In this episode of LogicTalks, Mark Banfield, Chief Revenue Officer at LogicMonitor, sits down with the CEO of Aurora, Ant Molloy. Aurora.io is a software and services organization who serves a wide variety of MSPs, telco resellers and IT resellers. Listen in as Mark and Ant discuss the innovative ways Aurora is able to quickly deploy and integrate devices in the cloud and on-premises to deliver ROI to its customers.
Mark Banfield – Okay, welcome everyone to LogicMonitor’s inaugural LogicTalks. This is a new initiative where we’re going to be speaking to industry experts and to really innovative LogicMonitor customers to talk about and deep dive into topics that are so important to the IT industry and why IT is so important in the modern workplace. Thanks for joining me on this premiere episode. My name is Mark Banfield and I’m the Chief Revenue Officer here at LogicMonitor. Today I’m joined by Ant Molloy from his home in Lancashire in the north of England. Ant is currently the CEO of Aurora. He has a plethora of knowledge and experience in the software space, particularly around monitoring and we’re very excited to have him here today.
Ant Molloy – Hi, Mark. Thanks very much for that.
Mark Banfield – Ant, why don’t you start by just giving us a quick overview on Aurora, your role, and about what Aurora does and how you operate in the market today.
Introduction to Aurora
Ant Molloy – Aurora is a software and services organization. We really see ourselves as an enabler for MSPs, telco resellers, and IT resellers. We provide software as a platform, which covers billing, sales, sales enablement, order, automated provision, and care platforms. As part of our care platform, we use LogicMonitor. We wanted pin that to get us to proactive management, or our resellers use that, I should say. The MSPs use that. I guess from the monitoring standpoint, we see ourselves as almost the enabler for MSPs. So we’ve got experience and professional services people and automation software that enables people to get more out of monitoring applications. And we’ve chosen LogicMonitor to be an integral part of that.
Managing Hybrid Infrastructure Environments
Mark Banfield – So it’s a really exciting business. I know you’ve had a lot of growth and a lot of success with the LogicMonitor platform. What are some of the major hurdles that you faced in managing and maintaining some of the different infrastructure environments and applications?
Ant Molloy – I guess there are two ways of looking at that. Aurora and Aurora’s platform is now fully monitored by LogicMonitor. I think that the wider piece of this is really more about our customers. So our customers are then selling on to their customers a monitoring service. They’re managing 10s of thousands of devices with varying different types of software. The amount of monitoring software that’s out there and within an organization, there’s usually four, five, six different tools. But there isn’t a consistent way of seeing that. So our customers spend too much time getting the tools working.
Key Criteria for Selecting a Monitoring Tool
Mark Banfield – When it came to making a selection and looking at the different criteria that was important to you as an organization in selecting a single pane of glass, a single monitoring platform. What was the process you went through? And what were the key decision criteria?
Ant Molloy – Needs to work, I know that sounds obvious, but it really does. I think the amount of time some monitoring tools, and we’ve had a plethora of monitoring tools, the amount of time it takes to get one working was a key factor. So making sure that it was simple and easy, making sure that the rollout was simple and easy. Sometimes our customers bring on basis quite quickly in quite significant numbers. So getting a view of that is important. Also, one of the things which I’ve been pushing for quite some time is SaaS first. No longer do I have to have a conversation on getting more disk space or getting more compute power. That’s your problem. And quite happy for you to have it. So I think that was a major factor. I think, strong and extensive API, especially for us in Aurora, we’re a software business. We’ve got a platform that we wanted to integrate LogicMonitor to. So whether that’s underpinning some of our support applications, whether that’s giving visibility directly to the end-users of our customers. So API was big up there as well.
Mark Banfield – Absolutely. I know one area that’s been a big differentiator for you has been around the speed with which you can deploy and integrate devices that you need to monitor. Because it’s a SaaS platform and it integrates with a lot different technologies, and know you think about it as ServiceNow and other things. Could you just talk a little bit about what you’ve done there? So I think it’s quite an innovative approach that you’ve taken.
Ant Molloy – We’re software developers at heart, but ultimately, we think about software first, we think about automation. We’ve done a number of things in that, one of them is we’ve underpinned the rollout of new devices of collectors. And again, we’ve used the API to do that with our own software using Ansible- using a variety of other pieces of technology that we brought together. We have integrated things like ServiceNow but we also have a layer in there, which means it doesn’t have to be ServiceNow. It could be Zendesk, a variety of other ticketing systems, but also our own sort of underlying affinity. Aurora affinity support system. LogicMonitor is the cornerstone of that. And really where we look to be the starting point of that proactive management of alerting, whether it’s an application, or whether it’s a piece of hardware, so there is that. I think the other piece that we’ve done, which we’re evolving all the time is our self-service portal. Our customers are displaying information about the devices which are being monitored in LogicMonitor to their customers. So we use a single instance of LogicMonitor for that one customer, but then we cooked and create views of that through our portal. In our next release in June, July time, we expect to take that even further. Customers can have their own devices and then that impacts at the back end into our support system, into our CMDB, into the billing system. As soon as a customer adds something that gets into the bill, and that’s a fully automated process, and that’s where LogicMonitor and the Aurora affinity platforms really come together.
Innovative Use Cases
Mark Banfield – And it’s a great solution. In terms of some of the innovative things you’ve enabled your customers to do, are there any that you could just talk about in terms of some interesting use cases where the combination of our platform with Aurora’s platform has really driven a really significant ROI?
Ant Molloy – I don’t think there’s one customer that we have that operates in the same way. We’ve got ones where they are handling break-fix, I mean, it is really about getting proactive alerts, and actual information about the actual failure so an engineer can turn up on-site with the right part. I think the consolidation of tooling. I think I talked about, sort of that single pane of glass. That obviously helps the service provider, or the managed service provider, or the reseller to manage the state, but also the amount of applications that we’ve turned off, as part of that, I think there are probably 50, 60 different monitoring tools. All of which had a license cost or a maintenance cost, all of which had some piece of hardware involved in that ongoing management. So some of our customers have really seen massive savings in that.
Extensibility of LogicMonitor
Mark Banfield – Yeah and I think one of the things that’s interesting with your deployment is that you have 10s and 10s and 10s of thousands of devices under management. Maybe just touch upon some of the extensibility of LogicMonitor- the flexibility it gives you in monitoring very different types of devices.
Ant Molloy – We want to use LogicMonitor as our single tool. And we want our resellers and MSPs to use it as their single tool as well. I think what we have is we’ve got customers that look at the same device in very different ways. So that could be just from a pure hardware point of view, and we’re really just caring about if it’s alive, and maybe some detailed information about hardware failures. And they never go up the stack. Then you’ve got other ones who are money service providers that are looking at that operating system. And then you go into the database, then you go into the applications. Pretty much each of our customers has got different usage- anything as complicated as a database server, or cluster, or down to application servers, down to Bluetooth headsets. Then you’re getting into the IoT space as well, which we see is a major area of growth. Because we’ve automated the approach to bring devices on, it means all of a sudden it opens up that wider monitoring space because you’re not spending massive amounts of time, adding on a Bluetooth headset. Why would you? So with automation, that helps us get into that market as well.
Monitoring Cloud Environments and Digital Transformation
Mark Banfield – In terms of public cloud, I know you’re using LogicMonitor to monitor some of those cloud environments. You yourself as Aurora are using public cloud, obviously, but also your customers are. Is that something that’s accelerating the move to use of public cloud like AWS, Google, Microsoft?
Ant Molloy – Well, we’re massive users of the cloud. So yes, at Aurora we’ve been on that journey, probably for last two to three years. I think some of our customers who are delivering a breakfix, that tends to be not on the cloud. I don’t really distinguish between a cloud environment or an on-premise environment. I just see those as devices and we’re looking at the health of those devices. And if something goes wrong, we just using a consistent way to manage it. And that single pane of glass. It’s all about service up time. It’s all about service performance. And the fact that we can bring that together into one is great for us, because we literally don’t want any more tools.
Proactive Monitoring, AIOps and Automation
Mark Banfield – Now, so a lot of what you’ve talked about has been driving monitoring to be less about being reactive, and more about being proactive and identifying issues before they actually ever become a major issue. You’ve done a lot on that journey yourself, and you’re leveraging some of the AIOps capabilities that we brought into the platform. But I know that’s something you feel very passionate about, isn’t it? I mean, AIOps and automation?
Ant Molloy – Yeah, I think automation is integral to probably everything that I’ve been doing over the last sort of 15 years if I’m honest. Using applications, using software, using hardware to do things quicker and better. I see automation kind of being part of our DNA. And we probably look at automation before we look at how we look at a user interface, if I’m honest, and anything that has got some form of automation, some form of AI, some form of using data that we’ve collected to make a better experience, ultimately, for the end-user. But to our resellers to our MSPs, and then to Aurora, ourselves. And I’m all up for that, as you know.
Mark Banfield – Yeah, I know, absolutely. Thanks very much. Thanks to everyone who’s subscribed to listen to this today. Remember to go to the LogicMonitor YouTube channel for the latest episodes of LogicTalks, there’ll be many more of them, I’m sure we’ll see Ant on here again. If you’re interested in how IT infrastructure monitoring and intelligence can help your organization then by all means, please swing by logicmonitor.com to get started. And we hope to see you again for the next episode of LogicTalks. Thank you.