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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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Do Your Techs Spend 72 Hours Straight with Your Clients? MSPtv Episode 39

Posted March 17, 2015by Tim Lewis

 

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If you've ever considered taking advantage of a smart-sourced Network Operations Center (NOC), let this episode of MSPtv serve as the ultimate testimonial. Paul Rouse of Rouse Consulting in Moline, Illinois joined Scott Glidden on set to talk about his experience with Continuum's NOC. In their discussion, Rouse mentioned one specific instance when a Continuum NOC engineer stayed on a specific case for 72 straight hours. In addition to his positive NOC experience, Rouse mentions the relationships that he has built through his partnership with Continuum and how those relationships have helped him to build and grow his business. Tune in! 


 


Have any suggestions for an MSPtv episode? Want to give us your feedback? Email us at mspnow@continuum.net and let us know what you think!


Make Sure to Register for Navigate 2015 in VEGAS!


 

Episode Transcription:

Scott: Hi and welcome to another episode of MSP TV. I'm Scott Glidden and with me here today is Paul Rouse of Rouse Consulting Group out of Moline, Illinois. How are you today Paul?

Paul: Doing well.

Scott: Excellent. Well, thanks for coming by it’s must have been quite a trip for you to get here.

Paul: Everybody. It's cold everywhere.

Scott: It's cold everywhere.

Paul: It's cold in Boston

Scott: Yeah, it is.

Paul: But it's all right.

Scott: Yep. Tell us a little bit about Rouse Consulting and what are you up to out there in Moline?

Paul: Yep. So we're a classic manage service provider. Been at it for about 20 years now. Have expanded our customer base over the years we're have customers currently in 20 states as well and we do all the manage services. So we do the remote monitoring, the help desk, the server monitoring, backup data protection, firewalls, and we stay core to that.

Scott: Yeah.

Paul: We don't do phones, we don't do copiers, and we don't write code.

Scott: Yeah. Excellent. Now you've been with Continuum. You've been a Continuum partner for quite some time?

Paul: Since day one of Continuum

Scott: Yeah.

Paul: And certainly before that.

Scott: Yeah. You use a model where you take advantage of our NOC on a pretty solid basis right?

Paul: Absolutely.

Scott: Was there a particular experience or business decision or pain point that you reached that really made you embrace the NOC and the services it provided?

Paul: You know it's as we were growing, you know growth is sometimes difficult to manage both from a human resources perspective and the NOC really helps in the early stages to be able to smooth those peaks and valleys. And as we had large, large projects especially when tech refreshes occurred we initially used to NOC to be able to handle the larger projects.

Scott: Yep.

Paul: And schedule those out and let us, let our internal guys focus more on the day to day work. And so had a couple really good wins with the NOC early on projects they knocked it out park and got us a lot of confidence in to what the NOC could do.

Scott: Right.

Paul: In the performance and even more so gave my Engineers confidence that the NOC was a resource they could lean on as opposed to a competitive situation where they were competing against the NOC.

Scott: Right. And that's a situation I think that many of our MSP's run into the business owner makes a decision that this is how they see the company growing and the resources that are necessary to make it happen but sometimes you get a little push back from the Technical Staff thinking that they are in fact going to be replacing them, or something like that but sounds like your technicians and engineers are embracing it deserve more opportunity for them in different areas?

Paul: Right. So they're able to grow, actually learn some things from the NOC. Many times there's repetitive work that the NOC performs for us with things that aren't all that fun for the engineers to do.

Scott: Right.

Paul: So they do see it as a nice partnership there. In a good way, there's a little bit of competitiveness the NOC does a very good high quality work

Scott: Yeah.

Paul: And you know the internal guys understand that and you know their games have been upped a little bit.

Scott: Yeah, that's good.

Paul: With partnership so . . .

Scott: A little competition is good for the soul.

Paul: A competition. Yeah, absolutely.

Scott: It is. Now you have most of your service on the Elite Server Care Program?

Paul: I believe we have them all now.

Scott: Do you?

Scott: What was the cost benefit analysis? Why did you decide to maintain them at that level?

Paul: We struggled early with the decision at Navigate 2014 is when we made a decision to move from the middle server level to the Elite and for the first couple of months it took us a little bit awhile to get comfortable with exactly how we would use the NOC the most efficient manner.

Scott: Yeah.

Paul: And there's been a number of projects in the last few months that have really paid for the NOC easily for the year in how we've used them a lot with e-mail based issues so we make a policy change. We still manage quite a few internal exchange servers.

Scott: Yeah.

Paul: Had a project last week where we needed to block a certain type of attachment across our entire customer base. Instead of our engineers logging into 60 or 70 exchange servers and doing the same process repetitively.

Scott: Right

Paul: We were able to create projects for the NOC and the NOC's you know, pretty much got it knocked out already for us.

Scott: That’s great. So from an operational perspective it really helps you to kind of apply your internal resources a little bit more focused, or a little more project based and stuff?

Paul: Absolutely. Yeah, they can work on the things that really need our own touch on it and we can let the NOC do the more defined roles in projects that they're good at.

Scott: So tell me a little bit about how you use Continuum products and how you would leverage the resources that they bring to your organization and help you to grow and scale your business going forward.

Paul: Sure. So we pretty much consume the entire basket of Continuum services. With the exception of the Help Desk. We run our own Help Desk but beyond that it's really kind of a critical mass and that we get by using as many of services as we do and we know we have the NOC behind them to make sure when there's problems, integration problems, whatever comes up.

Scott: Yeah.

Paul: The team is there to help resolve them. We had one issue, year a year and a half ago came with a health care organization that we deal with and they had a server failure due to some advanced encryption issues that one of their suppliers requires and it really required a multidisciplined team in order to get them going again.

Scott: Yeah.

Paul: We were backing up their data, protecting it that way but there were some extenuating circumstances with the encryption that made some of the backups not as useful as we would've hoped they were and ultimately the NOC brought in multiple disciplines--

Scott: Yeah.

Paul: To really fix the issue and they brought in a very high level, Microsoft expert who was able to do some magic.

Scott: Yeah.

Paul: And a really bring a solution that saved the customers data in ways and really saved us as well.

Scott: That's wonderful.

Paul: That's something you know another reason why we really rely on them.

Scott: Being a leverage all those multiple resources and multiple certifications and so forth with the NOC.

Paul: Yeah, if we were just dealing with the backup technology we would not have had a positive outcome with that.

Scott: Yeah, so I get the sense you're a believer in Continuum's products and services that we provide. Tell me a little bit about the people you interact with and so forth. What's Continuum like on that level?

Paul: Yeah, over the years you know my guys, myself absolutely included, and I mean we know Continuum on a first name basis. When we call they know us, they know what we're like. We treat them like a part of our own family, you know. And we've seen over the years the lengths that Continuum will go for us.

Scott: Yeah.

Paul: The one instance I was speaking of previously we had the same engineer in Mumbai who stayed with us for 72 hours.

Scott: Wow.

Paul: Every once awhile I took an hour break or so but for the most part for 72 straight hours the guy stayed on the case.

Scott: Wow.

Paul: And that type of work ethic you just don't see everywhere.

Scott: That's nice to hear. Yeah, we were going over to Mumbai in May and we're really looking forward to meeting some of these guys and . . .

Paul: I'd love to see them on a face to face basis

Scott: Yeah, for sure right. Yeah, you exchange . . .

Paul: In the US people as well. We know our champs, you know. We've seen them grow over the years some move on to other parts of the organization and grow with it and we're happy for them and the US based equally. Great people to rely on.

Scott: Fantastic. So you mentioned Navigate 2014. Did you enjoy yourself there and are you looking forward to this year?

Paul: Absolutely, You know I think you guys hit a home run with it. Difficult to start a new endeavor like that and now moving out of your backyard to Vegas. Will be, I’m sure other challenges for you. With the success you had last year I can imagine the bar is set high and it’ll continue to surpass that.

Scott: Yeah, we're really looking forward to it. It was such a great event. There was a lot of energy, everyone seemed really to enjoy meeting each other I think as well. And kind of sharing some time, talking stories and talking shop and what have you. It was a great event and we're really looking forward to do it in Vegas this coming September.

Paul: We are as well.

Scott: Good. Thanks very much for stopping by.

Paul: Great thanks for having me.

Scott: Appreciate it come back and see us again sometimes folk’s thank you.


Make Sure to Register for Navigate 2015 in VEGAS!

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Tim Lewis came from Emerson College in Boston, he lives and breathes motion pictures. In his spare time he enjoys petting his dog, Duke! Woof!

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