Tech Data Authority talked to Jonathan Peyton, Solutions Specialist at CMA Technology Solutions – an award-winning managed service provider (MSP). Hear his insights on leading in the MSP space, the impact of a customer’s word of mouth in building trust with future clients and why CMA values its partnership with NetApp – a leading technology storage vendor.
Welcome, Jonathan. Let’s start with you. Briefly tell us about CMA and your role as a Solutions Specialist.
A CMA Solutions Specialist assists our Account Executive team in designing and selling specific sets of technology that address customer needs – in my case, for the past 26 years, I’ve worked in the data center space – specifically, virtualization, compute, storage, networking and security.
Our job is to assess existing assets and determine the hardware, software and services that will get our customers where they need to be. Depending on the customer, this may involve using their existing hardware plus some new technology or replacing everything. In all cases, CMA has some core standards by which we abide. These standards mean making decisions that are in the long-term, best interest of the customer and our partnership with them, and more importantly, representing quality brands that we feel share our core values: Trust, Excellence, Commitment and Helpfulness.
This year, CMA made it into the CRN, 2021 Managed Service Provider 500, ranking within the Pioneer 250 category. That’s quite an achievement! Why are managed services vital to customers who are implementing end-to-end technology solutions?
We stress the importance of the “tip of the spear.” We’re trailblazers, and more and more customers understand that the expert skill set required to maintain and manage today’s critical business systems is hard to find and even harder to retain. As MSPs, we provide deep understanding and follow best practices in implementing specific sets of technology. We’re IT specialists.
Like medical specialists you consult with in healthcare – generalists can point you in the right direction, but specialists – in our case, MSPs – provide the best possible care and service needed. Our team often becomes an extension of our customers’ on-premises information technology group, or sometimes we are our customers’ IT team.
What are the first steps customers should consider when choosing a managed service provider?
We start with the basics – before you even get to skill set evaluation, you need to like and trust someone. Our customers and vendors have been incredibly supportive of our business, often providing very genuine and authentic feedback through several avenues like surveys, online reviews and others. In today’s business world, consumers trust consumers. We tap into that communication, and it’s yielded huge dividends for our company. The number of referrals continues to rise due to legitimate “raving fans” that don’t hesitate to recommend CMA to peers.
Beyond likeability and trust, the nuts and bolts of general IT competency are crucial, and we take that very seriously. CMA has invested heavily in training for our team – not just in terms of customer service, but also in technical training in various specialty areas. CMA continues to leverage the MSP Cloud Verify program to ensure SOC II Type II compliance standards. These are strong differentiators that consumers should look for because not all MSPs are created equally.
In recent years, NetApp, a leader in storage solutions, has awarded CMA for its outstanding contribution as a NetApp Tech Team Partner. Can you speak about this partnership and what makes it so compelling to customers?
NetApp is a wonderful partner to work with. They are leaders in their field, their partner programs are easy to understand, the account and technical teams are easy to work with, the technology provides flexibility for on-prem and cloud deployments, and most importantly, it works consistently.
I can’t stress enough how important basic product functionality and uptime really are. Honestly, with NetApp, our team doesn’t see (knock on wood) hardware-related downtime. All the platforms we deploy are stable and reliable, and the customers who have been on NetApp for five, 10, 15 years plus will also tell you, “it just works!” We’ve had no problem asking other customers to convey their experience to potential clients, and everyone is happy to do so. Focusing on business issues further up the hardware stack is challenging enough, even harder when the underlying platform is unreliable; fortunately when we work with NetApp, that’s one headache with which customers don’t have to deal.
CMA has specific NetApp-managed services offerings of which many of our customers take advantage. We provide annual updates, or annual updates and regular reporting, where we conduct calls to review growth trends, system health, recommendations and more. In some instances, we play an active role in storage administration through our Core Infrastructure Managed Services (CIMS) offerings.
The clients who use CIMS services expect us to manage everything happening on the storage system. Our management software interfaces directly with on-prem storage to directly alert our service desk system. Many of our CIMS customers have precise alerts set up to monitor and manage thresholds that can negatively impact application uptime.
Is there anything you’d like to add in closing?
We attribute continued growth and success to a prevailing “do the right thing” attitude – something we refer to as “CMAgic!” We take care of our customers and keep their systems operational and secure; it’s a win-win.
For more information about CMA Technology Solutions, please email email@example.com or by calling 800-349-9200.
About the Author
B.A. Beatty is a copywriter for the Tech Data Americas Marketing Creative Services team. As part of a global technology ecosystem, she thrives on diving deep into how the power of tech improves lives, collaborating with colleagues and sharpening her writing, research and content strategy skills. When she’s off duty, you’ll find her maneuvering parenthood, reading non-stop and exploring the world around her.