Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Jan 03

Aircall: 89% of SMB Customers Don’t Fully Use CCaaS Functionality

By | Managed Services News

Aircall’s recent funding will make it even more competitive in a competitive space.

It probably goes without saying that the contact center market is exploding in the channel. Aircall is doing what it can to get a big piece of the CCaaS pie.

One thing that will help is the big funding round that the company just completed.

In this edition of CPTV, Channel Futures Craig Galbraith talks with Monika Dowal, VP of channel sales North America, Aircall. She describes everything that is putting Aircall at the forefront of contact center as a service.

The interview went down at November’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo. Registration is open for the spring edition of Channel Partners, again co-located with the MSP Summit, April 11-14, in Las Vegas.

Jan 03

Telarus Taps New Canada Leader as Ochab Moves to New Employer

By | Managed Services News

Brian Ochab has taken the helm of Spiisee Software.

Telarus hired an alumnus of Canada cable giants Shaw Communications and Rogers Communications to lead its sales in that country.

Matt Heron now serves as Telarus’ regional vice president for Canada. He’ll work to develop relationships with both suppliers and sales partners.

Heron made the move from Shaw, where he has worked for the last six years. He played a key role in expanding Shaw Business’ national partner program and helping to build a new partner program that touched the U.S. The role put him in contact with U.S.-based tech solutions brokerages (TSBs) that were trying to access the Canadian market.

Heron, Matt_Telarus

Telarus’ Matt Heron

“I am very thankful to my previous Shaw family and the experience I have gained over the years that has allowed me to confidently take on this new opportunity,” Heron wrote in a LinkedIn post. “Here’s to an exciting 2022 and to taking the Canadian partner ecosystem to the next level.”

Heron also worked another six years at Rogers Communications. He worked in sales with Imagine Wireless and Airsource — two Rogers dealerships. Alberta-based Shaw last spring announced that it had accepted a $20.8 billion acquisition offer from Ontario-based Rogers. The deal will close in the first half of this year, pending regulatory approval.

Predecessor

Telarus’ Brian Ochab

Heron replaces Brian Ochab, who departed the role in November. Ochab, who also has worked for Rogers, moved to Spiisee Software to become the channel automation provider’s CEO. He had worked at Telarus for a little more than two years.

Ontario-based Spiisee launched in 2018. Its Everest platform provides a single pane of glass for partner activity.

Canada Expansion

Multiple large U.S. TSBs (formerly master agents) have formalized their international presence in the last three years. Many, including Avant and Telarus, have targeted the U.K. Expanding to a new country doesn’t necessarily entail launching an office. Many firms hire a regional vice president or simply sign supplier partners native to that country.

Jan 03

7 Future-Proofing Goals for Contact Centers in the Year Ahead

By | Managed Services News

Several technologies can make an agent’s work experience more productive and meaningful in 2022.

When the customer experience (CX) goes awry, it’s a contact center agent that feels the brunt. Author, businesswoman and influencer Kate Zabriskie sums up that kind of experience.

“The customer’s perception is your reality,” Zabriskie said.

However, consistent and innovative CX can make a positive impact for the agent, the workforce, and ultimately a contact center’s bottom line. For many of these businesses, 2022 is the year to make integral changes so that CX is optimal — whether it’s replacing a center’s technology or adopting new human resources policies.

Channel Futures has compiled a trends list for the contact center in the year ahead (see slideshow above). Even as digital transformation and artificial intelligence (AI) make advances, the goal is still to improve the working experience of the agent. This has cascading effects for customers and the longevity of the center. The trends list showcases the policies and technologies needed to make 2022 the year of the agent.

Jan 03

7 Supply Chain Trends Worth Watching in 2022

By | Managed Services News

Expect supply chain organizations to make investments in automation, improving productivity by 10%.

In 2021, the supply chain crisis dominated the news. After a year of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, the U.S. economy rebounded initially because of consumer spending and government stimulus. However, 18 months of economic growth was coupled with pandemic inflation pressures. The coronavirus reshaped supply and demand, which had a domino effect throughout the chain.

These supply chain disruptions will seep into 2022. Continued COVID-19 outbreaks, China’s zero-COVID policy and unstable trade could bring supply chain disorder to the first part of the year. That said, there’s a potential bright side. Some experts suggest disruptions may continue only until the second half of 2022. Until then, here are seven trends to look out for while weathering the supply chain upheavals of 2022.

Check out the slideshow above for some supply chain crisis trends worth watching in ’22.

Jan 03

The Future of Work: Business Imperatives Influencing 2022 and Beyond

By | Managed Services News

As businesses look to modernize, reinvent and improve the way employees work, new digital workplace services have emerged.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the future of work. There’s been a shift to working from home and changes to how companies transform digitally.

No doubt, work has altered for the long haul. Recent field survey research from the firm Omdia, part of the Informa network (also Channel Futures’ parent company), delved into how organizations responded to the pandemic’s disruptions.

Omdia wanted to know how long-term digital workplace strategies and business priorities have changed. So its researchers collected data from more than 400 organizations across all major regions. These included responses from CIOs, CFOs, IT directors, chief digital officers, HR directors, and chief HR officers (CHROs).

Check out the slideshow above to find out what the researchers determined about the future of work.

Jan 03

9 Trends and Predictions for the SASE Market in 2022

By | Managed Services News

Will Versa Networks be acquired in 2022? One partner thinks so.

Channel partners will emerge as SASE (secure access service edge) sales experts in 2022.

It feels like it was just yesterday when the VAR Guy declared in April 2015 that SD-WAN was “poised to disrupt the networking market.” Six-and-a-half years later, the next wave of evolution has arrived in the form of SASE.

SASE, of course, had already captured the headlines as early as 2019 (thanks for another acronym, Gartner). The trend added to one we were already seeing in SD-WAN conversations — that security capabilities were helping vendors win deals. As a result, some of the largest cybersecurity vendors, such as Palo Alto Networks, acquired SD-WAN providers in order to build an integrated platform.

“SASE converges networking and security services into one cloud-delivered platform that helps organizations to achieve a zero-trust security posture regardless of location or device,” said Anand Oswal, senior vice president and general manager of Palo Alto Networks.

If SASE wasn’t sitting center stage by 2020, the pandemic made darn sure. Analysts and vendors had previously talked about networking as a branch office conversation, but the work-from-home movement created an unprecedented number of home offices. Moreover, a formidable number of employees won’t be returning to work if COVID-19 ever subsides.

“The reality of employees working from wherever they’re comfortable and productive will become the new norm in 2022,” Oswal said.

A Versa Networks report found that 64% of businesses have already adopted SASE or will in the upcoming year. Dell’Oro Group concluded that the SASE implementation will double yearly through 2025.

The channel is looking to tap into this growth, but it’s going to take some work. Consider that 65% of consultancies haven’t sold SASE yet, according to Avant. Plenty of partners (and certainly their customers) don’t know how to define SASE.

We asked partners and vendors what trends will prove important in the year to come.

 

Jan 03

The Importance of Investing in People

By | Managed Services News

As the landscape changes, investing in people is more important than ever before.

I’ve written a lot about understanding your customer, whether creating personas or diving even deeper and creating micro-targeted solutions to a customer’s specific business challenges. In this article, I want to turn inward—to understanding what motivates your team. How do you keep your employees healthy and engaged, not only in boom times when job opportunities for your best people abound, but in our current environment or like the one we saw during the Great Recession of 2008-09? Even with higher unemployment rates, it’s never safe to assume people will stay at a job if they are unhappy where they are. That’s why investing in people is so important.

There are many reasons to ensure you are nurturing your team. First, voluntary turnover is expensive. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the annual overall turnover rate in the United States is 26.3%. With the cost of replacing someone estimated at one-half to two times a person’s annual salary, the financial costs are particularly hard on small businesses. But the impact on the bottom line doesn’t stop there.

For companies of any size, but especially SMBs, losing a strong employee can impact customer relationships and your sales pipeline, lower staff morale and erase institutional knowledge that is important to your success.

You may think that employee turnover is inevitable, but that’s not always so. According to Gallup research, 52% of employees who voluntarily leave a job say their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving. And 51% of existing employees say that in the three months before they left, neither their manager nor any other leader spoke with them about their job satisfaction or future with the organization. No wonder people feel disconnected and discontent and leave for greener pastures.

It’s easy to assume that if your team seems to be running well, and you don’t see any obvious red flags, everyone is good. But this is simply not the case. Between the pace of technology and the need to be nimble as an organization, employees can be bombarded with conflicting priorities and expectations.

Just as I talk about touching base with your customers regularly to see where they are, it is also critical to consistently do that with your team.

Can We Talk?

When is the last time you sat down with each member of your team individually, whether virtually or in person, to have a meaningful conversation about how they are doing? In my experience, managers frequently struggle with this. And it’s understandable—many managers come up through the ranks because they excel at their jobs and assume the role without being trained on how to be a strong manager.

The first step is to create an environment of open and ongoing dialog, but take care to avoid something that feels like micromanagement rather than a process that creates consistent future-facing and strength-based conversations.

Consider looking at yourself as a coach rather than a boss. Take ownership of your employees’ development in a way that looks to inspire and energize them to do their best work, not to simply measure and dictate goals. An important part of that is giving them clear, collaborative expectations that are aligned with the organization’s goals. Ultimately, you want to give all employees the tools they need to be successful in your fast-moving environment. Not only will you gain more loyal, motivated employees, but you’ll gain the trust needed to hear about the obstacles they are seeing when on the front lines. Often your team will spot these long before you will.

Team Meetings

Remote working has required us all to become a little more creative with team meetings, but those meetings are no less important. Team building, creating alignment, and feeling connected are core to keeping employees motivated and moving in the right direction.  Click on Page 2 to continue reading…

Jan 03

Shark Tank Star’s Herjavec Group Merges with Fishtech Group, Forms Mega MSSP

By | Managed Services News

The new firm will have 600 security professionals operating out of six security operations centers worldwide.

Cybersecurity providers Fishtech Group and Herjavec Group have merged, backed by private equity company Apax Partners. The two companies will operate as a single entity under a new brand to be announced soon. No word on the financial value of the deal.

Apax will hold a majority stake in the new company. In addition, Robert Herjavec, founder and CEO of Herjavec Group and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” and Gary Fish, founder and CEO of Fishtech Group, will each maintain significant equity in the new business.

Proprietary Platform

Herjavec Group's Robert Herjavec

Herjavec Group’s Robert Herjavec

“We could not be more thrilled to join forces with industry pioneer Gary Fish, whom I have known for decades,” Herjavec said. “We are very impressed by Fishtech’s managed detection and response capabilities (MDR) offerings and its proprietary platform built on Google Chronicle, which we consider highly differentiated. Jointly, we want to double down on the investment behind this … solution and strengthen what are already deep partnerships. That said, we have built one of the strongest tech teams in the industry and a leading portfolio of services. Our customers will benefit from enhanced operations, getting stronger as we help accelerate their digital transformation.”

The deal, the companies say, brings together the complementary strengths of both organizations. The result is a broad, holistic suite of MDR, professional services and identity services. The new firm will address enterprise customers’ increasingly complex information security needs. Additionally, the new company combines the strengths of the two firms. These include cloud and tech-enabled co-managed SIEM, along with security and cloud expertise.

Global Security Professionals

The new organization brings together more than 600 security professionals operating out of six global security operations centers (SOCs). The combined company will have one of the largest managed security engineering teams under one roof, it said.

Herjavec will serve as CEO of the combined company. Gary Fish will be chairman of the board.

Fishtech Group's Gary Fish

Fishtech Group’s Gary Fish

Robert Herjavec founded his company in 2003 and Apax bought a majority stake last year. Fishtech got its start in 2016, with the goal of bringing security to the cloud while identifying vulnerabilities and introducing next-generation solutions to help businesses minimize risk.

“We’re exceptionally proud of our results to date and even more excited about the growth to come,” Fish said. “We’re honored that so many organizations trust Fishtech to be their managed solutions provider. With complementary offerings from Herjavec, we will transform the security industry globally.”

Dec 30

MSP 501 Profile: Rock IT Thrived Amid Australian Work-from-Home Era

By | Managed Services News

Government policies made it easy for Australian businesses to invest in their IT during the pandemic.

Company Name: Rock IT
Managing Director: Nik Devidas
Headquartered: Collingwood, Victoria

Primary Services

  • Cybersecurity
  • Business continuity
  • Cloud computing

Neither age barriers or a global pandemic could stop Australian MSP Rock IT from growing.

When Rock IT first launched in 2003, its founders weren’t far removed from college. Managing director Nik Devidas said he had to work hard to prove his value to prospective customers.

“It was difficult to walk into a boardroom and convince an organization to let a couple of kids to manage their multi-million dollar businesses,” Devidas told Channel Futures.

Devidas also shared how Rock IT successfully navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. Read his thoughts in the Q&A below.

CF: What is one thing you wish vendors would do that they don’t?

Nik Devidas: Vendors are successful because MSPs market and sell their wares for them. Some vendors (not all) don’t properly recognize the value MSPs bring to their business and it’s continually disappointing to hear vendors talk about marketing development funds, yet never release them.

Devidas, Nik_Rock IT

Rock IT’s Nik Devidas

The best MSPs win clients, then roll out their entire technology and security stack to their clients. Vendors don’t play a role in the sales process, yet benefit wholly from it. When we approach vendors for [market development funds] we ask them to assist our client-attraction efforts because clients buy from MSPs — they don’t buy standalone technologies that fulfil a single need such as backup. Clients want trusted relationships which is a different proposition than selling kit.

Vendors need to open their eyes to this rather than giving us generic marketing material to share which adds no value to anyone. When MSPs gain clients they gain endpoints to manage which means sales to vendors. Vendors should do everything they can to assist their MSPs win as many new clients as possible.

CF: What was the single biggest technology or business decision that drove your company’s growth in 2020? And in the first half of 2021? How did it do so?

ND: Long-term lockdowns in Australia (170-plus days in 2020 for Melbourne alone) provided a short-term boost for project work. However, government stimulus packages enabled our clients to pay for this work easily. Their focus then shifted to cybersecurity as business owners and executives started to see firsthand the risks of running thousands of “offices” around the country instead of traditional corporate headquarters.

We increased the number of devices under our curated security stack and won new work off the back of our 2019 marketing efforts.

CF: Why are you a business owner instead of working for someone else? What is the allure of entrepreneurship to you?

ND: My business partner and I started Rock IT in 2003 when we were in our early 20s, which on reflection was both a blessing and curse! It’s a blessing now 18 years on with a proven track record. However, as we were really young — all of our peers were at the start of their careers. It was difficult to walk into a boardroom and convince an organization to let a couple of kids manage their multimillion-dollar businesses. I’ve seen many businesses started by people in their 40s who were “miraculously” able to sell their services to enterprises immediately. There’s always an existing relationship there that was the difference. In our 40’s now it’s a lot easier, with peers in decision-making positions, and we have a long track record of success.

Dec 29

Cyber Threats Aren’t Letting Up: What to Know for 2022

By | Managed Services News

The coming year will see more of the same attacks as 2021. But there will also be new ones, and new considerations.

In 2022, global spending on information security and risk management tools and services will reach $172 billion, according to Gartner. That represents an 11% increase from 2021. That’s because cyber threats will continue nonstop. COVID-19 unleashed hell for organizations as attackers took advantage of pandemic fears and vulnerabilities. That activity will not slow.

For the coming year, ransomware, APIs, connected equipment and sensors rank as some of the biggest areas of concern. In fact, observers predict hits in new areas: attacks on medical devices in hospitals and other health care settings, as well as on patient billing systems; on remote-controlled tractors and other equipment in the agricultural sector; on IoT sensors that support smart cities; and so on. Organizations will turn even more to managed security service providers for guidance and management of their environments.

Find out more about the cyber threats coming in 2022 so you can better protect customers (and your own operations). Check out our slideshow above.

 

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