Eliminating Hidden Costs in MSP Operations

Sep 8, 2021 3:00 pm4:00 PM EST

Summary

BWG & ScienceLogic are teaming up to cover some topical points in the MSP world! Join our conversation with MSP professionals to interact / learn best practices around automating incidents, CMDB updating, reducing MTTR, and how AIOps can generate new business.

BWG Connect & ScienceLogic invite you to participate in an interactive discussion with your peers.

As always, there will be no sales pitches and there is no cost to join.

Discussion Topics

  • Automating the flow of incidents in MSP Operations
  • Automating fault diagnostics for networks, servers and unified communications
  • Eliminating manual CMDB updates and CMDB overages
  • Reducing MTTR for a better customer experience
  • How Ops teams can help generate new business with profitable premium revenue streams

Event Partners

Guest Speaker

Peter Luff

Senior Director, Product Marketing at ScienceLogic

Peter Luff is the Senior Director of Product Marketing at ScienceLogic. ScienceLogic provides modern IT operations with actionable insights to predict and resolve problems quickly. Since its founding 18 years ago, ScienceLogic has become a leader in the AIOps world. Clients like Cisco, Dell, and IBM use ScienceLogic as their mainstream monitoring platform for their large customers.

Peter Luff helps ScienceLogic’s MSP customers define new services around their platform and take them to market. This includes designing and building the service and then working with marketing and sales teams to sell those managed services. Previously, Peter was the Director of Marketing and Service Providers for Infoblox, the Global Services Marketing Manager for JDSU Corp, and the Director of Business Development for Edge Technologies Inc.

Event Moderator

Greg Irwin

COO at BWG Strategy LLC

BWG Strategy is a research platform that provides market intelligence through Event Services, Business Development initiatives, and Market Research services. BWG hosts over 1,800 interactive executive strategy sessions (conference calls and in-person forums) annually that allow senior industry professionals across all sectors to debate fundamental business topics with peers, build brand awareness, gather market intelligence, network with customers/suppliers/partners, and pursue business development opportunities.

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Event Information

Sep 8, 2021 3:00 pm - 4:00 PM EST

Event format

Roundtable Layout
Featuring 20+ executives, where everyone can contribute, ask questions and learn from peers
On-Topic Discussions
Q&A format, moderated by BWG Connect with group interaction throughout
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Opportunities to network before and after

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Are you working hard but feel like you can barely keep up? Do you wish you could automate more of your company’s services?

ScienceLogic can help. Their team has worked with companies like Cisco, Dell, and IBM to reallocate energy and save money. By bringing in automation and intelligence to the operational functions of the business, they deliver high quality service at a lower cost. So, how does it work?

In this virtual event, Greg Irwin is joined by Peter Luff, Senior Director of Product Marketing at ScienceLogic, to discuss how to eliminate hidden costs in MSP operations. Peter describes ScienceLogic’s areas of expertise, why APIs are critical to data collection and integrity, and how they helped multiple companies clean up their CMDBs.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Peter Luff describes ScienceLogic’s areas of expertise
  • What is AIOps?
  • How ScienceLogic’s automation services saved Cisco millions of dollars and improved their quality of service
  • Why API’s are critical to data collection and integration
  • How to take something that’s a cost and package it into a revenue line
  • The importance of asset discovery in the grand scheme of operations
  • How ScienceLogic helps clean up CMDBs to bring cleaner, higher quality data
  • Strategies for using automation to resolve customer issues

Discussion Transcription

Greg Irwin 0:18

Today we are co-hosting at ScienceLogic, these guys are right in the middle of AIOps. And we're going to be MSPs are doing to improve operations to manage and automate them. It's time for me to bring Peter in. Peter, good to speak with you, again, give a little intro first on yourself. And then a ScienceLogic place.

Peter Luff 0:42

So Peter Luff with ScienceLogic, I've been in ScienceLogic, almost seven years. My role here is Senior Director of MSP solutions. And so what that means is, I work with our MSPs, we have several 100 MSPs as customers, and I work with them to help them define new services around our platform, and then help to take help them to take them to market. And so that it runs the whole gamut of designing and building a service and then working with marketing and sales teams to help them sell those managed services that they've created around the ScienceLogic platform. So that's, that's a revenue generation exercise. And we might come back and talk a little bit more about that a little bit, a little bit later. But today, we're going to be talking more about addressing some of the hidden costs in the operation of manage service provider organization, and some of the, the operational hidden costs associated with managing tickets, and so forth. And we'll talk about some of the use cases, as we get into this. ScienceLogic. For those of you that don't know us, has been around for about 18 years, we've become a leader in the AI ops world, according to Forrester and Gartner, they've said some very nice things about us recently. And what we've done is apply our special sauce, our AIOps, to the to the management of managed service provider, networks, and IT infrastructure. The company was formed by MSP execs who broke away and formed this company specifically to build a monitoring platform that was multi talented, and 18 years ago, you didn't find too many multi talented monitoring platforms. And so they solved that problem. And so we have multi tenancy built in from the ground up. And we have some very high scalability built into the platform. Folks like Cisco and Dell, and IBM use us as their mainstream monitoring platforms for their customers for their large customers. Your meeting ID, we are MSP specialists around here we speak MSP it's very much part of our DNA, the platform itself, we call it so one, it's employs some AIOps technology to acquire a lot of data from across the state, and then build a contextualized data like with that information that we collect, not only the the operational data, but the relationships between the devices themselves, and device conditions. And we maintain that in real time. And so you have a large central data lake of operational data that you can then use as once it's clean, you can use it as a solid basis for automation. And that's, that's really the subject of a lot of what I'm sure we'll get into talking about today. So it's very much an automation discussion

Greg Irwin 3:29

here. Let's start with a simple one. What's your definition of AIOps,

Peter Luff 3:34

AIOps, while AIOps, let's see is really a coming together. This was defined originally by Gartner. And so coming together of big data, and analytics, and they've, they've done a good job of defining that and setting out in store, we've added a little bit to that. And so AIOps, really is the the Big Data plus the analytics, but it's also a real time component to it. So we want, we want to make sure that the data is real time. And we also bring context. So real time and context added to the data and the analytics and processing. That gives us a very solid basis for automation, as we apply various different techniques, whether they're AI or whatever, to to the data. So it's a data story. Once you have clean data, you can do all kinds of useful things with it. But that's where we're at.

Greg Irwin 4:32

Alright, so let's go to a story. And by the way, it for those of you in any part of BWG events, so that this is the core is to share the stories that are relevant for for each other. And Peter, I'm gonna ask you to help us then along that along those lines, tell us about one of your customers and one of their experiences in deploying at least portion of somebody's services. To actually either, you know, impact cost or drive revenue, but really affect a tangible operational improvement. Yeah,

Peter Luff 5:12

so the first one is probably a good one to choose. It's our largest customers, actually Cisco. And Cisco uses us in two instances. One is to manage their large global customers. As part of the Cisco cloud managed services organization, they manage a couple of 100,000 devices on large global networks around the world for some of their very largest accounts. They have also used us internally for it. But this particular case is more the customer facing use case where they applied some automation that we jointly developed, Cisco and sounds like to develop some automation routines around the best practices for dealing with problems in a Cisco environment. So this is written around Cisco's net primarily networking devices, some security devices to a set of automation routines, so that they collect the right data for that particular type of device. And they built that into a series of automations for their customer base. When they did that, they were able to take out about $70 of cost per incident was the metric that they were able to achieve. It doesn't sound like very much, but when you multiply that by the number of incidents that they're dealing with, get run into 10s of millions of dollars over over a two year time period. And so they were able to do that, then it saved a lot of direct dollar cost. And they also eliminated the need to use about 1000 contractors for manual handling of those same tickets that were then automated all of the troubleshooting and triage the the initial diagnostics, where someone's going in running a ping running a trace route, doing a lookup, and so forth, all of that became automated. And they eliminated the need for about 1000 contractors as a result. So they were able to significantly reduce the cost. But at the same time, they brought their meantime to repair down from about two and a half hours per ticket. And this is if you take a typical telco circuit to get them it's taking them about two and a half hours to diagnose and get to closure on those tickets. They've got it down from two and a half hours to about 25 minutes, and they're now under 20 minutes in about an 18 month time period. So this automation has shown real cost savings and real impact on the business and on the service quality that they deliver.

Greg Irwin 7:46

Wow, sorry, that I mean that first of all, that's amazing. I don't know how you found yourself in partnership with Cisco to build those automations. I don't know how you got the technology to be able to apply it to third parties. That sounds fantastic. My The one thing I want to understand is how extensible is what if I'm not a full on Cisco shop, or I care more about, you know, things above the network layer, you know, how applicable are those technologies beyond?

Peter Luff 8:14

Great question. Great question. So that so we joined the develops about 350 automations for Cisco devices. And then it was the suite was then extended by ScienceLogic to include VMware, and then Windows and Linux servers and offices, and Cisco Unified Communications devices. So we've actually built it into an automation suite that's much broader. We're running around about 600 automations at the moment. And so it's become more than just a network centric automation function.

Greg Irwin 8:48

I got it. Alright, let's do that. Let's pause it. Let's pause here on ScienceLogic and just talk about automations, around MSP services in general. So I'm going to go to some of the folks who've been part of these forums before and I see Brad, do frane over at connection and so Brad, I'm interested to bring you into the mix here. Would you do us a favor and give a little intro to to the group,

Brad 9:15

Brad Do you frame with with connection, formerly PC connection, but I help lead our team newly developed team of kind of data center so infrastructure focused and workload optimization bridges between the super technical and then the account facing sales folks.

Greg Irwin 9:48

Got it. All right. How do you help arm your teams to be able to get fast resolution of issues? maybe tell us the good or maybe some of the bad? Sure. Yeah.

Brad 10:15

So I think Peter hit on so many of the the most important is collecting tons of data, but then also collecting free data, what we notice is if you simply build models on antiquated data sets with, and and nowadays that can be six month old reference points, you're unfortunately building a model for the Stone Age. So ensuring that that real time realization is there and allows your team to know, not only what past problems are so that we can use history to drive forward, what current problems are so that we can be up to date. But then also understanding that trend, I think is really important for our team. And, you know, as a big Cisco partner and promoter ourselves, I think we see many of the benefits of Peters team and their efforts in in really closing that closing that circular loop and ensuring that resolution is met as quickly and with as high of a resolution as possible.

Greg Irwin 11:38

Cool. So are you using ScienceLogic?

Brad 11:51

I can't tell you that ScienceLogic is a logo on the top of my desktop. However, you know, as a fairly large organization, we have so many back end resources available to us that feed our ERP, our CRM, our daily process, innovation that I certainly wouldn't be surprised if if ScienceLogic was part of the fuel of the rocket ship here.

Greg Irwin 12:15

Right? Tell us what's one one initiative you guys are working on? operationally, it could be process, it could be team. It could be technology could be you name it, but what what's one thing you're working on, to get to get more efficient? Sure.

Brad 12:39

So I would say from an MSP perspective, it's really getting all the apples, oranges, pineapples, and hand grenades to talk to each other nicely, because we're here to serve our customers. And obviously, we want to be great partners, to all of our OEM providers and service providers. But it's very difficult to integrate all those systems and ensure that we are surfacing that best case solution for our customers. So something that I dedicate at least 25 hours a day to, is ensuring that you know, one major OEMs deliverable to us, helps augment, supplement and complement another major OEMs data set. And so certainly the faster and more efficiently that we can do that, the better experience that we'll have for our customer and the better add value add that we'll

Greg Irwin 13:21

be able to provide to them. I'm sorry, Brad, I want to dig in just a little bit. I'm not sure I entered Tyler, like follow how do you how do you get all of the the parties or technologies to talk and collaborate?

Brad 13:30

Sure, yeah. Well, I think every manufacturer has the latest and greatest according to their marketing team, right. And so being able to sift through that and understand truly where the key differentiators are, Peter talked about Cisco's networking side of the house, but also their security side of the house. And they truly do have game changing innovation happening there. However, there are other amazing networking providers and security providers that are doing things differently and new. And I think we're you know, we're what, I'll be naive to think that there's any one stop shop out there. And so for us, it's how quickly can we figure out what the best for solution, regardless of the logos attached to it are going to serve our customers and our partners needs. Does that help at all?

Greg Irwin 14:10

Yeah, it does. It does. Awesome. Hey, Brad, anything you want to hear about as you're as you're driving? You know, customer to customer? Any anything you want to hear about in this time? It was specifics? Maybe we could dig in on AIOps, maybe it's a specific process. CMDB you name it. what's what's something you want to hear? You want to hear about? Yeah, I

Brad 14:29

mean, if if I could keep that Peter and let them talk for 24 hours, I certainly would take scrolls of notes. So I think that they're headed in the exact right direction. ScienceLogic seems to be the fuel to the future of it. So the more we can figure out how to efficiently integrate those systems. The more excited I'm going to get about the chat and I am jumping out of an Uber right now. So thank you guys so much for that time.

Peter Luff 14:54

Thank you, Brad. A comment on that the integration I'm Brad might not might have to draw I guess, by the way, he's not he's not a plant. It's not a plant. The the integration there is, is really key. And we're doing a lot a lot with our API. We've established a very open API. And the monitoring has moved on from the days of SNMP. Polling. And of course, it still relies on that for a lot of the established technology. But API's are critical to data collection and integration. So the API is really, really important to us for collecting information from different new systems like Meraki that doesn't doesn't respond to SNMP. So you need an API based data collection. But then also for integration with players like ServiceNow. remedy and show Well, those kind of service management systems we rely on for API integration to to pass events across or create incidents, open tickets in those systems, all using the API. So it's very, very common these days.

Greg Irwin 16:04

are very good, Peter, thank you. Let's keep going around. And I want to I want to go get Jeremiah, at at&t. Jeremiah, let's get you in, give us a little bit of your intro. And then tell us a little bit about how some of your initiatives around delivering these managed services?

Jeremiah 16:26

Sure, sure. So my new role on I'm kind of acting as a, you know, a customer dedicated, Chief Technology Officer type role, my title is actually director of innovation strategy, what I end up doing is solving a lot of gaps between what we want to sell as a company and what the customer wants to buy. And so well, what where that puts me into this space is I'm constantly working with operational architects and process architects trying to leverage systems that we have in production, as well as integrate e bonding into customer systems, and being able to make sure that we've got kind of a flow, or a movement of solving those customer problems.

Greg Irwin 17:17

Got it? Alright. Let's dig in a little bit. Either either a win, or a challenge here. In terms of AIOps, we're talking about automation, we're talking about taking the the mttr down, and particularly if the exceptions in our jeremias, the easy stuff is easy. It's the hard stuff and making sure that somebody is not getting burned, or multiple people are getting burned for days, with a with something that's, you know, with a ghost or something that's hard to find. So tell us a little bit about what your your team is doing, either has done that's been successful, or is looking at doing to help address those, those challenging outages? Sure, sure.

Jeremiah 18:06

So that's a complicated answer to that question. And I'm going to try to do it in a kind of a framework style. So we have the lower selling to customers, right, which, you know, you know, basically anything they'll integrate with ServiceNow or Salesforce, or competing platforms, right. So we'll, we'll leverage that. Back in the day, I did a lot of work with IP, soft and milia, you know, doing a lot of, you know, ai ops before it was really called that. Were like, this implementation idea. First of all, managed services provider took us from 18,000 tickets down to, like 1800 tickets in seven days, where were we only had 10 headcount, right? We couldn't have gotten there in six months, right? It just reduced it down to where we were focused on the ticket so we can provide measurable impact to our customer. So to have that background, looking forward into where I'm at today, a lot of times we are selling something to a customer that integrates with it. We're like, with VMware and Vela cloud, we use you know, the nyansa product. Now that's kind of integrated into the V realize, you know, you know, functionality that you know, that comes with the velocloud VMware SD win, but that's more of a point solution, right. So that's going to feed back into, you know, the ticketing system. So now we've got some awareness, we've got some efficiency, you know, we've kind of cleaned up and get some better patterns, but now we feed that back into ServiceNow. But I'm going to tell you right now, when it comes to budget and the follow through, we spend the most AI ops type budget in our Alien vault cybersecurity solution, right? So, we we spend a ton of time and money into automating security efficiency in, you know, you know, managing false positives and, and trying to allow our people to, to work on the critical ones. But if you look at us at a hole, we're not leveraging AIOps across the board. So. So when we look at the way the systematic approach we take to it, we're using much more human labor than we have to. But the the funding the time the energy is going more towards our cyber side than the standard operations.

Greg Irwin 20:42

Does that help? What? Yeah, well, is that a revenue item? Or is that a cost item? In other words, are you coming in there and saying, we have to find that anomaly because the security or you turn around and say, I've got a security that's sitting on top of alien vault, and I'm going to bail it out. It's fun,

Jeremiah 21:03

though at&t culture, where we get on that is, it's not what you would think of in any any selling tactic, you'd sell it somebody else, we're not using it directly revenue driven, what we're doing is we're doing it for scale, we can't achieve the scale of the level of threats that we're dealing with. Without it, right? It just, it just allows us to scale. And so it's not so much a financial one side or the other type of situation. It's more of being able to scale out to be able to get your hands around all the different problems that you're dealing with

Greg Irwin 21:42

one area of emphasis or priority for you, your team or the organization in the context of operational efficiency. What's one area that that, you know, that your team wants to hear about?

Jeremiah 21:58

I think they would verbalize that they want to hear about reduction in labor consumption. But I think the real reality is we've got to mature a little bit and see how we can do revenue enhancement, with AIOps, right. And so we were baking it into our SDN solutions. We're baking it into some of our 5g or multi access edge compute type solutions. But real reality, we're kind of more given it away, then, you know, Jay, and

Peter Luff 22:31

I get it. So hey, let's get a position, we might be in a position to help you monetize some of those things, Jeremiah, that's what we do. There are ways to make money off of those capabilities don't give too much away.

Greg Irwin 22:46

Let's, let's talk about that for a second. Like it, there's actually it's not a clear line, in terms of what's an obligation versus what's a revenue opportunity. So I look, Peter, why don't you start, but I'd like to go to others. And xeric dike, I'd like to pull you in. And Ken down him I'd like to pull you in. But first Peter, Peter, tell us about, you know, taking something that's a cost, and packaging it into, into a into a revenue line.

Peter Luff 23:19

Yeah, simple a simple thing. If you go back, let's say five, possibly 10 years, to the days of those static daily, weekly monthly reports that MSP customers demanded, whether you print out a stack of reports, and it's like nine inches deep, and you've hit it on the desk with a third. surprising how many people still deal with those. But these days, obviously, there's a lot more web based delivery of those kinds of things. But a simple thing like opening up a real time view of network or server or data center performance to a customer is something they will still pay you real money to do. And remarkably few MSPs actually do that. We make it very easy for MSPs to open up those views and monetize them. So we know that customers will pay real money for it. We don't charge you any extra money for it. So it's something that you can do with the platform that you buy for operational reasons. And then there's a there's a monetization opportunity straightaway. And typically, that involves creating, say, a premium tier of a managed service. So you've got a, let's say, a managed public cloud service, or a multi cloud service. Well, let's do manage multi cloud gold. And in the gold, you have a real time view of the customers Cloud account, showing what network and storage and compute elements are connected together. We'll give them real time dashboarding on any any element that they choose and see the up to the minute performance or the historical if they want to see that. And then we can take it further in terms of other value added us to like a business services or business centric view rather than a device centric view. And open up all kinds of possibilities for monetization way beyond your one streams in terms of the price points you can sell that for. So there are ways to really monetize even the most basic things like dashboarding. If we make it easy and easy for the MSPs to roll out, so they can actually monetize it, it's it's a really good opportunity. And it's a very high margin opportunity as well as it happens because of the licensing models. Now we make it very attractive for MSPs to make money with these things.

Greg Irwin 25:27

Cool. Very cool. All right, let's go over let's keep broadening here. And by the way, you know, I like the q&a format, so we're going to continue it but if you have questions as we go, drop them into the chat. It's a nice way to kind of multitask and kind of sidebars. So anything comes up top of mind, feel free to drop it into that chat window. Derek, let's get him Nice to meet you. First through a simple simple one. And and tell us who is BCM one.

Derek 25:59

Absolutely. So nice to meet everyone. My name is Derek dike. I am the director of eucast for BCM. One. So we work with a lot of MSPs. But certainly not on the at least my side isn't on the level that what you guys are talking about with the AI ops. But BCM one is a we've actually gone we've we've gone through several acquisitions recently, and we've grown through that substantially. And so we I run the hosted eucast portion of the business, we are a Cisco broadsoft, WebEx house, we also have managed services, which is through our different, you know, 65 plus wholesale carriers that we run through our platform, toll free TDM everything along those lines, as well as Bill management. And then we have a white label, resold for msps that want to either have our solution, which is a model of commission based and and you know white glove, we handle everything versus a company under our umbrella called sky switch, who is a huge netsapiens partner. And that is more for msps to directly work with and resell that that service itself. So we're quite a few things under our umbrella, I can speak to the areas that I control for the most part, but but that is our our work is

Greg Irwin 27:43

the thread here is AIOps automation. And you know what people are doing, in practical terms to reduce operational overhead labor cost complexity. So tell us one story. Either something good are something that you're working on? Sure, sure, absolutely. So

Derek 28:05

one of the areas that and as you can imagine, I'm sure everyone on this call has probably gone through this as well. When you go through the acquisitions of making these different companies making these different departments all work together, brings its own fun opportunities, we'll call them but but as you as you do that we have worked with our managed services team for our SD LAN appliance where we're doing bookended packet based SD win and then tying that into all of our monitoring all of our alert systems, our dashboard tools for those customers that want a one page be able to see all of their circuits in real time be able to see all of their traffic analysis everything from that that instance. So I'll be able to speak more to that as we redefine that product and as we pull everything in but that is definitely something that we're seeing on our side from an from an MSP standpoint of really helping them control their customers networks and and and on that where they're not having to take that piece on completely on their own. You know, we've seen a lot that have deployed like the Meraki is I believe somebody I don't know if that was you talking about it, Peter before but you know, that's fine, but when you're managing a couple 1000 Meraki devices and trying to pull all that data, sometimes it's an nice breath of fresh air to have a company kind of help manage some of that or or or pull that take that piece off altogether.

Peter Luff 29:48

Absolutely. In fact, we work with US, UK, and UK as MSPs probably the largest one is Telstra added on Australia. And they have I can't recall the number of customers they have, but we were able to help them eliminate all of their SLA rebates. Oh, wow. They were actually doing far better than they thought with their service quality, but they just couldn't prove it. And so if ever they had an SLA claim from a customer, they just regarded it as an honor system, and they gave the customer they collect the money on the claim, oh, well, then when they put us in, they found that their service quality was actually better than they thought because they had concerns. And so they were able to eliminate all the SLA rebates. So paid for our stuff overnight. A very nice report. And that was actually like a reporting project. But it was also monitoring the underlying infrastructure too. So very good story there. So absolutely. They're a great customer.

Greg Irwin 30:49

of Absolutely. All right. Derek, thank you. Let's keep going around. And on invite Ken into the mix. Ken, thanks so much for joining, give, give us a year in crawl and you know, the topic.

Ken 31:06

You bet. Thank you. So I've been with for about a year here. And I've got about 30 years experience in the tech industry, various roles of leadership and innovation. I currently helped oversee our tvm and pentesting and other services there. I'm in a larger group that provides mssp services. And I've been on those engagements, where we serve a majority of Fortune 100 organizations. So anything we touch is, you know, pretty large, like I'm on an engagement right now, or it's two times the size of the city I live in for the number of employees. And what I see there is that there's really more of a governance need a GRC component on cost savings, you get these large, you know, multibillion dollar organizations, and they just have all these different tools, some of them really got the shiny itis, or they like to buy the latest and greatest whatever, and it's super shiny. And they end up needing to do tools, rationalization, and tools rationalization will actually help them to be more effective, but also more cost efficient. In many cases, especially as it relates to all the different orchestrated components that would factor into your MSP operations. I think another big piece of it that we haven't talked about yet would be that off, setting or sharing that responsibility in a third party management model, where there's a need for organizations to say that I've shifted my liability and my responsibilities to another party, because there's cultural challenges and governance issues, and legal issues and some cases where that's beneficial for them to do that. So somebody else said it here earlier. And I agree with that. And that's what I've experienced my clients as well is that sometimes it's just easier to staff and have provisioning through another company to have certain things as a service for you than it is to try to do it yourself. Especially when we get into the world of MSP operations and big data and all the challenges we have there. I certainly appreciated the AI and ops talk that we started with. But honestly, most of the organizations I'm with are more heavily focused in developing on the machine learning side of the fence. And I'm a huge fan of both. But I do think that it should be major machine learning and minor AIOps, because of the dependencies required to be properly deployed, do AIOps, and that sort of thing. And I'm certainly could debate on that all day long. But there's a lot that can be done with just cleaning up the core processes, and the people and what is actually happening as opposed to what we think is happening, and creating that transparency and that truth as you improve those processes through machine learning and all that. And then once that's been improved to that level, that's where I would then recommend or start to integrate on an AIOps perspective. And that's only really for the most important components you've taken the time to mature. Those are the main areas that we typically focus on from a maturity and cost savings perspective related to mssp for Fortune 100. daughter.

Peter Luff 34:10

I would I would echo that instead of I think the emphasis is probably less on AI than ml, I would agree with you on that. And that's probably where our emphasis is. to, in our case, it's to is to look for things like anomalies and detect those anomalies. And we have some AI ml around that. Don't it doesn't scale too far at the moment. So it's not ready for massive deployment. But yeah,

Greg Irwin 34:38

I'm a big fan of that. Yeah. And I'm glad you said that as well, because I specialize in threats and counterintelligence on a nation state counterterrorism level, dark web, whatever. And if awesome, what you can do there, we've been playing with that from an ml perspective for decades. And finally we have the technology and the maturation in the industry to really make it Different Strokes, and specific use cases that are very well defined. With very good known outcomes. AI is definitely your best friend. And it'll be very cost effective. But for the majority of the block and tackle needs, ml is where you need to be focused. Can you help?

Peter Luff 35:19

Very well, too. So it's the value, the value is in the automation not not the technology that you use to create the automation, right.

Greg Irwin 35:29

Okay. What can actually help me understand when you say it's ml? Is that just, you know, poring through the data stuff, as opposed to training on model? Is that? Well, we don't have a definition of terms here, right? I don't want to go off the deep end there. And then I don't have something in front of me, so I'm sure I'd murder it. But it's really the difference between going through things algorithmically, right, as opposed to a self learning or cognitive type model. Peter, what would you say in terms of that, we try to avoid the the fruitless discussion about algorithms and get into what can this technology do for you, as opposed to exactly how does it do it? Quite honestly.

Peter Luff 36:19

And so AIOps, is a very, very broad term, that means a lot of different things to a lot of people. And it's been a little hijacked in some respects. And so it's really more about bringing in automation, and intelligence to the operational functions. More so than, hey, we use these algorithms or these machine learning techniques. It's much more about what can you do with it?

Greg Irwin 36:45

Yeah, you know, on that note, it's complicated, because like, I developed a real time threat detection module for optive. It's a platform as a service. And I had these battles all the time with my dev teams and others. And I really found that people just didn't understand what they were trying to do. And you go in and you say, Oh, well, you have this data is being parsed? Well, actually, no, it's being blob, and it's not parsed. And then we don't have the data that we can bring in and discrete data sets, to then make certain kinds of metadata decisions that then feed upwards in the algorithm that then could feed into analytics that can be AIOps, managed, there's a beautiful chain of dependencies and cascading awesomeness that can occur when all of those things start to happen. But in most cases, people think they know what the visibility is or how something works. But they don't, because remember, like they may have, you know, like, I was just on a call earlier today, we've got 30,000 servers, and they got all kinds of changes and exceptions. And it's a very complicated environment, they don't have full transparency and visibility, I guarantee you that. And they're likely to get in the 90 percentile of anything for efficacy. So the scale challenges in a big data world are staggering. And we haven't even talked about the changes of architecture where when we go into as a service, or in a more of a managed model, all this hybrid stuff we're doing in the cloud that completely messes with the model of your visibility and and what you really have control over and compliance and regulatory and legal issues as well. Right. Right. Excellent. You know what, let me let me thank you can, there's a topic that came up we want to cover about asset discovery and CMDB. I'm going to bring Peter back in on this one. And then Melissa, I see that you've joined here. And I see we have a couple others, Ryan and others, I'd like to get involved Ruby. So we'll continue to broaden. But Peter, let's let's introduce this next topic here on asset discovery. So what Yeah, to what extent is this important meaningful in the grand scheme of driving operational,

Peter Luff 39:06

this is another source of really big, massive hidden costs in it ops teams, for our enterprise customers for everybody's enterprise customers, as well as for the MSP. The inability to accurately populate a CMDB is causing a lot of people a lot of trouble. So a typical CMDB gets populated maybe once a day. And the discovery mechanisms and the population mechanisms can sometimes be fairly incomplete. And so and I don't mean that as a knock on ServiceNow, for example, but typically what happens when we go in alongside ServiceNow is that we bring a greater level of accuracy to the discovery process. That means that their CMDB is now 100% accurate and is 100% up to date, and it can be updated multiple times a day. Without that you have an issue where we have incomplete ci data and maybe missing cis. And so when you go to troubleshoot, there's no, there's no ci data in the record. So because the CMDB is inaccurate or incomplete. There are issues with naming conventions, for example. So we ran into customers with a CMDB. That was not only out of date and complete, but there was also being charged overages, because every device came in with a fully qualified domain name. But the ServiceNow naming convention was to use host names. And so now that ci has two that looks like two separate c eyes. So you've got duplicate c eyes, which drive your license count up, and ServiceNow is happy to charge you an overage for that. So overage fees, missing c eyes, inability to troubleshoot, it's a mess, and a lot of organizations are then paying contractors to manually make alterations to the imported device lists, maybe to change fully qualified domain to hostname or the other way around. And that's very, very costly. If you've got several 1000, several 1000 devices to update. And you know, your five or 10 minutes on each one, it's really costly. And so there's a lot of costs a lot of pain, a lot of hidden costs and expense in the cost of an inaccurate CMDB. And that's something that we try and take out when we when we go in alongside of ServiceNow, or other ITSM systems to make sure that the data that's in there is clean. So our store is all about clean, clean data, not only not only making it clean, but make adding the context so I can provide it into the CMDB. I can show here's the CI and all the records for it. And it's all accurate up to date. And by the way, it's related to these other devices too. And so the relationship data to know across. So it's a pretty powerful thing.

Greg Irwin 41:57

So let me put it into context for a moment just in terms of I, I know, it's one of these things, where it's a journey, not a destination, there's no such thing as a perfect CMDB. And I guess my question is, if you were to look across 100 of your clients before they started, what percentage of them do you think had a tangible operational improvement, meaning a quantity of something that that could contribute to a to a business case, in terms of improving where their CMDB stood? And I'm wondering if it's a real mess out there that almost anybody who puts in the basics is going to see a return? Because the data set that they're working off is just better? Or maybe there is a fair amount of the market. That's good enough. And so we're what's the current state of affairs?

Peter Luff 42:55

Well, I just came off a call with a man at a large managed service provider who has exactly that problem. And that wasn't where the problem story came from. Actually, it was came from another one. We see this time and time and time again amongst our MSPs. And they're seeing it amongst their their enterprise customers. And so you know, we have to, it's a little bit like, you know, lay down on the couch and tell me all about your inaccurate CMDB or your lack of automation in the back office, and CTOs and VPS of it are all having the same kind of problems. It's really, really hard to do this stuff. And it's it's this source of hidden cost, but the handling of incidents that the management of a CMDB and the lack of data quality, there is a very pervasive problem. So to answer your question, Greg, it's probably 90% Plus, where there's upside. It's a very, very common problem

Greg Irwin 43:51

are very good. Oh, Peter, thank you. Let's, let's keep going around our group and be happy to invite millison Madison to share a comment first, and also will you introduce yourself to the group.

Madison 44:07

My name is Madison. I'm a consultant with some company here in the Carolinas. And I don't know where my name came from. I work in technology to be specific and I'm glad to be a part of this.

Greg Irwin 44:22

Okay, I'm sorry, I'm not entirely following I had you joining from Yeah, okay. Got it? And what's your what's your focus?

Madison 44:36

Our focus right now is, as part of the truest manager making sure that servers blueprints are ready servers are turned over for application teams. So I work in the infrastructure space, pretty much supporting infrastructure build program.

Greg Irwin 44:56

I see I got our chat. Tell us a little bit what's work, you hear a lot about operational improvement, you know, things different MSPs, like yourself are doing to help resolve issues more quickly. What kind of, do you have a story you can share with our group people in similar seats, things that your organization has done or is working on to improve operational resolution of issues?

Madison 45:25

Oh, I wasn't prepared to do that. So maybe next time.

Greg Irwin 45:30

Okay. All right. Fair enough. Do you have any questions? For our? Not right now. Okay. Well, thank you for dialing in and happy to have you. Appreciate that. How about Ryan. Ryan, are you on the on the line with us? Yes, I am. Nice. Nice to meet you. And thanks for turning on your camera. Appreciate that. Would you care to give a little intro to group? Yeah,

Ryan 45:57

so I work with managed security and consulting firm that we focus on really attacking the context. But the chaos with contexts that we see. And we infiltrate a lot of human element and work out of several cyber fusion centers, we will to provide the services for individuals and companies. We will work with about 1200 different organizations currently. And we do all of the all the things from managed services to professional services to help you with mergers and acquisitions. I work in between sales and marketing. That's my role. And I've been helping a lot with our rebranding approach. So you might see some of our legacy companies we were sword and shield or Terra Verde, or some that people might know. But we came together pretty a little over a year ago.

Greg Irwin 46:49

I like the logo behind you. It looks good, my office. Ryan, any any experiences or initiatives that you can share on the operational side for faster incident resolution.

Ryan 47:09

So we've really adopted the whole Know thyself know thy enemy mindset. If you are familiar with the art of war, that's something that we've really implemented to how we execute, and really help our customers show no weakness against all the threats that we see. We have, I don't have as much into the operational side that I can give just because that's not really my wheelhouse. But I definitely bring in one of our solution architects next time, and they could probably speak a little bit, they could speak more technically than I can about that. Sure. Fair enough. Do you have a question for the group? I guess my biggest question would be, what is a trend that everyone's seeing that maybe they weren't expecting? Coming out of? COVID?

Greg Irwin 48:01

Okay, I like that. I'm going to turn to Peter first. But I'm happy for others any any surprising consequences from COVID. numbing, and expand that one, Ryan to work from home as well. And the distributed workforce? Yeah.

Peter Luff 48:19

From from what we've seen, it's actually left managed service providers in a stronger position. And I mean, managed service provider in the broader sense to include mssps is less than in a stronger position than ever. Where I think the the drive to focus on core competency has pushed some of the management tasks out to msps. And so MSPs initially, that we've talked to through COVID, they were they were seeing a drop in orders. And then then it caught up quite rapidly as organizations started to figure out what their priorities were and started outsourcing things, either outsourcing or outsourcing. And so MSP audiobooks, actually, were running like 5% up on the previous year, despite the whole COVID pandemic. That's obviously a global kind of view that we saw, but I don't know if that's consistent with your business.

Greg Irwin 49:13

model. Remarkable. The it's been the labor, right? Everybody is just, it seems like every company said yes to every project. And there's just a dearth of, of talent and skills and resources right now. It's just, it's really, you know, in terms of surprise, I don't think there's anybody that could have guessed this. It's been pretty remarkable. Ryan, thank you for that. I'm going to go one more here with Ruby, Ruby rally. Ruby, are you on the line with us?

Ruby 49:50

So I assume you want me to tell you a little bit about x, y and what I do, please, yes, yeah, I work for x, y, x, y submitted. sized company, we've been around about 20 years, we share some routes with some of the other speakers today. And that, you know, we held some of the original patents for PK AI and have a very strong security footprint and, and have grown over acquisition, like almost every other software group around our core competency. Just a little bit more. We're a global company, I recognize some of the names Peter has dropped as some of our customers. And we, our basis is secure integration. So whether you need to move bulk data like files, you need to do either AI transformations, or you're moving into real time with API, we provide all of that. Over time, customers started asking us to host those services for them. So we do a lot of hosting. And we have our own flavor of managed services. Like Ryan, I'm not on the Emperor and infrastructure team, I sit in kind of a sales role, except that I refuse to stay in a sales box. So I'm on the call with customers with issues on fighting with product management, and MC o team, which is our cloud hosting team cloud operations team to get to root cause analysis, I am often trying to apply some sort of continuous process improvement idea to what we do. So that's that's my why this was an interesting group for me to attend.

Greg Irwin 51:40

I'm glad you are. I'm very glad you did. And you know where I'm going next? Do you have a question here for this group? Yeah, there

Ruby 51:47

is something that no one brought up so far. I don't think we have time to address it. But it'd be great to consider in a future. So one of the things I see is that managed services agreements become long lived. So you get your client stood up, everything's fine. Everybody goes back about their business, but the clients world changes, and then something happens, right. And then your managed services team put some back to write, you know, typically doesn't get outside of an SLA window, unless your windows very tight, and everybody goes back about their life. And then some period of time later, another incident occurs, and that customer has another problem. And the team rallies, you know, we all have these great teams that solve unbelievable problems. They come in, they solve the problem, but the customer sees a series of issues, and the customer gets frustrated. So what I see is that idle drives us to an incident approach. And we're missing, looking across a period of time and extrapolating forward when another incident might occur, so that we can actually get to real predictive service delivery. And that, to me is one of the biggest problems I face is how to get us out of an incident mindset and into what is systemically changing that caused these things to happen that had never happened before. And how can we stop them?

Greg Irwin 53:16

A lot deploy. It was a long, long time at Citi and Lucent, Avaya. I did quarterly business reviews, with very large fortune 500, where we were always struggling to take it from a problem, a conversation about the problem to a conversation about status strategy, and where you want it to take the organization. It is. You're absolutely right. I tell us about it. And so I love the topic. I'll turn to the group here, Peter or anyone else. Has anyone else had success? redefining the conversation away from incident? Yeah,

Peter Luff 54:01

we had a really interesting learning for this. We can't take credit for this. This is one of our customers, they decided to carve out I think it was like 10% of the labor was in operations and turned it customer facing. They were able to spend time understanding customer issues dealing much more with customer success than just focusing on turning tickets in because it's certainly operations teams are just focused on tickets, tickets, tickets, tickets, for instance. They were extremely successful in terms of turning their customers mindset. As a result of that. I can think of another customer that did a similar thing, where they were also they dedicated a portion of the engineering and operations team away from ticket handling and they they introduced some automation that freed them up and then the labor that they freed up was then applied to customer facing ready new initiatives and they bumped revenue by 15% in a year as a result of that move of headcount from operational troubleshooting activities to customer facing revenue generation, plus developing a new service, that kind of thing. And they bump revenue by 15% in a year, which is pretty impressive. So yes, was it was certainly seeing that happen. No credit to us at all. But those msps are very forward.

Greg Irwin 55:29

I love that point on a closing. So let's turn it around. And thank everybody for taking some time in joining, Peter, great work. And I'm proud to be able to have tied ScienceLogic here as a co-host. So thank you very much for that. And thank you all for taking time again, follow through with the connections across this group. And you just have to ask, you need some help with those connections. And of course, look to ScienceLogic, if those if Peter and his team will be useful for you. With that, let's wrap it up. Thank you all everybody. Have a great day. Thanks, everybody. Bye bye.

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