MSP (Managed Service Provider)
Application Monitoring, MSP, SaaS, SaaS Monitoring, Resource, Cloud Based, Success Story
Atlanta-based IT services company iVision delivers managed services to nearly two dozen enterprises that have operations across the globe. In all, iVision monitors and manages nearly 2,100 devices and 3,000 to 4,000 virtual machines for its clients. iVision’s service level agreements (SLAs) with customers are based on mean time to acknowledgement, so proactive monitoring of network events and activity is critical. Consequently, iVision needs a monitoring platform that can discover and alert engineers to events on a variety of platforms deployed across multiple customer environments.
As iVision’s managed services business grew, the inflexibility of its existing cloud-based monitoring solution became an inhibitor. For one thing, the legacy monitoring system lacked the flexibility to set individual monitoring standards for different managed clients. iVision’s engineers struggled to manage multiple clients from a single pane of glass, which threatened the company’s ability to maintain SLAs. Bringing the infrastructure of a new customer under management within the existing monitoring tool was an additional sticking point. It took iVision engineers at least a month to get a new network properly instrumented. Integration with iVision’s IT service management platform was also poor. The incumbent monitoring tool’s connection points with iVision’s existing service desk dropped intermittently, which led to slower response times by iVision support staff. In addition, no one paid attention to the legacy system’s dashboards because they were too difficult to configure and keep up-to-date.
Realizing that they would have to change solutions in order to accommodate growth, iVision adopted LogicMonitor’s cloud-based monitoring platform as a replacement for its incumbent tool. Deployment was faster than expected, largely because LogicMonitor’s lightweight data collector was so simple to deploy and set up. What had been some of the most difficult aspects of deploying monitoring services with the legacy tools were now some of the easiest, due to the automated discovery and management configuration capabilities of the LogicMonitor solution.
With the introduction of LogicMonitor, iVision immediately reaped the benefits of rapid provisioning. Engineers were able to add 1,800 devices into monitoring within a couple of days, which was a pleasant surprise across the organization. The company also found that the time it took to onboard a new customer, which had been nearly a week on average using the older platform, was reduced to just a single day. LogicMonitor also demonstrated its ability to add support for new platforms rapidly. When one customer was using a storage platform for which the monitoring tool did not have a connector, LogicMonitor developers were able to deliver one to iVision within three days.
LogicMonitor offers a robust application programming interface (API) that allows network managers to extract data from the platform for additional analysis and reporting. “My favorite part of LogicMonitor is the API on the back-end, the ability to programmatically get information in and out of it,” said Tom Lasswell, lead architect at iVision. For instance, LogicMonitor’s API enabled iVision to extract utilization data from the monitoring tool and apply it to the billing system for its new cloud-based offerings, including backup-as-a-service and disaster-recovery-as-a-service.
With LogicMonitor, iVision has enabled its customers to monitor their own infrastructure through individualized portals. The company credits LogicMonitor’s easy-to-use interface for customer uptake on the portal. “LogicMonitor took a very different approach to presenting and graphing data. It’s easy to see data right up front, rather than digging in and creating charts. Introducing new customers or new engineers to the platform is very fast,” continued Tom. “Clients now log into the system regularly, and our internal team uses the dashboards on a constant, ongoing basis.”
The administration of iVision’s legacy monitoring tool had been so complex that the company had employed a full-time engineer to maintain it. The problem was so persistent that iVision initially considered outsourcing management of its monitoring tool to yet another managed services provider in order to deal with the management overhead. LogicMonitor’s ease of use has eliminated the need for that engineer.
In the eight months that iVision has been using LogicMonitor, the company has realized the following returns on its investment:
The bulk of the company’s return came in the form of avoiding costs associated with continuing with its incumbent monitoring vendor, which was recommending that iVision migrate from its SaaS-based monitoring platform to an on-premisess product. This on-premisess product would have introduced higher licensing fees. It would have also required iVision to hire a full-time engineer dedicated solely to the maintenance of the monitoring platform. Given that iVision prefers to dedicate its engineering resources to serving customers rather than maintaining its own infrastructure and services, this option was unacceptable. By migrating to LogicMonitor, iVision was able to avoid both these costs.
The effectiveness of LogicMonitor and iVision’s ability to rapidly onboard new customer environments via the platform has accrued additional soft benefits that are worth reviewing:
-iVision has seen an overall reduction in monitoring costs of 42% that it has passed onto its customers, which has made the managed service provider more competitive in the market.
-The more robust visibility offered by LogicMonitor has improved customer satisfaction and bolstered customer retention.
-iVision’s ability to rapidly onboard customers with LogicMonitor has become a valuable presales tool. iVision is able to incorporate LogicMonitor into proofs-of-concept with prospective customers. This allows iVision to demonstrate its value more comprehensively.
While many monitoring solutions can technically support a broad range of management objectives and activities, whether or not they can do so effectively is another matter entirely. Monitoring solutions must find that precious balance between completeness of functionality and ease of use; the solution must be sufficiently easy to deploy and use so that the full balance of its capabilities can actually be put into action. Often this balance is difficult to achieve when using tools built in an era when specialists were the norm and deep/complex tools were expected to manage each part of the IT puzzle independently. Platforms have been extended to cover multiple types of technologies, but unless the solution has been designed for simple deployment and ease-of-use, it will likely fall short of meeting the organization’s needs.
Unified infrastructure management is needed by most every organization today, but this need is particularly keen for MSPs, which seek to provide a cost-effective and high-quality alternative for enterprises that don’t wish to build or staff their own IT infrastructure management function. With its fast, automated deployment and configuration monitoring combined with the convenience and leverage of hosting the back-end in the cloud, LogicMonitor provides just this type of forward-looking solution. These design elements helped iVision realize quick ROI by smoothing the transition from its legacy system and positioning iVision to quickly onboard and support new managed customers quickly and easily. The crowning piece of the solution, and the one that iVision continues to find compelling every day, is the LogicMonitor dashboard, which has brought immeasurable (and invaluable) improvements in client satisfaction. iVision has been able to demonstrate a minimum return on investment of $124,000 through its first eight months with the product thanks to reduced licensing costs and the avoidance of hiring a full-time employee. It has also used the tool to improve customer retention and satisfaction, pass additional savings to its customers and enhance its pre-sales process.
Founded in 1996, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) is a leading industry analyst firm that provides deep insight across the full spectrum of IT and data management technologies. EMA analysts leverage a unique combination of practical experience, insight into industry best practices, and in-depth knowledge of current and planned vendor solutions to help EMA’s clients achieve their goals.
Founded in 2004, iVision provides infrastructure and application solutions, and it is organized into five complementary practices, including: Infrastructure Services, Data Center, Converged Network and Application Development – all supported by the Delivery Assurance practice. iVision engineers success for its clients through objective recommendations, process and technology expertise, as well as best-of-breed guidance.
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