|Over 18,000 Global Readers and Growing! September 27, 2011 - Issue 6-7 BusinessSpeak|
It’s conference week here at SMB Nation. The advance team is already enroute to Las Vegas, the local authorities have been alerted and residents have been warned. It’s the 9th annual SMB Nation conference starting late Thursday and going through Sunday at the Rio conference center. The amazing Jenny Hallmark has done it again – we’re buttoned down and ready to rock.
And for any later comers to the SMB Nation Fall show, I have one simple statement: why not?
Looking forward, in my new role as chairman/founder at SMB Nation, I have just a bit more time to catch my breath and think. So today’s article is a critical look at the SMB channel.
Gotta run – it’s time to pack my bags for a wee bit of “fear and loathing in Vegas”
PS – Save the date for MVP Nation, March 2-3, 2012!
Harry Brelsford|Founder, SMB Nation, Inc.|www.smbnation.com
|| Death of the SMB Channel?
These past few months I’ve had the opportunity to attend several industry events. Other SMB Nation colleagues have done the same. I’ve been on numerous telephone calls with industry leaders, sponsors, readers and had discussions about the “State of the Union” for the channel. The net-net-net of this blog is this: the “greatest generation” that fought the SBS 4.0 war needs to recreate itself. And since many of us are beyond our breeding years, we have to recruit new members of the channel. First, the evidence followed by what we’re doing about it.
Evidence of Aging
On the esteemed SMB MVP Community tour underway right now (hosted by SBS Migration, HP and Microsoft http://mvptour2011.sbsmigration.com/), I have attended three of these events in New York City, Portland and Seattle. In each case, channel ageism was apparent. The attendees, with few exceptions, were my age (plus or minus 10 years). What concerns me is that these noble SMB and SBS channel warriors sitting in the audience are aging, something confirmed by a quick visual scan. There are a few extra seats waiting to be filled, akin to the pews of quaint New England Episcopalian churches on a Sunday. While the tour is doing a great job of reeling in the old guard, my nephew Julian Brelsford, an open source IT Pro in his mid-20s is not attending.
Other evidence collaborates my personal observations on the SMB MVP Community tour. Tom Poole, the new CEO at SMB Nation, recently attended the well-established and respected CompTIA Breakaway conference in Washington DC. Tom is a long-time technology player (Internet crowd) but relatively new to the channel so his feedback is pure. Not only did he see a mature audience at CompTIA but drew conclusions from his discussions about the “open mindedness” of the CompTIA attendee base regarding cloud computing. Loosely stated, the older the channel partner, the more negative the reaction to cloud computing.
Article continued below.
All-in-One Solution from Check Point Security
Check Point is the security industry leader and the world’s largest dedicated security solution provider. Our award-winning solutions are deployed worldwide, and protect 100% of the Fortune 100. Leveraging the same proven security, Check Point Cloud Managed Security Service offers cost-effective, enterprise-class security in a simple All-in-One solution. With Check Point’s team of experts managing the security, customers can stay focused on growing their business. This proven and simply-to-deploy solution provides:
Death of the SMB Channel? Continued from above.
In numerous day to day conversations recently with channel executives ranging from fellow community leaders, media members, Microsoft program managers, vendors and distributors, I’ve surfaced the “tired old guy” channel theorem. Having recently turned the big FIVE OHHHH myself, I feel I’m qualified to ask questions and not come off as discriminatory, mean or vicious. In each conversation, the “aging of the channel” observation is confirmed along with expressions of concern. Not only how will we regenerate the channel base but how do we get the old war dogs to sell more. It’s an on-going challenge and no one seems to know the exact answer.
Add to the debate – retirements! Did you know that the two original founders of the Chicagoland SBS user group have retired and semi-retired respectively? It’s becoming more common than meets the eye and nearly any long-time community member knows at least one person who has retired. And I end on a sad note – but some of our channel partners are dying. In the past couple of years, we have lost Jim Locke (founder of the SMB Technology Network (SMBTN) community group), Blake Ressmeyer (Denver SBSer and VP – Membership Recruitment and Retention for the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) and David Huston (Dublin, Ireland SBSer and Co-chair of the Worldwide SBS User Group Leads), and several others.
Article continues below.
Security vendor Cyberoam discusses the following important trends in network security, business productivity and Internet connectivity:
Rising Internet dependence among organizations is leading to a host of network security issues including malware threats, data leakage, insider threats and more. Newer technologies such as virtualisation, unified communications, and cloud computing are increasingly being adopted because they help reduce costs while addressing system manageability issues.
Data leakage prevention: An organization’s employees are privy to most confidential data comprising trade secrets, intellectual property, customer records and more. Data breaches may be accidental or malicious and may involve email, print-outs, removable media such as pen drives, CD ROMs and instant messengers.
The best antidote to data leakage is to invest in an endpoint data protection solution which can secure corporate data and assets, thus, reducing an organization’s legal liability and business losses. A fully-equipped endpoint data protection solution like Cyberoam’s contains performs several functions: controlling document operations and document sharing, encrypt removable devices at the time of copying them to a device, block file transfer over chat, email, etc., control access to printers, manage multiple removable devices and applications.
VoIP: Interactive applications like VoIP require high quality in terms of QoS to ensure the best possible user experience. Security vendors should provide application-based bandwidth management service so that administrators can deliver highest quality bandwidth to VoIP services which can be routed via high speed Internet links.
Cloud services and Virtualization: In the age of Cloud computing, applications residing within the organization’s data centers are today moving out on the cloud, competing with external applications for bandwidth. The growth in number and variety of applications compounded with their availability over the web and acceptance of Software as a Service (SaaS) as mainstream applications is soon to bring about fight for bandwidth for accessing these applications. There is a need to resolve the tussle for users’ time, space and bandwidth between cloud and external applications.
Security solutions like Cyberoam UTM offers visibility and controls over the Application Layer 7 and User Layer 8, enabling the firewall to identify applications and users. Cyberoam integrates firewall with the 4 elements of who (users), which (application), when (time) and what (bandwidth) and ensures the creation of the most efficient, straightforward set of firewall rules to make bandwidth available for critical applications and staggering non-critical application usage.
Disaster recovery: Continuous connectivity and security is paramount to a client in today’s scenario. Enterprises need to operate under continuous security while enjoying efficient access to critical information, applications and services.
Active-Active High Availability solutions like Cyberoam’s provide efficient, continuous access to business-critical applications, information, and services. Active-Active HA increases overall network performance by load balancing the network traffic between two Cyberoam appliances.
Continued from above.
So how do we recruit young Michael Johnson, seen in the photo (highlighted in yellow), to excitedly participate in the channel and engage in the community? Michael was simply standing around the Portland, OR train station when the SMB MVPs et al descended on the station to travel up to Seattle. Wearing a “Geek” t-shirt, Michael was quickly befriended by SBS MVP Susan Bradley and others. He recently wrote saying "Hey all, it was nice meeting you at Portland Union Station last week. Sorry I couldn't stay around for a drink, but I had a bus to catch. :) I'd be willing to take a rain-check if any of you are in Portland again or if I happen to be up in Seattle working at my other data center."
The figure shows Michael circled in yellow with Susan Bradley left.
So the big question is where do we find 100,000 Michael Johnson’s and Julian Brelsford’s to rebuild the SMB channel community? I have a couple of ideas.
Consider this blog this first in a series on rebuilding the SMB channel.
Need to Complete your “Technology Pie”? Piece of Cake!
Why Managed Print Makes Sense for Your Business
By Tim Brien, Director of Managed Print Services for OKI Data Americas
Not all IT Service Providers deliver complete end-to-end technology support and services. Like many within this space, you may believe that outsourcing those incremental services is too costly, too time consuming, and will not generate sufficient profitability for your business. This couldn't be further from the truth, as the addition of Managed Print Services (MPS) can easily extend your penetration within existing accounts, increase customer satisfaction and retention, create new opportunities to develop recurring revenue streams, and help mitigate the risk of competition through the sale of long-term contracts.
What is Managed Print Services?
MPS is the active management and optimization of document output devices and related business processes. For Managed Service Providers and Managed Print Providers alike, MPS is the piece of the “technology pie” that you have traditionally lacked in terms of the provision of services. However, the opportunities within the provision of MPS are substantial.
Inclusion of a MPS solution will allow you to boost revenues by 20% or more while driving profit mark-up of 50% or more without any added effort, costs or infrastructure. And the growth potential is remarkable – in 2010, global MPS revenues exceeded $31.5 billion; by 2014, that number is projected to reach more than $68 billion, with 54% of MPS revenue generated by small- to medium-sized businesses.
Where do I begin?
There are a number of MPS offerings in today’s marketplace from which to choose. Finding one that fits your organization’s specific and emerging needs is key to your success as an MPS provider in both the short- and long-term. If you’re providing only one piece of the technology pie to your customers, not only are you leaving money on the table but you are doing your customers a tremendous disservice. Learn how to complete your technology pie; visit http://www.okidata.com/tmp or email me at email@example.com.
Rest Well, Michael Kenwood
A couple weeks ago, I made mentioned that we lost Michael Kenwood in Hurricane Irene. Michael was an active participant in the New York Small Business Server (NYSBS) user group and a well-respected computer guy in the New Jersey area. Michael succumbed to injuries suffered in a rescue effort. He was doing the right thing and we lost him all too soon.
You can remember Michael by donating generously to a fund setup to benefit his surviving young family. These details are:
Friends of Laney Rebecca Kenwood Trust
I also encourage you read this fine article that details Michael Kenwood.
“Business Continuation with HEROware’s On-site Appliance--with Double-Take Inside”
These terms that the “Server Backup and Disaster Recovery” industry throws around don’t mean anything to a business owner.
What your customer, the business owner, cares about is doing THEIR business. If they can’t conduct their business because one of their servers is down they lose money.
“Business Continuation” is the term we need to teach these business owners and it’s the result we need to deliver.
We know that most companies cannot survive without their data and the ability to use it continuously. Surprisingly, even in this day and age, many businesses will be down for three days if a server crashes.
You know the drill, rush to the business site, confirm that the server is down, repair the server or order a replacement, load the OS, load apps, load data (if available) and configure user access.
In the backup and disaster recovery world our job is to provide our customers the means to continue doing their business, regardless of what happens to their servers.
Some solutions use only Snapshots, which take pictures of the server at staggered points in time. Unfortunately, the data saved between snapshots is by definition lost, and worse, most snapshot solutions measure the RTO (time to be back up) by hours. That’s not good enough.
Conversely, the HEROware Defender, using Double-Take software as its engine, makes a real-time copy of the production servers being protected, both locally and in our cloud facility. In the event of a Production Server failure the HERO-Defender “failover” (the process of actually becoming the entire lost server, such that the business continues operations) is completed in less than three minutes. And, you don’t have to be on-site to initiate the failover. Result: Your customer is happy.
|The SMB Nation 2011 Fall Conference is only a few days away. Here's a sneak peek at a few of our exciting sessions!|
Winning in SMB – Leveraging Microsoft Cloud Offerings
September 29th - 6:00 to 7:00pm
Are you excited about new opportunities in an increasingly cloud driven market? Do you want to understand the opportunities with Office 365, Windows Intune and CRM Online? In this session we will take an in-depth look at Microsoft's Cloud strategy & Microsoft's Cloud Solutions. This session will focus on the following: • Partner Opportunity: Enabling partners to compete and win in 2011 and beyond • Microsoft in the Cloud: Building momentum with Microsoft's Cloud Offerings • Learning from Success: Leveraging best practices to build your business with Online Services
Speaker: Maggie Chan Jones
Director, Cloud Services & Office 365, U.S. Marketing and Operations, Microsoft Corporation
As Director of Cloud Services and Office 365 in the U.S. Marketing and Operations Group, Maggie is responsible for leading Microsoft commercial cloud services marketing strategy in the US. Maggie also directs a product marketing & strategy team for Office 365 which includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and Office. Prior to joining the U.S. team Maggie spent two years in the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, leading the launch of partner opportunity framework and the partner model for Microsoft Business Online Services. Before joining Microsoft, Maggie held various product marketing and channel development positions at Sun Microsystems and ADIC, now part of Quantum Corporation. Maggie received her BS in Business Management, from Binghamton University and an executive MBA from Cornell University.
CharTec is the Greatest Show at SMB Nation!
CharTec is the SMB channel’s leading provider of Hardware as a Service and MSP sales training. We have designed and built the largest MSP Training Facility in North America -- a 20,000sf building where our Partners have hands on experience with nearly every key component of what MSPs can include in their offerings along with the training to deliver them properly.
HaaS, Award Winning BDR Appliance, Tele-presence, Digital Signage, Mobile Computing, Email, Network and Internet and IP Security, RMM Services, Help Desk and NOC Services can all be discovered and perfected through CharTec Partnership.
Much of our Partners success stems from the direct opportunity and exposure to our own real working MSP practice, which is a 20 year old, award winning, and multimillion dollar master MSP practice listed four times in the INC500/5000.
Visit us at booth #409 at SMB Nation to mingle with our team and learn more about how our training and hardware can help you!
CharTec UnHerd Conference at IT Nation
November 9, 2011 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm (no cost)
Register now and plan for your attendance to CharTec’s “Unherd Conference” in Orland, Florida.
Alex Rogers, CEO of CharTec the industry’s leading HaaS provider and largest Managed Service Training Center, will share his 20 years of selling secrets and IT industry success during this presentation. Growing and still operating his own MSP company (ARRC Technology) from a single man operation to a multimillion dollar corporation, he will now share his unique strategies to help you refine your MSP offering for maximum profit as well as reveal some of the privileged information he provides only to CharTec Partners. Years of managed service secrets are revealed from this inspirational speaker. Expect to be entertained with Rogers’s straight talk delivery and arrive early, as this session will be packed.
What Color Is Your Rocketship?
8:30am-9:45am Friday, 30 September
We've all heard a lot about the cloud lately. Many of us may even be a bit clouded out!
For some it may be viewed as a threat. However, for those that understand the emerging business models the cloud is potentially the biggest opportunity we've seen in quite some time.
According to IDC, about $17 billion was spent on cloud-related technologies, hardware and software in 2009 - that spending is expected to escalate to $45 billion by 2013. There are 100's of new cloud initiatives announced every month. You have the relationships with the end users – in many cases they don't. Find out how you can leverage your knowledge and client base to open up entirely new revenue opportunities.
Join us for an information packed session where we will help you navigate the supply chain, uncover the opportunities and highlight the potential challenges.
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.
Client Loyalty vs. Client Satisfaction
Can you define the differences between client satisfaction and client loyalty? Can you accurately track the impact either has on your company’s profitability? Have you had a series of false starts and failed attempts at measuring client feedback? You are not alone. After this session you will understand that client loyalty is the only true measurement you need to ensure that you are profitable and able to sustain the growth you are looking for. You will learn everything you need to know about the concepts of Net Promoter Score and how to successfully implement an NPS system in your business.
Jul/August 2011 SMB PC Magazine is HERE! Download NOW!
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