Tag Archives: RMM

BS-RMM

What’s behind the importance of Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tools in the partner universe?

As Techopedia helpfully explains, RMM is the “proactive, remote tracking of network and computer health”, and typically delivers a set of IT management tools that enable technical staff to maintain service delivery more efficiently and productively - like trouble ticket tracking, and remote desktop monitoring and support.

But, inevitably, not all RMM solutions are created equal. So what is it that makes for a RMM tool that keeps your customers happy and your support teams’ productivity keen?

We looked into a number of recent comparative articles and reviews (like this one in Business Solutions and this one in TechTarget’s SearchIT Channel, amongst others) and came up with this (hopefully!) helpful wish-list:

1. Ease of deployment

“The choice you make when selecting RMM software often boils down to the best combination of integration, deployment and automation characteristics”, writes SearchIT Channel’s John Moore, and to my mind, deployment ranks right at the top of this hierarchy.

Why? Because the less you can disrupt your (and, by potential extension, your customers’) business with your RMM deployment, the better.

So look for solutions that can deploy selectively to one device or a group of devices, and to one location or multiple locations, in one smooth movement.

Consider the hardware onboarding, too; automatic provisioning is far less disruptive than manual, but Mobile Device Management (MDM), for example, will need to be cross-platform (iOS and Android) and offer easy enrolment and configuration functions.

Ultimately, you need to be comfortable with the vendor’s and solution provider’s role in all this, too. What sort of hand-holding or on-boarding will you receive during those crucial first few weeks? Is it restricted to self-help online tutorials, or will it follow a structured statement of work delivered by an engineer on a 1-to-1 basis?

And will they offer you any kind of satisfaction guarantee to protect you against the potential infelicities that shifting a hefty slice of your business productivity to a single platform could occasion?

Much of this is driven, in reality, by whether you choose a cloud-based RMM platform or an on-premise one – so shop around for solutions providers who offer options, to enable you to properly balance risk and return.

 2. Asset coverage and management

RMM can’t effectively monitor or manage anything unless it’s pointing to the right sources of information, and has within it the appropriate management tools.

Your RMM solution needs to work tightly with customers’ workstations, servers, printers, routers and mobile devices, but you also need to be able to slice and dice the monitoring and management by whatever criteria suit you best in any particular situation – by OS, by application, by location, and so forth.

The more geographically, technically, and logistically complex your and your customers’ operations, the more beef you need under your RMM bonnet!


3. Usability and minimal training requirements

Whichever kind of RMM you deploy, users have to be able to use it! For partners and MSPs, that’s principally operators in their own organisation (technical support staff, or perhaps, on occasion, account managers) but customers might need access to the solution, too (in a corporate enterprise deployment scenario, for example)          .

Either way, complexity can spell disaster. The Standish Group, a research outfit that tracks corporate IT purchases, has found that complexity is at the root of some 66% of all IT project failures or late deliveries.

Consequently, your RMM solution has to be built on intuitive features that are easy to master, should be able to orchestrate workflows to prevent human error, and must generally reduce the learning curve for the operators.

Look in particular for features like pre-configured groups, searches, templates and schedules, so that your teams don’t have to hand-craft monitoring and corrective routines on a day-to-day basis.

4. Automation

Related to what I said above about training, automation is the secret ingredient in making an RMM solution function effectively out of the box, and therefore enhancing the productivity and customer satisfaction it can deliver.

In any event, insist on pre-loaded monitors and alerts (so that you can go from both proactive and reactive investigation.)

But be wary: you need to get to the bottom of how quickly and precisely you can choose which of the hundreds of automated elements should be ‘on’ and which should be ‘off’. Does it involve cumbersome, costly trawling through countless groups, and individually cherry-picking the elements?

Or is there a more business-driven approach (such as allowing you to selectively turn off, say, all the Exchange or SQL server performance monitors at once, as opposed to their individual constituents?)

In the search for RMM zen, not all automation is nirvana!

5. Remote capability

Of course, none of this really works for your customers at all if your RMM solution’s remote support capability is lacking. If you can’t easily deliver support straight to a user’s screen, you’re not providing much of a service.

In an ideal world, the “stealth” functions of the RMM platform – the ones that enable you to support customers by making helpful changes and adjustments to their machines without them even knowing, and without interrupting their work – rule.

But sometimes, interrupting the user is unavoidable. Whichever situation you find yourself in, prefer a RMM solution with a native remote support capability, rather than a connection to a third-party one.

The former is controllable from within the solution itself, with one click, alongside all the solution’s other functions (the oft-cited “single pane of glass” approach) and will deliver a more seamless support experience to the end-user.

6. Integration capability

Finally, integration looms large on many MSPs’ and resellers’ RMM agendas. The ability to work with a “supporting cast” of existing applications (including security) not only diminishes customers’ operational headaches, it also creates a three-stage virtuous commercial circle.

The RMM solution becomes saleable because it works securely with existing applications sold by the partner, enabling it to potentially add an extra revenue stream to each customer.

New applications become saleable because they can be easily controlled thanks to the RMM solution, enabling the partner to into existing customers.

And for new customers? Rinse and repeat on both counts!

RMM: which solution to choose?

Essentially, it boils down to this: MSPs and resellers don’t know how their markets are going to diversify in the future. They may be selling one kind of service today, tomorrow it could be another, depending on where there’s profit to be made.

But they’ll all be online, they’ll all be remote, and they’ll all bankrupt the partner if they don’t integrate with a RMM solution that helps to transform the burden of keeping the service running into a highly automated – rather than costly manual – process.

One RMM solution to serve them all? Now that would be a great thing to sell.

LabTech xSPBlue Solutions are pleased to announce the arrival of an xSP pricing model from LabTech Software. Until recently LabTech has only been available as perpetual or a subscription licence with commitment. You can now purchase LabTech on a Pay As You Grow (PAYG) licence model. You will be billed via Direct Debit in arrears based on the number of agents deployed in the previous month. The more you deploy the cheaper the agent price.

  • No commitment with quantity or term
  • Increase or decrease agents used
  • Grows with your business
  • Start to benefit from the power of LT without commitment / big investment
  • Transition from another RMM provider by running in parallel
  • Easy to switch to different licence model if required

Check out a trial of LabTech today www.labtechsoftware.com/bluesolutionscloudtrial

BYOD and New Network Requirements

Adopting BYOD increases the bandwidth usage, deteriorating the performance of other devices and applications in the network. This becomes definitely a pain instead of the expected advantage.

According to BT and Cisco’s research, the companies implementing BYOD practices should reinforce their networks, their security and obtain complete control of all the devices in them whether they are mobiles or not, to accomplish their planned productivity.

According to research based in 2,200 surveys to executives and companies in 13 countries along the different regions, the growth of mobiles devices is exponential and has increased the bandwidth usage in 84%. Actually, 56% of IT managers have detected a lower performance in the network and certain applications as a result of the increased bandwidth consumption. This impacts the devices’ maintenance processes and updates as well.

These negative effects are perceived by the employees; 46% of the employees with Wi-Fi access have detected delays in connecting to the network, in the applications deployment and performance, and in their devices updating, briefing, their systems whether mobiles or not have become slower in every mean. 76% of the professionals that responded to the survey think that companies should take the needed measures to increase the productivity, security, and performance. From the surveyed TI professionals, 33% suggested working with more applications based in Cloud, 32% suggested using specialized software, and 32% suggested increasing support to mobile devices users.

BYOD RMM

 

This is clearly one of the most common pains produced by the innovative mobile revolution. Now read this:

Even though having a Wi-Fi access is fundamental to a BYOD development, 45% of the employees do not have Wi-Fi access to their corporate networks. Of this number 68% thinks that having this access would turn into a positive impact on their work, 30% said it would increase their flexibility at work, and 26% said it would ease their contact within the company.

Network capacity is definitely not the only challenge to consider when adopting BYOD. Actually, 84% of the surveyed IT professionals said that BYOD could be a competitive advantage only if the necessary processes, tools, and policies are adopted; 26% think that employees understand the requirements to get the access and permissions for their mobile devices.

RMM and MDM are definitely one of these requirements; a properly applied continuous RMM/MDM policy allows the IT professionals to control the installation, deployment and performance of each application and device whether it is BYOD or not. RMM/MDM tolls also control the corporate information security and access in the network help

ing it to improve its performance. Additionally, the regular RMM/MDM processes reinforce security policies along the network, devices and corporate information.

Gordon Thompson, EMEA Enterprise Network Director in Cisco, stated that they already have a BYOD model. They started in 2009 only with smart phones, achieving savings of 25% on cost-per-employee. They recently added 82% more devices to their base increasing the number of users by28%. He added that companies intending to implement BYOD definitely have to consider a BYOD comprehensive plan beyond the operating system; they have to consider the device support and maintenance, , the end user experience and the increased productivity.

John Timko, Marketing Director at LabTech Software, explained that RMM/MDM services, IT networks and application performance work hand-in-hand. RMM certainly improves the network and devices’ performance.

Timko added that in a nutshell, the appropriate RMM and MDM services together with high performing network hardware and software can deliver any IT support and management task or process that needs to be accomplished remotely, efficiently and non-intrusively, giving the support and performance needed to achieve the desired productivity, and end-user experience and at the same time reinforcing security and information availability.

The smart phones and tablets trend is to continue growing, and companies need to develop BYOD plans, so they imminently need a cost-effective RMM and of course MDM solution. The market is there, opened and in need, waiting for experienced RMM and MDM services and solutions provider to help them achieve their performance goals.

Monica Paul, Marcomtec Group