Category Archives: CMaaS

Modernizing IT by Killing the Transactional Treadmill

By Geoff Smith, Senior Manager, Managed Services, GreenPages-LogicsOne

Many IT departments today are unable to get off the transactional treadmill. You may have some serious talent in your IT department, but valuable, strategic IT assets are becoming bogged down with tactical actions. When this happens, IT cannot fulfill its true purpose: applying technology to enable business success. As an IT decision maker, you need to be providing IT with an effective, efficient, and modern way of addressing every day responsibilities so that internal focus can shift back to supporting crucial business objectives. I consistently see this issue when I’m out in the field speaking with customers. For this reason, I’m hosting a webinar on May 8th to go over some strategies your IT department can implement.

In this webinar you will learn ways to modernize IT operations and combine advanced management tools, mature operating procedures, and a skilled workforce to:

  • Build an Enterprise Command Center to effectively address and monitor the health and status of critical infrastructure systems
  • Leverage run books and Standard Operating Procedures to complete required actions and create consistency in approach
  • Establish a transparent co-sourced operational structure that promotes a culture of collaboration and joint responsibility for success
  • Create visibility and analytics that maximize availability and functionality of technology investments

If you’re interested in learning more, register here & bring your questions May 8th at 11 am EST.



Cloud Management, Business Continuity & Other 2013 Accomplishments

By Matt Mock, IT Director

It was a very busy year at GreenPages for our internal IT department. With 2013 coming to a close, I wanted to highlight some of the major projects we worked on over the course of the year. The four biggest projects we tackled were using a cloud management solution, improving our business continuity plan, moving our datacenter, and creating and implementing a BYOD policy.

Cloud Management as a Service

GreenPages now offers a Cloud Management as a Service (CMaaS) solution to our clients. We implemented the solution internally late last year, but really started utilizing it as a customer would this year by increasing what was being monitored and managed. We decided to put Exchange under the “Fully Managed” package of CMaaS. Exchange requires a lot of attention and effort. Instead of hiring a full time Exchange admin, we were able to offload that piece with CMaaS as our Managed Services team does all the health checks to make sure any new configuration changes are correct. This resulted in considerable cost savings. Having access to the team 24/7 is a colossal luxury. Before using CMaaS, if an issue popped up at 3 in the morning we would find out about it the next morning. This would require us to try and fix the problem during business hours. I don’t think I need to explain to anyone the hassle of trying to fix an issue with frustrated coworkers who are unable to do their jobs. If an issue arises now in the middle of the night, the problem has already been fixed before anyone shows up to start working. The Managed Services team does research and remediates bugs that come up. This happened to us when we ran into some issues with Apple iOS calendaring. The Managed Services team did the research to determine the cause and went in and fixed the problem. If my team tried to do this it would have taken us 2-3 days of wasted time. Instead, we could be focusing on some of our other strategic projects. In fact, we are holding a webinar on December 19th that will cover strategies and benefits to being the ‘first-to-know,’ and we will also provide a demo of the CMaaS Enterprise Command Center. We also went live with fully automated patching, which requires zero intervention from my team. Furthermore, we leveraged CMaaS to allow us to spin up a fully managed Linux environment. It’s safe to say that if we didn’t implement CMaaS we would not have been able to accomplish all of our strategic goals for this year.

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Business Plan

We also determined that we needed to update our disaster recovery plan to a true robust business continuity plan. A main driver of this was because of our more diverse office model. Not only were more people working remotely as our workforce expanded, but we now have office locations up and down the east coast in Kittery, Boston, Attleboro, New York City, Atlanta, and Tampa. We needed to ensure that we could continue to provide top quality service to our customers if an event were to occur. My team took a careful look at our then current infrastructure set up. After examining our policies and plans, we generated new ones around the optimal outcome we wanted and then adjusted the infrastructure to match. A large part of this included changing providers for our data and voice, which included moving our datacenter.

Datacenter Move

In 2013 we wanted to have more robust datacenter facilities. Ultimately, we were able to get into an extremely redundant and secure datacenter at the Markley Group in Boston that provided us with cost savings. Furthermore, Markley is also a large carrier hotel which gives us additional savings on circuit costs. With this move we’re able to further our capabilities of delivering to our customers 24/7. Another benefit our new datacenter offered was excess office space. That way, if there ever was an event at one of our GreenPages locations we could have a place to send people to work. I recently wrote a post which describes the datacenter move in more details.

BYOD Policy

As 2013 ends, we are finishing our first full year with our BYOD policy. We are taking this time to look back and see where there were any issues with the policies or procedures and adjusting for the next year. Our plan is to ensure that year two is even more streamlined. I answered questions in a recent Q & A explaining our BYOD initiative in more detail.

I’m pretty happy looking back at the work we accomplished in 2013. As with any year, there were bumps along the way and things we didn’t get to that we wanted to. All in all though, we accomplished some very strategic projects that have set us up for success in the future. I think that we will start out 2014 with increased employee satisfaction, increased productivity of our IT department, and of course noticeable cost savings. Here’s to a successful 2014!

Is your IT team the first-to-know when an IT outage happens? Or, do you find out about it from your end users? Is your expert IT staff stretched thin doing first-level incident support? Could they be working on strategic IT projects that generate revenue? Register for our upcoming webinar to learn more!


Trick or Treat: Top 5 Fears of a CTO

By Chris Ward, CTO

Journey to the Cloud’s Ben Stephenson recently sat down with Chris Ward, CTO of GreenPages-LogicsOne, to get his take on what the top 5 fears of a CTO are.

Ben: Chief Technology Officer is obviously an extremely strategic, important, and difficult role within an organization. Since it’s almost Halloween, and since you’re an active (and successful) CTO yourself, I thought we would talk about your Top 5 Fears of a CTO. You also have the unique perspective of seeing how GreenPages uses technology internally, as well as how GreenPages advises clients to utilize different technologies.

Chris: Sounds good. I think a major fear is “Falling Behind the Trends.” In this case, it’s not necessarily that you couldn’t see what was coming down the path. You can see it there and know it’s coming, but can you get there with velocity? Can you get there before the competition does?

Ben: Do you have any examples of when you have avoided falling behind the trends?

Chris: At GreenPages, we were fortunate to catch virtualization early on when a lot of others didn’t. We had a lot of customers who were not sold on virtualization for 2-4 years. Those customers are now very far behind the competition and are trying to play catch up. In some cases, I’m sure it’s meant the CTO is out of a job. We also utilized virtualization internally early on and reaped the benefits. Another example is our CMaaS Brokerage and Governance offering. We recognize the significance of cloud brokerage and the paradigm shift towards a hybrid cloud computing model. In this case we are out ahead of the market.

Ben: How about a time when GreenPages did fall behind a trend?

Chris: I would say we fell behind a trend when we began our managed services business. It was traditional, old school managed services. It definitely took us some time to figure out where we wanted to go and where we wanted to be. While we may have fallen behind initially, we recognized change was needed and our Cloud Management as a Service offering has transformed us. Instead of sitting back and missing the boat, we are now in a great spot. This will be a huge help to our customers – but will (and does already) help us significantly internally as well.

Ben: How about fear number 2?

Chris: Fear number two is not seeing around the bend.  From my perspective as the CTO at a solutions provider, things move so fast in this industry and GreenPages offers such a wide variety and breadth of products and services to customer – it can be very difficult to keep up with. If we focused on only one area it would be a lot easier, but since we focus on cloud, virtualization, end user computing, security, storage, datacenter transformation, networking and more it can be quite challenging. For a corporate CTO you are allowed to be a market follower, which can be somewhat of an advantage. While you don’t want to fall behind, you do have partners, like GreenPages and others out there, that you can count on.

Ben: That makes sense. What about a 3rd fear?

Chris: Another large fear for CTOs is making a wrong turn. CTOs can get the crystal ball out and there may be a couple of things coming down the road…but what happens if you turn left and everyone else turns right? What happens if you make the wrong decision or the decision to early?

Ben: Can you give us an example?

Chris: A good example of taking a turn too early in the Cloud era is with the company Nirvanix. Cloud storage is extremely important, but what happens when a business model has not been properly vetted? This is one of the “gotchas” of being an early adopter. To be successful you need a good mix. You can’t be too conservative, but you can’t jump all in any time a new company pops up – the key is balance.

Ben: Do you have any advice for CTOs about this?

Chris: Sure – just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

Ben: I’ve heard you say that one before…

Chris: For example, software defined networking stacks, with products like Cisco Insieme and VMware NSX are very cool new technologies. I personally, and we at GreenPages, think this is going to be the next big thing. But we’re at a crossroads…who should use these? Who will gain the benefits? For example, maybe it makes sense for the enterprise but not for small businesses? This is something major that I have to determine – who is this a good fit for?

Ben: How about fear number 4?

Chris: Fear number 4 revolves around retaining my talent. I want my team to feel like they are always learning something new. I want them to know they are always on the bleeding edge of IT. I want to give them a world that changes very quickly. In my experience, most people that are stellar employees in a technical capacity want to be challenged constantly and to try new things and look at different ways of doing things.

Ben: What should CTOs do to try and retain talent?

Chris: Really take the time and focus on building a culture and environment that harnesses what I mentioned above. If not, you’re at serious risk of losing top talent.

Ben: Before I get too scared let’s get to number 5 and finish this up.

Chris: I’d say the fifth fear of mine is determining if I am working with the right technologies and the right vendors. IT can often be walking a tightrope between vendors from technical and business perspectives. From my perspective, I need to make sure we are providing our customers with the right technology from the right vendor to meet their needs. I need to determine if the technology works as advertised. Is it something that is reasonable to implement? Is there money in this for GreenPages?

Ben: What about from a customer’s perspective?

Chris: The customer also needs to make sure they align themselves with the right partners.  CTOs want to find partners that are looking towards the future, who will advise them correctly, and who will allow the business to stay out ahead of the competition. If a CTO looks at a partner or technology and doesn’t think it’s really advancing the business, then it’s time to reevaluate.

Ben: Thanks for the time Chris – and good luck!

What are your top fears as an IT decision makers? Leave them in the comment section!

Download this free ebook on the evolution of the corporate IT department. Where has the IT department been, where is it now, and where should it be headed?



Be Nimble, Be Quick: A CRN Interview with GreenPages’ CEO

CRN Senior Editor and industry veteran Steve Burke sat down with GreenPages’ CEO Ron Dupler to discuss shifts in ideology in the industry as well as GreenPages new Cloud Management as a Service (CMaaS) offering. The interview, which was originally posted on, is below. What are your thoughts on Ron’s views of the changing dynamics of IT?


CRN:Talk about your new cloud offering.

Dupler:It is available today. We can support physical, virtual and cloud-based infrastructure through a single pane of glass today. We are actually using the technology internally as well.

There is another part of CMaaS that goes into cloud governance and governance models in a cloud world and cloud services brokerage. That is what we are integrating and bringing to market very soon.

CRN:How big a game-changer is CMaaS?

Dupler:I think we are going to be well out in front of the market with this. I personally believe we can go have discussions right now and bring technologies to bear to support those discussions that no one else in the industry can right now.

That said, we know that the pace of innovation is rapid and we expect other organizations are trying to work on these types of initiatives as well. But we believe we’ll be out front certainly for this year.

CRN:How does the solution provider business model change from 2013 to 2018?

Dupler:The way we are looking at our job and the job of the solution provider channel over the next several years through 2018 is to provide IT plan, build, run and governance services for the cloud world.

The big change is that the solution provider channel for many years has made their money off the fact that infrastructure fundamentally doesn’t work very well. And it has been all about architecting and integrating physical technologies and software platforms to support the apps and data that really add value for the business.

When we move to the cloud world, this is now about integrating service platforms as opposed to physical technologies. So it is about architecting and integrating on-premise and cloud service platforms really to create IT-as-a-Service to support the apps and data for the platform. That is the transition that is under way.

CRN:Does the GreenPages brand become bigger than the vendor brand and how does that affect vendor relations in the CMaaS era?

Dupler:We continue to closely evaluate all our key partner relationships. That is managed very closely. What we try to do is make sure we are partnered with the right companies that are really leading this transformation. And our number one partner because they are driving this transformation is VMware. With this whole software-defined data center concept and initiative, VMware has really laid out a great vision for where this market is going.

NEXT: Does Size Matter?

CRN:There is a prevailing view that solution providers need to go big or go home, with many solution providers selling their businesses. Do you see scale becoming more important — that you need to scale?

Dupler:No. People have been saying that for years. It is all about customer value and the talent of your team, if you are adding value for clients. You need to be able to service the client community. And they care about quality of service and the ability of your team. Not necessarily that you are huge. I have been down the M&A road and, as you know, we do M&A here on a smaller scale. And I will tell you there are pros and cons to it. You aggregate talent, but you also have got the inertia of pulling companies together and integrating companies and people and executive teams and getting through that.

I absolutely do not subscribe and never have subscribed to the fact that size in itself gives competitive advantage. There are some advantages, but there are also costs to doing that.

CRN:What is the ultimate measure for success in this new world?

Dupler:It is a combination of three things: technology, and I will firmly say it doesn’t have to be homegrown. It could be homegrown or it could be commercial off-the-shelf. It is the way the technology is leveraged and having the technologies with the ability to drive the services you are trying to provide. What we are trying to do with CMaaS is single pane of glass management for the physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure, which I have mentioned, as well as cloud service brokerage and cloud governance services. You can either develop those on your own or integrate partner technologies or both, but you need the supporting technology base and you need people and you need process.

CRN:How big a transition is this and what percentage of VARs do you think will make it to 2018?

Dupler:The companies that I think are going to have a huge challenge are the big product-centric organizations right now. The DMR [direct marketer] community. They have some big challenges ahead of them over time. All these guys are trying to come up with cloud strategies as well.

Right now there is a premium on being nimble. That is the word of the day for me in 2013. Nimble. You need nimble people and you need a nimble business organization because things are moving faster than they ever have. You just have to have a culture and people that can change quickly.

Going back to is it good just to be big? Sometimes it is hard to maintain [that agility] as you get really big. The magnitude of the change that is required to succeed over the next five years is extremely significant. And people that aren’t already under way with that change have a big challenge ahead of them.

CRN:What is the pace of change like managing in this business as a CEO vs. five years ago?

Dupler:It is exponential.

CRN:Is it tougher to manage in an environment like this?

Dupler:You say it is tougher, but there is more opportunity than ever because of the pace of change to really differentiate yourself. So it can be challenging but it is also very stimulating and exciting.

CRN:Give me five tips you need to thrive in 2018.

Dupler:First of all, you need hybrid cloud management capabilities.

Number two, you need cloud services brokerage capabilities. It is ultimately an ability to provide a platform for clients to acquire as-a-service technologies from GreenPages. To be able to sell the various forms of infrastructure, platform and software as a service.

Number three is cloud architecture and integration capabilities.

Fourth is product revenue and profit streams are not central to supporting the business. The service model needs to become a profitable, thriving stand-alone entity without the product revenue streams.

The fifth thing and it is the biggest challenge. One thing is migrating your technology organization. Then the next thing you need to do is create a services-based sales culture.

CRN:Talk about how big a change that is.

Dupler:It is a huge change. Again, if people are not already under way with this change they have a huge challenge ahead of them. Everybody I speak with in the industry — whether it is at [UBM Tech Channel’s] BoB conference or at partner advisory councils — everybody is challenged with this right now. The sales force in the solution provider industry has been old paradigm physical-technology-based and needs to move into a world where it is leading with professional and managed services. And that game is very different. So I think there are two ways to address that: one is hiring new types of talent or helping the talent we all have transform. It is going to be a combination of both that gets us ultimately where we need to be.

CRN:What do you think is the biggest mistake being made right now by competitors or vendors?

Dupler:What I see is people that are afraid to embrace the change that is under way and are really hanging on to the past. The biggest mistake I see right now is people continuing to evangelize solutions to customers that aren’t necessarily right by the customer, but conform to what they know and drive the most profit for their organizations.

Short-term gain isn’t going to drive long-term customer value. And we need to lead the customers forward through this transformation as opposed to perpetuating the past. The market needs leadership right now. The biggest challenge for people is not moving fast enough to transform their businesses.

This interview was originally posted on

To learn more about GreenPages’ CMaaS offering click here!