Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Word From CompTIA

This week is all about the IT industry. I am at the annual CompTIA breakaway event and gathered with industry leaders from every facet of the IT world. It has already been a great event and we are only getting started. The focus of a number of the sessions has revolved around change - particularly that of the cloud and the pending changes that will be coming as that reality comes to fruition.

That said - I think more and more people are beginning to take a more balanced view of things. The sky is falling approach to dealing with it is over the top. Life is continuing in spite of the cloud. VAR's and Solution Providers continue to stay in business and serve customers. The reality is that if we take care of the customer - deliver strong customer service focused on their best interest meeting their business goals - we have a place in any new economy. It will come down to the relationship, and nothing cements it like good customer service. That does not mean we should stick out heads in the sand and pretend it is business like usual. We need to begin our due diligence into how the cloud will fit our business model and our customer's needs, and then learn all we can about selling, implementing, supporting, training and marketing it.

There was a great session that addressed some of this here at CompTIA breakaway. Here are some snippets I jotted down that I think are good to consider:

1. The channel lost 40K partners in 2009 with estimates that there are currently 210K left in the US

2. Execution will always be the differentiator

3. There are three key areas that will be hot in 2011 so cloud is only part of the real opportunity:
- Mobile
- Social networking
- Cloud

4. Many SMB customers are still waiting for cash before they spend money

5. As SMB customers shift from capex to opex it creates challenges and drives the need for cash for resellers

6. Creative financing will become critical

7. Reliance on VAR's goes up with the cloud - things get more complex, not less

8. Complexity during transition from on premise to a hybrid cloud goes up

9. Cloud means hybrid in most cases

10. Referral fees will change valuation methods when companies are sold

11. Today over 40% of partners not involved in the cloud

12. The percentage of end users currently using the cloud is almost identical

13. Becoming a sales organization becomes more critical as we sell cloud resources

14. Evolution of the roles in the channel and in a reseller company will occur

15. The could will require evolution of business models

16. Last year the best in class company metrics are 3x better when compared to average VAR

17. Business process becomes far more important in the cloud

18. Consolidation will increase in the channel as companies fail to make business model changes

19. It is critical to talk to clients about the cloud so someone else doesn't come in and do it

20. The vendors we work with will change. Apps will be sold by those closest to the client. UPS / banks / CPAs / lawyers etc. will become the new vendors

21. The last mile will be a tug of war. 38% of vendors see no need for disty and many struggle with the need for solution providers either

22. How a vendor views customer ownership must be a key factor in selecting a vendor

23. The only way to maintain margin will be to own the entire relationship from a management of the customer environment perspective

24. We really need to become cloud ambassadors

25. Training and adoption become much more important to maintain customer satisfaction and retention

26. There is a new group of partners coming on that don't have any prior baggage and will just fully embrace the cloud

This is a long list of thoughts that I gathered from different sessions here at CompTIA breakaway. My advice is to think about them strategically, plot a course, stay the course, and provide extreme customer service. In the end, he who owns the heart of the customer will win!


Christy Sacco said...

Every industry magazine I pick up these days has a big article on the cloud and I have been reading a bunch lately. None of them have spelled it out better than you did here!

Joe Foos said...

Excellent insight, thanks Arlin !