The Incredibly Shrinking IT Function Is a Good Thing.
For Robert Najjar and his company Digital Integrated Systems, taking over the IT function of a client is not a cumbersome task but a privilege that is enhanced by managed services partners.
Redmond Channel Partner Magazine
It won't be long until enterprises large and small will have virtual IT functions and virtual technology management in the form of managed services providers.
This is the crux of Robert Najjar's vision as founder and head of Digital Integrated Systems Inc., (DIS), a Broadview Heights, Ohio-based full-service IT consultancy.
"We're now acting as a full staffed IT department for many of our clients including city government and private, parochial and public schools. We forecast budgets, we interact with other vendors on behalf of our customers," Najjar says. "We make recommendations for future upgrades and, most importantly, we keep our clients' networks and infrastructures running and optimized. Our clients' customers expect the best from them and they should expect nothing but the best from us."
The emphasis on managed services is a far cry from 1992 when Najjar started DIS to simply perform troubleshooting and computer repairs for a new public-sector government entities and local small and midsize businesses.
But from Najjar's perspective, as technology applications gained a wider breadth in the enterprise space and in general the IT function, once fraught with mainframes and only a few people who knew technology, actually contracted. In other words: It became smaller; and engineers and developers are now doing more with less.
Internally, Najjar said his growing staff includes "the best and brightest" of network designers, system integrators, e-commerce developers, e-mail specialists and hardware technicians.
Externally, DIS has come to rely on third-party partners such as Zenith Infotech Ltd. to both augment and complement what Najjar describes as his internal team of specialists "who all share an unyielding commitment to world-class service."
However, Najjar's first encounter with Zenith was unique in the respect that when he heard about it he didn't initially buy what they were selling from a philosophical perspective.
He remembers particularly being put off by the use of the omnipresent commercial axiom "free trial."
"I heard about Zenith Infotech via e-mail," Najjar recalls. "At first, its services sounded too good to be true. But then I took a second look and the company's 'free trial' made me think: 'I have nothing to lose.'"
What's ironic is that the very thing that made Najjar skeptical became the very simple concept that made him pick Zenith.
"It's kind of funny, actually. The reason we picked Zenith ended up being, well, no startup cost and ease of use and deployment."
To help deploy services to DIS clients, the company uses Zenith's Monitoring software as well as the Business Continuity Products or backup and disaster recovery solution.
Because the IT function should be almost seamless, Najjar says that Zenith helped him go the extra mile in making seamlessness a reality for clients.
"We do not stop at backing up your servers," he says. "We deploy tools that will virtualize servers in a matter of minutes in case of disasters." He adds, "If you use tapes and have had a server disaster, you know that restoring from tapes can take hours and sometimes days to bring your server back to life. With our solutions and tools, no more swapping tapes or remembering to take them offsite. We take the human factor and human errors right out of the picture.
"Now we're able to backup your data and transfer it to a secure data center with the highest available encryption," Najjar explains. "Tapes are unreliable and depending on your data size, they may not be feasible. Tapes usually are untested for disaster recovery; and when tested, the results are 22% unsatisfactory."
The fact that Najjar can assure his clients that in case of a server failure he can get them up and running in less than an hour has opened many doors for his company strategically.
"I have had some instances where a server 1,000 miles away went down," he remembers. "I tried walking the local agent through repairing it. However, the server was not responding. At that point I made a decision to virtualize the server utilizing the BDR on-site. I had the server up and running in virtual mode in less than an hour. I said then and I say now, it's just common sense."
"We service schools as well as small and midsize businesses with more than 500 users at a fraction of the cost of one IT person. Also, we enhance the jobs of full-time IT staff by simply taking the day-to-day maintenance off their shoulders. We defrag hard drives, scan for bad sectors and perform Windows updates; we perform security patches, scan for viruses and spyware, check the health of your servers and much more at a fraction of the cost of one IT person," Najjar explains. "We do all this without interrupting our customers."
Najjar adds: "My goal as CEO is to expand my company into other regions of the United States. Zenith will allow me to reach customers outside my regional area."
"Zenith Services will provide me with the competitive edge to reach out to customers all over the world. Now, I manage small offices in England, France and the Middle East. Without Zenith Infotech, I would not be able to service 15% of my customers."
In that sense, Najjar's vision of the incredibly shrinking and incredibly effective IT function is coming to fruition in the form of a burgeoning managed services industry, which is leading to the incredibly quick expansion of his business.
"What managed services does is allows service providers to do more with less," he says. "Travel time can be cut in half. Your technicians can manage more devices and handle multiple incidents at once. I believe that managed services will continue to grow and become an essential part of any network management."
"The staff of DIS, especially Robert Najjar, President, can only be described as professional, knowledgeable and easy to deal with. Our association with the firm has been beneficial to the city."
- City of North Royalton