Zenith Infotech: Signs of Optimism Amid TigerCloud Launch

Nine months after a bond payment default that stirred partner concerns, Zenith Infotech is showing signs of renewed momentum. MSPmentor is not suggesting the bond issue has ended. But the cloud computing company seems to be rallying employees and delivering new MSP cloud solutions that work as promised. Moreover, there are signs Zenith Infotech and Level Platforms may partner soon.

MSPmentor spoke with a range of sources both on the record and on background for this article. I also met with Zenith Infotech Senior VP Maurice Saluan during Autotask Community Live this week in Orlando. The blog below blends those interviews into a single snapshot of Zenith Infotech.

Zenith Infotech TigerCloud

To understand Zenith Infotech's most recent moves take a look at TigerCloud -- a new private cloud product that combines server, storage and network virtualization technology. It's based on Intel Xeon technology. MSPmentor spoke with those in the know, and they stated TigerCloud appears to work as advertised.

That's welcome news. Over the past few years, Zenith Infotech suffered some setbacks -- announcing new cloud and storage products that were big on vision but sometimes short on quality. And by late 2011, Zenith Infotech was battling additional challenges that included:
  • A bond default that triggered a court case in India; that case is ongoing.
  • Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) statements from rivals that suggested Zenith Infotech's bond issues would push the company off a cliff.
  • A few staff departures involving rival MSP-oriented software companies.
But Zenith Infotech has so far weathered the storm. By the December 2011 holidays, media inquiries about the bond default died down a bit. That, in turn, meant less public and private speculation about the company's status. At the same time, Zenith Infotech focused on R&D. By 2012, CEO Akash Saraf (based in India) paid a five-day visit to Pittsburgh, Pa. -- the company's North America home. And then TigerCloud launched.

Zenith Infotech partners and several company insiders say Saraf's visit was a welcome moment. It reassured company insiders that Zenith Infotech was on the right track after a high-stress Q4 2011.

Yes, Let's Meet

And then there's Maurice Saluan. For about 30 minutes at Autotask Community Live yesterday, Saluan answered dozens of questions about the company's technology, partner engagements and TigerCloud launch. He looked and sounded upbeat.

Still, challenges certainly remain. The bond default has not reached a resolution. I'm neither a financial nor legal expert so I'm not in a position to offer up a predicted outcome. Also, some Zenith Infotech product initiatives remain works in progress.

Two Examples:
  • The Vu Telepresence solution has received some hype among the channel media (MSPmentor included). But multiple sources suggest Vu hasn't been a big hit with partners. Here again, Zenith Infotech continues to make enhancements. For instance, Vu now integrates with third-party telepresence products and services. And Saluan says Vu has moved into the plug-and-play world, somewhat akin to the simplicity of setting up Microsoft's Xbox.
  • It's early in the TigerCloud rollout. So far, so good (from what I've heard). But as TigerCloud seeks mass adoption, Zenith Infotech must ensure MSP support remains a top priority.

The Journey Ahead

And so the Zenith Infotech journey continues. I believe the company has about 5,000 channel partners and MSPs. That's a huge installed base of MSPs. No doubt, many of those partners continue to closely monitor the bond situation -- and rightly so. But some of those partners are starting to talk about Zenith Infotech's new R&D efforts. That's quite a change from the chatter in Q4 2012.

I'm not saying Zenith Infotech is out of the woods. The bond default is a real issue and partners should monitor it. But the company and its R&D team aren't standing still.

Oh, and one more thing: Zenith Infotech and Level Platforms executives dropped a hint this morning that they might partner soon -- storage meets RMM, yet again. The clue surfaced during an Autotask Community Live panel discussion...

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