Touted Technology Ready For Prime Time?
As 2008 comes to a close, server virtualization, by all accounts, has
graduated from being limited to research and development activities to
supporting some of the most important corporate activities.
In fact, 2009 may very well be the Year of Virtualization as organizations
strive to reduce IT costs, stretch tight budgets and conserve space.
Rev Up Revenue in a Recession
Warranties, upgrades, maintenance services hot sellers
in cold economy
Just as many consumers are keeping their current homes or cars, many
businesses are holding onto existing technologies in an effort to outlast
the poor economy.
As a result, savvy solution providers have the opportunity to sell services
-- such as extended warranties, data-management services and maintenance
contracts -- that keep clients' older systems up-and-running. By doing
so, these VARs also are able to further cement their customer relationships
and be the go-to solution provider partner once organizations are able
to shake loose some additional IT dollars.
Tips for managing/controlling business expenses
Be Penny-wise and Succeed
The overall economy is well beyond the control of any single business,
and the current economic downturn has definitely hit income results for
many organizations. Taking steps to carefully monitor business expenses,
though, can provide a way to save for these rainy days. Even a lean business
can find ways to trim expenses with a little effort.
For many companies, the first thought (and the biggest fear) is that
cuts will have to come from the payroll, which often accounts for 60 percent
of any company's expenses. Laying off employees, though, may be a poor
strategy that does nothing more than undermine morale and overtax those
2009 Promises Hard Won Opportunities For Channel
Lately, the IT crystal ball has offered little other than dire predictions
for the coming year, leaving solution providers with a seemingly bleak
outlook for 2009. As December began, for example, Forrester Research downgraded
its prediction for growth in information technology spending next year
from an already anemic 6.1 percent to a paltry 1.6 percent for 2009. In
fact, the Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm believes that the U.S.
real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will decline during the first half of
the year and will rally only weakly in the second half.
There's opportunity, though, for IT providers willing to maintain a laser
focus on markets that provide a better chance of success. Technologies,
such as storage, that support the most important day-to-day work of companies
and keep their businesses strong remain on the menu for most customers.
For example, The InfoPro (TIP), a research firm in New York, reported
that one third of all organizations are considering a backup redesign.
Biggest Security Trends For The Future
Mixed Bag Of Good And Bad News For Solution Providers
You don't need a crystal ball to forecast an increase in security threats.
Even a cracked, clouded orb will show a swirl of organized hackers, cyber
theft and an expanded assortment of devices under attack.
But in the doom and gloom there are beams of light, perhaps the sun flashing
off the swords of the good guys -- the solution providers dedicated to
protecting their clients from attacks from inside and out, from regulatory
noncompliance and devious, organized purveyors of malware, Trojan horses
and targeted cyber attacks.
Distributors Open Lines of Credit
Ingram Micro Proactively Help Solution Partners
and End Customers Finance IT Purchases
Credit is top of mind at most solution providers: After all, without
access to lines of credit, your customers can't implement IT solutions;
you're unable to purchase the hardware and software they need; and some
clients are taking a long time to pay off their balances in full.
Local bankers have visited some solution providers, going to great lengths
to reassure their VAR clients about ready access to cash and secure deposits.
And many community banks and credit unions, which steered clear of the
subprime mortgage debacle, are trying to lure new clients to their saving,
checking and loan offerings. Smaller solution providers can find a valuable
ally in their local SMB bank, if they are armed with full business documentation.
All VARs Want for Christmas
Just because you're more likely to play Santa Claus than sit on St. Nick's
lap this year, doesn't mean you don't have Christmas dreams of your own.
Sure, you may not want a Drowsy Doll or a train set, but perhaps some
of your holiday wishes may come true.
This holiday season could well be the toughest one yet, for small and
large businesses in multiple market segments. As retailers brace for lower
than normal sales, solution providers report longer lead times, late payments
and customers looking to delay spending when possible. Not surprisingly,
many executives wish for a resolution of today's economic turmoil or ways
to improve their revenue during the downturn.
From Pilgrims to Pilgrimage
Thanksgiving Launches Technology Feast
Once a holiday dedicated to family, football and feasting, Thanksgiving
weekend now has at least one added activity: finding the best of technology
at the cheapest price. After remembering how the Pilgrim Fathers (and
Mothers) prepared the best that the land had to offer into a wonderful
meal shared with family and friends and hunted down a wild turkey as the
main course, many rise the next day at dawn for their own hunt ? or perhaps
it is more of a pilgrimage. In fact, before the turkey has been properly
digested, "Black Friday" dawns and eager shoppers line up at
favorite technology haunts to snare affordable computers, discounted hard
drives, deals on hot video game consoles, a steal on the latest GPS system
or any of the many potentially phenomenal deals promised in sales circulars.
AMD's Shanghai Processors Boost Performance,
Reduce Energy Consumption
45-nm Quad-Core Opteron Processors Deliver Powerful
Opportunity for Solution Providers, OEMs, System Builders
Solution providers have a new answer for your clients that want to cut
costs without sacrificing performance -- AMD's new 45-nm quad-core Opteron
processors, previously code-named Shanghai.
The latest member of AMD's processor family delivers up to 35 percent
more performance and decreases power consumption by up to 35 percent at
idle, says Randy Allen, senior vice president, Computing Solutions Group
at AMD in Sunnyvale, Calif. You'll also be able to offer systems based
on the newest members of the Opteron family immediately, with OEMs expected
to offer more than 25 systems for enterprise and SMB customers between
today and the end of this year, he adds.
Down and Dirty Marketing Tricks
Economic Slowdown Demands SP Savvy
Even as a tight economy pares down already spare marketing budgets, solution
providers need to get creative in promoting their businesses to potential
and existing customers. The good news is that effective marketing doesn't
have to cost big bucks. An investment of time and creativity can bring
new business through the door.
Before you start, though, be clear on how you want to brand your company.
You have to decide what you want to say to customers about who you are
and what you can do for them. Make sure any marketing you do clearly and
consistently expresses that message. The end result will be programs,
collateral, Web site, logo and other tools that work together to convince
customers that they know you.
You Don't Have to Go It Alone
Missing the Managed Services Pitfalls
Seems like these days you can't get away from trade journal headlines,
market research reports and Web blogs touting managed services as the
next big business boom. What these sources fail to mention are the huge
costs of creating and maintaining a managed services infrastructure, the
impossibility of elegantly scaling that structure, and the very real possibility
that those efforts might fail.
Is the answer, then, to maintain a traditional break-fix practice then?
Of course not! The benefits of a successful managed services provider
(MSP) practice are simply too compelling. Managed services put you in
close contact with customers, let you build a recurring revenue stream,
increase your margins and profits, and make your customers happier than
ever before. Clearly, managed services will be an anchor for many solution
providers in the future.
Making a Perfect Distributor Match
Relationship Requires Good Pricing, Product Availability,
If you're like most of us, you've already got enough on your plate without
second-guessing your choice of distributor partners.
After all, who needs the headaches -- and the angry clients -- that often
come from shopping different products from different sources, waiting
anxiously for the FedEx guy to deliver the last component while everything
else collects dust, or endlessly arguing with a phone rep (or, more likely,
trading angry voice mails) over a nonworking piece of equipment?