Zetta reworks cloud portal as part of MSP partner drive

Unusually for the business cloud backup space, Zetta has sold mainly direct, with only a small MSP channel. The new portal is designed to appeal to MSPs, and is part of a campaign to significantly expand the percentage of business that goes through partners.


Zetta CEO Mike Grossman

Cloud backup and disaster recovery vendor Zetta has announced a new version of its cloud data protection portal. The new portal is explicitly targeted at the MSP market, and designed to appeal to that group. It is part of Zetta’s effort to significantly expand the proportion of their sales that goes through partners. That effort also includes the imminent announcement of a state of the art disaster recovery product.

The change in focus followed the bringing in of Mike Grossman as CEO last fall to direct the next stage of Sunnyvale CA-based Zetta’s growth.

“I was recruited by the venture capital company,” Grossman said. “The company had been doing well, but the heads of sales and product management left, and so they decided to make a change. The business side has changed a lot, but the technology side has not.”

Zetta’s original sales model had been based around direct outreach to customers.

“That’s unusual in this space,” Grossman said. “There was no real reason for it, other than that this was the legacy model. Going forward, we decided to place a much greater emphasis on the MSP channel. In order to do that, we had to improve the product from an MSPs’ perspective. That’s what the new portal is all about. It’s a major step forward in usability.”

Grossman said that the old portal wasn’t terrible, but MSP feedback had indicated several things could be improved.

“If you looked at each concern in isolation, most of them weren’t that significant,” he said. “However, in the aggregate, they didn’t provide a great user experience, and we want them to be delighted. There were issues about the performance of the portal, how rapidly screens came up. if you wanted some key information, like historical information on backup, you had to click multiple times, because the information just wasn’t that easy to find. The graphs about usage also weren’t reported in a logical way.”

The new portal has a single-pane view, which presents information in a more user-friendly way, that requires fewer clicks. MSPs can now see at a glance how a customer’s storage usage compares relative to other customers. Customers can also now be sorted by alphabetical order, which MSPs had requested. Customers with errors, warnings and missed backups now appear at the top, to enable action. Performance has been enhanced. The multitenant interface comes integrated with Autotask and ConnectWise.

“I’ve spent time in my career on the consumer side, and that has made me a big believer in providing software that’s incredibly easy to use,” Grossman said.

As a further example, Zetta’s advanced portal now enables easier onboarding of new customers. The old portal defaulted customers to a trial setting – which only worked if the MSP offered a trial. Now customers are automatically added under paid status.

“It’s a big step forward in terms of what we are offering MSPs, but its not the last step,” Grossman said. “We will be offering additional functionality.”

Some of that will be what Grossman called a new concept in disaster recovery.

“We will shortly be launching a new product which facilitates a very rapid recovery time, which takes less than five minutes, and typically less than two minutes.”

Today, about 15 per cent of Zetta’s business goes through MSPs.

“That number is increasing,” Grossman stated. “A couple years ago, it was 0 per cent. It will be more than 50 per cent in a couple of years. That’s where we see our future. We have decided that partner channel is most important channel. That’s reflected in the portal investment we are making. It’s also reflected in the events we are now going to now, and the sales and marketing investments we are making.”

Zetta is particularly looking for MSPs with a large number of customers.

“We have more than 100 MSPs today, but we are looking to significantly expand that,” Grossman said. “I want us to be partner first. It’s not who we were, but it is who we will be.”

Grossman said that Zetta’s sweet spot can best be described as SME, not SMB.

“It’s not one or two person shops,” he said. “Our customers typically have at least one person in IT.”

A major differentiation for Zetta is their cloud-only approach.

“The vast majority of providers have appliances or some type of hybrid solution,” Grossman said. “We don’t have an appliance. Some companies like a hybrid approach and like having an appliance, but there are a lot of both partners and customers who find there is a certain simplicity in a cloud-only approach. Simplicity is key part of our strategy. We want to make things as painless and easy as possible.”

Zetta also plans to expand internationally. Today most of their customers are in the U.S., because that is where both of their data centres are.

“A lot of Canadian companies, for instance, are concerned about sovereignty,” Grossman said. “The concern is having capital necessary to build out new data centres. This is a medium term issue, in terms of our expanding internationally.”