New Continuum Division To Focus On Helping Partners

Boston-based remote monitoring and management platform vendor Continuum is deepening its commitment to the channel by launching a new ’partner success’ organization headed by former Vice President of Products Dee Zepf.

The move represents a strategic shift for Continuum, Zepf said, one that's happening with many Software-as-a-Service providers.

"For me, this is one of the big things we need to focus on," she said. "We have barely scratched the surface in understanding the partner's business."

[Related: Continuum Launches Fully Managed Backup Platform Continuity247]

Zepf told a group of nearly 600 partners at Continuum's recent Navigate conference in Las Vegas that the new organization will focus on learning about obstacles and issues partners face in their day-to-day business.

Zepf said she believes it’s important for the new organization to "spend a day in the life" of its partners to direct the company's focus, explaining that Continuum must understand the obstacles partners face for the company to know where to aim future solutions.

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Brian Herr, who succeeded Zepf last week as vice president of products, quoted Henry Ford to drive the point of the organization home.

"If I asked my customer what they wanted, they would have said, 'A faster horse,’ " Herr said. "People are good at saying, 'Hey! I want that!' Whether or not they understand if 'that' truly fits their needs." He added that Continuum wants to build solutions created around the real-world issues facing partners. But first, he said, they need to see what those issues are.

"Great solution providers fundamentally understand the businesses, the partners and their customers," Herr told the gathering.

However, a Continuum partner who wished to remain anonymous said that although he’s excited about the prospect of the new program, he’s a bit skeptical about how well the new unit will "walk the walk." He said he has heard similar talk from some of his other partners that did not lead to action.

"But I have faith in Continuum," he said. "They have historically been good about listening to their partners."

Joe Ditto, chief operating officer of MPA Networks, a Burlingame, Calif.-based managed services provider, said he’s happy to see Continuum continue to bolster its focus on its partners.

"It's good to see that they have a vested interest in their partners as they continue to grow," he said. "It's smart business acumen to help partners make more money. As an MSP, I want my clients to be as productive as possible so I can make more too. If you flip that equation around, my vendors want the same thing."

Herr will work closely with Zepf, focusing on the road map she laid out at the conference. That plan includes several different new directives for the company's technology.

Parts of it include the addition of a security dashboard to the company's RMM tool, an improved chat and deeper white-labeling capabilities in the Continuum Helpdesk offering as well as a new version of its Continuity247 backup and disaster recovery product, which will be released later this month, according to CEO Michael George.

Herr, who came to Continuum from UpToDate, an evidence-based clinical decision support resource, spoke with CRN during his first day on the job. He said he’s still becoming acclimated to the new role, but is excited to get started.

"I'm inheriting the team of product managers and user experience designers that Dee had and we will continue upon the charter that she had," he said.