Netsync is helping organizations focus on agility and automation to facilitate faster time to value by deploying critical cloud services.

Bjørn Bergqvist, Senior Product Marketing Manager

Netsync quickly added a new cloud service in 2020 when Milestone launched XProtect on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The video management software offers the flexibility to scale infrastructure resources on demand at an affordable operating expense instead of investing significant capital costs for on-premises infrastructure deployments.

Netsync has deep experience deploying cloud services for its diverse customer base. The Houston-based technology solutions consulting company helps public and private organizations implement complex IT projects to achieve exceptional outcomes. We talked to Netsync about its approach to IT project implementation and its growing involvement with cloud-based solutions.

Shawn Sellers, Netsync’s Director of Vendor Management says the customer experience and long-term satisfaction are fundamental criteria for cloud-based services.

“Sustainable business models today revolve around providing services and creating customer experiences,” says Sellers. “Modern resellers are consulting companies solving problems for customers on an ongoing basis. We’re trying to think where our customers want to be in 5 or 10 years and to understand their desired outcomes. Long-term satisfaction means being able to address demands quickly and the ability to move quickly is linked directly to cloud.”

John Geddie, Netsync’s Cloud Product Specialist added that speed of deployment and the inability to move quickly dooms many deals. “In a traditional hardware space, after ordering servers, storage, and cameras, it takes 4 to 5 months to install, configure, and turn them on. With cloud services, we have an advantage because our deployment is simply faster than all the rest. When a customer wants to start using XProtect for example, I can get it up and running in an hour.”

With cloud, we have an advantage because our deployment is simply faster…”

“Traditional IT partners now have the opportunity to add cloud capabilities to their skill set and solve customer problems faster than ever before. Take data backup for example. The capital cost to buy storage and set it up is two or three times the cost of storing it in a cloud solution. In just a few minutes, you can push your data from PCs, wireless networks, physical networks, and video cameras, to the cloud. The cloud will always be there, it will always be expandable, and the customer no longer has to worry about it.”

Almost every partner takes pride in their deployment speed, even when deploying on premises. How much of a difference does the cloud make?

“More than you can image,” says Geddie. “We were contacted by one of our customers, a large school district to help with remote learning. In high school technology programs, students work with high-end, highly graphical software that requires heavy video and memory resources. The pandemic forced students to start the school year from home, and these apps were going to be a challenge. Chromebooks and home laptops cannot support these highly graphical software clients, so the school district asked for our help in providing these students with the same educational experience, regardless of their location. By using AWS cloud and their AppStream service, we managed to get thousands of students to run these software clients on demand in just two weeks.”

“This would have taken months to achieve with traditional hardware and is a great example of the speed of deployment that cloud offers.” says Geddie. “This allows customers to get XProtect up and running in no time, no matter how spread out the installation is, saving both the partner and customer weeks and months of hardware procurement and set up.”

Why AWS?

“AWS is the most commonly used cloud platform today. Like Milestone, almost every big software company that is available on cloud is available on AWS. Milestone is an important step towards branching out of traditional IT departments,” says Geddie. “For example, video surveillance is normally not run by the CIO but by heads of security or operations of organizations. Bridging between the IT organization and the video surveillance and physical security world is a win-win situation both for the customer and for the partner.”

Can you give me an example for such a win-win situation?

Warren Wilson, Netsync’s Physical Security Practice Manager explains a recent customer engagement.

“I have a customer that has 900 servers and 22,000 cameras with only three people to manage them across several locations. The option for that customer to now centrally manage these servers centrally saves them a lot of money and makes the organization more agile when it comes to future operations.”

Once we work with our customers on how to build their budgets, they generally see that the cloud is more affordable.”

There are many good reasons to migrate to the cloud, but is the cloud the right choice for everyone or only for certain types of customers?

“The industry is just starting to understand the benefits of cloud services and how to move away from physical presence and migrate to cloud,” says Sellers. “Resellers now have an opportunity to show customers that they can be more efficient by leveraging cloud solutions.”

Geddie says it’s important to understand a customer’s cloud maturity and where the organization currently is on its journey to adopt cloud practices. “Smaller companies are typically more agile and tend to adopt new practices faster due to their size and structure.

He qualifies organizations into four categories to understand their cloud maturity:

  • Users that are just beginning, who might have an account with AWS but haven’t implemented anything in production.
  • Basic users who run one virtual machine or a couple of services but don’t really understand the breadth of operations that can be done.
  • Users that are stuck in the process, who have already done some things in the cloud but don’t understand how to really take advantage of it.
  • Users that are 100% cloud native, who have completed their migration and feel comfortable in the cloud.

Some customers think there is uncertainty regarding the cost structure associated with cloud services. Is there any truth to this in your opinion?

“This is a point partners need to align on with customers,” says Geddie. “At the end of the day, customers want to make sure the money they spend on products and services makes them more profitable or produces a better customer experience. We work with our customers on how to build their budgets and they generally see that the cloud is more affordable. Many times, our cloud-based solutions are 20% to 40% less expensive over 3 to 5 years compared to the traditional hardware alternative.”

You mentioned that Netsync works with many school districts and public agencies, many of which only work with annual budgets. Does that contradict the subscription-based payment model associated with cloud services?

“Cloud services are basically a utility bill model; you pay for what you use,” says Geddie. “The reality is that since the invention of electricity, people have been paying utility bills, even in school districts and public agencies. The concept that such customers can only buy on a capital improvement budget is just false. Just like schools pay the fuel bill for their school busses every month, they can pay their bill for cloud services. The partner can help them understand that.”

Netsync is a Milestone Gold Partner and has been a certified Milestone partner since 2015. With headquarters in Houston, Texas, and offices across the United States, Netsync has extensive experience performing large-scale implementations and deploying complex IT solutions for enterprise, K-12/higher education, and SMB.