Marching Orders 2013: Make It Simple

As part of Redmond Channel Partner's annual "Marching Orders" feature, we asked several channel luminaries to give their best advice to help Microsoft partners succeed in the coming year. Here are some tips from Keith Lubner, Managing Partner, Channel Consulting Corp.

In 2012, I saw too many solution providers trying to do too much, which led to stagnation and frustration, and often left them with the feeling that they were pushing a wet noodle uphill (it doesn't go far). Their businesses didn't move as quickly forward as did the frenetic pace of technology. In 2013, I'm afraid technology will keep moving quickly, but I recommend that solution providers slow down and simplify. This sounds contrarian, but hear me out, as this basic notion will actually allow you to leapfrog competition that might still be trying to push that wet noodle uphill.

Let's get simple with a simple story. Earlier last year, my son came up with a neat idea for collecting "unclaimed" golf clubs, cleaning them up and then donating them to organizations such as The First Tee. As soon as he came up with the idea, he immediately (as often kids and adults will do) started projecting all of the potential roadblocks, tasks and other items necessary to get the initiative off the ground. He then suffered "paralysis by analysis," and guess what happened? Nothing. Great idea, but nothing happened because he complicated the entire thing.

When it comes to solution providers in 2013, don't complicate the matter. Simplify everything, which often requires you to retrench and focus on core areas. Most of you added (or are in the process of adding) mobility and cloud to your portfolios. You're brilliant at technology but get caught up in the same thing that my son did -- projecting the "what ifs." Don't "project" anything, but rather simplify your thinking around specific tactics in your sales, operations and marketing. Here are three things you should do to keep things simple in 2013:

  • Industry data is all fine and dandy, but data doesn't move your business -- it's what you do with the data and the tactical plans around it. Focus more on tactics in 2013.

  • For sales, just make your sales processes simple. Don't overcomplicate things. The best companies have simple sales processes so that their sales people can simply execute! Cloud and mobility in particular require this.

  • In terms of marketing, people keep trying all these tricks in an effort to find the "magic sauce" that will bring the dump truck full of leads to their door. Simply commit to being consistent with your marketing in 2013. Those providers that have excelled for the past 20 years have been the ones who've been simply consistent and persistent. That's my simple advice. Oh, by the way, my son simplified and started on some basic tasks and, yes, got his initiative off the ground!

Posted on January 08, 2013 at 8:50 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2013: Focus on Cloud and Devices

As part of Redmond Channel Partner's annual "Marching Orders" feature, we asked several channel luminaries to give their best advice to help Microsoft partners succeed in the coming year. Here's what Jon Roskill, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Group, had to offer RCP's readers.

As we head into 2013, I see two huge opportunities for partners in the Microsoft ecosystem. The first, of course, is the cloud.

Partners have heard me talk for the last two years about the cloud opportunity, but in the last year we have really seen the traction and scale take off. In 2013 we're going to start to see the trend of cloud leading on-premises. This will be the year that cloud run-rate of certain workloads will pass on-premises in key segments. Look for this leapfrog in e-mail in small to midsize business (SMB), CRM in midmarket, and others. The cloud momentum will undoubtedly accelerate as we release the next version of Windows Azure, Dynamics CRM Online and Windows Intune, and because Office 365 will have a truly symmetric server model.

If you haven't thought strategically about expanding your business into the cloud, the time is now. The current online opportunities for partners are some of the biggest we've ever seen. The various business models we offer partners in the cloud give a clear path to profit that suits your company (think Office 365 Open). The key for partners already in the middle of this transition will be their ability to continue to differentiate their businesses and look for ways to become more of a managed services provider (MSP). To do this will mean adding your own IP to that of core services provided by platform companies such as Microsoft. We're supporting this trend with new managed code capabilities inside SharePoint Online and the fact that you can both customize Office 365 and do sophisticated integration and cross-system customization with Windows Azure.

The second major opportunity I see in 2013 is especially relevant to our OEM and App Dev partners: I believe 2013 will be the year of the touchscreen. Driven by Windows 8, which really shines on a touchscreen, we expect to see touch devices continue to grow in popularity and function this year across enterprise, corporate, SMBs and consumers. Take advantage of the opportunity that the proliferation of touchscreen devices creates. We've evolved our Desktop competency to orient around Devices and Deployment. With this evolution, we're better able to reward partners that help customers select, configure and manage a range of devices.

Together in 2013, we're more ready than ever to bring the new era to life for our customers. Let's go win some business.

Stay tuned for more Marching Orders from channel experts and executives. Or read the full feature from our January 2013 issue here.

Posted on January 04, 2013 at 8:50 AM0 comments


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