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Rethinking Tools - Part 2: Zenith Wins Over Kaseya

mspradar on Small Biz Thoughts by Karl Palachuk - As the year winds down, we are re-evaluating what we sell, who we partner with, and which tools we use.The first post in this series is here.The second tool set we re-examined is our Managed Service Delivery tool set.Here's your headline, with details below:We are fully committed to Zenith Infotech and moving away from Kaseya.BackgroundWe started, back in the dark ages, looking for a delivery tool. I asked around a lot. At the time, Kaseya was almost the only tool in town. Some others were trying to make a push, but they really weren't ready for prime time. We even bought into one tool and abandoned it because their technical support was so horrible. When we realized that the only way to get support was to call the salesman and beat him up, we also realized that would be far less effective after the sale.So we asked what successful, larger companies were doing. Kaseya, Kaseya, Kaseya. So we signed up for Kasesya.We still use it.Then one fateful day I had dinner with Erick Simpson and Arlin Sorenson. See that story in This Post.Basically, I decided to try Zenith. We connected a few servers. Then more. Then more.Two key features caused us to rely more and more on Zenith Infotech:1) Once we were completely convinced that they never missed a critical issue, we cranked up our reliance on their monitoring system. When a fan goes tick-tick-tick, Zenith opens a ticket. 100%.We have turned over virtually every step of our monthly maintenance checklist (3-4 pages per server) to Zenith, because their system just works. Period.2) Over time, we started taking advantage of the back-end labor from Zenith. If it's maintenance related (e.g., analyzing logs, checking hard discs, installing patches) then it's covered. So we started throwing work at them.As I've mentioned before, you need to manage your back end NOC just like an employee. You need to be clear and specific about what you want. You need to follow up. You need to thank them. You need to treat them like part of the team. Let them know what you're up to. Give them guidance and hold them accountable.Once we started giving work to Zenith, it dramatically improved our effectiveness. A server reboots for no apparent reason? Have Zenith analyze the memory dump. Driver issue? Have Zenith install the new drivers in the middle of the night (here) so the client is not interrupted.We have a rule that makes us a bunch of money: If it can be done by Zenith, assign it to Zenith!Last year at this time I gave an analysis of Zenith vs. Kaseya. At that time, I recommended doing both (as we do). And I said:"If we absolutely had to do one today? . . . I think the nod would go to Zenith . . .."Today's Commitment to ZenithKaseya is still a great tool.But Kaseya is no longer the only top-shelf, spectacular tool out there.We have decided that, going forward, KPEnterprises will use Zenith's monitoring on all servers and all workstations.We will remove Kaseya from the servers first as we already rely 99% on Zenith for these systems.We will gradually transition desktops to Zenith monitoring.In addition to a spectacular tool set, Zenith gives us the ability to rely on their NOC for backend support. That turns our 12 hands into 120 at the click of a button.Because the monitoring has proven flawless, and the backend has proven to be so successful and profitable, we're committed to moving everything over to Zenith.We won't be buying any more licenses from Kaseya.Looking to the FutureLooking forward, we have even bigger things planned for Zenith.Manuel and I are working feverishly to finish the book on Network Migrations. One piece we decided to NOT include in that book is using a remote NOC to help out.But as soon as that book is done, we're going to sit down and figure out how much of a 25-user network migration we can turn over to Zenith. If you think about it, it's a perfect next step.In some sense, this is exactly the mindset that brought us to such a high level of success with Zenith so far: They want to be the outsourced backend for companies like ours, so we'll give them everything we can.It makes their job more interesting, too. After all, who wants to do the one millionth printer driver update when there's a company like KPEnterprises who is trying to figure out ways to leverage them for an entire network upgrade?- - - - -It's easy to talk about a global economy and being connected to resources in other countries.And, let's face it: Almost every small business owner is a control freak. We put off hiring our first employee for years sometimes because "No one will care as much as me." Eventually we get over that.Once you have employees, the routine becomes clear: Set precise, specific expectations and follow through. That process works for an employee, a sub-contractor in another state, or an outsourced I.T. department in another country.We are very excited to step up our relationship with Zenith to the next level. We're really looking forward to a great 2009!:-)Feed:

All material Copyright (c) 2006-2007 Karl W. Palachuk unless otherwise noted.

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