David DeCamillis, VP of Sales & Marketing at Denver’s Platte River Networks, cringes at the word “outsource.” When it comes to describing the firms’ relationships with its customers, he feels that “insource” is more accurate.
Platte River provides complete IT and telecom services to companies across every industry, supporting over 200 businesses nationwide. “Our customers bring us into their organizations,” David explains. “We’re not just a help desk or infrastructure management and monitoring company. We become a part of their organization. We learn their goals and how they consume technology, and get involved in their decision making. How can we help grow their business?”
Cloud services have propelled Platte River’s managed services offering
After launching their cloud services nine years ago, the first major application that Platte River took off-premises for their clients was Exchange. However, when Microsoft first launched Office 365, Platte River was very wary about how the platform would perform in terms of migration and performance. Although Microsoft initially told partners that the migration would be easy, that was not the case.
“The migration was very challenging,” David relates. “You’re touching so many different things at once. So many things can go wrong—and they did.”
It was love at first sight when Platte River’s engineers discovered SkyKick Migration for Office 365
Early on, both Microsoft and Ingram Micro recommended that Platte River try the SkyKick Migration Suite. Once Platte River’s engineers saw SkyKick’s capabilities, they were both elated and relieved.
The engineers have found that the SkyKick Migration Suite enables them to execute migrations in a timely fashion while greatly reducing the number of issues down to the end user. It has allowed them to do a better job of project management. And it has given them confidence that projects will go off smoothly and cleanly.
Some of the things that they like best about the SkyKick Office 365 Migration Suite include the…
- FREE Email Discovery Tool, so they can implement a solid project plan by understanding the customer source email environment
- Seamless migration, including the mailbox migration tool that eliminates the need to spend hours importing the PST files
- Documentation and Dashboard that lets them see that all the mailboxes are migrating safely
- SkyKick pre-synchronizes data as a part of the migration process, and SkyKick doesn't charge for migrations until DNS cutover. This allows us to test the migration without having to worry about billing or refunds
- Access to SkyKick’s FREE “awesome” phone and email support when they have questions
Plus, of course, Platte River’s engineers love the way that the SkyKick Migration Suite does the vast majority of the work, leaving them with just “little touches and tweaks” on their end.
“Without SkyKick the migration wasn’t impossible,” David states, “but because you never knew how long it would take to do the migration, we tended to go over on project hours.
"Most email migration projects we did without SkyKick actually cost us money, since we couldn’t charge our customers for the overage. Now we use SkyKick for every Office 365 migration. Period."
And the per-seat pricing is advantageous for both us and our clients. You know going in what it will cost, and we have to tack on very few hours for our work.”
Seamless migrations are helping sales
A recent project helps illustrate how using the SkyKick Migration Suite with the Email Discovery Tool makes it easier for Platte River to close sales. A roofing company with a limited budget was splitting into two companies. Their email needed to be split up, also. While this is a relatively complicated and time-consuming process if done by hand, thanks to SkyKick’s Migration Suite Platte River was able to get the job and bring it in within budget.
SkyKick also helps Platte River get their customers over the fear factor. As David points out,
"Customers are generally afraid of going to the cloud especially with Exchange. Showing that you can provide a smooth migration really puts them at ease up front, and helps sell additional cloud services in the future."
Don’t be afraid to use a migration tool
Although some smaller providers may worry that using a migration tool would eat into their billable hours and shrink their revenue stream, David’s advice is to use SkyKick. Why? Because you’ll still be able to charge for your project management, discovery and end-of-project cleanup time. The customer sees value in these things, and you shouldn’t be afraid to charge for them. You’ll have an on-going per-seat charge that will contribute to revenue. And you’ll be using a tool that ensures a smooth migration, rather than risking losing money on a project that takes more hours than what you can bill for.
All those Office 365 installations need to be backed up
When it comes to backup, monitoring and security, Platte River’s philosophy is to use third party add-ons. Rather than “putting all their eggs in one basket,” they prefer to separate these services from the software vendors.
Platte River decided to sell an Office 365 backup solution after discovering that customers wanted protection beyond the limited retention period provided by Microsoft. “We initially started with a competitor’s product,” notes David, “but we found issues with that solution. Then our Ingram team introduced us to SkyKick Cloud Backup, and we’ve been using it ever since.”
“Every company depends on email,” David adds, “and every company has had a situation where they’ve had to go back to historical emails. Backing up email is as critical as backing up your other key data.
SkyKick Cloud Backup saves time and creates profit
Platte River feels that one of the major advantages of SkyKick’s Cloud Backup is the way its ease of use saves so much time. When a customer needs to access backed up data, Platte River’s technicians can quickly get the job done. Not only does this make Platte River look better to the client, but because this work is typically done under a flat fee managed services contract, the quicker the work gets done, the more profitable that monthly contract is.
Simplifying with SkyKick
When Platte River first starts servicing a new client, one of the things they like to do is simplify the organization’s networks. Can they reduce the number of applications being used? Is their data center overbuilt? Platte’s engineers find that many companies make their organizations more complex than necessary, and a simplified network can be beneficial.
"Likewise, SkyKick’s Migration Suite and Cloud Backup simplify things for Platte River. Both tools free up engineering time, make processes go smoothly and keep Platte River’s customers happy."
“Our focus is always on the customer and providing them value,” David states. “This is why every quote we submit includes both SkyKick Migration and SkyKick Cloud Backup. Either the client agrees to use these tools or we don’t do the project! It’s that simple.”