Syncro’s Priorities for Q4

Hey folks - I wanted to give you an update on what we’re working on, why, and what you can expect in Q4 2022. We recently shared that our platform now supports over 4,000 MSPs! With this continued increase in demand, we’re working hard to ensure that the platform is reliable and working hard for you as you grow with us. We hear from many of our partners every day, and we know you are wondering what we are working on. We vow to share at least once a month about what’s in the works and what’s coming up next.

Here’s what we’re focused on in the next few months:

  1. Increasing trust in the platform; including reliability, scalability, and flexibility
  2. Top-requested PSA features; such as ticketing communications, profitability reports, invoicing updates, and other quality of life enhancements

Making sure the platform is performing to your expectations is the most critical thing for us, and we are investing a lot of our Engineering resources here. We feel this is in accordance with the sentiment we hear from the community wanting us to focus on platform reliability. You will still continue to see features ship in Q4 too, but the emphasis is on reliability, scalability, and security of the platform and RMM functionality first, PSA features second.

Want more details? Here ya go…

Increasing trust in the platform, including reliability, scalability, and flexibility

The platform has scaled well over the years. However, there are three main areas that are still concerning to our partners and we are investing in those to build trust and set the platform up for long-term success.

Recurring Invoices - There have been cases where recurring invoices have failed to generate at their scheduled time. We’ve moved the Recurring Invoice system over to AWS already, and have therefore gained more observability. We can now see every time a Recurring Invoice fails to run. We made it a priority to release fixes for every issue we’ve found since July. We are currently testing and monitoring to make sure before we call it “done”. It’s worth noting that when we’ve seen failed invoices, we’ve manually re-run them on our end to make sure they’ve been generated successfully (so you shouldn’t have seen invoices fail to run on your end since July). If you do see this again, please submit a ticket here.

RMM Scripts - There have been intermittent issues causing RMM scripts not to run when they should. To help resolve this, we just finished moving the recurring scripts system over to AWS. This enables us to start monitoring for failed script runs. If we can see every failure, we’ll be able to find the root causes and resolve them. We’re simultaneously investigating a complete replacement of the system, just in case.

False Positives for Online/Offline Alerts - We have had reports of false positives for offline alerts, meaning users were getting alerted for an offline asset when in reality it was not. To address this, we’re researching a replacement for the current system that runs our presence monitoring. This one has been particularly difficult to tackle because it’s hard to tell what a “Positive” vs a “False Positive” is without context from the user in combination with debug logs, and it’s hard to test a fix to have confidence that it resolved the issue. We’ve released so many patches for the current system but still see reports of false positives pop up. We’ve decided it probably makes sense to rip it out and replace it with something else, and are vetting that idea in combination with other new ideas for reducing false positives.

Heroku to AWS migration - I’ve talked about this pretty extensively at this point, but to recap…We’re currently using Heroku for our cloud hosting. This served us well until about 2 years ago because it is built on top of AWS and abstracts low-level configuration and management quite a bit so you can move fast without having a bunch of DevOps folks on staff. However, our ability to scale the platform was limited on Heroku, which is why we’re migrating to AWS. AWS will give us more observability, scalability, reliability - and control. We’ll be able to diagnose issues faster and detect them earlier. Some of our long-standing issues (which I’ll get into in a second) have been very hard to resolve because we don’t have enough control over our infrastructure in Heroku. A recent real-world challenge was the database column change we performed last week, which I detailed here. The platform migration is a long-term investment in Syncro that will help us scale. This is obviously a large project and is split into two phases. Phase 1 has already been completed and we plan to have Phase 2 completed in Q4. This should result in all kinds of performance improvements, and should unlock work that was previously blocked, such as separate data centers by region, improved “Search all the Things”, and more (I’m not saying those things are on the roadmap, I’m saying they couldn’t even be on the roadmap previously).

We’re committed to updating you on a regular basis on our progress toward the initiatives above. We will post updates in the Community Forums in the Announcements section.

Top-requested PSA features and other quality of life enhancements

Rich Text and Image Embed in Tickets - As you know, we attempted to roll this out a short while back. There were some minor bugs discovered which were pretty straightforward to fix, and we could have just fixed them within a day or so and been done (and everyone would’ve been able to enjoy Rich Text). However, we also discovered a potential security vulnerability. We rolled back the deployment so we could take our time looking into the issue without any risk to our partners and platform. The rollback itself resulted in unfortunate issues that affected users negatively, but when weighing the pros/cons it was clear that rolling back was better than leaving a security vulnerability in the wild. Security is crucial and we’re taking the necessary actions to ensure we’re delivering a secure and robust solution. The team is working diligently to take this to the finish line next month. It will be released to an Early Adopter group of users who volunteered to test it (Thanks!) before going to everyone else. We’ve already made a few changes to our development process based on this, but I count it as a win that we were able to detect it so quickly and prevent it from being in the wild for more than a few minutes. For the avoidance of doubt, we do already have automatic code scanning, a Responsible Disclosure program, and have 3rd parties regularly conduct penetration tests.

Stripe ACH support - We already had work to support ACH through Stripe underway before the Worldpay outage a few weeks ago, and that event reinforced the importance of having multiple payment provider options that support ACH. While I don’t have an exact timeline on this, I can say you’ll see it before the end of the year.

Customer & Tech Efficiency Reports - We will be rolling out reports around ticket processing efficiency, both by technician and customer, that will help you identify opportunities to grow your business faster. This has been heavily requested by the larger MSPs using our platform. We’re gearing up for Early Access within the next few weeks. If you’d like to be on the early access list, please email me at ian@syncromsp.com.

Enhanced VAT support for Australia/New Zealand/Ireland - In April, we dramatically improved the way VAT works for our partners in the UK. We are planning to update VAT support in the same way for our partners in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.

UI/UX Improvements - We’ve recently hired some awesome new UX folks who are getting up-to-speed on the platform. It’s a little early to say what exactly they’ll tackle first because they’re still getting a lay of the land, but we’re excited to bring you an updated interface. If you are interested in being a part of informing or testing the redesign, please email me at ian@syncromsp.com.

Mac Agent support for Mac OS Ventura - We’re in the research phase here, but we fully intend to support Ventura.

Other

Community Engagement - I recently changed roles from Chief Operating Officer to Channel Chief, after having been out on Parental Leave. I’m making a very concerted effort to increase our engagement with our Partners in any way we can:

  • We now have a dedicated area for Feature Requests in the Community Forums, and our Product team reviews every single post.
  • We’re doing “What’s New in Syncro” webinars roughly every 2 months again.
  • We’re re-engaging in various Syncro User Groups around the web, on Facebook, Reddit, and more, in addition to the Official Community Forums.
  • I’m working with Andy and the team to spin up a reimagined version of the “Open Office Hours” webinars we used to host. Our goal is to host the first one sometime next month.
  • We recently launched the Syncro Skimmer which is an awesome newsletter to keep you updated on the MSP Industry.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this is helpful!

Here’s my ask to you: Please let me know if there’s something that we should be working on that is very high-impact that would increase your trust in the platform. I’m talking about issues that dramatically impact your ability to run your business on Syncro daily and have confidence that Syncro is a partner in improving your efficiency and accuracy. To give us feedback, please reply to this Community Post thread.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Ian

6 Likes

My own opinion is to focus on completing the migration, then hyper focus on security for a time to help us meet requirements of insurance and add the ability to limit access to Syncro admins in various ways (e.g., 365 login integration, YubiKey, secondary non-admin accounts at no cost, etc.)

Then move on to improvements.

Thanks for the communication.

2 Likes

Same… if the migration is still holding everything up and/or slowing everything down - might just as well focus on that so we can get over that quickly. Not sure what all it entails that is making it take a while, but if its slowing everything down I rather we just get it over with as quick as possible.

With that said - is there a reason why its taking so long to make this happen? While I understand you are moving - that isnt the question - but what is causing the hold up? Databases? Code? All the above?

Thanks for all the current information though! Keep up the hard work:)

There are a lot of moving parts, and we have to migrate while also keeping the app up and running. It’s like upgrading a plane while you’re in the air and have passengers in it. So we move one part at a time. There are a lot of parts: web servers, app servers, database, microservices, etc. And while we’re moving, we uncover opportunities to make things better. Another analogy might be when you move from one house to another but are also working a full-time job and have kids. You end up finding boxes of stuff that need to be cleaned, thrown away, unpacked, and old bills you have to pay, and you deal with that stuff so you don’t have to move the junk to the new house. So anyway, now that you’ve read my horrible analogies, maybe that helps :man_shrugging:t2:

The last point I’ll make is that there can only be so many cooks in the kitchen on one project. It wouldn’t actually be more efficient for us to only work on this.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Ian

2 Likes

Thanks for the follow up, I am just nosey, forgive me:)

Excellent post. Thankyou for the insight.
My thoughts are similar to Brian and Travis.
The migration sounds like a pig being swallowed by a python, but we have to digest the uncomfortableness of the migration to gain the benefits of it.
Finish the migration which will hopefully improve everyone’s profitability because the plane will fly better.
Then focus on the security. No one cares about profits if the plane is shot down and everyone dies in a fireball.

Thanks for this.
Not that you’re doing any differently- but: Do focus just as much on security, and revisit it constantly.
Your security team should of course be taking every publicized breach as an opportunity to review EVERY facet of your entire Security umbrella - policies, practices, monitoring, training, vigilance and regular rigorous review.

As my unsolicited 2+1/2 cents.

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