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MDM Evolution: From Managing Devices to Managing User Experience

This guest blog was written by Dave Sobel, director of community for GFI MAX.

The services evolution has driven change in the IT channel for years. Many solution providers started as resellers, where the opportunity for profit came from markup on physical equipment. As the market in physical equipment matured, margins shrank and many discarded their reseller roots and began to focus on providing the services that their customers needed.

In time, those new service providers began exploring ways to make their organizations more efficient and more profitable, and managed services emerged as the leading business model to meet those goals. Managed services transformed the way solution providers did business by combining alignment with customer needs, productivity and efficiency gains, increased margins and business stability. More

Posted on March 17, 2014 at 5:27 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2014: Take Control in Key Accounts

As part of our 2014 "Marching Orders" feature, Ross Brown, senior principal with The Spur Group, gives his take on what partners need to do to succeed in the new year.

In the coming year, two trends will combine to create a perfect storm for partners. First, there's the increasing focus on virtualizing everything (storage, network, compute, memory, sessions and so on). Second is the increasing need for integration and federation between on-premises virtualized workloads and cloud services.

The ubiquity of virtualization is a bonanza for partners because of two compelling and unstoppable forces:  More

Posted on January 03, 2014 at 5:23 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2014: Cloud Success Requires Business Expertise

As part of our 2014 "Marching Orders" feature, Michael Fraser, CEO and founder of VDI Space Inc., gives his take on what partners need to do to succeed in the new year.
We're in a new era of technology with the cloud. The only way to succeed going into 2014 and beyond is to become a business expert using cloud to solve business issues.

With everything in technology morphing into an "as-a-service" model, partners need a high level of business expertise to ensure customers are getting the right solutions for their business needs. The only way to gain expertise is a balance between learning and experience. This means you must be diligent to keep up with what's going on, as well as leverage experts, be they cloud providers, consultants or peers.  More

Posted on January 03, 2014 at 8:04 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2014: From 'Systems Integrator' to 'Solution Innovator'

As part of RCP's annual 2014 "Marching Orders" feature, we asked channel insiders to share their insights into what partners need to do to get ready for the new year. Mark Seeley, president and senior partner at Intellinet Corp., shares his tips.
Microsoft systems integrators (SIs) have done extremely well in providing excellent technology know-how for the Microsoft product stack. However, as more platforms migrate to the cloud, SIs will need to adapt their business model to the new paradigm.

Delivering with innovation will be key to standing out in a crowded marketplace.

Proactive consultancies will reshape and reimage service offerings in a way that provides true business solutions versus platform solutions. At Intellinet, we shifted our business three years ago to provide end-to-end solutions to clients. From strategy to solutions to support services, we've found the full lifecycle helps us stay connected to customers and deliver greater impact to both the firm's and client's bottom line.  More

Posted on January 02, 2014 at 5:04 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2014: Windows XP Migrations Will Be a Frenzy

As part of RCP's annual 2014 "Marching Orders" feature, we asked channel insiders to share their insights into what partners need to do to get ready for the new year. Harry Brelsford, CEO of SMB Nation, shares his tips.
Here's the good news: I predict that Microsoft won't extend the April 8, 2014 deadline for extended support for Windows XP, all of the Microsoft 2003 server products (including Small Business Server) and Office 2003. Why is that good news? We're dealing with humans. Most customers won't be motivated to migrate until the April 8 deadline arrives and passes.

Much of the evangelical outreach we're conducting in the fourth quarter of 2013 to properly plan for an orderly migration before the deadline is great air cover. The real ground war will start in the second quarter of 2014. And that's good news for partners over the next year. Starting now, you can stake out a leadership position on this migration work. It's good work and, if you buy into my thinking, it's essentially mandated by Microsoft as a "must do."  More

Posted on January 02, 2014 at 8:35 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2014: Focus on the Business, Not the Technology Flavor of the Day

As part of our 2014 "Marching Orders" feature, RCP asked channel experts to share their best partner tips for the new year. Here are some insights from Keith Lubner, managing partner of Channel Consulting Corp.
Mobility is here. Cloud has been here. What's next?

"Who cares what's next?" should be your mantra. In 2014, those companies who prepare their business to succeed will be successful regardless of the technology flavor of the day.

The old saying, "If you have a solid foundation, you can build anything," was never as true as it will be in 2014. There are three things we see that every solution provider should focus on in order to be well positioned next year, and the year after that:   More

Posted on December 30, 2013 at 5:40 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2014: Taking the Pulse of IT Services Executives

As part of our 2014 "Marching Orders" feature, RCP asked channel experts to share their best partner tips for the new year. Here are some insights from Mike Harvath, President and CEO, Revenue Rocket Consulting Group.
For the 2014 Marching Orders, I wanted to hear directly from IT services executives about their outlook for the year. I wanted to know where they felt they were well positioned for growth and where they weren't.

We conducted a brief, informal survey among IT services firms. It's very much in keeping with what we hear every day:  More

Posted on December 30, 2013 at 6:20 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2014: Bake a 'Business Pizza'

As part of RCP's 2014 "Marching Orders" feature, Ken Thoreson, principal at Acumen Management Group, gives his advice for how partners can succeed in the new year.
As I write this, many of my clients are working through their business-planning process for 2014. Done right, it expands past the one-page business plan and an Excel spreadsheet to a quarterly planning process by department with specific quarterly revenue goals. It also includes specific tactical plans for each partner's various sectors: sales, marketing, delivery and administration. I like to suggest this is their "Business Pizza" -- lots of ingredients broken in to digestible slices.

Focus on talent. Proper human ingredients will make all the difference in your business. It's also the hardest part. Hiring sales, marketing and delivery talent must be your No. 1 focus in 2014. To elevate your performance, you must have quality. Make it a goal to upgrade your talent level. It may take you four months to find the right salesperson who can professionally consult with your prospects by bringing the right mix of business expertise, savvy and a commanding presence.  More

Posted on December 27, 2013 at 6:55 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2014: A Trick To Being All Things to All People

As part of RCP's 2014 "Marching Orders" feature, we asked channel insiders for their best tips for what partners can do to get ahead in the new year. Here are some insights from Howard M. Cohen, senior resultant for The TechChannel Partners' Results Group and an RCP columnist.

The core message of the MPN is to focus, specialize, make big bets and invest in the competencies that really drive your business. Of course, the next question is, "But what about all the other services?"

This is when people bring out the familiar line, "You can't be all things to all people." But you can provide all things to all customers...if you partner.  More

Posted on December 27, 2013 at 6:15 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2014: Three Keys for SMB

As part of RCP's 2014 "Marching Orders" feature, we asked channel insiders to give advice to partners getting ready for the new year. Here are some tips for SMB partners from Cindy Bates, Microsoft's vice president of U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Businesses & Distribution.

As we move into 2014, SMB partners have a tremendous opportunity to build excitement and urgency with SMB customers around how technology can modernize and transform their businesses. Here are three things I believe can deliver great impact for SMB partners this year:

Help SMBs move to modern technology. The end of support for Windows XP and Office 2003 is only a few months away. The April 2014 deadline gives SMB partners a great opportunity to drive meaningful conversations with SMB customers about the benefits of modernizing their technology and the risks of not doing so. By helping customers move to modern devices and embracing a services mindset, partners can capitalize on the ubiquity of devices, the accessibility and transformative nature of cloud and the rise of affordable virtualization.  More

Posted on December 26, 2013 at 5:15 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2014: Point Customers to the Right Devices

As part of RCP's 2014 "Marching Orders" feature, Jenni Flinders, vice president of Microsoft's U.S. Partner Group, gave some advice to partners regarding the "Devices" part of Microsoft's new "Devices + Services" strategy:

In the New Year, computing will continue to be everywhere and vastly more integrated. Not only will our devices talk to one another, the range of "devices" will expand greatly to include cars, buildings, roads, cities and homes. Our interactions with technology will be more natural and intuitive. Modern devices that enable productivity on-the-go and connect to all the important information you need is one of the key demands from your customers.

The experience of combining Windows 8.1 and the many amazing devices shipping from our original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) is positioning the U.S. channel for great success. Partners must listen to the needs of their customers and find the right devices and services that will work best for their businesses. I encourage all partners to become familiar with all the devices available to offer a customized experience.  More

Posted on December 26, 2013 at 5:15 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2014: Service Providers Should Go Hybrid

Marco Limena, vice president of Hosting Service Providers at Microsoft, recently shared his insights on what partners should do to better position themselves in the new year as part of RCP's annual "Marching Orders" feature.

Earlier this year at our Hosting Summit, I shared research that revealed a shift in customer demand when it comes to cloud infrastructures. According to the 451 Group, in the next two years, 68 percent of customers plan to adopt hybrid cloud models. That's an increase of nearly 20 percent from today. This shift is driven by an increased customer demand for cloud solutions that will help them grow their business or realign their organizations.

In looking at this data, there's no denying we're entering the era of hybrid cloud. Now is the time for service providers to begin building and deploying hybrid clouds that meet customer demands and allow them to move between on-premises solutions, the public cloud and service provider clouds.  More

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 5:02 AM0 comments