Jeries Eadeh is the VP of Global Channel Sales at Nexcess, where he helps to cultivate strong partner relationships. DCKAP caught up with Jerry to hear how choosing a hosting partner plays a crucial role in Magento implementations, how hosting is evolving, and his advice on how to choose hosting partners
Hello, Jerry, I understand that you were a Arts & Science student but you are VP Channel Sales at Nexcess, a technology company. What’s the story behind this?
Education in Arts and Sciences has always been a passion of mine. In 2011, I started at Nexcess as one of the first sales representatives with previous sales experience. At that time, Nexcess owned and operated a single data center staffed by 30 employees in Dearborn, Michigan. Shortly before I started, the company just stepped into its second data center with a partnered company in London, UK. Over the next few years, we grew, and grew fast, and I’m proud to have been a part of it. Today, Nexcess currently employs over 130 team members, ten of which are members of the Sales Team.
In 2016, we expanded our state-of-the-art data center facility in Southfield, Michigan. We own and operate two facilities in Michigan, but also have a presence in multiple facilities throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia. I now oversee the Channel Sales or Partner Program here at Nexcess. My time here has allowed me to build some fantastic relationships around the Magento community.
Nexcess is one of the largest Magento hosting providers; tell us how Nexcess is pushing the envelope on performance in terms of offering an optimized Magento platform catering to specific client need.
Before I even started at Nexcess, our focus was catering to the client’s needs. We realized early that hosting a Magento site isn’t as simple as installing the application. Stability, security, and performance are the three bedrocks of successful eCommerce, and we pride ourselves on developing the optimizations necessary to provide them.
Our goal is not only to make this optimized infrastructure available to our clients, but to tailor it to each client’s specific needs. We’re not developers — we are web hosts — but once we migrate a new client to our servers, our Support Team walks through a series of additional configurations and caching tools to enhance their site’s speed and performance.
Why, in your opinion, is Magento a better solution than other platforms?
Magento offers robust features and performance, and it gives merchants the flexibility to build their brand they see fit. Magento easily connects with a vast number of third party systems, and merchants benefit from a flourishing community of companies invested in Magento’s growth and success.
From your point of view, what are the parameters Magento merchants have to evaluate before choosing a Magento hosting company?
Typically, Magento merchants don’t consider hosting until very late in the game, but three points are always worth careful consideration.
The first is choice of software. Typically, they’ve already chosen Magento before even coming to us.
The second choice is in regard to their developer, who will refine the Magento code base to drive the site’s performance, functionality, and aesthetics.
Finally, they select a hosting provider, but this choice is at least as important as the previous two. Hosting infrastructure serves as the foundation of your business. A solid foundation means dependable performance, scalable growth, capacity threshold planning, and more. All of these things are critical, but we also believe in the power of exceptional on-demand technical support that always puts the client first.
Many companies claim to rank clients first, so when choosing a hosting provider, take the time to confirm a proven track record of success and experience. A proper host can provide merchants a “port in the storm,” giving that merchant another resource to help research and solve problems quickly and accurately.
Combined with proper communication with their development team, this research can drastically shrink a project’s timeline, saving both time and money.
Tell us about the “12 Habits of Highly Secured Magento Merchants.”
This is part of presentation series I did earlier this year and last year at various Magento events. As a hosting provider specializing in eCommerce, we try to educate merchants about critical security protocols and procedures.
Nexcess is compliant with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), and we are audited just as Magento merchants are audited on an annual basis to maintain this compliance.
Now, as a hosting provider, we subscribe to extensive security practices to safeguard credit card information. However, our responsibilities are only part of the equation — the merchant must also abide by the data security standards as established by the PCI. In short, merchants are required to take active measures to protect their online assets and cardholder information. This presentation introduces basic methods of maintaining those standards, but it is just that: an introduction. PCI DSS requirements are rigorous, specific, and thorough, and merchants must take special care to practice them.
Channel, as we know, is evolving and there are lots of channel innovations happening around. How is it affecting your business?
To answer this, it’s easiest if I replace “channel” with “hosting.”
The hosting industry is constantly changing, with mammoth companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Rackspace leading the charge. We are beginning to see companies abandon the old business model of the “race to lowest cost hosting.” Instead, these companies are changing their brand identity and adding services and support features to gain a competitive edge.
We’ve experienced it first-hand at Nexcess. Companies that provide generic, vanilla hosting service are in remission. Modern hosting companies now attempt to find niche markets and industries by specializing on a particular element of web hosting. Some emphasize support and expertise. Others are pushing the envelope on cloud automation technology. We are also starting to see container-virtualized technologies target the eCommerce industry, challenging the old perception of hosting technologies.
As the industry continues to grow, Nexcess continues to rely on its premier client service first and foremost. We are confident this will continue to be the biggest draw for most Magento merchants. We play match-maker between merchants and technology, and as our clients’ demands evolve, we scale up training for our Support Team to meet them. We fare better than some of our larger competitors because of our ability to hire, train, and develop large teams of passionate experts.
Security is always a major concern for eCommerce merchants. What more can you share about your security team? And, how does the team work together?
Our system administrators and network operations experts’ work together to monitor the security and infrastructure of all our data centers. Using our internal team over a third-party contractor gives us two big advantages. First, it enables us to swiftly distribute information to our front line support staff and clients. In essence, we eliminate the “middleman.” Second, we can apply hardware security updates in a seamless fashion. Merchants experience minimal downtime and without the need for server reboots.
Regardless of the kind of web hosting service the customers choose, it is crucial that they receive adequate customer service. How can the merchants know customer service is good before signing a long term contract?
As the merchant, I’d try and gauge the type of conversation I’m having with the sales and technical specialists from the very beginning. My experience with these individuals is a great indicator of their customer service.
Can the sales representatives appreciate my concerns about changing your hosting provider? What types of questions are they asking about my business? Are they realistically managing my expectations, or are they just promising top-level service for everything? Are they willing and able to help me visualize the entire migration process? Is it possible for me to work with that representative to analyze my needs and make a suitable recommendation? Does the representative listen to my needs, or are they doing most of the talking?
In short, if I can walk away from these conversations feeling more educated about the business and confident they can help solve my problems, then I feel more comfortable committing to a long term contract.
Web hosting companies offer similar services and make claims that the same features set them apart from their counterparts. Resisting the urge to say “service” or “price,” what does set Nexcess apart from the competition?
That’s a timely question. Over the last few years, we’ve grappled with this question. What makes Nexcess different? Why do we feel we can offer a better service than our competitors?
We recognize that merchants often hear similar pitches from several companies. Most companies claim to have the best support, technology, and overall satisfaction rate.
Our merchants and partners heard this pitch, yes, but they stayed because we delivered on that promise. They know they can rely on us. If they call, they almost always reach someone immediately and directly. If they submit a ticket, someone usually responds within 15 minutes or less. In either case, that representative is equipped and ready to help them right away.
We uphold a culture that consistently rewards team members that put the client before themselves. These individuals stay past their shift to help a client in need. They build a rapport with our clients. They listen because they are invested in the success of our clients, and that success demands total commitment.
From the perspective of our Support Team, this also means having the knowledge and motivation to loop in other teams as needed, such as when a merchant experiences unexpected growth from a marketing campaign. In that event, when traffic surpasses both their expectations and the capabilities of their hosting plan and perhaps crashes their site, we still find a way to help them enjoy their success and build for the future.
It’s this level of service and support that makes me proud to be a part of the Nexcess team, and our Support Team’s dedication to excellence has allowed us to remain successful.
How do you see eCommerce, the Internet of Things, mobile, etc, affecting buying habits in the future?
I’ve never been very good at predicting the future and am happy to leave that to our leadership, starting with our CEO, Chris Wells. However, I am excited about the possibility of new technologies and emerging market trends. To stay informed, I listen to Future Commerce, a new podcast with Phillip Jackson and Brian Lange.
You follow a lot of influencers in LinkedIn. Who among them are your favorites and why?
I’d rather not name any favorites. I simply think we are living in an amazing time in our history. We are more connected than ever before. As we grow older, I am sure we’ll all look back at this time in appreciation of some of the influencers who changed our lives.
So, how do you like to spend your free time? What does work-life balance mean to you? Do you play Field Drums?
I spend my free time with my wife, Shrina, and 8-month old daughter, Samah. We’re overjoyed to be raising a family, and we’re incredibly grateful for the wonder our daughter brings to our lives every day. I enjoy running and playing basketball. Although I don’t have enough time to join any pickup games, I still find time to run a few miles each day.
I never work more than 8 to 10 hours a day, and weekends are for my family. To me, living a balanced life between work and family means finding a way to give the best version of myself to both.
I don’t play field drums, but I did play both the cello and upright bass for 8 years for my elementary and high school orchestra.
Jeries (Jerry) Eadeh has been a proud representative of Nexcess for the last five years. Jerry is now the VP of Global Channel Sales at Nexcess, where he helps to cultivate strong partner relationships. Nexcess continues to push the envelope on performance, offering an optimized platform catering to specific client needs. Nexcess has grown to be the largest Magento hosting provider, which Jerry attributes to the dedication of the Nexcess support team, its clients, and strong partner relationships.