|Over 18,000 Global Readers and Growing! December 6, 2011 - Issue 2-10 CloudSpeak|
One thing about the cloud we can all agree on is this: it is a change agent. This issue features our LotusLive interview, my visit to SpamSoap, a CNBC “must see” video and your opportunity to participate in our annual salary survey!!!
Have a super week!
PS – Adobe is HIRING!!! Five positions in hosted services for our Digital Publishing
LotusLive – ROARING!
Every new computing paradigm brings about new opportunities. Shifts in the supply curve make for a disruptive playing field. What’s old is new and such is the case with IBM’s LotusLive offering. It truly has a window of opportunity to reinvigorate the Lotus brand. Think about it. IBM – the company the pioneered the mainframe paradigm, including the timesharing industry, is poised to flex it cloud muscle with the LotusLive offering. It’s a welcome addition to the cloud landscape where unknown winners will thrive.
We interviewed Boston-based Rebecca Buisan (pictured right), Director, Product Management and Marketing, IBM Social Business Cloud to dig deeper into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats poised by LotusLive. “We’re at the tipping point for SaaS adoption rates. In the 2012-2015, CIOs are overwhelmingly looking to adopt cloud solutions in that timeframe.” Just to level-set, LotusLive is a multi-tenant SaaS offering with an emphasis on messaging, collaboration, social media, mobility (smartphones, devices, pads) and cloud storage. You can learn more here: www.lotuslive.com.
Lotus’ cloud position with its LotusLive offering is two-fold: social business in the cloud and economic opportunity:
• Social business services
? Enterprise e-mail and messaging
? Communications, etc.
• Economic benefits - pay as you go…
While LotusLive certainly seems has some things working in its favor, dominance in this market is far from a given. Formidable players such as Google Apps and Microsoft’s Office 365 have significant momentum and the luxury of huge installed user bases.
The LotusLive pricing model allows the user to pick and choose the functionality and monthly pricing that best serves them. Each “module” seems to range from $1.50 up to $5.00 or so per user, however that is introductory pricing. As an example, users can embrace LotusLive Engage for the introductory price of $4.00 per user per month.
LotusLive Engage is an enterprise strength application that provides for unlimited web meetings, desktop sharing, application sharing and file sharing. Users have access to project management, dashboards, contact management tools and online storage. On the outreach side, LotusLive engage allows users to set up communities, videos and polling, surveys and more.
Over the next few months we may end up taking a “deep-dive” into LotusLive to give our readers addition insight. At this point we see a great company with years of experience providing stable and scalable applications brining a potentially strong suite of cloud applications to the market.
In our humble opinion, true adoption will come from IBM and LotusLive’s ability to embrace the smaller companies - less than 25 people. IBM and LotusLive have always been a strong player in the enterprise space. Keeping the price point incredibly reasonable and the offering easy to understand services will be the key here.
If they can message, embrace and easily onboard small and medium size businesses, it could be an interesting addition to an already strong sector. After talking with Buisan, we will simply close by saying, "make no mistake, the folks from LotusLive are serious about being strong players in this market."
A shout out to Karl Palachuck and his capable Cloud Services Roundtable (CSR) podcast series at www.cloudservicesroundtable.com. It’s how we met Rebecca! And speaking of Rebecca, understand this IBMer is very sharp. She has attended Harvard to study business along with completing graduate work in software engineering. She joined IBM in 2002 and start going extension Web portal experience working on online customer branding, rich web content and digital media. “I even created templates to help customers get started online.” Finally, it wasn’t lost on us that Rebecca, as a woman, has been very successful at IBM. Many readers are ware that IBM just appointed its first woman CEO in Virginia "Ginni" Rometty to succeed Sam Palmisano. More on that here.
Advice for the New Year: Eat Your Own Dog Food
The end of the year is right around the corner and Datto has been reflecting on 2011. It was a year plagued with natural disasters from tornadoes, to hurricanes and floods. There was even a freak snowstorm before Halloween that postponed trick-or-treaters on the east coast for a week! Connecticut (where Datto headquarters is located) has experienced over three weeks of power outages in the past four months alone.
If there is only one takeaway from this year, it’s the importance of disaster planning. This past year, Datto has performed over 2,000 server restores (an average of eight per day!). It is vital to have a plan that allows you to continue operating despite natural disasters or power outages. The common excuse “this isn’t going to happen to me” is obviously flawed. It’s evident that this does happen and will happen eventually.
Solution Providers understand that their clients need secure backup and disaster recovery plans, but we have noticed that many often forget to backup their own businesses. Our advice: Eat your own dog food.
During hurricane Irene, Datto watched power outages sweep the east coast and planned on handling a very high ticket volume after the storm was over. Surprisingly, tickets levels were fairly low. It appeared that Solution Providers didn’t eat their own dog food and were closed many days after the storm ended. Datto ended up helping numerous end-users that were contacting us directly because they weren’t able to reach their IT providers.
So, the question we pose to solution providers is: What does it say to your customers when you don’t use the solutions you sell?
Datto offers NFR units to make your life easier. Give our sales team a call today at 203-665-6423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information. Make sure you stay up-and-running so you can promise your clients the same.
Getting LOUD in the cloud –My visit with SpamSoap!
As part of my on-going journey to “manage by wandering around,” I am visiting a few SMB Nation customers per month. This includes readers, attendees, sponsors and even frienimies. It’s all good. So I caught up with a busy Leonard Dimiceli, business unit manager at Orange County-based SpamSoap. Needless to say, Leonard is a “friendly,” so I was greatly looking forward to chatting it up with him.
Looking forward to 2012, SpamSoap will move beyond its point product paradigm providing e-mail filtering (and not surprisingly, spam control) and morph into a security company. Leonard acknowledged that MX-records are a commodity and that “…we want to be the MSP’s “go to” for security product.” Leonard shared. “In 2012, you’ll see the product stack factor increase dramatically. It’ll be huge with three to five product releases.” Leonard declined to reveal the specifics other than to say that one product will be a hosted e-mail offering. “The good news is that people buy from people they know, trust and like. We feel we’ve earned that trust from the MSP community!” When asked, Leonard did clarify that its growth would be organic. There are no pending acquisitions.
Leonard shared SpamSoap’s evolving strategy concerns making the customer sticky for its resellers and generate higher revenue per customer. The security play is important as part of its “one throat to choke” approach, again making the reseller stick with her customers. Leonard also highlighted its long-standing relationship with McAfee. Much of the background infrastructure driving SpamSoap is provided by McAfee. SpamSoap, with its 21-employees, was named the McAfee Partner of the Year both 2010 and 2011. “McAfee is an asset for SpamSoap. It has 300+ employees in the (GTI) GLOBAL threat intelligence is very important differencator, NO one else can say that!”
Stop Leaving Money on the Table!
By Tim Brien, Director of Managed Print Services for OKI Data Americas
According to a recent article in MSP Mentor, only 20 percent of the top 100 managed service providers currently offer managed print services (MPS). That fact reveals two things: 1) There is limited awareness among MSPs about the unique advantages and revenue-generating opportunities inherent in including managed print as part of their suite of services, and 2) there is plenty of room – and tremendous opportunity – for MSPs to establish themselves and stake their claim within the MPS arena.
Many MSPs hesitate to employ MPS because they believe that managing printers, copiers and document output seems like a lot of work and expense with minimal associated profit. In actuality, managed print solutions provide partners with the means to increase margins and revenue streams quickly while generating real and quantifiable savings for their customers. It’s truly a win-win situation!
There are a number of MPS solutions featuring a broad range of offerings from which to choose. A cloud-based solution provides a cost-effective, complete MPS business model that can also be utilized at the individual component level to augment the MSP portfolio of IT offerings. This type of flexible, modular solution gives MSPs a unique and competitive edge by providing a wave of new opportunities for developing both immediate and long-term, recurring revenue streams while maximizing workflow efficiencies for their customers.
The remaining 80 percent of top MSPs should understand that if they’re not offering MPS as part of their overall service offerings, they’re leaving money on the table – money that their competitors will gladly pick up. Consider these statistics:
One final statistic: MSPs will miss out on 100 percent of the benefits of MPS if they continue to hesitate in committing to this cost-effective, revenue-generating, easy-to-use solution. Why wait? Act now and quit leaving money on the table! For more information visit http://www.okidata.com/tmp or email me at email@example.com.
CNBC’s “Herb” Cloud Rant….new dot com?
Yesterday I enjoyed watching the news segment on CNBC, the financial channel. It was spot on assessing if cloud computing is the new “dot com” and that many people are asking big questions like “What is the Cloud?” This on the heels of SAP announcing it intends to acquire SuccessFactors.
PS – here is a great article over the weekend in the New York Times “about the cloud” I recommend you consider reading!
Customer Cloud Consternation? Let’s talk “Hybrid”
Are your customers a little Cloudy on the benefits of remote storage? Do they worry about the speed of recovering their files if something happened? Are they comfortable that the cloud storage provider really has their data, and that it will be available when they need it? These lingering doubts can be obstacles to ‘cloud backup’ sales.
Perhaps it’s time to consider taking your customers ‘a half-step’ into the cloud.
Hybrid Online Vaulting approaches are quickly gaining popularity for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is your customer’s peace of mind. In today’s world of hybrid online backup, both a local storage target and a remote (cloud storage) target are used in conjunction to offer the strongest possible data protection architecture. Let’s quickly explore the benefits of both local and remote components to get a better picture of their combined value:
Local Backup to a NAS or disk based target delivers reliability and speed. File or database changes are captured quickly across the LAN for near-continuous backups. Restores are done quickly over the network to recover from any failure… and having your customer’s data right in their office definitely raises everyone’s comfort level.
Cloud Backup Systems are slower for backup and restore due to Internet constraints. But they offer a simple approach to storing another copy of data at a safe distance from the source. And, the proliferation of cloud backup vendors over the past 5 years has made it a very affordable option.
Intelligently combining a local backup target with an online vault really has no trade-offs! Your customers can recover from any system or site disaster with speed, reliability, and most importantly, peace of mind – all at an affordable cost.
Consternate no further… Rebit is here!
Take our 2012 SMB Nation Salary Survey, and Get a Free Gift!
By Regina Ciardiello, Editor, SMB Nation
Cisco UC-320 Rocks!
Blast from the past! The Toronto pre-day hands-on lab in June was a hit! Known as SMB Spring, over 20 IT Consultants fully setup the CISCO UC 320 in under an hour without a hitch. (15 had never installed a phone system) This system was the easiest install I have ever seen on a full featured UC product. There is a special website for you to engage with the UC 320 here. You can sign up to be a partner that will get you free training on the system and other goodies. There is no fee or certification cost for this program yet, so we urge you to be an early bird.
Here is what folks learned at the hands-on lab:
• For under $800 the UC 320 is a front runner for the very small business that wants to enjoy cost savings and a robust feature set.
• Fully installs, from opening the box to making calls, in under an hour
• Support for 24 users
• SIP trunking support to deliver clear, high-quality voice over IP services
• Interoperability with up to 12 public switched telephone network (PSTN) analog lines (4 FXO ports)
• Voicemail and automated attendant and Voicemail to email notification
• 4-port Gigabit Ethernet switch with VLAN support, to connect devices or expand
• Gigabit Ethernet WAN port that can be designated as the network edge
• Integrated 802.11n wireless access point for voice and data, so that employees can connect to the network while away from their desks
Why Do You Need to Partner with Cisco, Today?
Teaming with Cisco can be a profitable proposition. Here are the top five reasons to become a Cisco Registered Partner and benefits from the Cisco Small Business Advantage:
• Products: We have the broadest portfolio of solutions to help you meet your customers' needs.
• Profitability: You have the potential to realize greater profits when selling Cisco Small Business products by earning rebates with Partner Development Funds and taking advantage of rewards, promotions, and incentives, offered from programs such as Fast Track 2.
• Support: Get the help you need to sell, deliver, and support Cisco solutions with pre- and post-sales support and customized tools like SMART Designs.
• Marketing: Use co-branded materials to help drive sales; having ready access to free customizable marketing materials can help put more money in your pocket.
• Financing: We have EasyLease options for those who qualify. EasyLease may help you overcome customer budget objections and help eligible customers acquire technology solutions based on business needs.
It's easy to join. No training courses, exams, or additional costs required. Visit HERE.
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