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Microsoft WPC 2012 - Day 2:

07.11.12

Microsoft WPC 2012 - Day 2:

Topics: News and Programs

Windows 8 – the Biggest of Big Bets

07.11.12

Mobility and Application-Focus Bring Windows to the Modern Age

Beth Vanni – Vice President

 

After a year and a half of announcements, betas and consumer preview releases, Windows 8 is reported to be on track for release to the general market by October of this year. With 200 million PCs running Windows XP or earlier versions, combined with competitive pressure from Google, Microsoft has a huge sense of urgency to get what they’re dubbing their “business ready by design” operating system out the door.

The ubiquitous operating system definitely has a whole new look and feel, with a highly customizable interface and a very applications-centric panel structure, which looks eerily like Apple’s iOS. It supports a wide variety of mobile devices with dynamic shifts between touch, keyboard or mouse inputs – all of which were well demo’d here in Toronto this week on the sleek new tablets and laptops from Microsoft’s many hardware OEM partners.

“Windows 8 is the biggest announcement from our company in the past 17 years”, noted Steve Balmer, CEO of the software giant. When Balmer mentioned that Windows 8 would be released to manufacturing during the first week of August with general availability at the end of October, the audience responded with healthy applause, having waited a long time for this major new release. The product will be available in 109 languages in 231 markets, with a particularly aggressive upgrade price of $14.99 for customers buying a Windows 7 release today.

Topics: News and Programs, Partnering Tips, Industry Perspective

Microsoft WPC 2012 - Day 1:

07.10.12

MS WPC 2012 - Day 1

Topics: News and Programs

Microsoft Releases the Shackles from Office 365 Partners

07.10.12

Beth Vanni – Vice President

Some 18 months since the launch of Microsoft’s Business Productivity On-line Suite (BPOS), the Redmond Giant has had a revelation about the role of the channel in selling their cloud offerings in the market. At today’s WPC event, Microsoft announced their “open” model for Office 365, the current iteration of the on-line suite. It establishes the reseller as the primary point of customer relationship with the ability to use the traditional resale model, set price and invoice the customer for the cloud service along with other products or services they may be selling.

This change was a long time coming, as Steve Balmer and Kurt DelBene, President of the Microsoft Office division, noted. “This is what you’ve been asking for”, they commented after a rousing round of applause from the audience. Early on in the BPOS channel program, it was rumored that Microsoft had plans to invoice customers directly but brand those invoices with the logo from the partner-of-record. That plan never seemed to materialize. And, with the limited margins partners have been able to make on the per-user licensing model, BPOS was originally launched into the channel with much fanfare but limited partner enthusiasm and momentum. In the wake of that disappointment, Salesforce.com, Google, Netsuite, Oracle, VMware and others have been actively attempting to woo top Microsoft partners away from any further investment in the company’s flagship cloud suite.

Topics: News and Programs, Partnering Tips, Industry Perspective

The Emergence of Partner-Led

05.01.12

by Diane Krakora, CEO

Now maybe I’m wrong (it happens sometimes), but I’ve been working in the channel for over 20 years, and I’ve always thought the primary role of solution providers (previously called resellers) was to drive sales. I cut my teeth in this industry at Merisel (anyone remember them?) and although my memory fades from time-to-time, I seem to recall that selling was a key expected competency from people that bought from distribution. Yeah, yeah, they had to know how to install the router/switch/hub or implement the software, but the “reseller” couldn’t even get there without – yep, you guessed it – selling!

Topics: News and Programs, Industry Perspective

Cisco Gets It!

04.24.12

Mia Blank – Client Services Director

Topics: News and Programs

To Jabber, Chatter or Lync? – That is the Question

04.19.12

Cisco Offers Free Jabber License in its Quest to Own Desktop Collaboration

Beth Vanni – Vice President

(Also see: 10 Paths to Elevate Partnering in 2013)

I don’t think I’m alone in my difficulty in keeping up with the leading IT vendors’ mad onrush to own the dominant market position in the secure, virtualized and highly collaborative desktop environment. All the major network, software and device manufacturers have thrown their hat in the ring, coming at the computing problem from different angles. Cisco has been in this space with multiple technologies, but this week made a major move with a free license to its collaboration software, Jabber, to advance its position.

Salesforce.com launched Chatter over two years ago, to move its SFA and Service Cloud users to its vision of social media for the enterprise. And, to get broad adoption (I think they have over 3 million users at last note) they gave away the application to existing Salesforce SFA users for the first year. Microsoft is also pushing Lync really hard both through its roll-out of Office 365 and as a stand-alone collaboration application with a defacto position that this will be “Skype for the Enterprise”. It offers instant messaging, click to call and all the traditional application based collaboration functions. And, of course, there’s a myriad of other independent collaboration software players, including IBM Lotus Notes, Oracle Beehive, VMware’s Zimbra and many others. And, that’s not even mentioning today’s marketshare leaders in VDI, namely Citrix and VMware.

Topics: News and Programs, Industry Perspective

It's All About You

04.18.12

Cisco Redefines How to Create Real Partner Value with “Return on Cisco” Model

Beth Vanni – Vice President

It’s always unique and endearing when an IT executive can forgo discussion of their technology and market trends and really speak to their partners’ interests, from the heart. Edison Perez, Cisco SVP of Partners & Alliances, never fails to deliver in that area.

In his keynote speech here at the 16th annual Cisco Partner Summit, Perez continued this partnering thought leadership by redefining how the network giant will attempt to address what’s important to a solution provider’s growth and success. Dubbed their “Return on Cisco” measurement model, Perez described a combining of his company’s own value proposition to partners with what traditional financial investors look for when infusing capital. He described Cisco’s appreciation for creating a sustained and robust value proposition to their channel partners but also helping them address the growth and funding challenges they experience in their local capital markets.

Topics: News and Programs, Partnering Tips, Industry Perspective

IBM wants to get radical

03.08.12

by Diane Krakora, CEO

At this year's PartnerWorld Leadership Conference, IBM touted their commitment to radically simplifying the way they do business with partners. They are right in line with the rest of the vendor community. The 100 vendors represented in our 2012 State of Partnering study ranked “ease of doing business” as their top priority for 2012.

The North America partner team in IBM has 5 initiatives they are implementing to make doing business with IBM easy and straight-forward.

Topics: News and Programs

Solution Providers Affirm State of Partnering Study Findings

03.06.12

By Diane Krakora

In our last webinar, we invited Mont Phelps, CEO of NWN Corporation and Simon Palmer, CEO of STA to share their perspective on our 6th Annual State of Partnering Study findings. Teaming up with MarketStar and PureChannels, this study queried 98 vendors and 250 solution providers on their investments, priorities and challenges for 2012.

So what is the State of Partnering in 2012? Our study points to 2012 as a year of optimism for top-line growth for both IT vendors and solution providers. Solution providers will continue to take a proactive role in helping their customers define their next level of using IT as a competitive business advantage, while IT vendors are still working at reducing complexity, being more accommodating of multiple business and engagement models and recognizing their partners’ value in managing the customer relationship. Our panel of solution providers addressed their perspective, expectations and cautious optimism for growth in 2012.

Topics: News and Programs, Partnering Tips, Industry Perspective