A blog for Small Business IT Consultants and the vendors who serve them. It contains Opinions on business success, News in the consulting community, and Information on what I'm up to. All material Copyright (c) 2006-2023 by Karl W. Palachuk unless otherwise noted.
Accomplished Engineering and Business Leader Will Oversee the Cloud Communications Provider’s Product Management, Software Development and Cloud Services Teams
BLUE BELL, PA — (July 21, 2021) — CoreDial, LLC, a leading provider of cloud communications, video collaboration, and contact center solutions, announced that Jason Harper has been appointed the company’s Chief Technology Officer. In this capacity, he will lead CoreDial’s product management, software development, and cloud services teams to accelerate the company’s growth trajectory as well as its ongoing mission to be the best at enabling the channel to succeed with cloud communications.
Harper brings a wealth of communications technology expertise and business acumen to CoreDial, including extensive UCaaS and SaaS experience. He is known for creating and implementing communications and analytics solutions that are widely used in both business and consumer settings. Prior to joining CoreDial, Harper served as Vice President of Engineering at GameChanger Media, an independent subsidiary of Dick’s Sporting Goods. In this capacity, he was responsible for developing software, mobile apps, and analytics solutions that are utilized by hundreds of thousands of youth sports teams across the United States.
Before that, Harper was Vice President of Infrastructure Engineering at Vidyo, directing the development of video collaboration services and related networking products. He also served in executive capacities with ShoreTel, managing the softswitch, contact center and billing and OSS operations groups. Along with his development and management roles, Harper is a proven innovator, holding several U.S. patents for bandwidth management and network performance.
“I’m excited to have Jason join our team here at CoreDial,” said Alan Rihm, CoreDial’s CEO. “He brings with him strong leadership and culture building skills, and I’m confident he will inspire our technology team's continued success as we accelerate our growth in 2021 and beyond. Jason has very relevant subject matter expertise in the cloud communications space, as well as a proven track record of both B2B and consumer software innovation. His background and experience will help us to meet and exceed company product and service objectives going forward, and his leadership style is one that I expect will help us to attract and retain the best product, software, and cloud services talent possible. The team and I couldn’t be more excited about Jason joining us on this journey.”
Harper joins CoreDial on the heels of launching CoreNexa 7.0, its all-in-one voice, video, messaging, and collaboration solution. Designed to unleash the power of the modern workforce, CoreNexa 7.0 enables channel partners to offer a single and highly competitive solution that satisfies the full spectrum of business communications and collaboration needs for businesses of all sizes, verticals, and across in-office, hybrid or fully remote environments. The platform combines reliable HD video, meetings, messaging, virtual room and standout collaboration features with CoreDial’s proven voice and cloud communications services, giving organizations a single solution that meets the next-gen needs of the post-pandemic business landscape.
“I’m delighted to join Alan and his talented team and contribute to the success of the organization,” said Harper. “With the launch of CoreNexa 7.0, it’s an exciting time for CoreDial as a company. I look forward to helping the team innovate and grow the solution even further, and develop new solutions to help our partners maintain a competitive advantage with cloud communications.”
CoreDial is a leading provider of high-quality and scalable cloud communications, contact center, and video collaboration to more than 32,000 businesses. The company’s solutions are quickly and easily auto-provisioned through its CoreNexa™ platform, which seamlessly integrates with other essential business applications. For small- to medium-size businesses and larger enterprises, CoreDial offers comprehensive, cost-effective, and future-proof communications solutions customers demand. Backed by an industry-leading 99.999% SLA and supported locally by 850+ trained partners, CoreNexa is uniquely positioned to help businesses unleash the power of the modern workforce. www.coredial.com
We use the terms all the time: High, Medium, and Low Priority. But does everyone on your team agree on what these mean and how they affect your service delivery? Do all of your clients understand what you mean when you use these priorities?
Join me for an all-new deep-dive into defining priority-based service department that is more profitable, delivers higher quality support, and keeps clients happier than ever. Don't miss the tip sheets that accompany this presentation.
Join me July 29th for the Q3 SMB TechFest event:
Build a Priority-Based Service Department
Register FREE as my guest. Click the link below, or the graphic. Your choice. Either way, you win.
I will be in my virtual booth after the presentation - drop by and chat!
I am very sorry to announce that we are going to reschedule our Canada and UK Roadshows, which were scheduled for August and September. Even the Canadian shows had already been rescheduled from May.
I am a very optimistic person. So, when this pandemic started, I thought it would be done in a month or two. That was sixteen months ago. And then the vaccinations took off pretty well, so I thought the world's doors would open quickly. They didn't.
Now it appears that the Delta variant is sweeping across the globe. Those who are vaccinated have a 90% chance of not being affected. But it is becoming clear that we (the vaccinated) can get, carry, and pass on the variant, even if we are symptom-free. [I'm not a doctor, etc. Don't argue with me. I'm just boiling down what I think we know.]
So I'm once again pushing events out to the future.
I am moving forward with the Providence, RI Roadshow on September 16th at the Hilton Providence.
AND we're looking at a December event in Las Vegas, NV.
My best guess is that those are the only two shows we'll do this year. So if you are anywhere near Providence in September or Vegas in December, please join us.
The Good News: I Promise GREAT Content!
We will kick off the event with a live Game Show. Great entertainment and networking opportunity. After that, we'll look at some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in the SMB IT space today. And we finish off with a beerfest to celebrate our success and send everyone off with more great networking.
We already have folks signed up for the Providence show. And we'll open Vegas registration soon.
Do yourself a favor: Join Us!
Reminder: Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community Members attend free. Grab the discount code in your dashboard or email Kara or me for directions.
Also: If you think we should bring the SMB Roadshow to YOUR CITY in 2022, drop me a line or put a comment below. We will be doing more cities next year.
Even after all these years, too many companies are 100% interrupt-driven. That means that they find themselves working on whatever get dropped in front of them. Interruption-based work is always less efficient and less profitable!
But how do you set and implement priorities so that all of your staff, and all of your clients agree on what each priority level means? And how do you build processes to make that system work? And what does it look like from inside your service department?
We'll cover all of that plus give you some sample tip sheets for employees and clients.
No matter what you use for a ticketing system, a rock-solid priority system will help you deliver better service and be more profitable.
I am posting this notice because we have officially locked down the meeting room, signed the paperwork, and bought the airfare. I can't promise what else will happen (although I'm still hoping to do some other shows this year), but we are 100% ready to blast off in Providence.
This event is four hours of great content, networking, and education . . . followed by a beerfest. The price is only $399 for the first attendee. But you can save $100 right now with the checkout code
Our theme this year is all about the Absolutely Unbreakable Rules of Service Delivery. We'll start with some networking and then a fun and educational Game Show I designed just for this event.
After that the agenda includes:
Running Successfully in the 2020's
Post-Pandemic Clientele and Offerings
Building YOUR Absolutely Unbreakable Rules
Looking Forward to the next normal
(and, of course, a trip to the pub)
We all have rules we use to help us be successful in life and in business. I've spelled out some of my most important rules and then we'll help you down the road to codifying the rules that have made YOU successful.
As always, we have plenty of handouts and time for Q&A.
Join us and take your business to the next level.
BIG discounts available. Obviously, there's the early-bird discount. If you register now, you save $100 with the discount code above.
I've posted several times about transforming our industry into a profession. I've been pleased to see several people get engaged.
Now it's time to start actually meeting and figuring out some action steps to move toward the new reality. So we're holding a Zoom meeting, Open to anyone who's interested.
The Future of IT - Organizing Meeting
There is no "presentation" here. I have a few ideas, but I've been spelled them out in blog posts, white papers, and a webinar. Now I want to start a conversation around the challenges and opportunities we face.
In some sense, we have plenty of time. Governments and major corporations tend to work slowly. But in another sense, time is short. When "incidents" happen, action tends to take place rather quickly. When that happens, we will either be at the table or not.
What does it take to be at the table? We need to establish ourselves as a part of the discussion that cannot be ignore. In addition to representing our industry, we also need to represent our small- and medium-sized clients Like us, they are being acted upon, without a seat at the table.
Please register for this meeting. That way, we can send you a link to the recording even if you miss it. But I very much prefer that you attend and contribute your ideas. Here's the info:
Zoom Meeting The Future of IT - Organizing Meeting
Many of you have heard me rant against the concept of "All You Can Eat." Of course there's no such thing as all you can eat. Why does a restaurant have rules for AYCE? Because it's a policy designed to be abused.
I get about one email per month from someone who has screwed themselves by offering an AYCE managed service offering. One of the hardest lessons learned is about to be repeated. Microsoft is setting the stage (Don't get me wrong. I don't blame Microsoft for the policies of MSPs who fall into this trap.)
Introducing Windows 11 - To be delivered free of charge!
Sounds great. Now picture this. I have 20 desktop computers and 35 laptops. All are on Windows 10 and they vary from one year old to five years old. All will (as far as we know) be eligible for free upgrades to Windows 11. Yay.
But Windows 11 will not be installable on old, insecure hardware. Are my machines equipped with Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chips? I don't know. You (my MSP) probably don't know. So, job one is:
Run the update tool that will someday be posted here:
. . . on all 55 machines for FREE. Meaning, you won't charge me to do this because I have an all I can eat contract. Thank you.
Can these chips be installed with a motherboard plug-in of some kind? Go find out. And don't charge me. Then, if the work needs to be done, do it. I'll pay for the chips. You provide labor for free because I have an all I can eat contract. Thank you.
Finally, we're ready to upgrade the machines we can. Let's say it's 25 machines ready to upgrade. You'll patiently sit through that upgrade to make sure it's smooth. Time twenty-five machines. Plus any driver updates and troubleshooting. I'll pay ZERO for that labor because I have an all I can eat contract. Thank you.
But, Karl, All You Can Eat Doesn't Mean All You Can Eat!
Oh? What does it mean?
And you'll forgive me if I dig out your marketing material, read through your web site, and review my contract. Seems to me that All I Can Eat is very self-explanatory.
Okay. You're tired of hearing this. Great. Then stop using that term. It's misleading to clients and other managed service providers. It's a lie.
To have a viable business model, you need to draw very clear lines around what's included and what's extra. That way, you and your clients can be on the same page about what they're paying for. And, as a bonus, you can be profitable. I'm a huge fan of that.
Recently I posted a video on What is an MSP and What is Not an MSP:
If your business is service-focused and client-focused, then you probably put a very big emphasis on keeping the client's systems UP and working, as well as efficient. You help them get the absolute greatest value from their investment in technology. That's a maintenance-first approach.
And, therefore, your offering has to be around maintenance and maximizing the value of each client's investment. Adds, moves, changes, are extra.
[Side note: The only real reason to offer a false "All You Can Eat" offering is to attract clients who do not see value in your services and would rather not pay you for everything they get. I don't think you want to attract those people as clients.]
Legislation and regulation are coming to our industry - fast. You no longer get to ignore this issue or put your head in the sand and pretend it's not happening. It's happening. Now you can choose to get involved and influence your future, or simply do nothing and let the legislators and bureaucrats decide your future.
(No registration or email required. Just click and download.)
Basically, the goals of this proposal are:
1) Create a statewide (province-wide) database of IT Service Providers (ITSPs) and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) with a government agency.
- - This database would be publicly searchable.
2) Defines ITSPs and MSPs. Basically, for this discussion, ITSPs provide small amounts of labor, break/fix labor, and specialty labor. They do not manage the entire client infrastructure or provide backup and disaster recovery services. MSPs are defined as providing those higher-end services.
3) Require all registered providers (ITSPs and MPS) to report cyber security incidents for any client with whom they have a contract.
4) Require that all services of $5,000 or more by a registered provider must sign a contract between the client and technology provider. If a client refuses to sign such a contract, they limit the amount money that can be claimed in an "errors and omissions" action.
5) Require that MSP offer comprehensive security services, including backup and disaster recovery. If a client declines these services, they may not hold the service provider liable for any security breeches or related ransomware damages. In addition, the client's insurance company may refuse to cover such incidents if the client has refused these services.
6) MSPs are required to provide appropriate maintenance and patching of all software.
7) Require reporting of all cyber security incidents and payments.
The ultimate goal of this legislation is to return some sanity to both the insurance industry and the SMB tech support industry. Insurance companies should be in support of this because it attempts to make two big changes:
1) Get more clients to actually secure their systems.
It will do some good on the prevention side, and a great deal of good on the recovery side. Whether we prevent cyber security incidents, or simply get clients back in business quickly without paying ransoms, the clients are more profitable and insurance payouts are reduced dramatically.
2) If clients cannot or will not pay for appropriate security, the insurance companies are not required to cover these incidents.
Ultimately, we cannot force companies to secure their data. But, insurance companies and technology consultants should not bear this burden when the client does not take the actions required to secure their systems.
Overall, I believe this makes the insurance industry and the IT industry natural allies on this front.
This is a starting place!
I am not a lawyer, a legislator, a lobbyist, or an insurance broker. So there's no way this proposed legislation is perfect. But it's a place to start the discussion.
Eventually, I would love to see something along these lines introduced in every state and province in North America. And beyond that as well. I was happy to see people from Germany, the UK, and Australia on my webinar about this.
I am gathering some volunteers. So if you are interesting in helping to fine-tune the discussion, or help in any way, please fill out that form. We will try to organize some meetings soon. I know everyone is crazy busy. But regulation and legislation are coming, whether you participate or not. And it will be very sad if we are subject to legislation written by and for large corporations who do not face our challenges or even risk going out of business due to these challenges.
Please join us today.
-- -- --
Now, here's the text of that proposed legislation.
Proposed: IT Service Provider Registration and Compliance Act
Drafted under the auspices of the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community. www.smallbizthoughts.org.
Note: “The [Appropriate Agency]” in this draft legislation should be replaced by the state police, cyber crimes task force, or whoever is the most appropriate agency in the state.
IT Service Provider Registration and Compliance Act
AN ACT of the Legislature relative to registration with the Secretary of State by IT service providers and managed service providers; to provide requirements for doing business; to provide for definitions; to provide for time limitations on the reporting of cyber incidents; to provide for limitations on liability; and to provide for related matters.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of_________________, [appropriate statute code] is hereby enacted to read as follows:
1. IT Service providers and managed service providers
A. The purposes of this Chapter are:
(1) To create a registration for IT service providers and managed service providers doing business in this state.
(2) To provide access for the general public to obtain information on IT service providers and managed service providers.
(3) To require IT service providers and managed service providers to report cyber security incidents and the payment of cyber security-related ransom.
(4) To define limits of liability related to cyber security and IT services
As used in this Chapter, the following words and phrases shall be defined as follows:
(1) "Cyber security incident" means the compromise of the security, confidentiality, or integrity of computerized data due to the exfiltration, modification, or deletion that results in the unauthorized acquisition of and access to information maintained by a client of an IT service provider or managed service provider, as defined in this Chapter.
(2) "Cyber security-related ransom" means a type of malware that encrypts or locks valuable digital files and demands a ransom to release the files.
(3) The [Appropriate Agency] means .
(4) “IT Service Provider” means any individual, sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or any similar entity or combination of entities that provides technology consulting services on an as-needed or hourly basis to companies, not-for-profit organizations, or public agencies at the state or local level in the state of ___________.
(5) "Managed Service Provider" means any individual, sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or any similar entity or combination of entities that manages and maintains the information technology infrastructure or end-user systems on an ongoing basis to companies, not-for-profit organizations, or public agencies at the state or local level in the state of ___________ .
(6) “Provider” means either an IT service provider or managed service provider, as defined above.
(7) “Client” means any company or individual that engages the services of a provider.
C. Requirements for doing business
(1) A provider shall not provide IT related services in this state unless the provider has registered with the Secretary of State and remains in good standing.
(2) Beginning [ Date ] , each provider that offers IT related services in this state shall file an application for initial registration with the Secretary of State consisting of the provider's name, address, telephone number, contact person, designation of a person in this state for service of process, and provide a listing of all officers, all directors, and all owners of ten percent or more of the provider. Additionally, the provider shall file a copy of its basic organizational documents, including but not limited to articles of incorporation, articles of organization, articles of association, or partnership agreement.
(3) The Secretary of State may charge a filing fee to maintain related records, not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100.00) for each filing period.
(4) A registration shall be effective for thirty-six months, unless the registration is denied or revoked. Sixty days prior to the expiration of a registration, a provider shall submit a renewal application on a form or web site prescribed by the Secretary of State.
(5) The Secretary of State shall maintain a publicly-searchable database of all registered providers along with the beginning and ending dates of their registration, and all important information from the provider’s application, and information related to cyber security incidents and cyber security-related ransom payments as defined in this Chapter.
(6) Each registrant shall notify the Secretary of State of any material change in the registration information no later than sixty days after the effective date of such change.
2. Contracts between Providers and Clients
A. Contract Requirements
(1) Clients who engage a provider for services totaling less than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) in a calendar year are not required to sign a contract for services. Clients who do not sign a contract for services shall not hold any provider liable for errors or omissions in an amount greater than the total dollar amount paid to provider in the previous twelve months.
(2) Clients who engage a provider for services totaling five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) or more in a calendar year shall sign a contract for services that is consistent with this Chapter and explicitly incorporates the provisions of this Chapter.
(3) Providers are required to inform prospective clients of the requirements of this Section.
B. Backup and Maintenance Minimum Requirements
(1) Any client who engages a provider for services and signs contract or agreement for services shall agree to pay for provider to create, maintain, and test data backups for all critical client data and IT services, except as described in this Section.
(2) If client chooses to not pay for provider to create, maintain, and test data backups, client shall sign a waiver releasing provider of liability under this Chapter. Any client who chooses not to engage provider to create, maintain, and test data backups, shall not hold provider liable for errors or omissions related to any cyber security incident or cyber security-related ransom during the period of their contract.
(3) Provider shall include in all contracts the creation, maintenance, and testing of data backups for all critical client data and IT services.
(4) Provider shall include in all contracts the maintenance and patching of all software and operating systems defined in the client between client and provider.
C. Notification of cyber incidents and payment of cyber ransoms
(1) To the extent a provider has knowledge of a cyber incident that impacts a client, the provider shall notify the [Appropriate Agency] of the cyber incident within sixteen business hours of discovery of the incident. The [Appropriate Agency] shall transmit this information to the Secretary of State within twenty-four hours.
(2) If a provider is aware of a cyber incident that impacts client and the provider or client makes a payment of ransom, to the extent the provider has actual knowledge of the payment, the provider shall report the payment of the ransom to the [Appropriate Agency] within ten calendar days of the payment. The [Appropriate Agency] shall transmit this information to the Secretary of State within twenty-four hours.
(3) A provider who submits a notification pursuant to this Section shall include in the notification the name of the client.
(4) Providers shall include the requirements of this Section in all contracts with clients. Both providers and clients shall be required to comply with the provisions of this Section to the extent the contract between the provider and the client explicitly incorporates the provisions of this Chapter.
This four-volume set is the definitive guide to Managed Services. From the front office to the tech department, we cover it all. Every computer consultant, every managed service provider, every technical consulting company - every successful business - needs SOPs!
When you document your processes and procedures, you design a way for your company to have repeatable success. And as you fine-tune those processes and procedures, you become more successful, more efficient, and more profitable. The way you do everything is your brand.
How to Deliver Successful, Profitable Projects on Time with Your Small Business Clients
Small Business project management is simply not as complicated as project management in the enterprise. But small business projects have the same challenges as enterprise projects: They need to achieve their goals effectively, on time, and within budget.
They also face the same primary challenge – staying inside the scope of the project!
This great little book provides a simple process project planning and management process that is easy to learn and easy to teach to your employees, fellow technicians, and sub-contractors. You’ll learn to track any project, explain all the stages to clients and employees, and verify that everything is completed on time and under budget.
The authors show you a great technique for making sure that scope creep is a thing of the past! Make every project a successful and profitable project!
I make every attempt to honestly state what I believe and enjoy the freedom of posting whatever I feel like on this blog. This is a big complicated world and I have many interconnected personal and professional relationships.
I may in some way receive money or other benefits from any of the products, services, or companies mentioned in this blog as a direct or indirect result of my actions on and off this blog. Any experience mentioned here is just my experience and I have no knowledge about whether it represents a typical experience with any products, services, or companies mentioned.
Whenever it is possible to have both an honest and a misleading interpretation of my statements, please assume honesty.