|Over 18,000 Global Readers and Growing! April 24, 2012 - Issue 7-4 BusinessSpeak|
As the daylight continues to grow in the northern hemisphere, it’s time to talk business and this week’s newsletter focuses on the SMB 150 list, a partner program “power list” and the need for green. Also, I just completed a “States I visited” thingy at www.epgsoft.com and the states in “white” are ones I need to go to. Looks like a few in the south and West Virginia and Maine!”
Look for SMB Nation at the following events:
And I’m thrilled to announcement appointment to the ITT Technical Institute Advisory Board (see the article below).
PS – Watch me Thursday, April 26th at HERE on the Microsoft Partner Network show, from 10-10:30 am Pacific.
PPS – The SMB Nation Weekly Webinar Series continues this Thursday, April 26 from 10-11am Pacific with: "Profiting from BYOD, BYOA and Consumerization Trends"
PPPS – Wanna watch the complete MVP Nation 2012 conference (held March 2-3, 2012 in Redmond)? Visit mvp.smbnation.com and sign-up for the $99 OVERTIME package!
Harry Brelsford|Founder, SMB Nation, Inc.|www.smbnation.com
It’s Finally Here…the SMB Nation Top 150 List Revealed!
By Regina Ciardello, Editor for SMB Nation Magazine
It’s the moment you have all been waiting for…the SMB 150 Channel Influencers list has been released. This year's winners are (drum roll, please), in alphabetical order, by First Name.
Ben M Johnson
Bradley J. Dinerman
Carlos Fernando Paleo da Rocha
Dana M. Epp
Joy Belinda Beland
Ramon L. Garcia
"This year's SMB 150 has been an energizing experience, so it's exciting to be able to finally share the results," said Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman of SMB Nation. "What struck me the most about this year's list is its inclusion of channel members from all over the world; it's a real reflection of the diversity and strength of our worldwide community."
A three-part process determined this year's list of SMB 150 influencers. The competition began with an open nominating process, followed by the SMB IT community voting on the nominees at www.smb150.com. In addition to the community vote, a panel of industry experts judged each nominee based on a variety of relevant areas. The community vote accounted for 40% of each nominee's overall rating, with the expert panel's decision contributing the remaining 60%.
The 150 winners will also be invited to join SMB Nation and SMBTN at a gala event in Los Angeles on May 16 at the Westin Bonaventure. In addition to complimentary dinner tickets, media coverage, personalized awards plaques, and recognition in the SMB Nation magazine, each honoree will also receive a complimentary 64 GB PlayBook, courtesy of BlackBerry, the title sponsor of the event. The live event will also be sponsored by Oki Data Americas and Quest Software.
"I encourage everyone in the SMB channel community to join me in celebrating the accomplishments of the men and women who made the SMB 150 list," said Brelsford. "Each and every one of them has spent countless hours growing our community and deserves every accolade we can give them. I can't wait to toast them in Los Angeles."
ChannelEyes | Reduce Information Overload
ChannelEyes is the first free and secure social network for the IT channel to use every day. It’s kind of like Facebook, but instead of friends – it’s a filtered group of Vendor feeds on a Social Wall. (See a 2-minute introductory video at right.)
Channel Partners will have a single place to see a snapshot of new channel information every day. You’ll cut through the noise and clutter because you control who you follow, filter the relevant information and build social conversations around it.
Vendors, manufacturers and distributors of all types will have a single place to engage with their entire channel, targeting the right person with the right information at the right time. The net result is better engagement, sell-through, and access to potential new partners.
The ChannelEyes team has talked to hundreds of Channel Partners and most of them agree it’s virtually impossible to continually read and disseminate industry information. In fact, only 5% regularly use vendor portals and less than 17% open vendor emails.
The patent-pending ChannelEyes platform is ridiculously simple to use and differentiates itself from consumer tools such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in areas such as security, relevance of people and content, filtering, and managing important information that is time sensitive.Sign up today for free: http://www.channeleyes.com
The Channel Partner Weekly Power List
By Joseph Walker, Contributing Writer for SMB Nation, Inc.
Welcome to the Channel Partner Weekly Power List, SMB Nation's new weekly blog detailing recent additions and changes to channel partner programs. Each week, we'll sift through the past week’s mass of press releases and bring you the most relevant and interesting developments in channel partner programs.
Without further hesitation, here are this week’s selections:
AWS Partner Network: For anyone interested in profiting from the rising interest in Amazon EC2 and S3, Amazon's new channel partner services has made doing so much easier. The AWS Partner Network (APN) is now in beta and offers three partner levels. Registered partners receive access to exclusive webinars and newsletters. Standard and Advanced partners receive premium support credits and marketing and sales assistance. ISVs, VARs, MSPs, and software developers are eligible to become either APN Technology Partners or Consulting Partners.
Cisco Services Partner Program: Up until this week, anyone who partnered with Cisco had to navigate Cisco's labyrinth of 47 partner programs. Now there's just one. That's right: Cisco has condensed all of their disparate partner programs into a one huge opportunity for profit. Cisco claims their new unified program will simplify billing, lead qualification, and communication while maximizing opportunity for its partners. Cisco also announced that the pilot of their unified partner program led to partners experiencing a 15% increase in the number of service bookings eligible for Cisco rebates. Cisco has yet to publicly release all of the details of the new Cisco Services Partner Program.
Sprint Wholesale Cloud Services: Telecoms are finally jumping on the cloud bandwagon. Sprint's new Wholesale Cloud Services program follows on the heels of Verizon and AT&T. Unlike their competitors, Sprint's program is focused on allowing partners to resell a variety of cloud services aimed specifically at the SMB market. The program, while still in development, will launch within the next several months. In addition to a variety of SaaS and Storage-as-a-Service solutions, Sprint will offer a unified Communications-as-a-Service product. While the full details of their new CaaS offering have yet to emerge, it will likely be similar to Microsoft Lync (with voice).
CA Global Partner Program: Following Cisco's lead, CA plans to integrate a number of its existing partner programs into the CA Global Partner Program. CA said that their new partner program will make it easier for partners to migrate clients to the cloud and to offer a package of services that can scale with companies' growth. The program features a new partner portal with live chat capability, veteran service architects available to partners for consultation, dedicated sales support, and more personalized account management.
OrionVM Partner Program: Few IT folks here in the Seattle area have heard of OrionVM, but it's all the rage across the Pacific in Sydney. OrionVM is an infrastructure-as-a-service company headquartered in Australia. They offer the same basic cloud infrastructure services as companies like Rackspace, Amazon, and GoGrid. The new OrionVM partner program offers marketing assistance, lead sharing, technical support, and financial incentives to cloud service resellers. Partners aren't necessarily limited to Australian companies either. Concerned about the FBI raiding your American data center? No worries. You can trust your data security and privacy with us Aussies. (Disclaimer: that's not an official company quote.)
Where Can I Generate New Leads For My Business?
Throw out the yellow pages, the Web 2.0 movement is well upon us now. Due to this, there are many great online tools out there helping you market your business’s services, but none easier than this one, and it’s called Work Market. It’s the fastest-growing labor marketplace in the U.S., it’s free, and it takes minutes to create a profile to begin receiving contract work immediately. Founded by long-time industry veteran Jeffrey Leventhal (founder of OnForce), Work Market is the world’s first “Labor Resource Platform,” that allows buyers and sellers of IT labor to connect.
It’s a very simple process. You, as an IT Pro, register at Work Market (www.workmarket.com) by providing basic information; creating your profile and outlining your skills and services and immediately become eligible to receive relevant IT gigs to fill the unused and unbilled hours in your professional portfolio of services.
Work Market is just like LinkedIn or Facebook, except that Service Companies connect to your profile for one reason and one reason only: to send you work…AT NO COST TO YOU!
Running on a cloud-based platform, Work Market is focused on IT services and delivering value for those who want to manage or supply labor. “Our customers manage service. Every day they send employees or contractors out into the field,” said Jeff Wald, Work Market Co-Founder. “Service companies can administer their entire service delivery through Work Market, managing their employees and contractors, as well as accessing the database to find new contractors. Work Market will never manage services ourselves or act as a middleman between the client and the contractor. We are just software.”
Work Market is free to join, and it only receives payment if a customer has posted a job through the platform and a contractor picks it up and completes the job. “It’s easy. It’s quick. It’s free. Work Market charges the buyers a small fee for transferring payment. The amount a service professional sees on an assignment is what that service professional gets,” Wald said.Stay tuned for more news on Work Market in the coming months, as this is the company to watch very closely in 2012. “We are adding more customers to the platform and expect that revenue will continue to double every month,” Wald said. “Customers are joining us with massive volume and they’re ready to spend tens of millions of dollars a year because they’re serious about finding the talent they need. Some of the largest service companies in America will begin to manage their services on Work Market in the next few months.”
For more information on Work Market, or to learn how you can join the platform, go to www.WorkMarket.com.
Announcing the CompTIA Breakaway 2012
CompTIA Breakaway is the premier education event for the IT channel being held July 30-Aug. 2 at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Breakaway 2012 is gearing up to be the IT destination hot spot where the industry will navigate the channel through education and training, peer-to-peer connections and networking to form new partnerships. Breakaway engages attendees in discussions on the latest technology business opportunities, industry educational topics, and collaborative community sessions. The 2012 conference covers a number of beneficial channel themes including cloud computing, disaster recovery, HIT, IT security, mobility, social media in addition to traditional technology and business topics.
Back by popular demand, all attendees can sign up for live channel training courses and walk away with a certificate of completion validating their business knowledge in a dedicated area of interest. Live channel training courses help attendees transition into new practices through intense instruction and a 10-week plan of action. Quick Start Sessions, for those exploring a new market, provide key considerations and resources you need to understand before launching a new practice. Vendors and distributors who attend these courses will better understand the intricacies your partners are facing in certain verticals and markets. Additional channel training includes the CompTIA MSP Partner and Security Trustmark workshops, peer-to-peer discussions and hot-topic panel sessions featuring the industry’s greatest thought leaders.
Things you don’t want to miss this year include the Breakaway Technology Vendor Fair, the CompTIA Think & Drink Lounge, The Wild Card Session and MyBreakaway online conference community. Navigate The Channel in Las Vegas July 30-Aug 2 at Breakaway 2012. REGISTER TODAY. CompTIA members receive unlimited registrations. Not a member? Register today for just $250 and receive a FREE one-year CompTIA membership ($750 value!!).
Guest Blog: Why Technology is the Secret to Being “Green” in Business
By Chuck Peavey, President of the UNTeam Web Development Group, and Founder of www.GreenCertifiedWeb.org
As a web developer and Microsoft Small Business Advisor, I focus on helping my clients find the best solution to support their company. To be honest, the environment (and going “green”) never entered my mind when making my recommendations.
So one day, I was speaking with a client and we realized a minor change we made to their web site, saving them $22,000 a year in paper. With a little research, we found that was about 65 trees or 142,000 pounds of CO2. A little more math, and we discovered you would need to read from a computer for 209 years without stopping to use that much CO2.
So where else can technology reduce our impact on the environment and save money for our clients?
90% of most non-manufacturing business waste is paper. Everything you do to help your clients reduce paper is a step toward a more sustainable and profitable business model. Web sites, extranet, SharePoint and even Windows Server 2008 are part of the solution.
Windows Server 2008: Microsoft has found that Windows Server 2008 R2 out of the box is 18% more energy efficient than Windows Server 2003.
Hyper-V: is smart enough to reduce power consumption based on demand. Additionally, there is a minimum energy expense to running any piece of hardware. If you can put two, three or five virtual servers on one piece of hardware, you have eliminated one, two or four pieces of hardware, which will save your client money, headaches for you and less energy necessary to keep that hardware running.
Laptops: Intel has moved almost all staff to laptop computers. First, laptops use about one-third the energy of a desktop. Second, when an Intel office was flooded by Hurricane Katrina, Intel was up and running again from a remote location in less than five days.
SharePoint: Anything you do to encourage users to avoid printing is a savings to the environment and to the bottom line; SharePoint makes this kind of paperless collaboration easy.
Custom Solutions: By moving their documentation to their Web Site, Cisco was able to save $528,000,000 per year in customer service expenses. By making a modification to a manufacturing client site that allowed their customers to enter a P.O. and see their order status, two staff members were able to shift their focus to more important duties.
As you discuss expansion, growth and upgrade with your clients, don’t forget to address their impact on the environment or what we call the ‘Triple Bottom Line” (People, Profits and Planet). It’s amazing how considering green solutions usually lead to higher profit and that’s a win for everybody!
Chuck Peavey is a Certified Resource Management Professional, was raised in the Utah Rocky Mountains and has been mountaineering since he was 5 years old. Mr. Peavey is the President of the UNTeam web development group and founder of www.GreenCertifiedWeb.org, an organization focused on helping businesses integrate sustainable practices in their organization. You can learn more at www.BeGreenJournal.com.
Accurate Asset Tracking Boosts Small Business Profits and Productivity
Did you know that 64 percent of businesses claimed operations’ personnel searched at least once a day for company assets or inventory, and 27 percent were forced to search more than 10 times a day? These pursuits not only take up valuable time and prevent employees from concentrating on income-generating tasks; they can also erode and harm a company’s overall reputation.
It is surprising, then, that many small and midsized businesses do not perform asset-tracking, an omission that could cost them in both the short- and long-term. In a recent poll of IT managers at small and midsized businesses, 15 percent did not track assets, claiming they have no need to do so, and 32 percent do not perform asset tracking but would like to. 11 percent track asses in an ad hoc or manual way, 29 percent use a spreadsheet, and only 13 percent use asset tracking software, such as Wasp MobileAsset.
Why Do It?
Asset tracking gives an organization a complete picture of the assets it owns – from mobile phones, PDAs, and laptops, to vehicles, copy machines, tools, and medical equipment. The location of each asset is instantly accessible, eliminating time-consuming searches for missing items and unnecessary purchases of duplicate products. An asset tracking solution, such as Wasp MobileAsset, also permits a business to manage warranty and maintenance contracts, and generate in-depth reports on asset history, depreciation, and cost
When it comes to asset management, a company needs a solution that inspires confidence that information is complete, current, and accurate. Asset tracking solutions from Wasp make it simple to manage your organization’s valuable assets and are designed to meet the needs of government agencies, educational institutions, healthcare organizations, and small to midsized businesses.
See for yourself. Download a free trial version of Wasp MobileAsset today.
The Keys To Lead Generation
By Bob Vogel
As someone who’s been in direct marketing for over three decades (OMG, did I just say that?), one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned is that you need a killer offer and a clear call-to-action if you want to maximize the response rate.
Everyone’s super busy these days, and if you’re lucky (or clever) enough to grab the attention of your prospects, don’t squander the opportunity.
First off, be sure to include a call-to-action. Don’t just provide information describing the features and benefits of your service – ask your prospects to take some immediate action, which is easier than ever these days with online marketing. Get them to click!
That’s where your killer offer comes in. Offering something for free is the tried-and-true method. Everyone loves free stuff. And if you sell IT services, giving your prospects a free taste of what you do is a great way to engage.
But how do you give away services without burning a ton of time, and yet deliver something of value that will lead to some meaningful business?
One way that I’ve seen work time and again (if done correctly) is to offer a free network assessment. I know of at least one very inexpensive tool you can use that will help you perform a credible network assessment in less than an hour, and allow you to deliver some branded reports for your prospects – reports that uncover issues with their networks that you can fix.
You get a non-invasive network data collector that runs on the domain server with no software installs or agents, so it’s totally non-invasive. You get a data analyzer that organizes all the info and actually identifies potential issues for you. And you get a series of reports that you can brand as your own – including a Client Summary report. Show the prospect enough to identify the issues, but not enough to solve the problems without more data from you.
Check it out for yourself on your own network. If it works for you, I suggest you go with their killer offer: the unlimited subscription. That way you can offer free assessments for a full year, and have a steady supply of new leads, new business, and new revenue.
Harrybbb Appointed to ITT Program Advisory Committee
Our own Harrybbb has received an appointment to the ITT Tech Program Advisory Committee, responsible for advising the School of Information Technology on its curriculum offerings. The committee, comprising business leaders and technology experts, advises ITT on the technical training and certifications that are most relevant to the needs of today’s employers.
While Harrybbb is definitely no stranger to the IT community, he is however, new to the ITT community, but has substantial experience in the field of higher education. He has taught for over 12 years as an adjunct professor at Alaska Computer Institute, Alaska Pacific University, Griffin College, Central Washington University and Seattle Pacific University. Most recently, he has served as the Dean for the School of Technology at Aspen University, an online accredited college.
“I’m excited about joining the ITT community,” Harry said. “With information technology undergoing such rapid changes, it’s important that our academic institutions stay connected to the greater business community. I look forward to being one of those bridges. I’m also thrilled to have the opportunity to help usher in the next generation of IT specialists.”
The ITT School of Information Technology already offers a wide variety of technical programs, but Harry hopes to help the committee develop proposals for integrating more material on mobile, distributed and cloud computing across the curriculum.
The School of Information Technology’s current offerings include two and four year degrees in numerous fields of study, including network systems administration, information systems, cyber security, computer forensics, mobile communications technology, web development, software development, software engineering and project management.
“I spend a lot of time traveling the country talking to IT professionals, especially those serving the SMB channel,” Harry said. “One thing I’ve noticed is the SMB IT channel is starting to gray, so it’s important that we provide our youth with the education and experience necessary to support the SMB channel. ITT plays an important role in doing that.”
BlackBerry World 2012!
Join us at BlackBerry World in Orlando May 1-3, 2012. We’ll be there – will you?
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