Marching Orders 2016: Prioritize Ruthlessly

Editor's Note: Throughout the month of January, we'll be running installments of Marching Orders, our annual collection of advice and predictions from channel luminaries about what to do and what to expect in the year ahead. For this entry, we invited Keith Lubner, managing partner of Channel Consulting Corp. and a former RCP columnist, to share some channel management tips.

Our company made great strides in 2015, especially toward the later part of the year. In all honesty, the beginning part of the year was difficult for us because of the mass amount of potential opportunities and directions we could have taken our business. We made a conscious decision to focus as summer ended and fall began, and it made all the difference in our business.

We also started making recommendations to clients based on what we did internally, and believe this will be a mantra moving forward for everyone in the market in 2016. More

Posted by Keith Lubner on January 13, 2016 at 10:42 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2016: Pick a Good-Enough Dev Framework

Editor's Note: Throughout the month of January, we'll be running installments of Marching Orders, our annual collection of advice and predictions from channel luminaries about what to do and what to expect in the year ahead. For this entry, we invited Michael Desmond, editor in chief of MSDN Magazine, to provide insight on what to watch for in development this year.

Keeping tabs on JavaScript frameworks is like keeping track of your teenage daughter's musical tastes. Every other week there seems to be a new framework that is, like, the best...ever.

JQuery, Dojo, Angular, Backbone, Knockout, Ember, React -- the list of frameworks literally goes on and on. Which is great if you are a Web developer looking for just the right resource to streamline your code effort and provide nifty capabilities like two-way data binding, dependency injection and sleek UIs. It may not be so good, though, when you have to actually manage and maintain code. More

Posted by Michael Desmond on January 08, 2016 at 10:42 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2016: The Year of Software-Defined XYZ

Editor's Note: Throughout the month of January, we'll be running installments of Marching Orders, our annual collection of advice and predictions from channel luminaries about what to do and what to expect in the year ahead. For this entry, we invited Keith Ward, founding editor of RCP sister publication Virtualization Review magazine, to weigh in on top trends in virtualization.

When I helped found Virtualization Review magazine in 2008, server virtualization still had that new-car smell. Many companies were dipping a toe into the technology, but few had jumped into the deep end of the pool. Caution was the word of the day; virtualization was so disruptive that companies were wise to take it slow.

Today, of course, server virtualization is standard in almost any company of any size. It's now just plumbing: Leave it alone and only take a peek when something goes wrong. More

Posted by Keith Ward on January 07, 2016 at 10:46 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2016: Watch the Politics of Data Privacy

Editor's Note: Throughout the month of January, we'll be running installments of Marching Orders, our annual collection of advice and predictions from channel luminaries about what to do and what to expect in the year ahead. For this entry, we invited Chris Paoli, who covers security for the 1105 Media Enterprise Computing Group, to provide his view of the most important security issue for 2016.

The topic of surveillance, specifically U.S. government-operated surveillance operations, will be a dominating talking point among presidential hopefuls ahead of Election Day this November. In the first presidential election since the Snowden leaks began in 2013, and in the wake of mass terrorist shootings in Paris, France and San Bernardino, Calif., national security and the related privacy debate are poised to become daily mainstays for news outlets.

With the December passage of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 -- which, in part, could allow for some warrantless surveillance actions by the federal government in the name of national security, while opening information-sharing channels between private IT companies and the government -- the respective main party front-runners provided their stances on balancing security and user privacy. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has called for an increase in surveillance, and called on tech companies to take a larger role in national defense. More

Posted by Chris Paoli on January 07, 2016 at 10:43 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2016: Jump on the Azure Bandwagon

Editor's Note: Throughout the month of January, we'll be running installments of Marching Orders, our annual collection of advice and predictions from channel luminaries about what to do and what to expect in the year ahead. For today's entry, we invited Jeff Schwartz, an RCP columnist and editor in chief of RCP's sister publication Redmond magazine, to provide his insights on the most important trends in cloud.

As Microsoft's Azure cloud service turns 6 years old on Feb. 1, the company has entered 2016 gunning to overtake Amazon Web Services (AWS) for cloud supremacy. That's far from a sure thing, but it's the first time the mere suggestion of Azure closing in on AWS isn't preposterous.

Various surveys conducted last year suggest both cloud service businesses grew considerably. Thanks to Amazon's decision to break out its revenues for AWS for the first time, we got a clear picture of how robust the business has become. Based on the third quarter earnings report in October, AWS was on a run rate to conclude the year as an $8 billion business. AWS posted revenues of $2.09 billion, a 78 percent year-over-year increase. More

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on January 06, 2016 at 10:44 AM0 comments


Visual Studio Live! and TechMentor Offer Third-Party Deep Dive

This guest blog was written by Lafe Low, an editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group and a former contributing editor to Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

Microsoft partners are intimately familiar with most of the major Microsoft shows. There's the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), where partners come together to network and share strategies. Depending on your unique offerings and business proposition, perhaps you've also traveled to Microsoft's Build or TechEd events. Build can certainly help get you up to speed on what's happening in the Microsoft development community. And TechEd, now combined with a number of other IT shows as Ignite, will give you the Microsoft view of how its technology stack fits into current enterprise business models.

There are myriad opportunities throughout the year to expand your professional knowledge and network. If you're ever looking for some higher-level, targeted education on specific development or technology tools, Visual Studio Live! and TechMentor have got you covered. (Full disclosure: These events are produced by the 1105 Media Enterprise Computing Group, which also brings you Redmond Channel Partner magazine and RCPmag.com.) More

Posted by Lafe Low on April 22, 2015 at 8:51 AM0 comments


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 8:51 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 8:51 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 8:51 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 8:51 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 8:51 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 8:50 AM0 comments