Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thank You Zenith Infotech - A Day In The Life . . .

I have been blessed to make some great connections in this business. One of the best in the last few years has been our relationship with Zenith Infotech. I am honored and humbled by what they have done for us.

Awhile back Zenith sent some folks out to Sacramento to film our staff, our clients, and a few partners. Now 20 hours of video has been boiled down to 20 minutes. At 9:30 AM today Zenith Infotech will present A Day In The Life of Karl Palachuk.

You know, I'm pretty good at self-promoting, but this one makes me feel humble. It is truly an honor that anyone other than my Mother would think I or my company would be worth this attention. But I have to promote, so here we are.

Please join us at 9:30 AM Pacific / 12:30 PM Eastern.

Jim Milliron from Zenith Infotech and Lynette Bohanan from CommCentric Solutions did an amazing job. I'm sorry they couldn't include everyone and everything they filmed. But we are very happy with the results. They do really great work.

I thank Akash Saraf and the whole team at Zenith for this opportunity and for the relationship our companies have built over the last three years.

It is actually an honor to work with these folks and I'm grateful for the degree that they have chosen to engage with our company. I hear people say they've had a problem with this or that issue at Zenith. But I can honestly say that KPEnterprises has been very pleased with our engagement from day one.

How is that possible?

Well, first of all, you have to be realistic about what you expect. When we engage someone for a major relationship (ConnectWise, Autotask, Kaseya, Zenith, Ingram Micro, Synnex, Own Web Now, MSPU, etc.) we have expectations.

These expectations must include a philosophy about how you will handle issues. No two organizations can interact with zero problems, zero issues, zero disagreements. It's not possible. So you have to have some idea of how you hope to handle issues.

Early on with Zenith we didn't understand their "way" of doing things. And they didn't understand ours. We would change a ticket status and they would change it back. We assumed they were checking something but they didn't assume that. So one day Manuel (then running the tech dept) made a complete list of every issue and disconnect. He got on the phone with our account manager and one or our techs.

And they educated us while we educated them. At no point did we consider lines like "We're the customer. Do it our way. We're always right." I tend to fire customers who say that to me. Anyway, we made a commitment to a relationship.

How We Work With Zenith

A second key factor is that our team was deep with experience in 1) Ticketing and 2) Outsourcing at the enterprise level. That gave us a huge advantage because we understood HOW to assign tasks to Zenith. You cannot simply enter a ticket that says . . .

- Migrate to new SBS Server
- Fix active directory
- Configure firewall

You have to assign work in manageable chunks and give enough detail to allow them to be successful. For example, that "configure firewall" SR might look like this:

    The overall goal is to reconfigure this firewall to add https access to the server SQL4. Please review these steps and clarify process if you need to before beginning work. Follow these steps in order. If anything goes wrong, re-load the current configuration. When work is complete, assign the ticket to us with a status of "schedule this" so we can test with client. Steps
  • 1. Firewall configuration is only possible via internal network. Connect to server DC1, open a web browser and connect to firewall SonicWall180 with user admin and password 1234fakepassword.
  • 2. Backup the firewall configuration to server DC1 c:\!Tech\hardware\Firewall with a date-named filename (e.g., TZ180-20100228_A.config).
  • 3. SQL4 is not currently visible from outside network. Verify internal IP address for SQL4. Should be Point external IP https port 443 to internal SQL address.
  • 4. Save the configuration and create another backup to server DC1 c:\!Tech\hardware\Firewall with a date-named filename (e.g., TZ180-20100228_B.config).
  • 5. DNS has been set up for this. You should be able to connect to Verify that you get a logon page.
    This job should be done between 11:00 PM and 6:00 AM Pacific time.
Realistically, many people will simply say "Point external IP to internal IP for port 443" and leave it at that. And that may be fine. And you may be successful. But if you were assigning this to one of your techs to do overnight - and you don't want a call at 2:00 AM - you need to be more detailed.
So the reality is that it takes time and effort to manage your outsourced resources (Zenith, Dove, MSPSN, or whoever). You need to set reasonable goals, give good instructions, and then hold them accountable. If something goes wrong, fix it first and then figure out what happened. Do not give up because YOU didn't set up your outsourced team for success.
Anyway, I always get the question of why we get so much success out of Zenith. It's because we work with them as a team and not as a nameless faceless tool.
- - - - -
So . . . Check out the video. I don't know if you'll find any gems that will change your life, but you'll get a sense of how KPEnterprises and Great Little Book operate. You'll meet a couple of our clients and some of our local partners. There are some scenes at the data center. And you'll even get to meet my beautiful daughter Victoria.
Throw some popcorn in the Microwave and settle in for a great little video!
And thanks again to everyone at Zenith Infotech. I am honored.
I also thank my whole team for creating a company worthy of a little attention.

Join Karl for a Zero Downtime Migration Seminar

New Orleans, March 17th

Miami, FL, April 17th


  1. Nice explanation of how you work with Zenith, makes me re-consider their top-tier support option.

    Looks like there's a problem with your vid at the moment, will keep checking.


  2. Karl - great video, well presented and a wonderful insight into your life! Congratulations to all involved in producing!

  3. Great video indeed, nice to see what goes on behind all your involvement in the community.


  4. Thanks all. We had a good time making it.

  5. Karl,

    Do you have a dedicated person managing your Zenith tickets and tasks? For the amount of detail needed to get them to consistently successfully do something it seems like a ton of work on our end to really do it right.

    I do LOVE when they fix errors on their own and open a ticket to notify that something broke and they fixed it.

    Very nice video, too!


  6. Matt I believe we now have a team. The White Team. Our systems are so trouble-free that we don't need any more than that. :-)


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