In this article, we are going to discuss what you should do prior to selecting a new RMM software solution and how you should tackle the migration once you have.
Before you start looking at other solutions
Over the years, I have spoken with many people who are considering changing their remote monitoring and management solution, and one of the first questions I ask is: why do you want to change? The answer to this question is key as you need to understand why you want to change. Change for the sake of change is never a good thing, so be sure to list out the reasons important to you and prioritize them.
When I’ve asked this question in the past, there are many different reasons given as an answer. You might feel you have outgrown your current solution, it could be down to price, it could be that you feel the current solution lacks features that you need, it may be a negative experience with support, or maybe the person responsible for choosing the current solution may no longer be with the company and you want to start fresh. Whatever the reasons, make sure you list them and prioritize them as this will be extremely important as you start to look at other solutions.
My colleague David Weeks goes into this in more detail in his blog Switching RMMs: are you doing it for the right reasons? Give it a read!
What solutions should you evaluate?
If after answering this question you still want to go ahead and change your RMM , then you’re going to have to do some research to decide which solutions you should evaluate. Most vendors should have recordings of product demos available or public demos that you can attend—use them to get a feel for the product. Check out if they have public forums available, see what their existing partners say about them, look for independent product reviews, engage with other people in the industry on sites like Reddit, and if you can attend a trade show where you can meet numerous vendors. All these actions should allow you to narrow the selection down to two or three solutions.
Evaluating the potential new solutions
Once you have decided on the solutions you are going to evaluate, make sure you have the time and resources to complete the evaluations, it’s going to take at least a month to do this, possibly longer depending on how detailed your list of requirements are. I would suggest that you evaluate one solution at a time, so that you can focus on it to see if it addresses your list of requirements.
A great way to start off the evaluation is with a one-on-one technical demo. This allows you to highlight what’s important to you and ensure the product can do what you need it to do before you go any further with the evaluation. Once you have completed the demo, the next step is to begin a trial. The vendor should assign a technical resource to you. They’re called many things: sales engineers, solution engineers, solutions architect—whatever title they have, they are there to help you. They will get you started on the trial and work with you to ensure the solution meets all your requirements.
For me, this is a key point in the process. The technical resource tends to be extremely knowledgeable on their solutions and also tends to have good insights into the competitors. Use your time with them to get as much information as you can to assist you with your final decision.
You’ve made your decision, now it’s time to move
The decision has been made, the contracts have been signed, and now the fun begins. You’ve put the effort into finding a new solution that you hope will enhance your company and your services to your customers, so it is imperative that you implement the new solution correctly. Depending on who the vendor is, you may be able to switch you trial into production. If that’s the case, then the more work you’ve done evaluating the product during trial should give you a head start here. Most if not all vendors should offer on-boarding. Sessions of this nature can be generic at the start, but the team at N-able works to cater them to your specific requirements for the most value.
Have a plan for migration. In the pre-Covid days, customers’ devices under management tended to be in single locations, making them easily accessible for mass deployment and onboarding. Today though, it’s a very different story. We’ve seen some customers move fully to a work-from-home model while others have a hybrid model, so it can be very difficult to target these devices when they are scattered everywhere. The best way to overcome this challenge is to see if you can use your existing solution to deploy the agents for the new solution. Most vendors will have scripts prebuilt for you to assist here. Be sure to check with your technical resource during that evaluation stage. Once you have a plan in place for deploying the new solution, test it internally, make sure it works, then identify a friendly client to onboard first. No amount of internal testing will give you the same amount of confidence as a successful migration of one of you clients. You might be eager to get started with the migration but take your time—start slowly and address any issues you encounter. Doing so will allow you to accelerate the process as you move forward with the migration. Getting the migration right is key to a long and hopefully fruitful relationship with your new vendor.
These are just some of the things you need to consider when switching RMM tools. If you are reading this and thinking of switching to N-able N-central or N-able RMM, why not attend our onboarding boot camps for those products? Alternatively, if you have questions, you can join me for N-central office hours or my colleagues for RMM office hours at www.n-able.com/events.
Paul Kelly is the head nerd at N-able. You can follow him on Twitter at @HeadNerdPaul, LinkedIn or email at [email protected]. Read more N-able guest blogs here. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of ChannelE2E’s sponsorship program.