Alexander Sergunin is a man of a kind. He leads a sales team in Zabbix, takes an active part in the Zabbix activities, and creates a friendly and productive atmosphere in the Zabbix office. At Zabbix Summit Online 2020, he will talk about professional services the Zabbix team offers. We asked Alexander how Zabbix and clients’ requirements have changed over the eight years he worked in the company.

Alex, you are one of the most experienced Zabbix employees. When did you join the team?

{laughs} A fair time ago, January 2012, back when Zabbix 1.8 was still a thing.

How would say has Zabbix changed over the years?

Both the company and the product have matured quite a bit, but the crew never lost enthusiasm. There were roughly 20 people back in 2012 and now we have multiple offices worldwide and an ever-expanding team of gifted individuals committed to the cause. I mean, even if we were to compare older releases of Zabbix and the current state of the product, it’s not just the features, but also the vision and approach that leveled up, and I’m excited to see where it takes us next.

Have the customer needs evolved since then?

Naturally, but so has the scale of their requirements. Sure, there’s a tendency of utilizing cloud environments a bit more, but our users have also become more adventurous and are looking to make the most of monitoring and truly take it to the next level. This, in turn, leads us to further improving Zabbix to properly cater to all those needs.

Zabbix Sales team does more than just sell services. You are assisting our customers and build a strong and supportive relationship, or even more – a friendship. Please tell our readers how the process of becoming a Zabbix customer looks like?

The process can be as straightforward as you wish it to be (or your internal policies allow). All it takes is to reach out to us, discuss the requirements and engage professionally, knowing that both our Sales and Support teams will do their best to assist. However, seeing the relationship blossom from deployment to annual support and actually meeting in person and hearing the success stories, that’s when the relationship truly transforms, when we can honestly say that we’ve provided a sound and elegant solution.

Who, in your opinion, could benefit more from Zabbix support?

That’s the beauty of all our services, not just support, that no matter how big or small the company is, or how complex is the scope of work, all can benefit from them. While naturally, Zabbix implies an IT infrastructure stack, our customers and users come from all business segments be that healthcare, finance, education, retail, etc. So to answer your question, absolutely everyone can benefit from our services.

Are there any standard problems or requests? What kind of issues do you most often have to deal with?

Not really, unless you qualify “consultancy” as a standard request. Our customer base always manages to present us with interesting challenges and that’s a good thing. Why? Because we can learn something new from those and utilize the acquired skills and knowledge going forward. This in turn allows us to bring more versatility to the table and better align both the roadmap and services with customer expectations.

Have customer requests changed due to the pandemic?

The change itself is not drastic in terms of the nature of requests. What is noticeable, however, is the fact that if any company has been neglecting the importance of monitoring previously, they are definitely raising priority for it now. Needless to say, that’s when Zabbix comes into play.

Did you face any prejudice from potential clients – when some company representatives were sure that for some reason, Zabbix team could not help them, but in the end changed their mind?

Absolutely, but we have to understand where that prejudice came from. In some cases, it was caused by the misinformation of the product’s origin or capabilities, but some still thought of opensource as something very unreliable, despite many examples of success on the market (take Red Hat for example). This is where candor always helps, when both parties find enough common ground for a peaceful discussion and time again Zabbix proves just how robust the tool actually is.

What would you advise companies that have considered purchasing Zabbix professional services?

As biased as I am, I would of course advise to simply go for it and when you do – make sure you get the most out of it regardless of your own level of expertise. As the company behind the product, we know a thing or two about Zabbix, so don’t hesitate to reach out and our Sales Team will gladly get you sorted.