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Case Study: INetU Helps LRS Hosting Clients Meet Their System and Security Needs

Case Study Challenge

The Company

INetU, a ViaWest Company
LinkedIn:
www.linkedin.com/company/inetu-managed-hosting
Twitter: @inetu

Managed hosting provider INetU provides SMBs with customer-centric solutions for private, public and hybrid clouds, Amazon Web Services and dedicated servers. 

The Client

Levi, Ray and Shoup Inc. (LRS) is a global provider of technology solutions with multiple lines of business and more than 600 employees around the world.

The Challenge

LRS began as a small consulting firm in 1979. Now with more than 600 employees worldwide, the company has grown to become a recognized leader in innovative IT solutions, in use at a majority of Fortune 500 firms and in 30 countries around the world. PensionGold Retirement Solutions (PGRS), a division of LRS, has provided the industry expertise and technology to help public defined-benefit pension plans automate their pension administration, allowing for increased productivity and improved member service since 1987.

PGRS' Max DillahuntyOver the years, PGRS has continued to evolve and adopt new technology to keep its customers ahead of the curve. About 10 years ago, customers began expressing interest in moving to Web-based enterprise applications versus the client-server environment.  PGRS developed and implemented the Web-based version of PensionGold software shortly thereafter. Their previous version was installed on-premises in client-server environments.

With the advent of virtualization and the cloud, PGRS found its customers in need of hosting services to accompany their software products. “We had a streamlined infrastructure team at the time, and they were focused on supporting our customers and our internal teams,” said Max Dillahunty, vice president of PGRS. “While we wanted to extend our services to allow our customers to utilize cloud hosting, we knew that would mean significant additional resources and a deep level of hosting expertise that would have sidetracked us from our primary business goals. It was around that time that we started talking to INetU and other leading providers about managed cloud hosting.”

Underscoring the complexities that came along with providing cloud hosting, PGRS was encountering new security demands from both existing and potential new customers. “It’s increasingly common for our existing customers to ask to see the hosting partner’s SOC 2 report as validation of the security of their system, said Mike Chestnut, infrastructure team lead for PGRS. “It’s important that we have that type of information at our fingertips. We are also seeing RFPs with stringent security requirements — SOC 2, SOC 3 and other data center certifications — more and more frequently.”

“Our customers trust us with the sensitive and confidential information of their members, and we take that trust very seriously,” added Dillahunty. “With the increasing sophistication and frequency of privacy and security incidents occurring in the marketplace today, it is more important than ever that we are 100 percent confident in the security of the software and facilities where we’re deploying our software for them.” {ad}

PGRS evaluated a number of cloud hosting providers in search of one that it could rely on to help its customers manage their systems and security needs. After a thorough vetting process, they selected INetU for its deep technical know-how and security competency.

PGRS has a tiered Microsoft-centric application, with a Web-based front end running on Microsoft’s IIS service. The application layer runs on Microsoft Windows services, and the data component uses Microsoft’s SQL Server.

“There are a few things that stuck out about INetU,” said Dillahunty. “First is its depth of understanding when it comes to managed hosting. We also liked that they are very selective about the clients they let into their ‘gated community.’ They won’t…

{vpipagebreak}

…just take anyone who will pay them — they hold their business to a high standard. The other piece was their responsiveness and focus on customers. Those values — honesty, ethics and service — align perfectly with ours at LRS.”

The Results

PGRS can attribute $17.428 million in sales revenue since partnering with INetU. This constitutes the revenue PGRS will receive from closing deals with customers that span the next several years.  According to PGRS, “We would not have closed these sales without having a partner like INetU that provides the hosting services (technology), sophisticated security and industry certifications required by these customers.”

Since partnering with INetU, PGRS has been able to leverage the relationship as a key competitive advantage in marketing to new customers. “INetU has gone with us to niche events and spoken at our customer conference about the value of high-quality cloud hosting,” said Dillahunty. “Even during the RFP process, they will design a customized solution to fit the prospect’s needs and price point that we can offer. Then they’ll often come with us and speak directly to potential customers about their managed hosting services. Making sure the customer is comfortable with your company and its vendor relationships is the biggest challenge in partnering with any third party on a proposal or contract negotiation, so having INetU available to provide that direct assurance is a huge benefit.  We have never had an issue getting someone from INetU on the phone to discuss their services. We’ll even offer to let potential customers do a site visit to the INetU datacenter like we did — it’s wonderful to have a partner that can stand in the foreground with us.”

The partnership doesn’t stop once the deal is closed. INetU works closely with PGRS to design and implement the right solution for its customers’ needs, and they are proactive in managing that solution, maintaining regular contact with existing customers, communicating and closing any support cases to the customer’s satisfaction. “I remember one instance when INetU helped us set up a third-party security product — for a customer,” said Chestnut. “Even though it was not their home-grown product, they were diligent about ensuring the problem our customer experienced got resolved.”

Today, PGRS includes INetU on every RFP it pursues where hosting is a requirement. “With the strict security standards in place these days, we wouldn’t have even been able to respond to the customer’s RFPs that we’ve won if it weren’t for INetU — we wouldn’t have met the requirements in the RFP,” said Dillahunty. “We want to continue to innovate and offer new customers what they want or need to host their applications before they even ask for it. And we’ll use INetU for every one of those activities. Five years ago, hosting seemed like something we would need in the distant future, but today it’s a requirement on every RFP. We’re glad to have a hosting partner that we can trust.”

Do you have a success story you’d like to share? The Channel Partners Case Study Challenge is accepting submissions on a rolling basis. They will be published in a special section on the Channel Partners site, and the best ones will be awarded a Case Study Challenge Winner logo for use on their own websites. The best of the best will be invited to share their stories during a live session at a Channel Partners event. Case studies should be 1,200 words or less. You can download the form, send responses directly to Lorna Garey, editor-in-chief, or use our Web submission process. Let us hear from you!


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