integration for this)
- Contact management (no tie to username or cloud accounts or anything the user does or uses)
- Item profitability tracking
Yes - It is much faster than the desktop or web versions for looking up a client name (3-4 seconds in mobile vs. 30-60 seconds in the desktop version). It is difficult to enter time on, and I have had time disappear that I had entered. It doesn't let you easily change your work role/type combo without extra screens on each time entry.