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Zenith Infotech Launches 'NOC Service Miles'

Zenith Infotech is expanding the types of services it makes available to its managed services provider (MSP) customers with a new program called NOC Service Miles.

"The Service Miles program is similar to what a rewards program would be for a credit card or an airline," says Jason Jacobetz, director of sales at Zenith, a Pittsburgh area-based provider of services for remote monitoring and management (RMM), backup and disaster recovery, and virtual helpdesk.

Zenith's 5,600 partners will earn so-called Service Miles, or credits, that can be redeemed for service projects performed by Zenith's Network Operations Center staff on behalf of end-user customers.

The credit system depends on how many software agents a partner has installed with customers. Zenith's desktop agent is worth three credits, Remote Server Watch is worth five, Proactive Server Care is worth five and Remote Server Care is worth 15. Each month, Zenith will tally a partner's total credits and divide it by 12 to calculate the number of the "Service Miles" credits the partner gets that month. (Unused credits expire after six months.)

Credits can be used to buy NOC services such as third-party patching, service pack installs, anti-virus rollouts, client software installations, installing BlackBerry servers, configuring or migrating Exchange servers, optimizing desktops or troubleshooting applications.

The MSP can then bill the customer for that service in any way they choose. "The NOC Service Miles program will help MSPs get even closer to that 100 percent utilization rate [for technical staff] because they're uncovering more billable time, doing more project work and still having their own time during the day," Jacobetz says. He says the types of projects MSPs can use Zenith's NOC for are generally those which the MSP's helpdesk staff would often perform remotely anyway.

As an example of how credits are allocated, Jacobetz says a partner with Zenith agent deployments equating to 1,200 credits would have 100 "Service Mile" credits to use on behalf of customers each month. Each credit roughly equates to a single desktop in a Zenith NOC project.

To schedule service for a customer using the credits, an MSP would need to look on Zenith's NOC schedule for an available time 48 hours or more in the future. The MSP would select the customer's site and select the targeted desktops, and Zenith would perform the work and notify the MSP upon completion.

Zenith began piloting the Service Miles program with 300 of its MSPs in late April and opened it to 750 more partners a few months later. As of mid-July, the program is available to all of Zenith's MSPs.

Service Miles enrollment is free for Zenith's MSP customers through Oct. 1. After that, partners will need to enroll and pay a $99 monthly subscription, which will include an automatic 20 new credits per month in addition to the credits the partner has earned through customer installations.

Jacobetz positions Zenith's move to expand its NOC-based services on behalf of MSPs as a way to avoid what he describes as a downward price spiral in the RMM market. "We're seeing the RMM market slowly migrate to trying to play a price game. Cost of an agent is continuing to go down and down and down, and thus the value of what that software does is continuing to decrease," he says. "Instead of playing that pricing war, we're looking to accentuate the value of what we can do on the service side."

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 20, 2011


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