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Marching Orders 2016: Avoid Long-Term Contracts

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, Mike Harvath, CEO of Revenue Rocket Consulting Group and a longtime RCP columnist, makes a counterintuitive recommendation about contract lengths in this recurring revenue age.

Beware the curse of the long-term contract.

We're going to offer some advice for the coming year that on its surface seems counterintuitive, but when looked at practically, makes a great deal of sense. It's the fallacy of the long-term (i.e., three-year) contract. Say what? More

Posted by Mike Harvath on January 28, 2016 at 1:18 PM0 comments


Marching Orders 2016: Stay Close to Microsoft

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, longtime Microsoft partner Matt Scherocman, president of Interlink Cloud Advisors, provides some peer-to-peer tips.

In my opinion, Microsoft is changing faster than ever before. Customers are changing their business plans and processes quickly and the industry is rapidly evolving.

As partners, we are always in the middle between the vendors and the clients -- which can be painful! We all know that vendors, including Microsoft, are going direct to clients more than ever before. My marching order to my own team is to integrate tighter than ever with field teams at Microsoft. We know that there is painful change happening. Staying close allows us to better predict and react to changes. More

Posted on January 27, 2016 at 2:53 PM0 comments


Marching Orders 2016: Look Above Infrastructure for Opportunity

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. This entry comes from someone at the center of the changes and challenges in the hosting world -- Aziz Benmalek, vice president, Worldwide Hosting and Cloud Services, Microsoft Corp.

We're in an exciting period of change and opportunity for cloud and hosting service providers. These partners represent one of the fastest-growing channels for IT delivery with new providers being created and growing every year.

A study released by 451 Research during last year's Microsoft Cloud and Hosting Summit revealed that nearly 70 percent of the opportunity for cloud service providers now sits above infrastructure. The increasing demand in areas such as managed services, application hosting and security services represents an opportunity for partners to drive net-new business and address a broader set of customer needs. Customers are turning to partners not only for services like disaster recovery and application development, but for management of their cloud migrations and operations, as well. More

Posted on January 25, 2016 at 10:41 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2016: Sell to Your New Buyer

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 asked Josh Waldo, vice president of partner strategy and programs at Nintex, to discuss the implications of a Nintex study released last month about trends among IT buyers.

A lot has changed from the time when the modern day IT services channel emerged to what it looks like today. Outsourcing, reselling and project-based services were the key value propositions for decades and the buyers were invariably IT decision makers. IT and the business units became very interdependent and, at the same time, highly contentious with each other.

Throughout all of this, an incredibly large and thriving IT channel has grown and profited with a primary relationship targeted squarely at IT. More

Posted on January 22, 2016 at 10:45 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2016: Unlock the SMB Opportunity

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, David Smith, vice president of Worldwide SMB at Microsoft, explores the partner opportunities in the SMB market.

With the rapid advancements in new technologies, 2016 will be an exciting year for business of all sizes. Modern technologies that utilize cloud and mobile are becoming increasingly important in helping our small and medium business (SMB) customers compete and be more productive. However, many SMBs struggle with determining what technology is right for their business and how to take the first step.

In 2016, our partners have a huge opportunity to position themselves as trusted advisers that can not only help solve SMBs' business challenges and remain competitive, but also allow them realize the greatest return on their technology investments. More

Posted on January 21, 2016 at 10:44 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2016: Act on Office 365 E5 and CSP

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 Cindy Bates, Microsoft's vice president of U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Business & Distribution (SMB&D), to point to some opportunities for Microsoft partners.

We start 2016 with the mantra, "The power is in your hands." There are more opportunities available to partners and customers than ever before, and new innovations are coming at a rapid pace, whether they're new cross-platform plays like Office 365 on iPads or with the new Office 365 SKU, E5.

E5 brings new value through the most comprehensive set of productivity, collaboration, analytics, security and compliance capabilities in Office 365 to date. (Read more about it here or watch this video.) More

Posted on January 21, 2016 at 10:41 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2016: Focus on Partner Success in Cloud

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 Phil Sorgen, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, to share his top advice for Microsoft partners this year.

Over the last year, we've made some significant investments in our channel -- in tools, resources, program updates and product offerings -- to enable partners to take advantage of the vast customer opportunities across cloud and mobile technologies. And the opportunity is huge. In fact, IDC forecasts spending on public IT cloud services to reach $127 billion in 2018.

In previous years, we've focused on moving partners and customers to the cloud. But the truth is, many have already made this transition and are already realizing many of the benefits of cloud computing. This year, we're focusing on partner and customer success in the cloud -- enabling our partners and mutual customers to harness the full value of cloud and the associated devices, data and applications to truly transform their businesses. More

Posted on January 20, 2016 at 10:45 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2016: Flex Those Cloud Muscles

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, Gavriella Schuster, general manager of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, weighs in on paths to success in the cloud.

Over the past year, we have seen more and more customers move to the cloud and partners adapt their business models to take advantage of the many opportunities the cloud has to offer. IDC helped illustrate the potential, citing cloud partners realized 1.6 times the recurring revenue as a portion of total revenue versus other partners.

With this business transformation, we spent last year focused on helping partners grow their cloud business and find their path to profitability. For example, we announced major changes to make our cloud competencies more valuable for our partners. We also expanded our Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, which gives partners expanded capability to directly manage the entire lifecycle of their customers' cloud subscription, to 131 markets. More

Posted on January 20, 2016 at 10:44 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2016: Recognize Cloud as a Side Show

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, RCP blogger and columnist Barb Levisay addresses a major marketing trend.

While cloud has gotten all the press the past couple of years, there has been an even more profound shift affecting your business. Business strategy and technology have become inseparable. Today's strategic objectives are executed through technology -- from product engineering to customer interactions. That fundamentally changes the role that you, as IT service provider, play.

In your client's leadership meetings, the conversations about IT have changed. Regardless of how big the company, business leaders are trying to figure out how to use technology to disrupt, augment and extend their services and operations. Your clients need you at the table to participate in those conversations...and then they need the rest of your team to deliver. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on January 14, 2016 at 10:42 AM0 comments


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: 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