Pivot and Accelerate
2015 was a year of revolutionary change at Netrix IT. As we look back, we believe it has created a foundation of excellence which will allow us to pivot and accelerate into even greater performance, growth and opportunities in the years to come. Some of these changes made us look deep inside ourselves to identify weaknesses to overcome. Others were companywide accountability mechanisms that had us look at each other and demand greatness from every member of the team. Some of these will impact how you see Netrix. Others may be ideas for you to improve your company.
As we rolled into 2015 we were a company looking to grow with more clients, more team members and expand into new markets. Coming out of 2014 we found ourselves running around in a lot of areas, having success in several of them, but lacking that cohesive vision for the company around which everything could be built.
We have met with several companies who have used Traction as a business operating system and found they often grew better and smarter than their competitors. Because of this, the Leadership team at Netrix IT met in January and began to implement Traction as a company.
Looking back over the past year, Traction brought several things we did not expect when we went into it – which merits its own blog post – but aligning the vision of the company, defining the roles and creating single points of accountability, and implementing the L-10 meeting format for all our meetings where issues are solved by team members were critical. Before Traction, issues would linger as a constant source of frustration. Now we address them, discuss them, solve them and move on. We now like to say that a meeting isn’t good unless everyone is uncomfortable at some point.
Over the summer we saw an explosion of Service Orders as our growth started to catch up to us. New clients coming onboard were seeing their problems get solved, so they began trusting us with more of their technical problems. This increase in the number of Service Orders overwhelmed our team – not in the number but in how we were managing them. Which ones were critical? What ticket needed to be opened next?
Then one day, Nick Olerud, our Director of Technology and Security, watched a demo on BrightGauge. We had a single point of truth, but not a single dashboard where that could be represented. In Traction, there is a story about a steel mill where each team writes the number of steel turns done on their shift on the floor. Each team subsequently tries to outdo the previous team by turning more steel.
At Netrix IT, the BrightGauge dashboard did several things; provided instantaneous awareness of critical Service Orders that needed to be addressed. It also allowed the Leadership team to drill down into which team members opened and solved the most Service Orders, creating a sense of pride in our team. It also allowed us to drill down into client data to see which clients – and which employees at those clients were submitting the most tickets. This allowed us to investigate if the machine had issues or if the client employee needed some training.
In short, BrightGauge allowed us to achieve a ten percent increase in efficiency in our Service Level Agreement and had an even greater impact in our Time To Resolution metrics.
Managed Security Services Provider and SOC Audit
We embraced two initiatives this year that were driven by the lack of security controls in so many companies. From major big box retailers to large clinics, IT consulting companies were the primary culprit in many of these cases. The shocking thing was the lack of controls in how data was accessed and how it was monitored.
We saw this as an opportunity. Looking around the Managed IT space, we saw a lack of industry leadership in doubling down on security. This represented a key opportunity for us. Our two security driven initiatives were a Security Operations Controls Audit and to embrace Fortinet / Meru as our firewall, wireless and Universal Threat Management (UTM) system.
The goal of both of these initiatives is to establish us as an industry leader in being a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) with a SOC 2 Type 1 Plus HIPAA report done by an outside firm. This puts us within the apex of our industry in helping companies with extra data sensitivity and HIPAA compliance.
Fortinet is the top rated security UTM solution with the broadest security system for network, wireless, and wired connectivity. And our SOC audit means that when a client – or one of our client’s clients – requires SSAE 16 attestation needs, we have our report at the ready.
Our last significant change in 2015 was embracing co-managed as a go-to-market strategy. More than half of our clients added in the past 12 months have an internal IT team. In the past, we have worked hard to be the only resource our clients have, but as we have grown this year, adding the BrightGauge dashboards, implementing Traction as a business operating system and pursuing both our SOC report and establishing ourselves as an MSSP, larger companies have needed our resources on a broader and more comprehensive scale.
This has led us to take on clients that have team members with some resources who need a broader set of skills than a single IT hire can provide. With the existing shortage of IT talent in the Midwest, we have been able to supplement a small team inside a company with our strong bench of talent.
2015 has been an interesting year at Netrix. We have grown significantly, but also improved our game and worked hard to elevate ourselves not just inside our business, but inside our industry as well. As the calendar turns to 2016, we look forward to new challenges and opportunities for us to pivot in a changing industry, and accelerate our growth to establish ourselves as the premier Managed Services Partner in the upper Midwest.