March 8, 2013
Yesterday we held our huge ExchangeDefender Spring webinar – thank you for the record attendance. If you missed it don’t worry, the recording is available here and all our webinars are available at the ExchangeDefender Social site.
But let’s talk about one of the highlights from our presentation yesterday.. Shockey Monkey.
We have spent an insane amount of time improving the product and have completely rewritten certain sections that have the “web app” behave like an actual desktop application. First of all, we have a lot of new eye candy and new themes that elegantly blend in all the elements of the UI.
As far as the UI goes, things are several times faster than they were before.
Additionally, we have some really cool transitions in place when you go from one module to another that give the browser a chance to catch up and render the page before displaying elements. As stuff gets loaded it fades into view and removes the old-school jumbled look.
We have redesigned the dashboard to focus on what is important. Your announcements on the left and your agenda, schedule, tickets and tasks on the right. Instead of crowding the dashboard and making you dizzy with charts, you start with what is important and everything is just a click away. All the elements can be quickly touched, modified and updated – allowing you to slice through your daily agenda without having to go back and forth just to get started with your day.
Speaking of your day.. we have a beautiful and powerful new calendar function that is in my humble opinion better than anything else out there – spanking even Outlook. My whole team is right there, all the appointments are dynamic and everything integrates with Exchange on the backend so all our iPhones, iPads, Outlook and even Android are completely in sync no matter where we are.
The dispatch center has taken a massive step forward while remaining simple and easy to use. Just assign the ticket to someone and then drop it on their calendar. Done.
Speaking of support, we are helping you organize that better. As we get more and more different businesses powering their operations with Shockey Monkey, the need to keep multiple service boards is there. As an IT company we used to only handle support tickets but then as other departments joined in the fun we started breaking out product boards, service boards, project boards.. even an internal service board just for staff to deal with me.
We have had a lot of customization requests to the look and feel of the service board ticket listing. Ton of it. But most of it is difficult to categorize and keep the level of simplicity in our setup… so everything you wish is being added and we are putting some more quirky features under the Experimental / Custom Features section of the setup and you can tweak the portal to your own content without making it complex at all.
For example, our advanced settings now allow you to highlight tickets that are assigned to you, stop your clients from being able to close tickets (if you keep them open for review or billing purposes) include ticket number in the ticket listing as well as who the ticket is assigned to.
Speaking of better organization… the key is to keep everything in Shockey Monkey. But what is the point of keeping it all in one place if you can’t find it? Well, Shockey Monkey now centralizes and filters your search results. So if you search for Vlad it will show you all the tickets, services, subscriptions, knowledge base articles – everything – in an easy to categorize and locate way. Not a huge meaningless list of contacts jumbled with companies and services if you know that you’re just looking for a knowledge base article.
Of course, ExchangeDefender Unicorn is now live and embedded into the product for all our partners. Yes, still free!
It’s gotten more powerful as well, supporting event templates, alert templates, escalation, workflows and remote desktop access.
Now while these features are great and tons of you have been asking for them… they are nothing compared to the biggest enhancement we have – a brand new Business/Corporate module.
It solves a need that no other solution out there has and it is uniquely small business.
Our employee portal allows employees and employers to manage goals, expectations, time off, time sheets, education, hardware that is being issued and far more.
For example, instead of dealing with employee reviews as an annual chore, you now have a way to create an ongoing automated way to set goals, track accomplishments and make career progress a part of the game.
You can also track all of employees education, certifications, licenses, titles or degrees.
Your employees can easily submit for time off and automatically land on the calendar upon approval.
Likewise, timesheets are automated and accountable – we tie in our checkin punchclock to keep the employees accountable for when they show up and when they leave and assure they report accurate time. Employers also have a way to see who is putting in more than they are expected to and that leads to rewards
The biggest pain that nobody seems to manage well is the people we pay – our vendors.
We all do a great job of helping our clients and tracking our interaction with them because that is what we are paid to do. But shouldn’t we be doing an even better job – providing a more prudent process – making sure we get the most out of the $ we pay our vendors? Without tracking, notes and an audit process you just don’t know.
Say hello to Shockey Monkey’s vendor section.
Track passwords, resources, notes, vendor personnel, web sites, youtube training videos, howto documents, forum threads with fixes and workarounds, links to download sites, training collateral login information. You name it.. then track it. In a centralized environment.
Shockey Monkey is all about small business. From IT to far and beyond IT, the product we have designed and delivered is running our partners businesses and is now branching out to provide reporting, recording and accountability to new industries. If you’d like to partner with us and deploy Shockey Monkey for businesses we would love to talk to you!
(877) 546-0316 x500
March 5, 2013
Remember all the doom and gloom predictions about how the cloud was going to put all the IT people out of work? Boy did it! The carnage brought on by cloud services has taken names like Dell and HP to all time lows, and has sparked rumors and reality of privatization. Yet, every partner I talk to is posting their best year ever, and is more excited about their opportunities going forward, even with the lackluster economy.
Success is not by accident. In our fast paced industry, success is a factor of the right tools, the right timing and the right partnerships – please read this newsletter, study it and call us. We want to help. The days of “selling” and thick gear margins are largely gone – clients are smarter, better informed, and more selective, but like all of us they are also busier and they want someone to handle the explosion of vendors they rely on for the modern workplace. Yes the technology is easier to consume but there is more of it and more ways to profit from managing it so the client doesn’t have to.
With that in mind, I would like to invite you to our Roadmap webinar next week. In this webinar we will discuss everything that we are working on and the things we see happening over the next 12-16 months.
Thursday, March 7th 2-3 PM EST
As with all our webinars this one will be recorded and available for download in the Webinar section of our web site.
As some of you may remember, our hardware upgrade cycle began around Thanksgiving last year, and is scheduled to be complete in March. During that time, we have completely eliminated RAID from our Exchange environments, improved backup and redundancy worldwide, and bulked up our ExchangeDefender infrastructure for the growth we anticipate this year.
It has not been all good news (we had a Dell RAID failure in the middle of a migration affecting nearly 400 mailboxes), and our antispam detection efficiency slipped slightly due to the overtime put in on network management and growth. The good news though has been better than I ever expected. We now feature data center redundancy in all geographies we provide Exchange in, all of our Exchange 2010 systems feature 3-way redundancy through local copies/DAG, we provide clustered failover infrastructure with a lagged copy of all databases, as well we also provide a copy of those databases in a different data center. Our compliance products and LocalCloud have grown exponentially in 2012 allowing us to invest even more in gear and reduce your storage pricing. The scale and reliability that we are now able to offer is frankly unparalleled in the industry.
I know that maintenance, migrations, updates and upgrades are not fun nor easy to explain that it can take longer than a month to complete – those are the challenges of complexity and the massive scale that we work on. However, that scale is precisely why our platform is so reliable and why so many of you can leverage it to win competitively in the marketplace and not worry about servers, RAID controllers, patches and backups.
Specifically, our ExchangeDefender inbound nodes have 60% more capacity today than they did at Thanksgiving. Europe and Australia Exchange clusters now have data center redundancy. Louie, our Exchange cluster, is now on the same spec as our Rockerduck cluster – both with 3 layers of protection, both with data center redundancy. It’s not cheap but it’s cheaper than downtime and losing business – something I hope you remind your clients of when they get price sensitive about the solutions you provide.
Shockey Monkey is getting an upgrade next week, this update includes the new business management section, upgraded support area with private boards, new calendar / scheduling / dispatch center and an upgraded UI that is a few times faster than it was in the past. We are thrilled about this product and hope you consider joining over 100 partners that are currently selling Shockey Monkey to their small businesses clients.
Looks Cloudy, a site we sponsor and contribute to, is accepting nominations for the Channel Choice Awards in an attempt to recognize people that have helped advance our SMB tech industry. If you have a colleague, boss, partner that you would like to nominate please take a moment to get them the recognition they deserve.
We have a brand new billing system. This addition to Shockey Monkey has allowed us to automate the whole ordering, billing and collections system and consolidate entire months worth of billing updates and adjustments into a half day review process.
Finally, the most important development at ExchangeDefender that I need to let you know about: We hear you when it comes to training. Next month we will announce a new training program offered exclusively by us, over the web, live. The cost of travel, hotels, conference fees and most importantly – time away from the office – is leaving many of you and your staff away from the information that you need to succeed. I don’t mean training in a sense of a half-wailed sales presentation with minor educational content but a full schedule that you or your employees can sit down and benefit from immediately. Tune in to the webinar next week to learn more about this, we are very excited to be able to help you grow beyond our services.
Feeling Lucky???? We are currently running a St. Patrick’s Day promotion!! For the entire month of March we will be offering Compliance Archiving for 50% off! Please take advantage of this great promotion. The promotion will be valid on any new account that is signed up within the promotional period. The promotional period for this offering will be March 1st – March 31st. So don’t hesitate! Simply use the coupon code that is located on the postcard that you will receive in the mail or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the code. If you have any questions just let us know!
In the month of March we will be attending 3 events! Join us in our hometown of Orlando, FL for the XChange Solution Providers event! Then we will be headed up to Chicago, IL for the CompTIA Annual Member Meeting. Then we will be headed to Tampa, FL for the ASCII Success Summit! Stop by, visit us, and say hello, we will be giving away lots of prizes and promotions! We hope to see you on the road!
April 27, 2012
On Tuesday we held our quarterly meeting and announced our new roadmap for the rest of 2012 season. If you missed it by any chance don’t worry, it was recorded and I encourage you to watch it.
ExchangeDefender & Shockey Monkey Quarterly Meeting
Length: 45 minutes, 1:10 with Q&A
You may need a GoToMeeting codec (download)
This is the most important webinar we’ve ever held. You need to see it.
Everything that was announced will be launching over the next 30 days and just about everything will impact you.
In short, ExchangeDefender Security now includes advanced encryption (lexicon, pattern matching, recipient policies, smart routing and compliance officer support). ExchangeDefender organizationally is launching Managed Messaging, a full 360 online communications product that includes presales, onboarding, email migration, Outlook setup and 24/7 support. We’re also enhancing our security and extending the capabilities of Level 1 support to open tickets and help troubleshoot issues over the phone (previously reserved to higher tiers). We are making our tech savvy partners more equipped to take a larger share of the communications pie while enabling companies that don’t want to run into the cloud a way to have us do it all on their behalf.
We’re effectively doubling our scope of services and our business. All in hope that it makes us your biggest partner.
Over the next two weeks we will be introducing you to the concepts here as well as my take on my personal blog. The feedback on our direction has been amazing so far – and on behalf of the ExchangeDefender teams, I look forward to working hard for you to continue making you successful.
CEO, Own Web Now Corp
(877) 546-0316 x500
March 16, 2012
This week our development team here at Shockey Monkey has finished the SOAP Callback framework and has published this new release to all portals. This new framework enables you to configure automatic code level responses when certain conditions are triggered. Current the only supported triggered events are related to tickets (create, update, close). Over the course of this year we will expand the available list of triggerable events as demand for them increases.
The most elegant design feature of this entire framework is the dynamic interface structure that allows virtually any SOAP interface to communicate with our software. Let me briefly walk you through the process for configuring the callback mechanism.
Settings -> Callback
The first time you visit this page, it will seem fairly empty but these two fields you should notice at the top. Simply provide the remote SOAP WSDL location and press “Validate”.
Now, the system will examine the URL and fetch any valid methods that exist inside of the requested module. You should notice the section below; it will become populated with new fields.
You should now see that you have three sections.
One for (Create Ticket, Update Ticket, and Close Ticket).
Select a method from the dropdown list. You will notice these are all valid methods from the request API that we defined above in the previous step.
Once you have selected a method from the dropdown list, you will notice additional (parameter) fields. These fields are loaded dynamically depending on the parameters available in the provided SOAP API.
Note: One thing to keep in mind is complex types. If your method requires complex parameter types such as (arrays, objects, etc.) they will not be supported at this time. Basic types like (strings and integers), should be used mostly for parameter types.
The text box next to each listed textbox is where you will enter the desired value for this parameter. If you would like your method to use TICKET variables (“which is most likely”), they are provided in the dropdown menu to the right of the text field. Click the list and select the desired variable and it will prefill that variable into the text field to the left.
Also keep in mind each trigger is optional. You don’t have to assign a method for every section, only the ones you want to use. After you have finished assigning each of your methods and their corresponding parameters, click “Save”.
That’s it, callbacks are now enabled and you should begin to see the results!
VP Development, ExchangeDefender
January 6, 2012
This week has been focused towards the cleanup and redesign of the Service Manager. It’s a very large module built inside of Shockey Monkey and required a lot of special attention to assure the new code did not interfere with any existing interface mechanics. Everything has gone very smoothly and today we will be finishing the last few sections, before publishing the changes to the remote portals. With the new publish, everything should look a lot cleaner and loading times have been reduced dramatically.
Next week we have a few focus points that have been requests for quite a while. First on the list will be SLA management. We have been notified of several issues with the current SLA system and will be working towards resolving those problems. Next, as several of you have noticed the “Projects” section has not been updated to match the look and feel of Shockey Monkey v2.0 yet. We also have several back-end enhancements we will be implementing into the code base over the course of the week.
We’ve delayed the updates to these sections on purpose. We didn’t want to simply re-theme these areas, but transform them into something more powerful! We originally designed these sections a few years back and the scope of implementation was limited. Now that we integrate with several platforms and have a more advanced understanding of how everything works and plays together, we hope to make these sections something amazing!
VP Development, ExchangeDefender
December 27, 2011
This past week the main focus on the development side was to bring the accounting module up to standards with the new version of Shockey Monkey. This was no easy task and required a lot of code revisions and new implementation methods. In total: 20,000 lines of code had to be “reviewed” and modifications/additions made where found necessary.
The first thing you will notice is that the GUI has been brought up to standards to match the current look, feel and flow of the 2.0 design. The next things that we addressed were outstanding bugs within the system and new bugs that were created as a result of the upgrade. I won’t go into details here, but you can read about the bugs that we fixed here. Finally the last thing many of you will notice is the ability to set your “currency” within the Shockey Monkey Portal.
You can modify the currency displayed inside your portal on a Global level by going into your branding settings. Here you will notice a new section called “Regional Settings”.
Next week our continued focus will be on improvements to the core and Service Manager enhancements, while we continue to fix bug reported by our Partners within the scope of Shockey Monkey.
VP Development, ExchangeDefender
December 9, 2011
This week was our Shockey Monkey v.2 Bug week, where we worked very closely with you (our partners) and quickly addressed the majority of the bugs that were reported. Overall, the volume of bugs reported was relatively small and typically very easy fixes!
***A special thanks to everyone who tested the SM Agent and provided us with feedback. We’ve identified several issues with the Agent and are now planning our revision process, which should take about a month to complete.
Let’s talk a little about the SM Agent and the direction we are looking to take upon its actual release. The SM Agent is essentially a component that you would install on your clients machines across an entire organization. Once this component is installed, you can now monitor the machine in several ways. One way is through data collection of things like (drivers, hard drives, optical devices, installed applications, event logs and more). The second way is through direct interaction, AKA Remote Desktop or Screen Sharing. The last core piece of this software will be scheduled and on-demand script execution. This would allow you to configure monthly, daily or hourly events that would trigger your custom scripts on a per machine basis.
One of the biggest requests we have had for implementing software of this nature has been for network installation. We are currently exploring several methods to help complete this goal and make network discovery and installation across and entire infrastructure possible. Obviously the goal here is to be able to deploy the agent across hundreds of machines with very little leg work and time spent on site.
The next huge request has been for an automatic ticket alerting and sending notifications when something breaks or reaches a certain threshold. With the introduction of the SM Agent, we believe we finally have a way to create such a system. The idea is simple, we allow you to basically script in the desired action dynamically based on your collection of devices.
IF [MACHINE]->[OBJECT]->[Attribute]->[VALUE] <= [VALUE] THEN [ALERT]->[OBJECT]
Human Script Builder ( Drop Down Boxes )
IF “Desktop_XYZ”->“Hard Drive”->“Free Space”->”Size” <= “2GB” THEN “Open Ticket”.
What we hope to accomplish over the first few months of 2012 is implementing these advanced management features and then directly linking them back into the Dashboard and sections of Shockey Monkey.
VP Development, ExchangeDefender
December 2, 2011
With the release of Shockey Monkey 2 coming early next week, we have been working like craaaaaaaaaaaazy these last few weeks to finish the major revisions and clean up all the banana peels! This will be the LARGEST update to the Shockey Monkey core that has happened since it was created several years ago. The first thing you will notice is the new UI and dashboard layout on the main screen. With this redesign we tried to encompass the majority of all the vital information to one central and eye catching location. It will give you and your staff the ability to see a complete ticket overview, recent tickets, announcements, your agenda and tasks at a moment’s glance. The best part… it’s compatible in virtually every browser!
Out of the gate, the new UI will come with 5 preloaded themes that you can switch between inside of the portal. It won’t make it in time for the launch next week, but the goal is to implement a dynamic theme configuration tool inside of the portal. This would allow you to make the solution really and truly represent the look and feel that encompasses your company. We’ve also made several improvements to other aspects of branding that will give you an ease of comfort when navigating your settings.
We have also added several new features that really help Shockey Monkey stand out from the crowd! You now have the ability to go completely full screen and remove the menu bars while working inside of our solution. They are can be controlled by a toggle anytime from the bottom left toolbar and your setting will remain persistent for the duration of your session. This allows you to view more information and stay focused on the task at hand without any compromise to performance. We’ve also implemented a chat and notification system to allow interoffice communication and to give your customers the ability to chat directly with your support or sales team. We’ve improved the logging system and enhanced the search mechanism that will allow you to navigate through the activity inside of your portal.
On the backend we have been continuing to reduce the code overhead and processing load across all pages. This isn’t a difficult process, it’s just a very tedious and mind numbing experience. It may not make a lot of sense right now, but essentially this process is laying the foundation for very exciting future releases. Simply put, it’s all about being dynamic and allowing the solution to be put together to meet your individual needs. Overall the redesign has amazingly well and we will continue to improve dozen of areas even after the Shockey Monkey 2 launch.
VP Development, ExchangeDefender
November 18, 2011
This week the development team has been focused on cleaning up Shockey Monkey. This process is mainly composed of three focused categories (UI, Performance, and Bug/Warning Fixes). I would say this has been the largest update to Shockey Monkey since it was originally created over seven years ago. This update should also help lay the framework for any future additions or tweaks.
- We’ve applied a consistent look and feel across the entire portal.
- Implemented a themed backend that allows quick and easy branding.
- Improved cross browser support
- Improved loading performance across the portal.
- Implemented more session variables to reduce the amount of queries.
- Decreased Disk IO access by resolving more than 1000+ warnings that were constantly being written to a local log file.
- We’ve fixed a handful of bug over the past few weeks and have been continuing to resolve these issues as we enhance the portal.
- If you have a bug, submit it here: https://support.ownwebnow.com/create.asp?item=development
If we go a little bit into the cleanup of the User Interface, it was a project that was mainly focused on consistency. We are also making sure that the look and feel between browser types is very similar. There are also a few special features of the new UI that will really help bring the User experience to a new level. One of these features is the ability to view any page in “Full Screen” mode. What this does is remove the top and side menus from the portal. This allows you to manage any page without the annoyance of having to resize or scroll to achieve simple tasks.
We have a lot more information and a ton more features that we are saving for the unveiling. If you would like to be a part of the Shockey Monkey Reloaded webinar on Thursday, December 1, 2011 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST, visit the following link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/812869640.
VP Development, ExchangeDefender
November 15, 2011
Shockey Monkey will be receiving a massive refresh in both features and the business model in early December. Throughout 2011 we have been adding new features, new integrations and have entered several partnerships that just begin to showcase what is possible with Shockey Monkey. With that, we are about to revise the pricing, positioning, marketing and access to Shockey Monkey and want our partners to be aware of the changes that are coming.
Shockey Monkey Media & Partner Briefing
Tuesday, November 22nd. Noon EST.
Contact us for an invitation to the webinar.
Due to the sensitive nature of the information we will be sharing, this event is open by invitation only to vendors in the MSP space and media sites/blogs that cover them. We will be discussing:
- New pricing models
- New support procedures
- Sponsorship options
- Breakdown of user metrics
- Integration overview
- Usage patterns and value
If you’re interested in attending let us know, we are on pace to launch 2.0 in the first week of December. At that time we will be holding a user-facing webinar to announce all the cool new stuff that we hope is a real game changer for our users as well as for our partners.
Vlad Mazek, MCSE
CEO, Own Web Now Corp
(877) 546-0316 x500
Older Posts »