LPI Level Platforms Launches Upgrade

Managed Workplace 2009 R1 includes extended branding and formatting options for the user interface as well as reports, customized user views, automatic asset tagging of serial numbers, banner advertising opportunities and more than 30 new bundled policy modules for managing products from a number of vendors.

"We've been thinking about where the market is going. We tripled our development team," Sandiford said. "The features in this release are around the UI, which was the same since we first launched. It's really a slick, Web 2.0 release."

LPI Level Platforms expects to have R2 available by the end of the first quarter and to have another upgrade by the end of the year.

"We have hundreds of requests that come through our partner portal and from discussions with partners. We will deliver most of that stuff over 2009. A lot of it is in R1," Sandiford said. "We have 3,000 partners using this product and the things they want are to make them more effective, to streamline and to save them money."

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From the start, Managed Workplace 2009 was designed to streamline the workflow of managing a customers' IT infrastructure, Sandiford said.

For example, he noted that policy modules, the core of Level Platforms' architecture, is an XML file that's stored and managed as groups. But there can be a complex management of those policies across different users and different customers. Previously, that could be a tedious process for administrators, Sandiford said.

"For example, if you offer Small Business Server 2008, it has several hundred rules to monitor. If they wanted to tweak one, but not all the others, it became complicated and burdensome. We listened and now we've got performance improvements. Where many times it took 100 clicks, now you can do it in one. It's a significant workflow improvement," Sandiford said.

Andy Harper, CIO of Gaeltek LLC, a Manassas, Va.-based MSP, said the speed of the dashboard is much improved on the new platform.

"We never really had pain before, but it really stands out. The things we really like are the automatic ID of the serial numbers of devices. What used to be a manual process has now been replaced by something automatic. [End users] tend to track devices by serial number, we track by device name. We've been going through budget review processes with clients, so that was completely timely," Harper said.

LPI Level Platforms has done a good job of listening to customer needs, Harper said.

"I'd like to be able to manage a device when it's off the network, but I know that's coming. I was hoping it would be in this release, but clearly there's still some work to do on it. I understand their methodology of putting a feature out only when they are happy with the process."