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Microsoft Channel Star Leaves CDW, Founds SoLoMO

Former VP at CDW and poster child for Microsoft partners, Liz Eversoll, is starting a new firm focused on social, mobile, local and cloud.

Eversoll

A literal poster child for Microsoft partners has left the technology channel giant CDW Corp. to create a start-up focused on mobile, social, local and cloud technologies.

As the vice president of software sales and solutions for CDW, Liz Eversoll was among a handful of partners whose likenesses graced massive banners that hung from the New Orleans convention hall ceiling at the 2009 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference.

At the end of last year Eversoll left CDW, amicably, to start her own firm in an effort to catch the changing wave in the technology world.

"There's an inflection point in technology with cloud and mobile and social media. I want to be part of what the new model looks like," Eversoll says.

That Eversoll would strike out on her own isn't surprising in light of her history. She came to CDW through a pair of acquisitions when the Microsoft solutions firm she founded, e-Volved Solutions, was acquired by Berbee, which was later acquired by CDW.

While she says she remains a huge fan of CDW (which has emerged as a leading seller of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite/Office 365), she notes that it's a big ship to turn and relishes the opportunity to return to start-up mode.

The kernel of her business idea was leveraging cloud, and Eversoll worked to get a handle on the market by doing some business and strategy consulting as Eversoll Consulting LLC. As she recruited for her new firm, mobile's importance became more apparent.

"As I was looking for talent, [I started] looking at how mobile is the ultimate enablement of cloud," Eversoll explains.

In April of this year, four months after leaving CDW, Eversoll started a firm incorporated as SLM Technology LLC, but with the go-to-market branding of SoLoMo for social, local and mobile.

As the Madison, Wis.-area company's homepage states: "Within the next 18 months, or sooner, mobile devices will outnumber PCs." The intro text goes on to explain that Web sites are no longer enough, and that SoLoMo will help clients design a competitive mobile strategy.

Consulting with companies and helping them code social and mobile applications with an emphasis on localization is only part of the business plan, Eversoll says.

"We want to be a product company. Professional services is hard to scale. We think it's important to have a services business to stay close to what's happening," she says. The company's foray into the business-to-consumer market will start with business-card, coupon-book and guestbook apps. The company is also working on a check-in app distinguished from Foursquare in that it verifies that the person actually visited the location and on an app that puts virtual items in 3-D for tourists to discover and get information from popular destinations.

"The professional services is really taking off," Eversoll says. "That will fund it until we develop the products."

Many firms in the mobile arena are focused exclusively on the iPhone or Android platforms. Eversoll, however, hasn't written Redmond off.

"I think their strategy is solid," Eversoll says of Microsoft. "It leverages their advantages. With ‘Windows 8,' especially around the tablet, their strategy really gives them the upper hand in the corporate space."

As she does her business planning, Eversoll is also not counting out Microsoft in the consumer space. "It will be a three-horse race with Microsoft, Google and Apple."

The one-time Microsoft poster child is partnering with Microsoft again in the mobile world. "We've had early discussions [with Microsoft] about writing mobile applications that leverage existing Microsoft systems or business applications," Eversoll says.

No matter which mobility platforms win, Eversoll is looking forward to piloting a firm through a turbulent era, in which consumer technologies are driving business. "It will be a fun time," she says.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.