Archives For Trends

If you are reselling technology your business may be headed for trouble.  Don’t expect an economic recovery without taking steps to change your approach to the market…find out why in this video.  In this video I speak candidly to small and mid-sized resellers about market trends and what factors play into future growth and stability.  It’s a sobering message.

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Who knows?  Predicting technology trends is like trying to figure out the economy…however SC magazine tends to publish some of the better commentary on these types of things since it is their only focus.  Here’s what they say (Summarized into one short blog entry):

  • Social networking threats: This is the big target – everyone is using some type of social networking platform, so why not take advantage of it – with automation and anonymity, this is the easy target. Since employers can’t really stop this from happening, it’s up to the solution providers to find ways of detecting data leakage and malware that come through the wide open door of social networking.
  • Windows 7: Can you believe the Vista mess is behind us?  Make sure you capitalize on upgrading old platforms and removing any Vista that did get rolled out.  I have to laugh at those who said, “I think it’s stable now”. But Windows 7 is not the end of security threats – expect malware to proliferate on this platform as it has on older Windows workstations.
  • New platforms: Mobile devices are another big target – especially apps for phones from Apple and Google.  People are doing more on their phone and the crooks know it.  New products from anti-malware companies will help, but your expertise will be needed.  Start now by educating your clients on the need to adopt new technology with security in mind. The phone is just a small workstation at this point – remember pay phones!
  • Apple: Quote from SC Magazine, “I’ll believe that the Mac OS has become a viable target when the PR folks in Cupertino start returning my phone calls. Next…”.  I know Kaspersky is on top of this…By the way, I am really enjoying my MacBook Pro.
  • Peer-to-peer malware/data leakage: Nothing new here.  I think the real danger is for those who take work home – is there something your team can do to expand services to home systems used for work?  It’s definitely a hole in the security programs of your clients.
  • HTML5/IPV6: Too early – might be an issue next year.

Looking at technology, I believe we need more user awareness training, better policy management and enforcement, and a migration to more efficient/automated detection technology – with a strong response plan.  In my opinion, perimeter security is over, so let’s move on.  It’s a great time to build up managed service business with a security spin.  If you don’t have one, consider OEM opportunities – Many choices are available at this point.

Growing up, on New Years Day, my father would always say, we’re starting at zero today.  In other words, last year’s revenue doesn’t matter, what matters is, how will our business do in 2010.  It’s often said, dwelling on past success sometimes leads to future failure.  However, if you’ve taken some of the advice I’ve given over the past several years, you’re not starting at zero today.

  • If you’re managed services business is thriving, you’re financial state should be healthy.
  • If you’ve invested in security, Wall Street again predicts this to be in high demand in the coming year.
  • If you’ve established your brand around the value you bring, rather than the product you sell, you have a firm foundation for success in 2010.
  • If your team understands how to present solutions and value, you’ll do well in the coming year.  Wall Street’s article on trends a few days ago not only mentioned security, but also stated the need for high tech professionals to be less geeky and more business relevant.  This has been a core focus of mine since I started this business and it’s true – sales people must learn to meet with business people and develop peer relationships at the top.
  • If you’ve taken time to plan and strategize, and your plans are sound, you’re ahead of your competition.
  • If you have a solid team (right people in the right places) you’re way ahead of your competition.
  • If you’re partnered with vendors who support you financially through marketing and lead generation, you have what you need to start building new business in 2010.

Let’s get started…

© David Stelzl, 2010

First, don’t miss today’s podcast at http://dstelzl.podbean.com/ – critical information on justification you need to provide before your projects can be approved.  This applies well to the topic of managed services and how you should go about creating the ongoing justification needed to maintain long term managed agreements.  A couple of key points made in yesterday’s teleseminar that deserve repeating:

  • Managed services is a necessary part of building your company going forward. Without it, further commoditization of your product set only produces less margin, and service billing rates for most companies have not increased much over the past 20 years. We were paying $150 in 1988 for network engineers in the southeast; the same fees we’re charging right now in many cases.
  • Valuation numbers for resellers depend on recurring revenue contracts. Ten years ago you might have sold you company for a multiple of revenue – today you might consider a small multiple of EBIT in most cases. Most acquisitions today are fire sales. Only recurring contracts or narrow highly specialized offerings can reverse this trend.
  • Educational based marketing is the number one way to sell this type of program. Most clients are not aware of the risks they are operating with today. Without education, you’ll never come to agreement over the value you’re providing.

In addition we covered how to build it, how to price, what products to use, who should sell it, how to sell it, and how to maintain it and grow it.  If you missed this program – make sure you catch the next one.  You can’t succeed in this economy without changing your game to compete.

My business planning podcast will post on Friday – regardless of whether you listen to it or not, you do need a plan.  You are sure to be inundated over the next two to three months with economic woes and tips to keep your business running.  Some will be worth reading; others will just spur more whining.  As I come across meaningful input I will be sure to pass it along.  Here are some considerations for 2009 – along with a link to eWeek’s Channel Insider – Factors for Profitability in 2009.  It’s worth a quick skim – mostly bullet points as follows:

Mergers and Acquisitions; this is a time to pick up new clients as unhealthy companies fold.  Make sure you’re healthy, invested in marketing and branding, and are keeping you sales efforts well tuned and focused.

Managed Services; I’ve been preaching this for over five years now.  If you don’t have it your company may be in trouble.  If you are still approaching this as a monitoring or ROI sale, the same is true. 

Cloud computing; this will be interesting.  I think Microsoft is in trouble with Vista…do you have a strategy that includes SAAS, HAAS, and other Cloud Computing concepts.  You may want to build some partnerships here that will allow you to play in the new world of thin client computing. 

Virtualization; this isn’t new but you’d better understand the value proposition and how to get it sold in a weak economy.  The last thing you need is a big ROI study on your hands.

Server and Storage Consolidation; this is obvious – are you in the storage game yet?

Compliance; what was once a hard sale may be required now.  Make sure you at least have a partner that can do this.

Security; this should be no surprise.

Database Consolidation; expect some consolidation as new releases come out and better management of data is required.

License management; here is an area of waste if there ever was one.  Partner with companies like SoftwareOne and get some benefits out of software mismanagement.

Video conferencing; and other technologies that help people stay home.  Sales people need to learn how to sell without leaving the office.  Did Cisco see this coming when they bought Webex?  Smart move on their part!

Read more here: http://www.channelinsider.com/c/a/Commentary/Factors-for-Profitability-in-2009/?kc=CITCIEMNL12292008STR3