Exonet has quite some experience as well. This year, they are celebrating their 20-year anniversary. They are an example of the archetypical two founders in a garage, with a vision. Today, a relentless focus on quality sees them running a large team servicing many large clients in the Netherlands, and beyond (take us for example: our instance on AWS in Australia).
As it happens, one of our founders, Guido, has been working with Exonet for almost 20 years. Over the years, he has switched businesses and projects a few times - and has taken Exonet with him, without fail. Once you know their quality, it is hard to go back.
What do Exonet do, and how does it relate to Harmonizer?
Exonet offers infrastructure in the cloud, as a managed hosting service. Aside from quality, they put great effort and care into availability and security.
Hosting is much more complex than many major cloud providers would like you to believe. Almost everyone can start a virtual machine in a public cloud after signing on. But there is a huge gap between simply starting something with a few clicks, and making sure it is fit-for-purpose, and meets all other top notch service requirements in the areas of reliability, availability and security, amongst other things.
We ask, Exonet comes through in time, always.
We never have to spend any time mitigating any infrastructure issues, patching our servers or keeping them online. A game changer, in our business.
It allows us our relentless focus on high quality integrations and automations. You can imagine that if we would manage our own cloud infrastructure, we would do so without dedicated niche infrastructure expertise. The consequence would be that we would use generalist solutions to specific infrastructure problems (e.g., we might google our way through something, or watch a YouTube video if we don't know what’s going on with our server).
There is a high likelihood that this type of approach would lead us to amateur solutions, and that it would impact our service. In our area of service, stability is the core license to operate: we would lose credibility with our clients in no-time if our service went down all the time. And we all know, trust is hard to gain, and easy to lose.
There is a huge parallel between Exonet's managed hosting service and our managed integration service, our business model and how we operate within it.
Integrations sound so simple. Often when we start a conversation with anyone that hasn't been burnt by a bad integration before, they point to free tier online services like Zapier and Make (formally Integromat). Accompanied mostly by a statement that integrations are easy and you can just DIY.
Sometimes it works this way. Especially if something is a simple, straight-through data pull from large, standard system A to B. And if your privacy and security concern for the data in question is low, go for it! Otherwise, do think twice about it.
To cut a long story short, we have taken many learnings from how Exonet conducts business. As mentioned, our founder Guido had extensive dealings with them in the past, and therefore knows their business model inside out. When founding Harmonizer and its parent company, OrangeMason, these learnings have been carried through to the foundations of both company and platform.
This is why we now offer a Worry Free Managed Integration service. Much like hosting on the cloud, integrations are often a complex product with extensive requirements that need to be fulfilled and service levels that need to be met. Processes can’t break for more than an hour or so, because customers are losing money if they do. Data is critically required in a certain place at a certain time, otherwise the Sales representative will make the wrong deal. Membership subscriptions are lost. If the on-boarding journey of new candidates is not seamless and fast, they might not join you and go to a competitor instead. We could fill a few pages with why our integrations and automations are important, but trust you get the gist.
Given the above important use cases, unless you are one of the lucky few with a dedicated (team of) integrations specialist/s, you are better off using a Worry Free managed service. Especially if most of the time, the affordable monthly subscription fee earns itself back in no-time. If you decide to DIY in a complex scenario (cheap service, or try and build your own code), we promise it will take you a very long time and a lot of money to get to our level of integration service. If you succeed at all.
This is definitely also how we look at our partnership with Exonet. It is one of those bills we love to pay, because we know how much money and headaches they are saving us.
The triad of quality: scope, cost, time
Funnily enough, this bill we love to pay is not at the cheap end of the market for managed hosting providers. And yet we still love paying it.
Because, we believe it saves us huge amounts of time and the scope of service is so much better than elsewhere. That just translates to having to pay a certain fee, and we are cool with that. After all, you get what you pay for.
A famous project management rule is said to be that quality equates to scope, cost and time: in our case, SLA response times and so on. If you save on one, another will have to be adjusted or else, quality will suffer. We really believe in this triangle for managed services as well.
The future depends on what you do today
Other than great quality of service, our values are also aligned. Exonet believes in sustainability. In large capitals, this is front and centre on their website as well: The future depends on what you do today.
This does not solely relate to environmental sustainability, although this is important too. It is also about providing a service sustainably. In practice, this means setting up each client for success really thoroughly, thinking through the finer details and considering each decision relating to the core product as well as client service with the future and strategic direction in mind.
And, in both our cases, strategy never relates to earnings in the next quarter, and always to the quality of service we want to provide.
A true enabler for our success
So today’s blog has no other purpose than to just tell you how we believe great partnerships work for us, also on our vendor side. This is a point we wanted to make generally, and more specifically, regarding Exonet and their managed service. We want to congratulate Jesper, Robin & the whole team with their upcoming 20th anniversary and look forward to the coming years.
We are always happy to chat about this or any other integrations related topic! Contact us here.
Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash