|Over 18,000 Global Readers and Growing! April 3, 2012 - Issue 3-3 CloudSpeak|
Greetings SMB Nation tribal members! I’m in the midst of clouds and spring rain here on Bainbridge Island, and I hope that your days are currently cloudless and sunny. Enjoy it for me!
It all started so simple. Late last week, the amazing Larry Walsh at Channelnomics posted a blog about a new SMB cloud study from Microsoft. I quickly clicked the link and downloaded the study profiled below. After reading the study over my morning coffee, I realized I’ll need to write a series of articles and blogs on this study. Like the cloud itself, it’s just too big!
Other important news includes the need to vote for your favorite candidates at the SMB 150 site (smb150.com), news from D&H (new Vendor partnerships!) and a salute to Windows IT Pro magazine.
PS – Catch our Weekly Webinar: "Rock the Vote!" Thursday, April 5, 2012, 10:00am-11:00am Pacific!
PPS – A shout out to an amazing investigative reporting series on Amazon that is currently running here in the Seattle Times.
Surprising Cloud Study Results!
(First in a series)
Overwhelmed. That was my initial reaction to reading the “Drivers & Inhibitors to Cloud Adoption for Small and Midsize Businesses” study released late last week at the invitation-only Microsoft Hosting Summit 2012 and attended by companies such as Parallels. The study, which surveyed over 3,000 small and medium customers (nice sample size BTW) spoke toward several research areas including:
Each of these areas will be profiled in separate blog entries because there is enough “there there” on any given topic. First, and most importantly, because I built SMB Nation with optimism and a wicked sense of fun, I loved the study’s first-row findings:
So my contribution today presents the high-level findings and the methodology.
Finally – the Microsoft press release highlighted that cloud usage is surging and leveling the playing field for SMBs. I totally agree! But the study didn’t address the white elephant in the room: Will the cloud wipe out the channel as these excited SMB customers can now go direct to the source. To be continued. But…you should still ask your sister “who used to be a travel agent before Expedia,” and that’s part of your answer.
You can see the original Microsoft press release, and download the study here.
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. (Please click to the right to see a two- minute introductory video)
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. (Please click image above to see a two-minute introductory video)
SMB 150 Voting Ending
The voting period for the SMB 150 Awards will close this Friday at 11:59pm! You can still vote for your preferred nominee once every 24 hours at www.smb150.com. Also, be sure to check out our weekly webinar: “Rock the Vote!” presented by me and a few special guests! After the voting phase closes, the nominee list will be passed to our panel of judges for final selection.
Save the date for the SMB 150 Awards Gala at the beautiful Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, CA!
Join BlackBerry at the BlackBerry World Event in Orlando, FL
BlackBerry World™ is the largest annual gathering for the BlackBerry® ecosystem, and the place where the community behind innovative BlackBerry solutions comes together to learn, share and network.
Join us, May 1-3 in Orlando, Florida, for valuable content, unparalleled networking opportunities, and to hear Research In Motion’s vision for the future of mobile computing, which is based on the upcoming BlackBerry® 10 platform.
Don’t miss out on this tremendous opportunity for your organization. Register today and join the mobile technology community for BlackBerry World 2012.
SMB Smart Cloud Solutions
D&H Joins with Vendor Partners to Assist VARs with Cloud Opportunities
By Regina Ciardiello, Editor, SMB Nation
D&H Distributing said that it is currently teaching resellers in the SMB space how to transition their end users toward cloud-based technologies, including hosted network management, storage and security solutions.
These products will be coming from some of the vendors that are already partners with the distributor, such as Microsoft, Cisco, Iomega and EVGA. In the SMB environment, these new cloud-based applications will likely augment the SMB end-user’s existing infrastructures, creating efficiencies and reducing costs, as opposed to wholesale replacements for existing networks.
“The cloud represents a breakthrough shift in how businesses can store, deliver and access their data and applications. For most SMB businesses, a cloud-based strategy will complement their existing on-premises architecture, rather than converting to a full-blown hosted network,” Dan Schwab, co-president at D&H, said in a media statement. “Those businesses will need guidance as to what kind of cloud capabilities will best serve their business models. That’s where we come in for the VAR, educating them on a range of SMB-scaled options in the cloud.”
D&H is supporting Microsoft’s cloud initiative by way of its “SMB Smart Cloud Solutions,” a collection of products that increase productivity through hosted IT services and applications. These technologies give business people access to tools and data from anywhere with an Internet connection, enabling greater collaboration and mobility. These include the Microsoft Office 365 suite, collaborative versions of Office’s standard business tools; Windows Intune, which lets end-users secure and manage and their PCs from virtually anywhere; and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which delivers cloud-based access to the end-user’s customer data.
To educate resellers about Microsoft’s cloud platforms, D&H and Microsoft are presenting the Cloud Smart Solutions Webcast Series. The Microsoft Online Service Provider Agreement (MOSPA) Exam Prep,” will be held on April 4; “Top 10 Cloud Partner Resources” will be held May 3.
On the Cisco side, D&H VARs can gain revenues through managed services through the company’s cloud-based OnPlus service. The OnPlus Agent interacts with most networked devices that have an IP address, both Cisco and third party, so the OnPlus Service can view a whole suite of devices at a single end-user site. VARs can offer this on a contract basis to establish a high-margin, ongoing revenue stream.
Regarding storage and virtualization, Iomega is offering its 2T StorCenter cloud-based server. This includes two terabytes of online storage, perfect for small businesses with remote employees or distributed locations.
For its part, EVGA’s PColP PD02 Zero Client for cloud computing provides D&H partners with a “PC-over-Internet-Protocol” device that facilitates centralized computing for users ranging from local LANs to remote WANs. It claims a small footprint, low power consumption, centralized virus protection and full USB device support.
NComputing is also offering its U170 thin client connected desktop kit. This is a USB-based, virtualized desktop device boasting low energy consumption, it connects to a host PC for shared computing without the clutter of cabling.
Windows IT Pro Goes Cloud!
I’d like to be the first to say nice things about Penton’s Windows IT Pro magazine. It is an industry- leading magazine that has gone from print to cloud. It reflects a trend in the industry and puts Penton on a path to replicate what Ziff Davis Enterprise tried to do two years ago with its publications before it was acquired by QuinStreet.
The eulogy I offer up is this. This industry standard hit a high water mark in the late 1990s when it was known as Windows NT Magazine and published by Duke Publishing near Fort Collins, Colo. Penton later acquired Duke and went on to rebrand the magazine as Windows IT Pro. For many years, it was “thick,” as rap songs like to say. This magazine had “back,” and a very loyal fan base. As an aside, I wrote for Duke and some of the folks still in the Penton ecosystem when it tried to launch a Small Business Server newsletter in 1998-1999 (I was involved in the two issues it published before the project was terminated). If anything, I’m loyal to those who treated me kindly on the “way up” and fondly remember this group, now led by Kim Paulsen and Peg Miller.As only a friend can do, the challenge for Windows IT Pro will be to successfully make the transition to digital. I’ve got my fingers crossed, and I’m a renewed paid subscriber, so I’m all in. I’ll keep you posted if Windows IT Pro can retain its mindshare moving forward in the cloud.
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