SMB Nation: Seven Channel Rumors From the Show Floor
The VAR Guy spent last weekend with Donnie & Marie … and Harry B — hanging out at the Flamingo casino in Las Vegas for SMB Nation Fall. Microsoft made lots of cloud noise during the conference keynote. But what was the chatter on the SMB Nation show floor? Here are seven rumors, gossip and tidbits from the just-completed conference.
7. Let’s All Get More Social: It sounds like ASCII Group is preparing to roll out social media automation tools for its community members. In fact, that rumor became a reality today. In somewhat similar news, Ulistic has rolled out a Facebook Page design service to help the MSPs and VARs achieve more from their online marketing.
6. Stealing a Page From Microsoft: Autotask, the PSA (professional services automation) software provider, is seeking to honor at least four types of community members going forward. They include product evangelists, community heroes, industry experts and integration gurus. Mark Crall, executive director of business and community development at Autotask, says the community effort somewhat resembles Microsoft’s MVP efforts.
5. A Little Partner Magic?: The VAR Guy spotted at least one Doyenz executive, a Master MSP and a help desk/NOC company heading to the Penn and Teller show at the Rio Las Vegas Hotel and Casino on October 23. Sounds like the trio potentially plans to work together…
4. Food for Thought: Plenty of snackage at the event. It was a smart move by Harry B’s team to have breakfast and lunch served right on the vendor show floor. Easy consumption, easy conversation.
3. Too Many Coaches?: One MSP at the conference said the IT channel is filled with too many coaches offering too little advice. Hmmm… The VAR Guy has a rather simple response: Coaches — just like bloggers — will live and die according to their reputations. Like any market there are some great pundits and some pretenders. So, no need to over-analyze whether there are too few or too many; the market itself will ultimately decide.
2. That Other Microsoft Cloud Service: You already know about Microsoft Windows Azure and Microsoft Office 365 (the forthcoming successor to Microsoft BPOS). But privately, plenty of VARs at SMB Nation were talking about Windows Intune, the forthcoming remote management platform for Windows devices. Windows Intune is SaaS-based. And several VARs at SMB Nation say Microsoft is taking beta feedback very seriously. One key comment: The VARs think Microsoft will truly position Windows Intune for the channel — particularly, MSPs — rather than purely for corporate IT managers.
1. Free Stuff: This tidbit involves the managed services market, where The VAR Guy continues to chase a rumor involving one business management software company and several remote monitoring and management software companies. Sounds like they’re partnering up sometime in 2011 to offer customers free trials of at least one key platform tool… Hmmm…
That’s all for now. Time for a break after a busy weekend with the Osmonds… and Harry B.