Basheer Azizi is passionate about solving problems, improving quality of life and giving back to the community. Hence, one can say that when we combine a passion to bring about new solutions to the industry with a goal to help the community, it becomes much easier to present that vision to the employees, customers and partners. “Everything comes down to being passionate about your goals. Whether it’s a hobby or business, to me it’s important that I’m passionate about what I spend my time on,” says Basheer. “That is what helps me enjoy the time I spend on developing and enhancing OpSmart.”OpSmart is a suite of ITSM solutions packaged within one portal that can help organizations manage their infrastructure and cloud whether it is a small foot print or a large enterprise. OpSmart provides a complete suite of ITSM modules including service, change,incident and task management. It was indeed Basheer’s passion for solving problems that IT companies faced in managing their virtual cloud infrastructure that lead to the culmination of OpSmart.
Basheer worked at Blackboard as Sr. Manager of Software Development. During his tenure, he was tasked with building mission critical solutions to deploy, monitor and manage over a dozen enterprise datacenters around the world. He worked as a pioneer on the development of cloud and virtualization technologies. The software solutions he needed to manage this new mission critical and complex virtual cloud did not exist in the market place since the cloud and virtual computing was at its very early stage. Therefore, Basheer proposed to Blackboard management the concept of a Cloud Management System that included ServiceDesk solutions. That was when OpSmart was incorporated—the name is an abbreviation of managing infrastructure operations in a Smart way—Basheer saw the potential for OpSmart as a product in the industry and was able to negotiate with Blackboard an agreement to acquire the Intellectual Property from Blackboard. His first client was none other than Blackboard – who were happy to rely on a company that would support the product for them. Basheer was then able to grow OpSmart into a multi-million-dollar company.
" OpSmart’s focus is to help organizations utilize software solutions that help run their IT infrastructure efficiently and, in a cost-effective manner. "
What makes OpSmart unique as a startup in terms of growth is Basheer’s strategy as the CEO to grow the company organically through the first phase of its startup by bypassing Series A funding that most startups need. According to Basheer, “when you have a talented team who enjoy working with you as a leader and believe in your vision, there’s so much you can do with that talent. To me, I decided to leverage our technical competency to earn the seed funding needed to grow our business.” He added, “in essence, I had to run a startup within a startup. We focused on one business vertical tactically as services to other companies to earn money so we could sustain, survive and fund our strategic vision which was OpSmart.” To achieve this, Basheer offered his company’s technical expertise to help other firms with their technical projects as a way to earn income so as to fund their strategic vision. This is how he was able to grow the company organically and avoid having to go through venture capital. To me, this is a rare achievement.
AI Driven Cloud Management
OpSmart’s focus is to help organizations utilize software solutions that help run their IT infrastructure efficiently and, in a cost-effective manner. OpSmart is a suite of solutions that allows companies to discover their virtual assets including network devices, virtual servers, and firewalls hosted locally or on the public cloud so that they can be managed from a central portal. Once the assets are discovered, OpSmart allows the company to visually see what each asset is doing, whether they are online or offline, and if they are needed. An entire suite of modules allows for ticketing, incident management, SLA management, client notification and much more. Out of the box, OpSmart integrates with two dozen third party tools to allow for extensive integration.
OpSmart helps companies achieve return on investment by tracking their assets and ensuring those assets are properly utilized. If there are assets that are not being utilized, OpSmart will flag them for reclaim. Furthermore, OpSmart allows companies to manage their infrastructure operations efficiently by preventing outages, tracking changes, responding to incidents and managing client communication. All of which would ensure a consistent and high quality of service.
To make information across the enterprise readily available requires an enterprise infrastructure that is managed as an integrated whole. OpSmart ITSM provides a flexible, scalable, and open solution. OpSmart's modular architecture supports the addition of new capabilities and can be scaled to support multi-functional, diversified requirements, and fluctuating demand levels. OpSmart integrated system aligns ITSM resources to support customer business objectives.These services create a centralized operations and support center, providing the customer a cohesive approach to integrate process optimization, systems development and support, and network and service desk management across the business enterprise.
IBM and Dell are two of OpSmart’s largest clients. They leverage OpSmart to manage over a dozen enterprise datacenters around the world. In using OpSmart, IBM has been able to support one of their very large clients. They use OpSmart to manage ticketing, incident management, event monitoring, SLA tracking, alerting and much more. For them to be able to use a single solution to manage a very large enterprise has not only saved money but also improved efficiency and reduced outages. As Basheer always says “I’m proud to say that a small tech company like ours located in Hagerstown, MD has IBM and Dell as two of its largest clients. That means we have something unique and that we are doing something right.”
IT Service Management for the Cloud
OpSmart is a blend of multiple solutions. It addresses the Cloud Management challenge in a virtualized world holistically by providing a single solution. Most of the competitors focus on one of the three areas, cloud management, servicedesk solutions or Configuration Management Database (CMDB). But OpSmart addresses all three solutions in one portal. That is what uniquely differentiates their product from that of the competitors. “From a management point of view, we help our clients eliminate wasteful spending on IT assets that are not fully leveraged, spend resources wisely and do more with less. Being a startup also has the benefits of being able to compete on the cost” adds Basheer.
OpSmart’s clients typically buy multiple products to address the different aspects of cloud management. This is a costly route and requires expensive integration of multiple solutions. “Our product provides a holistic approach and thus helps our client invest in a single product and see quick returns on their investment,” explains Basheer. “Our licensing model also ensures that our clients pay as they use the product and not have carry a large upfront cost.”
Basheer knows that they are working in an industry that is constantly transforming and they need to keep up with that change or their product would lose its relevance. Therefore, OpSmart constantly innovates and improves their product. “We try to be on the bleeding edge of new technologies and try to find our product’s role in that ever-changing world every single day,” adds the steadfast leader.
As part of that innovation process, OpSmart also provides its clients with technical man power to operate the product. “We realized our clients need engineers to run OpSmart in their environments so we started a vertical to augment their technical staff” says Basheer. OpSmart’s development team support customer’s product dev or devops projects by seamlessly integrating into their teams and boosting the manpower needed to get the job done. When the deployment of their product requires third party integration or customizations, OpSmart leverages their technical devops teams to perform those services. OpSmart leverages agile methodologies to expedite the development process and use agile frameworks that ensure on time delivery of their services. The years of experience team members of OpSmart has given them the upper hand to integrate into an existing team and hit the ground running on day one.
Basheer being a serial entrepreneur also manages other companies he has founded and wears multiple hats on any given day. “I could be working on a cloud computing problem in the morning, conduct meetings regarding real estate investment at noon and provide growth strategy in the automotive industry in the afternoon.” says Basheer as he gives an example of a day’s work. What is important to Basheer is that whatever he does benefits not just himself but also the community and the people who work for him. He leverages capital from the success of his companies to launch and fund new companies while continuing to grow the existing ones.He encourages the upcoming entrepreneurs by advising them to prepare as much as they can and then start with their dream without delay. “Don’t doubt your idea. Don’t worry too much about the risks. The road to entrepreneurship is full of risks so do what you can to mitigate risks but don’t let them stop you. Your first idea will very likely not be your last idea. Its ok to try and fail. But do it fast and if the first try doesn’t work out, get yourself together and try again,” says Basheer.
Basheer Azizi, CEO
OpSmart enables seamless integration, automation and collaboration of your daily tasks at all Tier levels thus resulting in better SLAs, OLAs, reduction of outages and end to end efficient management of your Enterprise Cloud.