If you haven’t started offering cloud solutions to your small-business customers yet, a new startup is vying for your attention.
The portal is being billed as an “all-in-one” cloud platform that VARs and MSPs can use to provision virtual desktops to small and midsize businesses (SMBs).
Reading up on some cloud channel adoption trends, based on a report published in late 2012 by consulting firm PartnerPath.
Since the cloud continues to arise perennially as one of the biggest business development challenges for technology solution providers, I wasn’t really surprised to read that more than half of the ones who responded to a recent PartnerPath survey still derive less than 10 percent of their revenue from cloud services.
Only 20 percent (or so) of the respondents indicated that they generate more than 20 percent of their revenue from cloud services.
High-tech journalist types are known for spouting off predictions and prognostications at the end or beginning of each year. Since I still do this routinely for SearchITChannel, I figured it would be appropriate for me to revisit what I reported 12 months ago in our story, “Four trends that will shape IT services in 2012.”
For a quick recap, here are the four themes that emerged:
- Bring your own device movement (BYOD)
- Mobile app stores
- Data management 2.0
- The cloud
So how did we do? Continued »
In early November, I wrote about the need for technology solution providers to think more creatively about how to find the budgets for technology services or projects they are pitching. The point being that this money doesn’t always have to come out of a company’s IT budget.
But even though a VAR’s business-side connections will be much more important in the future for winning business within small and midsize businesses, there are still plenty of reasons to make nice with the IT departments within prospective or existing accounts. And to do so at least once per quarter (as you’ll read in a moment).
It seems to me that many small-business owners are perpetually pessimistic right now, so I tend not to report on many of the surveys sent my way about their spending and hiring plans.
Still, I think technology solution providers should peek at a new Gallup poll about small-business capital spending intentions for the next 12 months. If nothing else, the data is a great reminder of why the technology channel needs to continue investing in viable business models for managed services and cloud-delivered IT services.
Are there any fans of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition out there? If so, keep an eye out for Avnet employees on Monday night’s show. Eighteen members of the company’s IBM Solutions group spent two Saturdays in San Antonio, Texas, planting sod, moving rocks, cleaning up construction debris and directing traffic. Avnet also donated three MacBooks and other components of a home tech system.
Technology solution providers representing the Microsoft Office 365 cloud applications suite for small businesses should take note of a huge change in the competitive landscape.
This week, Microsoft rival Google stopped offering a free version of its Google Apps for small businesses, saying that new customers will need to opt for the Premium edition, which costs $50 per user per year. Features of that service include 24/7 phone support, a 25-gigabyte inbox and a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee.
The changes means Microsoft partners will be able to discuss the two services on a more level playing field.
Within four weeks of its launch, Windows 7 managed to capture 83 percent of Windows device hardware sales in the retail channel. But Windows 8 has so far fallen short of that market: it accounted for about 58 percent of Windows sales within the same timeframe, reports NPD Group.
That finding comes from the research firm’s weekly tracking service.
Software as a service (SaaS) is moving beyond early enthusiasts deeper into enterprise accounts but adoption rates differ dramatically depending on the region, reports Gartner.
The research firm’s latest survey of SaaS trends shows that 71 percent of the businesses now using applications delivered as a service have been doing so for less than three years, which signals wider mainstream adoption, according to Gartner’s report, “Survey Analysis: Buyers Tell Us About SaaS and Cloud Adoption Through 2014.”
The latest America Recycles Day came and went this week, with the requisite flood of press releases about electronic waste (aka e-waste) flooding my email inbox.
That’s because the high-tech industry continues to churn through and discard a troubling amount of gadgets — especially (as you might expect) mobile stuff like cell phones. The United States alone sends roughly 135 million of them to landfills every year.
That’s a number that companies like Sprint are determined to reduce: the company now collects about 40 percent of the devices it sells or distributes at the end of their life (about 11 million gadgets last year). It is striving to increase that rate up to 9 out of every 10 devices by 2017.
What about the bigger stuff? Many of the biggest high-tech companies including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM have established collection programs to facilitate take back of servers, personal computers, monitors and other accessories. It’s a big push for the leasing arms of all these companies.
Channel partners and systems integrators have been much more quiet about the issue, but that may be changing.
Global IT services giant Dimension Data this week launched an expansive e-waste collection service that is part of its broader technology asset management portfolio. It figures that more than 60 million tons of e-waste will be considered for reuse or recycling in 2013, and it believes it has an opportunity to help its clients asses the best options for those items.
“Expanding our technology lifecycle management assessment to include an e-waste solution means our expert advice doesn’t start at the point of disposal,” said Colin Curtis, the company’s director of sustainability, in a statement about the new service. “We can now assess the strength of each item in a technology base, determine its point in the lifecycle, and then use best practices to dispose of elapsed devices and equipment in an ecological and regulatory-compliant manner. In addition, the organization’s security and brand are not negatively impacted.”
That last point is something that can’t be emphasized enough.
There is one big reason that businesses are paying more attention to e-waste: compliance.
That’s because ignoring the proper disposal of IT equipment means a company could become liable for sending toxic substances to a landfill, not to mention the data privacy implications.
As the technology consolidation movement continues and upgrades start to happen throughout 2013, this will only become more of a pressing issue – one that your services team must be ready to discuss.