Atrion Enhances Managed Services, Profit Margins with Nimsoft


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Atrion’s management team found that different aspects of their server monitoring platform weren’t as scalable as required, and began to hinder their ability to enhance services and grow the business. Monitoring capabilities are a critical component in Atrion’s ability to serve its clients effectively.

Consequently, when it came time to choose a new monitoring solution, the company’s managed services team undertook a rigorous, two-year evaluation of the alternatives. When the evaluation came to an end, one vendor surpassed the rest: Nimsoft. The evaluation made clear that the Nimsoft products and its people were best equipped to support Atrion’s clients and business objectives.

"Nimsoft allows us to do more without spending more. Now we’ll be able to monitor from an application, rather than a device, standpoint, which opens up a host of new possibilities in terms of service offerings. Plus, not only can we expand our service catalog, we can offer higher value, higher margin services—all with one tool set."
—Tim Hebert, CEO, Atrion

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Atrion Enhances Managed Services, Profit Margins with Nimsoft

  1. 1. AtrionAtrion Enhances Managed Services,profit Margins with Nimsoft Comprehensive Capabilities Enable Veteran MSP toChallenge Replace Multiple Point Solutions, Streamline Operations∞ Gaining end-to-end service level A Consistent Focus on Business Objectives—and Results monitoring insights needed to demonstrate and deliver more Established in 1987, Atrion Networking Corporation has been offering managed business value to clients, while services for more than 14 years. Atrion’s offerings span the full IT management contending with disparate, limited lifecycle, including design, implementation, ongoing break-fix support, monitoring platforms. proactive and reactive managed services, and optimization. Today, Atrion monitors the “always on” infrastructures of mid to large enterprises, supporting∞ Finding a monitoring platform and clients that have anywhere from a couple of hundred to 2500 employees. establishing a strategic vendor partnership that can help support In a competitive landscape filled with technology resellers masquerading as business growth objectives. service providers, Atrion is a managed service provider (MSP) that has a long track record of succeeding by truly partnering with clients and ensuring services deliver real business value.Solution “The saying goes that ‘if you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail,’ and that’s a pretty good depiction of the mindset of many MSPs, who tryNimsoft Monitor, which offers to adapt the customer challenge to their limited solution sets, rather thancapabilities for business-centric the other way around,” said Tim Hebert, CEO, Atrion. “Our differentiationmonitoring and support for emerging stems from the fact we focus first on our clients’ business—their challenges,technologies, was selected to replace opportunities, and objectives—and we then develop solutions that are tailoredseveral monitoring products. to those needs. We can follow that up with a complete set of services that can help take clients from initial analysis through to implementation and ongoing support.”Results This approach has yielded continued growth for Atrion—and continued high∞ Reduced training and administration marks of satisfaction from Atrion’s clients. A long-time Cisco partner, the costs. company is consistently rated in the top 1% of Cisco Gold Partners worldwide in∞ Cut repair times by as much as 50%. terms of customer satisfaction and loyalty.∞ Expanded service catalog and Monitoring Platform Limitations Hinder Business Growth revenue streams. As with any other MSP, Atrion’s monitoring capabilities can play a big role in the∞ Improved service profitability. quality of services that are delivered to clients. Over time, Atrion’s management∞ Enhanced ability to demonstrate team found that different aspects of their monitoring platform weren’t as business value. scalable as required, and began to hinder their ability to enhance services and grow the business. The company had implemented several point solutions, and also invested in the Dell Remote Monitoring platform (formerly Silverback Technologies). While the Dell solution initially represented a viable offering, over the course of several years, it started to present significant challenges:
  2. 2. Nimsoft Case Study∞ Service levels—Early on, Silverback provided excellent company’s managed services team undertook a rigorous, service and attention to Atrion’s team. However, after the two-year evaluation of the alternatives. Initially, staff from company was acquired by Dell, the team at Atrion began Atrion traveled to visit other MSPs around the country to see receiving slower response to inquiries and requests—a what products their peers had selected, and to assess how significant issue, given that, in a managed services business, these organizations were actually using the products. delays of even minutes can make the difference between The company’s assessment started with 12 alternatives, and highly satisfied customers and lost business. included not only an assessment of the products, but an in-∞ Technology direction—After the Dell acquisition of depth analysis of the companies, their strategic vision, product Silverback Technologies, the product roadmap changed road maps, and people. As the list of potential solutions substantially. For example, Dell had a strong focus on narrowed, the scrutiny became more intense, including desktop support, which was counter to Atrion’s objectives exhaustive technical testing. The company’s managed services to move up in the IT value chain. Consequently, a lot of team evaluated a range of alternatives: upgrades were being made that didn’t align with Atrion’s priorities, while the new features Atrion needed, such as ∞ Incumbent solution—The MSP considered staying with the support for business applications, virtualization, and unified Dell Remote Monitoring Platform, but the solution did not communications, were not happening or slow in coming. align with their business needs.∞ Transitional gaps—The Dell Remote Monitoring platform ∞ Monitoring solutions for MSPs targeting small and was being migrated from a traditional appliance deployment mediumsized businesses—Atrion’s managed services to a hosted model. As a result of this transition, many staff evaluated several popular offerings in this category, of the features that were most important to Atrion’s including Kaseya, N-Able, Level Platforms, and others. Many customers were no longer supported. Further, many of the of these didn’t make the short list simply because of product custom reports Atrion’s team had built would need to be limitations or business issues, such as a lack in funding or re-engineered to work on the new platform. Ultimately, strategic focus. Ultimately, this class of solutions didn’t Atrion was forced to choose between remaining on the old appear to be suitable for an MSP like Atrion, which targets platform, which wasn’t being enhanced, or migrating to a larger, more demanding enterprises. new platform that wasn’t ready to meet Atrion’s immediate ∞ Open source products—Open source alternatives also needs in serving clients. Neither of these options truly fit didn’t make the short list. While the company has a Web with Atrion’s objectives. development arm that relies extensively on open source,“Atrion has had a fantastic relationship with Silverback and Dell they decided that this wasn’t a viable route for theirfor many years,” said Chris Poe, CTO, Atrion. “We will continue monitoring work with them in ways that make sense for our business.However, as our organizations’ priorities with regard tomonitoring technologies appeared to be misaligned, we were “As our organizations’ priorities withforced to either remain stagnant in our solution offerings or regard to monitoring technologiesmove on to a newer, more flexible, and more comprehensiveplatform.” appeared to be misaligned, we were forced to either remain stagnantFor Atrion’s managed service team, the answer was clear:they needed a more nimble monitoring platform that would in our solution offerings or movesupport their ongoing efforts for service advancement, on to a newer, more flexible, andevolution, and market leadership. more comprehensive platform.”Seeking the Right Solution and Vendor —Chris PoeMonitoring capabilities are a critical component in Atrion’s CTOability to serve its clients effectively. Consequently, when Atrionit came time to choose a new monitoring solution, the2 | Case Study: Atrion
  3. 3. Nimsoft Case StudyOne Solution for Optimal IT Services and within weeks Nimsoft came back and delivered on those features,” Hebert continued. “It’s one thing if I have to say,Coverage and Business Insights ‘there’s no deal if you don’t deliver a given feature.’ It’s anotherWhen the evaluation came to an end, one vendor surpassed thing to have a vendor really listen, and proactively respondthe rest: Nimsoft. The evaluation made clear that the Nimsoft to our input—without our having to push for it. This is just oneproducts and its people were best equipped to support example of how the Nimsoft team took a personal interestAtrion’s clients and business objectives. in our business, spent the time to understand our needs and objectives, and took the steps required to support us in those“We are completely and passionately focused on the business efforts.success of our clients,” said Hebert. “That entails takingtime to understand what they’re looking to accomplish and Robust Reporting for Business Insightsthen delivering truly customized services that meet thoseobjectives. Nimsoft Monitor uniquely supports us in these Atrion’s previous tool sets meant that either Atrion staffefforts. It helps us be more agile in adapting to technology needed to manually build a host of reports on an ongoingadvancements and evolving customer needs, and it ultimately basis, or provide basic reports that only offered minimalenables us to deliver higher levels of service to our clients.” insights for clients. With the Nimsoft Service Delivery Portal (SDP), Atrion can actually provide clients with accessIn the end, Atrion found that Nimsoft Monitor fit the core of to an online resource any time, enabling them to get allthe IT services space better than anyone. the monitoring details they need—including real-time performance levels, alerts, and more.“Some of the products we evaluated were better for servers,but they didn’t do networking very well,” Poe explained.“Others were very good at network monitoring, but they didn’thandle servers and applications very well. Still others lacked “ We wanted to make sure that wekey functionality or flexibility. Nimsoft proved to be the onewell rounded, multi-purpose platform that delivered all the could build an effective, long-termkey capabilities our staff needed.” working relationship with the vendor...Following are a few of the key reasons Nimsoft came out on Hands down, there was no one eventop. close in matching Nimsoft’s willingnessEstablishing a Strategic Business Partnership and ability to build a partnership.”Given the strategic role monitoring plays in the level of servicethe company can provide, Atrion was looking for a strategic —Tim Herbertpartner, rather than a mere technology supplier. The Nimsoft CEOteam, including the CEO and representatives across the Atrionorganization, demonstrated a commitment to Atrion’s successthat was unrivaled. In addition, Nimsoft Monitor offers simple to use, yet“We wanted to make sure that we could build an effective, sophisticated dashboard and reporting capabilities that enablelong-term working relationship with the vendor, and that we’d Atrion to offer customers better insights for administrationfeel confident about their commitment to our business,” said and optimization, improve the quality of service provided toHebert. “Ultimately, this partnership aspect represented our its clients, and ultimately better communicate the value of themost important evaluation criteria. Hands down, there was no services being even close in matching the Nimsoft team’s willingness “Being able to create customizable dashboards was anotherand ability to build a partnership, including incumbents that capability that made Nimsoft Monitor stand out,” said Poe.we’d already been doing business with. “This allows us to create different viewpoints for different“For example, during initial conversations with the Nimsoft people within the organization. Now, we can sit down withteam, we mentioned some features that were important to us, our clients and discuss what the CIO needs to see, what the3 | Case Study: Atrion
  4. 4. Nimsoft Case StudyVP of IT needs to see, etc., and then build custom dashboards and scalability. Now, Atrion can monitor and manage aand reports for those specific roles. Ultimately, this gives them host of business services, including email systems, ERP, andthe specific, customized views they need to run their business applications.better.” This delivers a critical business advantage to Atrion for two keyMonitoring Coverage of Emerging reasons:Technologies and the Entire Infrastructure • First, this service level insight offers greater value to customers. In the end, the customer really cares aboutThe Nimsoft solution’s comprehensive monitoring made it whether a business service is performing reliably andpossible for Atrion to eliminate numerous point solutions and quickly, rather than whether a specific device is up or not.the associated costs and complexity of using and maintainingdisparate products. Nimsoft offered several features that • Second, this service level monitoring enables the MSPenabled it to address virtually all of Atrion’s monitoring needs: to move beyond an increasingly commoditized device monitoring market to higher value, higher margin offerings.• Emerging technology support—Atrion’s staff wanted to support the emerging technologies that its customers “I don’t think there’s any doubt that the market for simple were adopting, including virtualization and unified device monitoring is going to become commoditized,” Hebert communications, and Nimsoft Monitor was uniquely claimed. “Instead of monitoring routers, switches, and servers, equipped to support these advanced technologies. we want to monitor email, for example, and everything about email from a systematic level. We want to monitor that• Scalability—Nimsoft Monitor was proven to manage the service as one entity not as fifty independent entities. Nimsoft high volumes of monitoring data generated by Atrion’s allows me to change my focus beyond monitoring devices to largest clients. business services.”• Resilience—With an architecture that offers a range of high availability features, Nimsoft practically eliminates the Benefiting From a Solution that Streamlines chance of downtime within Atrion’s monitoring services. Operations and Strengthens Competitive For example, Nimsoft Monitor enables Atrion to roll out upgrades, patches, and new features without incurring any Position down time. By implementing Nimsoft Monitor, Atrion has enjoyed several significant benefits:“Compared to other solutions, Nimsoft Monitor allowed usto get into new technologies faster,” Poe explained. “This • Reduced training and administration costs. With itsis critical because we constantly look to innovate in order comprehensive monitoring coverage, Nimsoft enablesto provide our clients with the latest and most impactful Atrion’s administrators to use one product—when theysolutions. The modular approach, product architecture, and used to use five. The result will be far less administrativeinvestments in new technologies made Nimsoft Monitor the complexity,best solution to help us standardize on a single product, andstay on the forefront of emerging technologies.” • Reduced repair times. With enhanced monitoring granularity and comprehensive, intuitive dashboards andDelivering Visibility into Business reports, Atrion expects its repair times to be reduced by up to 50%.Service Levels • Expanded service catalog and revenue streams. NimsoftFeaturing comprehensive infrastructure coverage, end user provides comprehensive infrastructure coverage, enablingresponse monitoring, and service level agreement reporting, Atrion to quickly and easily augment the services theyNimsoft Monitor equips Atrion with an ability to move beyond offer clients, whether that means monitoring new devicessimplistic, commoditized device monitoring. In addition, with or systems, emerging technologies like virtualization andthe Nimsoft BSM Express product, Atrion can do business unified communications, or an entire service infrastructure,service management with unprecedented ease, flexibility, such as email, ERP, or e-commerce.4 | Case Study: Atrion
  5. 5. Nimsoft Case Study• Improved service profitability. With their scalability and ease of use, Nimsoft Monitor enable the MSP to do more with its existing people and budgets—which means Atrion can scale its business while controlling costs. Plus, by enabling Atrion to deliver higher value and higher margin services, the business profits further.“Nimsoft allows us to do more without spending more,”Hebert said. “Now we’ll be able to monitor from anapplication, rather than a device, standpoint, which opens up ahost of new possibilities in terms of service offerings. Plus, notonly can we expand our service catalog, we can offer highervalue, higher margin services—all with one tool set.”About NimsoftNimsoft provides integrated, IT management as service solutions for businesses and service provider customers globally, including1&1, CDW, SoftLayer, SunGard Availability Services, Sur La Table, TriNet, and Virgin America. The company’s Nimsoft UnifiedManager is an industry-leading solution that helps organizations easily monitor and manage IT services in increasingly complexbusiness environments. Nimsoft solutions integrate with existing resources from the data center to the cloud, and are available on apay-as-you-go basis. For more information, visit North America United Kingdom Australia Singapore Headquarters +44 (0) 845 456 7091 +61 (0)2 8898 2943 +65 64328600 U.S. toll free: 1 877 SLA MGMT (752 Norway & Northern Brazil New Delhi 6468) 1 408 796 3400 Europe +5511 5503 6243 +(91 11) 6656 6667 +47 22 62 71 60 Email: Mexico City Mumbai Web: Germany +52 (55) 5387 5406 +(91 22) 66413800 +49 (89) 90405-170 Copyright © 2012 CA. All Rights Reserved. One CA Plaza, Islandia, N.Y. 11749. Nimsoft is a trademark or registered trademark of Nimsoft Inc. All other trademarks, trade names, service marks, and logos referenced herein belong to their respective companies.