Jeanne DeWitt and David Hood are a husband and wife team and longtime veterans of the managed services community. From their humble beginnings developing software over 30 years ago, they have now soared to success with “The Cloud.” Jeanne tells us their story.
David and I met over 30 years ago when we were just out of college. We were the computer nerds of the northwestern Ohio campuses of Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo.
It was right after college that we founded CPU, Inc. and began developing software. Yes, there were computers back then! Remember the days when computers filled an entire room?
We worked with solutions like dBase, Clipper, and Fox Pro. At that time companies were looking for a software to automate their operations. There just wasn’t much out there at that time. There was no such thing as Microsoft Word or accounting software. Seems like the Dark Ages, right?
So, we decided to create line-of-business applications for these companies. However, there were problems that we needed to conquer.
Some of these businesses didn’t have the hardware needed to run our software programs. This was why we got into hardware and networking.
Now, when our software clients had a problem, we knew where the issue originated and whether it was from the software or hardware. As both their MSP and software developer we handled everything, and we could solve problems quickly.
Before our MSP days and automation, our techs would remote into clients’ servers to gather information. This way we could track their systems to ensure they ran properly. We also sent status reports to our software customers on a weekly basis.
Around the time of Server 2000, we started working with the RDP-side of the Microsoft server. RDP was what terminal services are today.
The Internet connections weren’t what they are today, and you couldn’t run line-of-business applications on them. Plus, there were no data centers.
But our clients wanted to access their data remotely, so we built private clouds for them.
We included their basic applications on these private clouds. This allowed our clients to access their email remotely via the Internet. Cell phones didn’t even exist at this time, so this really helped them out.
Data centers started popping up in 2004, but not in the US. So, we had to work with one in the UK. This wasn’t ideal. Due to our time differences, their customer service wasn’t adequate. When we needed help in the late afternoon or evening, the data center guys in the UK weren’t available.
This poor customer service was not only affecting our business but our clients’. As soon as data centers came online in the US (around 2005), we moved our clients’ data out of the UK. Actually, they shut down their services, so we had to move quickly. They only gave us 60 days to do so! What a nightmare that was, but we got it done!
We rented the data center space we needed in the US, and everything worked much better for us and our clients. They had the efficiency they required, and we were also able to save them money.
Our clients were happy, and we were too. However, we still knew there was something more we could do.
When our clients had a problem with their cloud service, we did all the troubleshooting for them. We realized that MSPs were having issues with their CSPs. If their customers had an issue, they’d call the CSP and try to resolve it, but the customer service was poor.
This meant spending a lot of time on the phone being stuck with tier-one support until they finally got moved up the chain to someone who could help. In the meantime, their customers were waiting on the sidelines wondering when the MSP was going to fix their issues.
This was a nightmare for IT service providers. They needed to get help for their customers but they couldn’t because they were always hanging on the phone waiting for Microsoft or Rackspace to answer their requests. This wasn’t good for their businesses.
So we thought, “We are already offering personalized customer service to our clients, why shouldn’t we do this for MSPs as well?”
Having been an MSP, we knew that others needed fast and efficient cloud services for their customers. So, today, we’re helping other managed services companies provide better cloud service to their customers.
Cloud Service Providers all use the same technology. We use the same data centers and storage technologies. The difference is that we can provide the personalized service that the larger CSPs can’t.
We knew that other partners were having issues and we knew that we could do better for them. All the backside technology is the same, however, we focus on providing excellent personalized service that makes them look good to their customers.
While we all use the same technology that the other big CSPs do, we don’t front-end our systems with portals that mask what our partners see. Our MSP partners can go in and work directly on their customers’ clouds themselves.
Our IT service providers no longer need to go through the long wait times to get their customers’ problems resolved. We know who they are and what their unique needs are. So, we can help them right away. Fast and personable cloud service is what makes us different.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this. A mid-tier cloud provider let down one of their MSP partners in a big way.
The service provider couldn’t get their cloud to work and struggled for months with the CSP. They had a simple printing issue that the CSP couldn’t resolve for one of their customers.
This went on for 3 months. In the meantime, the Cloud provider stole the MSP’s customer away without notice or authorization!
The IT provider had spent hours and money on the CSP only to have them take their customer’s business away!
We’ll never do this. Our MSP’s customers belong to them. We don’t even need to know who their customers are.
Being a CSP allows us to open our business to any MSP partner around the country.
Plus, the Cloud is where everything is going, and we can help service providers take advantage of it.
We can also fill in the gaps for small startup MSPs. They rely on us for our expertise.
At CPU, we’re focused on a single path: To help MSPs bring their clients into the Cloud. We’ve been doing this so long that we can interact with our partners and understand their needs.
Plus, there’s also stock in dealing with the business owners, isn’t there? David and I are very hands-on and always here to help. We want all of our MSP clients to “soar to success” with the Cloud.