Although I can’t talk about our major initiative until the webinar next week, we have a ton of new stuff we’re developing on the backend to make your life easier. First of many that I have the pleasure of announcing is the ExchangeDefender Validation Wizard:
ExchangeDefender Validation Wizard gives you the ability to eliminate/isolate problems on the ExchangeDefender network through the same process our team uses and through the same systems our engineers rely on. The beta is available at: http://www.exchangedefender.com/check.php
Simply plug in the mailbox email and password and our wizard will troubleshoot things end to end and line up with our best practices:
What the wizard actually does is even more important to understand: this is not some simple database field validation tool. It actually opens connections to the live backend servers, tests connections, looks up DNS records and does everything that technicians typically do by hand.
Exchange Mailbox: Wizard will first check the password and authentication credentials against the live CAS server. If this check fails it means you have the wrong email/password combo. Please note that this check validates the actual connection, not what is in the control panel. If your user went around you and reset their password via OWA then just remember the best practice to reset it right back to something you can support.
MX Record Check: After the mailbox is verified as live and online, system will check the DNS for the correct MX and Autodiscover records. This is particularly useful in the mail troubleshooting process when email delays and missing emails are a problem. Clients tend to have incorrect, missing or external MX records in their delivery list and more often than not this is the culprit to missing and delayed email. Every now and then we also find that the domain record registration had expired (and as it’s the last thing we ever check it’s among the most frustrating)
Network Connectivity: As the test implies, we check the connectivity to clients CAS, HUB and Mbox server to check on the backend and identify any potential bottlenecks that could be affecting connectivity.
Mail Services Check: The extension of the network test, in which we go through all the web, SMTP, IMAP, POP3, CAS and MAPI services to make sure the clients mailbox is setup correctly, mail flows as it should and there aren’t any “weird” issues on the backend such as a mailbox that is locked out, over quota, possessed by email gremlins and so on.
Piece of a Proactive Puzzle
As you can tell, we are putting more and more pieces together that allow us to deliver a truly managed service throughout the cloud. Typical cloud service checks verify that the servers are online and functioning but the truth is that there are typically dozens of servers and multiple data centers involved in service delivery and the transparency to the backend can at times make it impossible for a third party to effectively troubleshoot the service.
By extending the access of our backend into your hands we feel we can deliver powerful functionality in a very easy to use and manage tool set. Even though PowerShell access is available, we find it that few have the capability to rely on it and every time you have to do something manually through PowerShell you will waste more time than you expected. Not to mention that the testing has to be layered in order to make sense.
Our business model calls for us to further simplify and eliminate the hassle of email issues. By transferring these complex, procedural and often poorly documented best practice and troubleshooting sets to a simple, easy to use and cleanly presented service we can eliminate a huge cost and open up our portfolio to delivering managed mail services that are not conditional on the infrastructure problems.
I certainly look forward to sharing everything we’re up to here but I think you can agree that it helps when we’re on the same page
Vlad Mazek, MCSE
CEO, Own Web Now Corp
Over the past 16 years ExchangeDefender teams have brought some remarkable products to the cloud and enabled service providers to solve common small business problems and still fit in the company budget profitably. As we have grown so have our partners, around the world, and we’re happy to announce the new service division that will build upon that success.
When I speak to our most successful partners the most common problems IT Solution Providers encounter is that of scale. The opportunities in the marketplace are tremendous and taking advantage of them all would require working around the clock and through the weekends. With our market threatened by large companies with cheap solutions and poor service, it becomes even more important to show flexibility, portfolio diversity and customer service: namely, if the client wants to move their email and document storage to the cloud over the weekend to minimize operational impact we have to make that happen.
ExchangeDefender is excited to bring that dream to reality for many of our partners.
Our ExchangeDefender Migration Service is a project-oriented solution that works on our partners behalf to organize, schedule, execute, document and support a migration effort. Our ExchangeDefender Support Service is a subscription-based service meant to continue white-branded support of the client once they are in the cloud around the clock. Through both solutions, and through our partners, we can deliver cloud based solutions small businesses want at the price they want to pay with the level of service they can rely on. Our mission is very simple.
It’s critical for our partners to trust the process through which we intend to implement and support the cloud. In order to trust us you need to be able to understand our process, consider all the typical “what if” cases and properly fit our projects with your own model. In order to explain it all and go through all the details we will be holding a live webinar that I would like to invite you to:
ExchangeDefender Migration & Support Service Webinar
Oct 9, 2013 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST
Please take the time to join us as we will be taking questions live as well as discussing existing migration and support projects that will not be a part of the recorded webinar. While the projects and our process are very intuitive and simple, the devil is in the details and there is more to migration and support than moving mail and answering technical questions.
The focus of the new division is service. We are not just representing us, we are representing your brand. We are not just supporting our product, we are becoming a part of your support and escalation process. We are not simply a software company, we are a service provider too. As you’ve noticed through the blogs and through our expanded portfolio, we are growing up a lot and assuming more responsibilities to help you grow faster.
The single greatest growth opportunity for SMB IT Solution Providers in a decade is here and now is the time to take advantage of it. I urge you to join us and work with us to our mutual success. We certainly work forward to it and have put and incredible amount of effort into this.
Vlad Mazek, MCSE
CEO, Own Web Now Corp
Since we’ve announced the launch of our new managed migrations we’ve been getting a lot of great feedback, many of you are ready to jump on board and get the ball rolling! ExchangeDefender is proud to be the only company on the market with this type of offering. We are here to help you understand how to successfully position the service and increase your profit margins to a number you’ve never seen before! Last week I gave you a general overview of the migrations , this week I will discuss the first step in the process, the sale.
· Be Prepared– One of the most important aspects of selling, or anything for that matter is being prepared. The end user does not have the vast knowledge of the cloud like you do; it’s your job to help educate them so they can see the value. Not only will they need to understand the cloud, they will need to understand the offerings being presented to them. When selling ExchangeDefender’s Hosted Exchange the client will need to comprehend there is a difference in the services they will receive from ExchangeDefender vs. the competition. As I discussed last week, ExchangeDefender is specifically designed to be a business enterprise solution, this is immensely different from the barebones, minimum cheap-o solution. To guarantee you are prepared, we offer FREE customized collateral for your business! Our collateral makes it simple to understand the product and its features; your clients will know exactly what they’re getting.
· Time and Cost– As you’ve probably experienced time and time again, the two most frequently asked questions and deciding factors for business owners are- how much will this cost and how long will this take/will I be down? Always come prepared with pricing and the scope of the project! E-mail is the primary form of communication and life blood of their business, so it makes sense they do not want to experience any downtime or difficulties that might arise from a migration. Migrations take time and time is money, but with our managed migrations you won’t have to worry about spending hours of your time or the client’s time ever again. We have developed a migration process that will allow us to seamlessly migrate their mail and this can all be done during off-peak hours. By the time they come in Monday morning, all of their mail will have been migrated to ExchangeDefender’s platform. We see the process through end to end. Price is also an important factor for business owners. As I discussed, your client will need to understand that what you’re offering with ExchangeDefender may be a few bucks more each month, but we are offering a true business enterprise solution, unlike the competition. Since we are doing the migration for you and that is pure profit, you have a little more flexibility on the quote for the migration piece. This will help offset some of the other cost and the client will be more willing to work with you. Most of our partners make their money off the migrations, not the monthly fees they collect from Hosted Exchange. We are giving you the opportunity to pocket every penny of the migration fee.
· Contract and Payment-The last and final step is documentation and setting up a payment agreement. Going back to being prepared, make sure you always have the contract on hand! Also, make sure to always have the payment details in writing and have them sign that agreement.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at : Anastasia@ownwebnow.com or 877-546-0316 x 739.
One of the best things about working at ExchangeDefender is helping partners realize that they can make great, predictable, recurring income from cloud services. It’s no secret that MSP’s and IT solution providers have been slow to adopt “The Cloud,” but things are changing.
By now you should have heard about the Migration Service that ExchangeDefender has been blogging and talking about through social media, our website, as well as webinars. This new service provides a value added solution to our partners, that no other cloud provider is offering as an included part of their Hosted Exchange platform.
What this means for you, is that the service you have been charged for by others, is now a definitive way to earn additional revenues. Let’s deep dive into exactly how you can price this solution to your customers.
There are many ways to price an add-on service such as the ExchangeDefender migration solution. The most common pricing models are, “including the pricing in the recurring monthly fee,” “charging an upfront flat project fee,” or “charging customers hourly.”
Hourly Fee Option:
With the migration solution, adding on an hourly fee for the migration may not be the best option. Since there will be very little, if any onsite tech time, an hourly fee may be harder to justify and may create unwanted questioning by the customer after the job is complete. For this reason, we would advise against this pricing model.
Upfront Project Fee Option:
An upfront project fee has been a very common way of infusing cash into an IT business. Since the migration is included with the hosted exchange platform, there is no cost for the MSP. This means that any upfront fees for the migration are 100% revenues for the business. Many MSP’s and IT providers that currently provide Exchange migrations are just continuing with their normal fee structure. If you currently do not have a fee structure, we outline some ideas and options in the next section.
Recurring Monthly Fee Option:
Many MSP’s are beginning to offer easy payment options built into their managed or cloud services. This option allows customer to signup for services and get the work done, without having to come out of pocket for an initial project cost. The advantage for many is an easier sale to customers, and the advantage of a continuous recurring revenue stream, which continues to grow over time. In this scenario there is no real end game for the customer. Most will continue to pay the monthly fee until they no longer need the service, “and who doesn’t need email?”
Pricing is straightforward. Determine what you would normally charge for this service as a project. We generally see prices from our partners, which range from $200 to $2000+, depending on the size of the user base. ($100 per user is a good start if you are unsure of what to charge.)
Once you have determined this price, it is a matter of dividing that price over the amount of months you have signed an agreement with your customer for. For instance, if you were to charge a $1000 project fee, and the agreement length is 36 months, divide $1000 by 36 to get an add-on of $27.00mo. You can break this down even further by then dividing that number by the total users. If you have 10 users just divide $27 by 10, this means you will add an additional $2.70 to each hosted exchange mailbox for the life of the contract and beyond.
What all of this means for your business is you will make “loads of cash,” and unlike comparative solutions like Office 365 or other competitors, you are not required to handle the migration yourself, or outsource to expensive solution companies that provide services to these vendors. This gives you a major advantage over your competitors, and allows you to build and grow your business even further.
Recently, ExchangeDefender announced its new Migration and Support for Service Providers offering. The very thought of migrating a company’s business messaging solution to another platform (i.e. a different vendor or to the cloud) can send a client over the edge—if not properly informed about process and set at ease by you, the partner. After deciding that your client’s business messaging solution isn’t up to par, it’s your duty as their technology expert to seek out a well established alternative that offers all the features that are required for a secured and compliant messaging solution—namely, ExchangeDefender! But what happens after you found ExchangeDefender and you need to migrate their existing email platform over to ExchangeDefender’s Hosted Exchange 2013 platform? That is where our new Migration and Support Services comes in!
What’s Included in the Migration and Support Service?
By developing the Migrations and Support solutions, we have essentially removed yet another large thorn from our partners’ side. Now you can offer your potential (and existing) client base a hosted exchange solution powered by ExchangeDefender with migration support as well. ExchangeDefender staff will plan and execute the migration of your client’s data and configuration on behalf of your company. This includes:
Pre-migration consulting & assessment;
Configuration check, migration scope;
Provisioning new mailboxes;
Adding existing forwarders, aliases, and distribution groups;
Provide migration collateral to end users;
Provide migration support for 1 week;
Full transparency on everything we do
In essence, all you need to do from a partner standpoint is let your clients know that your Migration and Support Team will be in contact with them to start the migration process as soon as they are ready to cut over services. ExchangeDefender will take it from there!
Interacting with Your Clients
As previously mentioned, ExchangeDefender will take the lead on the migration process as a representative and extension of your company. Your clients will never know the difference. After you submit a request for migration to us, we get the ball rolling for contacting your client directly and starting the migration process. Pre-assignments will be performed and configurations checked. Our Migration and Support Team will then schedule the migration process with your client and provide them with a list of items that will be performed. The goal is to make your clients feel at ease with the entire process and ensure a safe and expedient transfer of all records, emails, contacts, calendar, etc. Again, everything we do will be transparent!
Tell Me More About The Support Service.
With the Migration and Support service, our ExchangeDefender staff will provide ongoing technical and customer service support to your clients on behalf of your company. Operating 24/7/365 and under your brand, our staff will answer any technical or customer service calls dealing with email issues or questions pertaining to their email. If we receive a call that is not related to email, we will log the call into your existing PSA/CRM infrastructure. Don’t have an existing PSA/CRM platform? Check out Shockey Monkey—it’s FREE as well!
Migrations are for the most part painful, tedious, and time consuming. The aforementioned reasons to the left are why nobody likes to do them. But migrations are necessary, be it because of the software enhancements or hardware replacements. Generally, IT Departments have to “sell” migrations to business owners because they’ve made their money not spending it but saving it meticulously. However, they don’t understand that you’re seeing signs of their 5 year old server starting to die and THAT will cost them more.
The most important aspect of migrations becomes communication and to extend beyond that, the communication of expectations. Because if you don’t establish any or incorrect ones, as the service provider, you’ve now effectively under delivered, regardless of what you did. And what’s worse, that under-delivery may cost you a client. The biggest mistake people make during a migration is based around timing. In order to win a bid you claim to be able to do it faster, which you may be able to do, but at that point you’ve likely cut your error window.
By personal policy, I always err on the side of caution; I make sure my migrations take as long as needed to be as smooth as possible. And even then, they’re never smooth. You can come up with the world’s longest checklist and something unexpected will happen. But that in itself is the reason to still come up with that long list, because it’ll still limit the unexpected events.
Now that we have covered the aspect of planning for the unexpected, how do you handle the unexpected when it does happen? The first thing you do is a best effort quantification of its effect of your timelines. Regardless of the outcome of that you let your customers know what happened, what you’re doing, and most importantly what it means to them/their data/their email and how it affects their timeline if any.
The hardest decision to make during a project is when to cancel and regroup. This is tough because of two aspects, you’ll be doubling your work cost and primarily because it’s not really your call as much as you’d like it to be. Our rule of thumb is, if the alternate is NOT guaranteed to be successful we don’t do it. If it causes an outage during primetime for that company, we won’t do it. But ultimately, you must involve the business owner if think you’re going to cut it close and come up with a plan. Luckily on our platform, we have business continuity embedded into all of email solutions so any migration involving our email service will always come with a built in plan B.
It’s here, the end-all be-all! As many of you may know we have some big things going on here at ExchangeDefender. Just last week we announced our new plan for managed migrations. In case you missed it, we are now going to start doing your migrations for you at no additional cost! That’s right; we will do the work for you. This new service will save you time as well as making you more profitable. Here’s what managed migrations can offer for you!
– No more long hours: We wanted to make this as easy and seamless as possible. No longer will you have to spend countless hours on migrating mail, we take care of it for you. With less time spent on migrations you will be able to focus on generating new business. More business equals more money.
– 100 percent profit– Not only will you be able to increase revenue by saving time, you’ll also be able to pocket the entire cost of the migrations and not have to put in any work yourself. And no longer will your techs have to spend their time doing migrations, thus leaving you with additional revenue. When you spend less time managing the clients infrastructure you are able to focus on helping them with other aspects of their business.
– Less Headaches– Whether you’ve been in the industry for 20 years or 2 years, you know the Cloud is the next big thing. The cloud makes it easy and simple to manage your clients. ExchangeDefender offers a central admin console and we give you the control. You don’t have to worry about someone within the company trying to mess with things; you are the only one in control and with the ability to access their accounts.
It’s important for you to see the value in this service, but what about your customers? How do you convince your client to make the switch?
– Value : When upgrading or switching their infrastructure, many small business owners are very price conscious and only willing to do the bare minimum. Your clients will only pay for what they see value in and e-mail, after all is an essential function for day to day business activities. Upgrades to their filer server and ActiveDirectory can be costly and timely, something most owners are not willing to deal with. These are not changes that impact daily business activities, so appeal to their needs.
– Redundancy– With ExchangeDefender’s redundancy in place, our services are much more reliable than a SBS that has a single point of failure. So in the event something does happen we are redundant , which allows your clients to continue working as normal .
– Price– The cloud is a significantly cheaper alternative to SBS servers. First, there is the cost of the server, and then there is the maintenance and what about if the server goes down? These are all additional cost incurred by the business that they could be allocating elsewhere. Not to mention the space it takes up.
Next week I’ll discuss how to price the solution. You’ll need to understand what others are charging and strategies for presenting to the customer. The first step in this process is you, as the partner understanding the comparisons. When presenting this offer to clients, you are not comparing apples to apples if you’re presenting ExchangeDefender vs. the bare bones competition solution, you’re comparing apples to oranges. So don’t be fooled by the competition.
For more information, please contact me at : Anastasia@ownwebnow.com or 877-546-0316 x 739.
We are proud to announce that Shockey Monkey is now available for download on your Android device. This app does require Android version 4.0 and higher in order to install and take advantage of its great features. Now you can take your service desk with you on the road and never again be stranded without knowing exactly what support issues await your arrival.
We’ve taken the feedback from our previously release BETA that was published to the iPad to enhance this experience. The Shockey Monkey app now supports background synchronization, so you are no longer stuck sitting and watching a loading screen for long periods of time. You also now have complete control over your companies & contacts, with the ability to dial them from the application.
We’ve implemented an advanced synchronization module that will feed information efficiently and provide you with more accurate and up to date information. You have access to all of your open tickets within your portal and can easily navigate, update and retrieve critical information from these tickets. This become critical when you are on the road and forget your job details or new jobs come in within a moment’s notice!
We also have more good news!
We are so pleased with the outcome of this new app, that we are pushing the changes onto the Apple iOS version as well. We have already finished the iPhone port and are making the updates to the iPad app currently. We hope that by the end of the month both of these new mobile apps will be available via the iTunes and you can take Shockey Monkey anywhere your job takes you!
By now, there should be little argument left about the disadvantages of moving your clients messaging platform to the cloud. From a MSPs point of view, hosted email is a no brainer. Very little knowledge of the technology is required to start offering a hosted exchange solution to your client base. In fact, the only skills you need to possess to open an entirely new revenue stream for your business is the ability to type and follow directions. What I want to express to you now is that you don’t need to be an Exchange Administrator, or even need to know how the technology works for you to offer a hosted Exchange solution to your clients. Having ExchangeDefender takes away all the headaches of having to setup, maintain, and support your hosted Exchange clients.
How ExchangeDefender’s Hosted Exchange Benefit both You and Your Client
The benefits for you as an MSP are relatively simply to understand: It allows your business to expand its technical offerings; which in turn, adds an additional revenue stream coming into your company. The advantages for your client is that they can finally stop worrying about that single point of failure called a server sitting in the supply closet. ExchangeDefender consists of 40 data centers worldwide and offer many services such as email hygiene, LiveArchiving, and mobile device support using ActiveSync technology built directly into our hosted Exchange platform. Other services such as long-term compliance archiving and corporate encryption can be easily added on when requested. ExchangeDefender has everything you need to offer your clients a reliable and compliant messaging platform.
Email Setup and Migration
By partnering with ExchangeDefender as your messaging solutions provider, you receive unsurpassed support in setting up and migrating your clients existing messaging platform to ExchangeDefender’s global network. The most important item to remember when talking to your clients about migrating their existing email is to constantly communicate with them—step by step. This should be accomplished in a sit down meeting with the necessary people in your clients firm. Your biggest job is to assure your client that no emails will be lost, mail will continue to flow, and that downtime will be kept at a minimum. All of this can be achieved by simply keeping them in the loop. Providing them with workflow documentation as to how the migration will occur will greatly reduce their worries of not being able to access their email for an extended period of time. Explain to them that their mail will be moved, the MX mail records will be modified, and Outlook/mobile devices will be configured. The benefit to you, the partner, comes from the recent announcement of ExchangeDefender’s new Migration Service for Solution Providers. This service allows you and your techs to concentrate on other projects in your business while ExchangeDefender handles your client’s mail migration and support for you.
Wrapping It All Up (with a Bow on Top)
Steve Jobs was quoted many times in his life. One of my favorite quotes of his was. “People don’t know what they want until you show them.” How can your clients know what is technologically best for their company if you never show them or talk to them about it. Most MSPs I talk to and know are sadly leaving money on the table because they are scared of the technology necessary to pitch solution to their clients. ExchangeDefender is removing all those barriers for your company. By partnering with ExchangeDefender, you can comfortably offer a secured and compliant messaging solution with migration and support services included.
CEO Preface: While discussing and planning the migration and support services you found out during our last webinar, many of our partners were at the same time concerned and excited about what they could do with the time that would be freed up with someone else taking care of support and migration. Aside from the fact that the migration project is done on your behalf and you can (and should and will!) still bill for it, here are some things to think about as we get suggestions from our partners that are on board with this project already.
For many MSP’s and IT solution providers, Exchange migrations have been a long, sometimes frustrating, and tedious task. At times, when things go awry, the migration can lead to upset customers and cause rifts in a fragile relationship, leaving little opportunity to pursue additional sales. This has some IT companies instead, cleaning up, apologizing, and heading for the hills. But, what if you didn’t have to worry about doing a migration? Then what?
ExchangeDefender recently announced a new migration service for partners selling the XD Hosted Exchange platform. This exciting new service will free up tech time and sales cleanup by handling all aspects of the migration from beginning to end, providing immediate revenues and additional opportunities.
It should be no surprise that happy customers buy more. Keeping customers happy through the initial phases of a transition, cutover, installation, or rip and rebuild can be difficult. But, when you don’t have a migration project to worry about, the focus can shift to the customer and less on the work.
This is important, especially for new customers, but even for long time customers where you have built trust. The reason is that often time’s customers can feel uninformed or left out of the process when a project is underway. This is not, by any means on purpose by the provider; instead it is the byproduct of the need to stay within the job-costing model without eating into to revenues when a project goes beyond its initial scope.
So some things to do when you don’t have to worry about a migration are:
1. Focus on The Customer – This can be things like providing regular updates, visiting the site, bringing by lunch or donuts for the office, or just giving that extra bit of attention you may not have otherwise been able to provide.
2. Provide Additional Recommendations- When you aren’t focused on the project at hand, you can take more time to look around and see what else needs attention. Revisit your initial walkthrough and discuss any further products or services the customer may require.
3. Talk with Individual Employees- If there is one surefire way to learn and understand what is really going on with the network, it is to ask an employee. Spend some time talking to employees and asking questions regarding the computers and network to get a better idea of what types of solutions may be needed.
4. Find your next Customer- With all of the time saved not having to deal with a migration project; you surely have time to go find your next cloud customer. Work on your marketing plan, cold calling, or revisit previous customers that couldn’t afford server options.
The one thing that all of these examples have in common is the fact that they all revolve around creating additional revenues. Far too often, IT companies get beat up during a project, leaving little opportunity to drive more sales. One of the many advantages to having the migration process handled by the vendor is that there will be more time for the customer. Beyond this, most IT companies charge for the migration, which creates immediate revenue for the provider.
Building a good relationship foundation with the customer is the key to selling additional services. When projects are handled with a concise, thought out, and well executed process; they are more likely to leave the customer with a desire to continue improvement.