One my favorite parts of working at Intronis is getting to witness firsthand what happens when people apply technologies in unintended ways. Unconventional deployments can be a gamble, but they can also pay off in a big way. And it’s very satisfying when they do.
I recently spoke at length with one of our partners about her MSP’s experiences with Intronis ECHOshare, our secure, enterprise-grade file sync and share service offering. To my delight and amazement, this partner showed me three sync and share “hacks” that I’m sure will be useful to other IT solution providers looking to expand their service portfolios and boost their profits.
One of this partner’s most enthusiastic customers is a construction company that has a large headquarters facility with a robust IT infrastructure including several file servers. The company relies heavily on detailed diagrams and schematics to manage its day-to-day workloads, which include numerous building projects in various stages of completion.
To enable its project managers out in the field, the company used to provide access to documentation via a virtual private network (VPN). Field managers would connect to the VPN from smartphones or laptops equipped with mobile data connections. Unfortunately, this solution grew unworkable because both the VPN and the mobile data connections introduced latency, making access to these files — frequently several gigabytes in size — cumbersome at best.
The ultimate value our partner brought to this company was the ability to see the problem in a completely new light.
After listening carefully to understand the nature of the problem, our partner made a bold proposal: Why not do away with the VPN completely and use Intronis ECHOshare instead? After addressing their initial concerns, she talked them into piloting her solution, helping them configure permission-based sharing on specific folders on their file servers.
And it worked. With its new sync and share solution, the construction company simplified its approach to providing remote access to its file data. In addition to the savings from deactivating the VPN, the company uses Intronis ECHOshare’s Selective Sync feature to limit its mobile data traffic, which improved cost savings and file-access performance.
Virtual File Server
Another one of the partner’s customers, a self-storage specialist, fits a very different company profile. This company maintains its own storage facilities and helps customers find similar facilities in other locations. Like the construction company, the storage company needed a secure way to make company files accessible, in this case to employees and affiliates around the country. This company, however, works on a largely decentralized model, without the benefit of either a data center or a file server.
For this company, our partner saw an opportunity to apply Intronis ECHOShare to virtualize some of the functionality normally provided by a file server. She installed ECHOshare on a company executive’s laptop with Team Admin access, giving him the ability to manage ECHOshare permissions and devices across the country. The solution gave the company a nationwide footprint, a secure way to share documents with its many affiliated storage companies, and an easy way to standardize its business operations network-wide, all without the need for a server.
A third customer — this is Colorado, so let’s call it a “boutique horticulturist and dispensary” — needed a solution for sharing files across three separate locations: a corporate headquarters, a remote production site, and a retail site. As early entrants into the rapidly evolving cannabis market, company execs recognized early on that security, rigorous documentation, and process standardization were critical for success. They knew most companies would have deployed a wide area network (WAN) to conduct business seamlessly across all three locations, but they didn’t want the expense or management overhead of maintaining a WAN.
Yet again, our partner saw an opportunity to apply a solution based on Intronis ECHOshare. One advantage of doing this is Intronis ECHOshare’s version control. It greatly simplifies change tracking and accountability and helps the company maintain control over the entire product life cycle, from sourcing to production to sales. The company’s business model also relies heavily on collaboration, and the solution makes it easy to share files with business partners outside the company as well.
Creative problem-solving pays off
Across all these cases, our partner had the insight to recognize Intronis ECHOshare opportunities even when her customers approached her with other technologies in mind. Equally important, she exercised tact and patience in positioning Intronis ECHOshare as the solution they needed. She took pains to explain the capabilities and limitations of her solutions in order to set clear expectations and head off potential misunderstandings.
My conversation with this partner reminded me just how vital creative problem-solving skills are for winning new business and earning customer loyalty. I also learned the importance of putting customer problems into a broad business context instead of prematurely pigeonholing them into technology questions.
If you’re interested in adding business-grade file sync and share to your service offerings, check out our latest Intronis Recipe for Success, How to roll out a file sync and share solution. The step-by-step guide provides an easy-to-follow model for qualifying prospective customers, working up a detailed understanding of their requirements, onboarding them, and making sure it continues to meet their needs as business conditions evolve. It offers a great jump-start to your file sync and share adventure.