Jan/Feb 2011 Issue of SMB PC Magazine


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Jan/Feb 2011 Issue of SMB PC Magazine

  1. 1. EDITORIAL SMB Partner Community By Harry Brelsford, CEO Jan/Feb 2011 | Issue 5-3 PUBLISHED BYA Rising Tide… SMB Nation, Inc. This issue is significant in many ways. We are covering two new topics we’ve Bainbridge Island, Washingtonpreviously ignored: Healthcare IT and Green IT. Both areas are HOT (no pun intended forthe green crowd) and warrant the extensive coverage we are providing. Leo Bletnitsky Harry Brelsford, Publisherexpertly defines the vertical opportunities in Healthcare IT. Why is he qualified to write thispiece? Because it’s his consulting practice niche in Las Vegas, NV – a retirement mecca! MANAGING EDITORFurther north on the left coast, we have Portland, OR-based Frank Raimondi sharing Green Regina P. CiardielloIT survey results from his trade association, NASBA (The Association of ChannelResellers). Very cool stuff on two HOT topics! ART DIRECTOR Note that – in our attempts to deliver better content and media – both articles’ authors Al Alarakhiaare interviewed in a video-based blog entry at www.smbnation.tv. Click over and meet Leoand Frank! CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Leo Bletnitsky, Scott Bowefield,Meet Regina! Robert Cohen, Andrew Edney, James Foxall, Cliff Galiher, Speaking of better content, I am delighted to John Iasiuolo, Matt Makowicz,announce that Regina Ciardiello joins SMB Frank Raimondi, Nassem SaabNation as managing editor! No stranger to theSMB VAR channel, Regina previously worked at BUSINESS STAFFEdgell Communications as Editor of Vertical Harry Brelsford, CEOSystems Reseller, also known as VSR. While atVSR, Regina was responsible for the publication’s Chris Bangs,day-to-day operations, as well as editorial for its Business Development ManagerWeb site and accompanying e-newsletters, VAR Matt Makowicz,Central and Real-Life Solutions. She also hosted Business Development Manager Regina shown as a passenger on a Harley-an online monthly talk show via Zenith Infotech’s Davidson Deuce motorcycle driven by her Sue Unger, Office ManagerMSPtv network known as VSR Channel Live. boyfriend, Michael Jankowski. Regina has 14 years of experience in the Jennifer Hallmark,publishing industry. She previously served as Special Projects Editor of The Journal of Senior ManagerCommerce, a weekly news magazine covering the trade and transportation industry. Prior Scott Beveridge,to that, Regina was Senior Editor of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News, a monthly Developer and Webmastertrade publication geared toward the commercial maritime industry. Harvey Forman, Regina holds a B.A. degree in English and an M.A. degree in Strategic Communication Accountantand Leadership, both from Seton Hall University. She also holds a Certificate in Journalismfrom NYU’s School of Continuing Education & Professional Studies. Regina resides in Tiara Lark,Caldwell, N.J. Marketing Production Coordinator Moving forward – Regina’s words will grace these pages! Marianne Poulos, Tele-buddyMeet Sue Unger TELEPHONATION.COM Here’s the good news. Before the labor Chris Bangs, Business Developmentmarket tightens further – we were able to outbid SMB Nation, Inc.the free market and obtain the services of Sue 12715 Miller Road NE, Suite 202Unger as our new office manager. Already with Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 USAus for nearly two months, I can share with you Tel: 206-201-2943that Sue is focused, detailed-oriented, efficient Fax: 360-824-6042and has the memory of an owner. E-mail: sbs@smbnation.com BTW – Sue was referred to us by theBainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce — © Copyright 2011 SMB Nation Inc. All Rights Reservedproving our membership is incredibly valuable. Sue with her prize-winningSo our “Pocket MBA” advice is to follow our Arabian horse! Please contact us for reprints andlead, and join your local chamber. reproduction of content. ISSN 1933-8899This and That!Visit SMB Nation for updates: PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40064408We have several new webinars over the next month – take a look at www.smbnation.com. RETURN UNDELIVERABLEMVP Nation is March 3-4, Seattle. CANADIAN ADDRESSES TOSMB Voice is March 13-15, Las Vegas. EXPRESS MESSENGERWe are a media sponsor for the 19-city LPI tour! INTERNATIONAL P.O. BOX 25058Cheers…harrybbb LONDON BRC, ON CANADA N6C 6A8Harry Brelsford, CEO, SMB Nation Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  2. 2. COVER STORY by Leo Bletnitsky, President, LBA Networking, Inc.Is Healthcare IT the Right Path for You?T here are two schools of thought that I hear discussed regularly at conferences and within consulting publications. Some say in this day and age it is important to specialize ina vertical market in order to add the most value and charge apremium. Others recommend diversification to prevent industry’sproblems from negatively affecting your business. I have come to the conclusion that both are right —depending upon the VAR’s background and capabilities. I havebeen involved with the IT consulting business for more than 15years and during the first 10 (1995-2005), I ran a general SMBVAR in the San Francisco Bay Area. My clients comprised everyindustry, with a few extra in the biotech space. As we picked upa few more biotech clients, I realized that I really liked to workwith those organizations and therefore started focusing more on Members of the “The Greatest Opportunity – Health Care IT inthem. Because of the biotech focus, we grew significantly and 2010/2011” panel at SMB Nation Fall 2010 present a popular session to the audience. Pictured (L to R) are Keith Parker, Project Coordinator,had very steady recurring revenue (before Managed Services Health Insights; and Leo Bletnitsky President, LBA Networking, Inc.was a real offering). We learned that biotech was a large (butclose-knit) industry and the clients and their competitors reallyworked to help us land new customers. In 2005 I sold my California client base to a competitor and Same Technologies, Different Verticalsrelocated to Las Vegas to become a “one-man shop” once again. Healthcare IT is really no different than what you do everyWhat a shock, I had to do my own accounting as I did in 1995! day for your existing clients with a few differences. Doctor’sSince there was no significant biotech industry in the Las Vegas offices need their Internet connection to work, their network toarea, I went back to being a general SMB VAR, with the addition be secure, their server to run, to be backed up, and virus- andof Managed Services. Not too long into this, I landed a medical spyware-free PCs. What makes them different is that they areoffice as a client. Seeing the similarities this end user had with also governed by HIPAA and PCI regulations and many havebiotech, I decided to jump into Healthcare IT with both feet. revenue that continues to decrease each year. EMR Implementation: One Drug Rep’s Crash Course by Scott Bowefield Electronic medical records (EMR) systems can almost universally improve practice efficiency, communication, accountability and profitability; every EMR sales presentation offers solutions to improve a practice’s patient flow, billing procedures, coding, etc. In the pharmaceutical sales cycle, this is akin to demonstrating how a drug will reduce office administration time by reducing insurance call-backs or save patients money with lower co-pays. In pharmaceuticals, these features are important, but in the end, it is a drug’s efficacy that drives a physician’s decision to prescribe. For the IT sales professional, while the procedural and financial enhancements to medical practices are the primary drivers to adoption of a particular vendor’s product, it is all too easy to forget that improving patient health is the ultimate goal of every physician practice, medical group Jan/Feb 2011 or hospital, whether for-profit or not-for-profit. Understanding how the implementation of EMR can lead to measurable improvements in patients’ health and overall clinical outcomes may provide the edge that will close more sales. Patient Registries: In the simplest terms, a patient registry is a list of patients and associated relevant clinical information that can alert healthcare providers when services are due. Registries can be used by healthcare providers to monitor chronic health conditions, track and schedule preventative care services and provide population-level reports documenting progress toward specific internal or external benchmarks. Examples of chronic conditions that are particularly suited to optimized management via registries are diabetes, heart disease, HIV and cancer. Many EMR 5 systems have registry functionality built-in, while some systems require installation of a compatible registry program. An example of a free open- source registry program can be found at www.cdems.com . SMB Partner Community Quality Improvement Initiatives: Various regulatory agencies, insurers and health care advocacy groups establish guidelines and certification parameters for quality healthcare delivery. For measures addressing patient outcomes, a set of measurement criteria and benchmarks are created that demonstrate a health care entity’s satisfactory progress toward defined standards of care. Population level registry data is extremely key to the process of assessing a clinic’s progress towards goals. Equally important is the ability of the system to independently generate action alerts for patients not meeting established criteria or to allow “data mining” to identify patients in need of clinical interventions such as nurse calls or medication changes. Visit www.ncqa.org for more on quality improvement in health care. Pay for Performance: All is not lost for the IT rep seeking to link financial returns to patient outcomes to close the sale; numerous organizations including the Federal Government, States, and private insurers now provide remuneration for healthcare organizations that meet quality criteria in many areas of chronic disease and preventative wellness. As a pharmaceutical sales rep for the last 10 years, Scott Bowefield has spent thousands of hours in physicians’ offices, working with office staff, medical staff and physicians. He has observed the implementation of EMR in medical practices ranging from individual providers with two employees and a couple of exam rooms to group practices with a dozen or more providers and numerous support and medical staff spread over multiple locations. Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  3. 3. There is good news, and there are reasons that I feel that the For example, a five-doctor primary card practice that sees MedicareHealthcare vertical is a profitable business to get into. Firstly, patients will receive $220,000 paid over 5 years. The first checks ofthere are the ARRA funds for EMR/EHR* ($44k to $64k per $18,000 for each provider that implements a system (and uses iteligible provider). There is the aspect that if revenue decreases, meaningfully) by January are expected to roll out this April or May.costs must go down as well and efficiency must go up to stay in Currently, a very large percentage of practices are notbusiness — and then there is the fact that the Healthcare vertical running EMR systems and are looking to the experts to helpis not going away, but instead getting more technology focused. them decide what to buy, and more importantly, how to moveThe fact is that there are more solutions coming online every day forward. As the VAR or MSP, we are the trusted advisors thatthat address various Healthcare IT needs and can add additional need to help our clients make smart decisions about technology.revenue and services for the physicians and the VARs/MSPs The EMR buying decision is no different, except that in a medicalwho service them. Physician practices revenues are decreasing practice, the system they go with will determine their financialbecause of reduced reimbursement from insurance companies success as well as your continued relationship with them.and Medicare, and unless Healthcare Reform is repealed oramended significantly, revenues will decrease even more over It’s all about the Approachthe next couple of years. Some of my peers are taking the consultative approach and assisting their medical practice clients with evaluating variousWhere are the Opportunities? vendors and choosing the one the practice likes the best. I think So what does this mean for today’s SMB VARs and MSPs? that approach may work for some, but in the long run, it couldWell, firstly, there are unlimited opportunities for assisting potentially damage the VAR’s/MSP’s business and relationshipdoctors and practice managers with reducing costs and with the practice.improving their efficiency through the proper use of technology; Many of the top EMR vendors have a mostly direct salesElectronic Medical Records (EMR) and Practice Management model, which of course cuts out channel opportunities. Once(PM) software are the first place to start. these vendors make the sale, the VAR/MSP may find that almost The buzz around EMR or EHR (Electronic Health Records) is all needed technology is being supplied by the vendor, andsignificant because of the $19 billion in stimulus money that was training and implementation is also handled this way. In the end,made available for its implementation in the Obama what’s left is keeping the Internet up and cleaningAdministration’s 2009 Stimulus Bill, otherwise known as ARRA virus/spyware infections. In other words, we’re back to the(The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). The provision break/fix days with less responsibility.states that an eligible Medicare Provider receives $44,000, and an However, I have taken matters into my own hands, whicheligible Medicaid Provider receives $64,000 if they implement a means choosing a high-level EMR vendor that is channel-certified EMR and demonstrate that they are using it meaningfully. friendly and to become an expert in the implementation and On The Record with Robert Cohen and Bob Laclede, VP Healthcare Programs, ChannelLine by Robert M. Cohen, CEO, ChannelLine I had the honor of first talking with Bob Laclede about six RC: Where is the money for VARs and MSPs? months ago when he was VP, Business Development for Ingram Micro and was in charge of their Health Care IT (HIT) practice. A few BL: They need to look at the small business opportunities. Current months later, my partner Bill Brandt and I knew that we needed to get emerging opportunities are with the administration side of the doctors’ Bob Laclede to work with us on developing the Trusted Business offices. They need technology solutions that will make it easier for their Advisor HIT Program to market. We invited him to join us and he staff and their customers. We all think that technology is something agreed to run the program. everyone uses. Truth is that there are lots of doctors that do not even Capitalizing on our 31 years experience in developing and have business email, electronic databases, etc. This is stuff that we Jan/Feb 2011 implementing IT channel programs, and Bob’s 35 years of being know as an industry and can easily deliver to them. involved with government and health care sales, we set out to create the encyclopedia for the HIT area: where the real opportunities in RC: What about Healthcare IT applications? healthcare are for the channel and what the government stimulus programs are all about. BL: There are four basic types of application areas: When Harry (Brelsford, CEO, SMB Nation) asked me to write an 1. Practice management (the basic patient scheduling, billing and 7 article on HIT, my immediate instinct was to interview my friend and revenue cycle application). business associate, Bob Laclede. 2. Electronic health care files (replacing those thousands of manila SMB Partner Community folders with databases of patient history, images and previous Robert Cohen: Bob, let’s get right down to business. Where are the real doctor/patient treatments). opportunities for VARs in the healthcare industry? 3. Practice focused solutions based on the specialty that the doctor is trained in (i.e. General practice, OB/GYN, Cardiology, Bob Laclede: If you look at end user segments, healthcare as an end Ophthalmology, etc.). user segment is growing quickly. They have a huge need, and they have 4. Exchange of patients’ files to other doctors, specialists, hospitals, the financial resources. They are being pushed to use technology better insurance carriers plus Government Reporting requirements. so that they can improve the patient experience. The healthcare Finally – even outside of the healthcare applications, a VAR can bring community must reduce costs while increasing patient care and tremendous value to the physician office by just supporting their IT healthcare quality – and that all points to technology solutions. I am infrastructure, networking and managed print services. amazed at the advanced technology utilized in patient diagnostics and treatment, but appalled at the lack of technology being utilized in basic healthcare administration. This is an industry that needs what the Article continues at our BLOG at channel has delivers. www.smbnation.com Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  4. 4. support of that system. In both the long and short run, our Cloudy Skies Ahead approach is a Win-Win for both my company and our clients. Since the Cloud is the newest catch phrase that even the Not only do we get to keep our great relationships, but we get least technical person has heard about, many practices will ask the sales income from the EMR Software, Microsoft Licenses, about whether a cloud EMR is the way to go. There are three Servers, PCs, scanners, implementation and support. Our clients considerations when choosing premises vs. cloud solutions for receive better/faster service and better pricing than what the EMR: cost, performance and cost again. direct vendors would be charging them. If, for some reason, the • Cost is always an issue when selling medical solutions. Many practice chooses another vendor, then it’s up to you try to practices don’t have the cash reserves to pay tens of maintain the relationship the best that you can. I have a number thousands of dollars for a solution, and believe it or not, they of practices running seven different EMR systems that we can’t qualify for a loan or lease either. A Cloud solution will support still, but are limited in what we can do on their servers be less expensive to implement because of not having to and to support their users. purchase servers and new PCs. But in the long run, because the practice will never own the solutions, it ends up being Ok, So How Do I Get Started? more expensive. It’s a pay now or later decision. To get started in the Healthcare vertical you need to have a • Performance is critical for a practice, if the EMR slows them reference practice. If you already have medical practice clients, down, they can see fewer patients. I once had a tech support and they are happy with your services, then, theoretically, this is “flunky” from an EMR we were supporting at the time say easy. But remember you will still need to increase your that the unannounced change to the system was “not a big knowledge of medical terminology and other non IT issues such deal, as it would cost the doctor an only an extra 60 to 90 as meaningful use requirements and insurance billing. Choose a seconds per patient” The doctor heard that statement and vendor and learn their system, and make sure they have good needless to say, he was not happy! That would have been technical and sales training available for their partners. another 45 minutes to over an hour per day of time lost However, if you don’t have any experience with Healthcare because of an EMR’s since this medical practitioner would it’s a bit more difficult as the first question a practice will ask is see 45 patients per day on average. “Who else (medical practice-wise) do you work with?” and • Specialties that are image and paper intensive should steer “Who else is running your system?” Land your first client, and clear of Cloud solutions since large images downloaded over then let them help you choose an EMR vendor to partner with even a really fast Internet Connection verses a Gigabit LAN from the channel-friendly ones that you find. is no contest. Even a difference of 5 seconds per image Getting Started with Healthcare IT Software Platforms While it is true that today’s VARs and MSPs should begin looking into EHR and Practice Management if they want to break into Healthcare IT, the move is more than just about pushing boxes. It goes far beyond just walking into a medical practice and “selling hardware or pushing product.” If you ask anyone who is currently involved with the healthcare vertical, whether it is a vendor, medical professional end user, distributor or analyst, they will tell you that you have to be on top of your game if you want to break into this vertical. I once attended a vendor partner conference where the speaker told attendees that “the healthcare vertical is not an industry in which you can just knock on someone’s door and expect to overhaul their entire IT department. If you don’t know what you are talking about, then just forget about it.” Of course this is even more crucial since the Obama Administration’s decision to sign into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to not only stimulate the economy, but also to transform the healthcare system in an effort to improve quality, safety and efficiency of care. Furthermore, to help facilitate this vision, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, (HITECH) established programs under Medicare and Medicaid to provide incentive payments for the “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology. The Medicare (up to $44,000 per provider) and Medicaid (up to $63,750 per provider) EHR incentive programs will provide incentive payments to eligible professionals and eligible hospitals as they adopt, implement, and demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.Jan/Feb 2011 Luckily for VARs and MSPs who are looking to partner with trusted Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), there is certainly no shortage. Two ISVs that have traditionally specialized in this market are gloStream, based in Troy, MI, and Triohm Medical Systems in Whippany, NJ. Both companies are currently poised to assist VARs/MSPs who want to create and build a healthcare IT practice. In fact, both are currently working to expand and enhance their current partner programs, due in part to the upcoming EHR regulations. The goal of Triohm’s enhanced Certified Partner Program is to of course provide VARs and MSPs with the training, tools, education and 8 resources they will need to provide EHR and Practice Management software platforms that are robust, yet familiar and easy-to-use for today’s busy medical professionals. By partnering with Triohm Medical Systems, VARs and MSPs will receive key benefits of Triohm’s Certified PartnerSMB Partner Community Program, which include: EMS and EMR software and discounts on future software sales, monthly demonstration presentations,“done for you”Web site and marketing materials, in-person sales, marketing and technical training provided on a quarterly basis, invitation to the company’s Certified Partner Summit, dedicated business development managers and access to product/sales presentations and training videos. “The Triohm Certified Partner Program is extremely exciting to us here at Triohm. We work with MSPs and give them a true ‘plug and play vertical’. We have brought true MSP staff onboard to run this program – so we know the market – and can really support the needs of the Managed Service Provider,” said Chris Wiser, Vice President of Business Development, Triohm Medical Systems. With both its gloEMR and gloPM solutions available to VARs and MSPs looking to break into the healthcare space, gloStream also launched last March its gloDNA detailed needs analysis product. Built on 5 stages, gloDNA is the ISV’s exclusive step-by-step process, which gathers subjective and objective information to help create the ideal EMR or PM solution for medical practices. This roadmap process allows VARs/MSPs to help medical professionals successfully take their practices to an electronic platform at continued successful and meaningful use. Mike Sappington, CEO, gloStream, said that this platform, as well as the others offered by the company, is “100 purpose-built for their success.” He adds that gloStream also focuses on helping these VARs/MSPs to be able to serve their end users by working with an ISV who will always support and empower them. “We know that our partners want to build a healthcare IT practice that will allow them to be unlimited in their scope to serve multiple types of practices in this space,” Sappington said. Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  5. 5. Jan/Feb 2011 9 SMB Partner CommunityCheck out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  6. 6. reviewed is too much in the aggregate. If they are not image The current stimulus is on a five-year track, but the intensive then a Cloud solution can be the way to go. industry’s life cycle is much longer than that. If every eligible medical practice were to pull the trigger on an EMR purchase Recurring Revenue=Enhanced Income now, it would take 10 years to complete all the projects with the The last thing that I want to cover on this topic is ancillary number of currently available qualified trainers and installers. recurring revenue. Any time we can enhance the income of our Over the next five to seven years, most practices will move to an client it is a good thing that results in some income trickling EMR. However, since many of the 300-plus products on the down to us. market are not the most reliable, but have good sales people, I’m already involved with two solutions that add value over the next 3-10 years there will be a lot of activity of practices and create a recurring revenue stream. The first is in-office dumping poor systems for better ones, or discontinued systems medication dispensing which can add $24,000 to $250,000 or for viable ones. more of additional practice income and a nice commission to In a nut shell, health care is not going away, and we the VAR. The second is an automated appointment reminder can play an important role in reducing costs and improving system that can free up the practices staff so they can healthcare outcomes for the nation while building our accomplish more productive and revenue-generating tasks. companies. In addition, I see a major new offering that both the doctor and the VAR can partner on to enhance patient care. There are numerous new connected medical devices such as Leo Bletnitsky is President of LBA Networking, Inc. dba Las Vegas weight scales, blood pressure cuffs, glucose meters and Med IT. He has been in the IT Consulting Industry for more than medication dispensing devices. These products are looking 15 years. Leo can be reached at (702) 553-3200 x101, or at for a channel and improve a physician’s ability to monitor a leo.bletnitsky@LVMedIT.com. You can also visit Leo’s Blog at patient’s progress. They usually have a small reoccurring http://www.MovetoEMR.com. charge for the data aggregation Web site, which may mean reoccurring revenue for the channel. Additionally these products can allow many older adults to stay in their homes Don’t Miss Out: Level Platforms’ Managed Workplace longer instead of losing their independence and going to 2011 Road Show is coming to a U.S. City near you this February! expensive assisted living facilities. I am currently working to For more information, and to register, go to: develop a product offering that is specific for the connected www.levelplatforms.com/roadshow medical home.Jan/Feb 201110SMB Partner Community Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  7. 7. GUESTSPEAK by Naseem Saab, President and Founder, Results Software Integrated CRM – A Critical Factor to your Company’s SuccessM ost small business owners would agree that their customer synchronized with individual Outlook calendars. and vendor relationships are vital to their success. Higher Although the New Year will be filled with many competing client expectations and economic demands are causing priorities, automating the way you do business should not befirms of all sizes to re-evaluate how technology can help them overlooked. CRM can provide any firm with a competitivestrengthen these relationships and grow their businesses. advantage and improved customer satisfaction – two things that are A well-chosen Customer Relationship Management (CRM) particularly important to grow your business. Now is a better timesystem is often key to managing these relationships, as well as than ever to consider the many ways your organization wouldhelping an organization become more efficient and increase benefit by implementing an integrated CRM solution.productivity. In fact, although CRM systems used to be reserved forenterprise organizations, it is now considered a critical component Naseem Saab, President & Founder of Resultsto the success of every organization — no matter its size. Software and DPS Consulting, LLC, is a With more than 300 CRM systems to choose from, how do you recognized pioneer in the CRM industry and officeselect the right one? More important, how do you ensure that your automation technologies. In 1986, he developedCRM solution will become a vital asset to your company and not and launched Results CRM as an integratedjust another expensive application to manage? business solution that helps businesses centralize While every company has different needs, an integrated CRM their data, streamline their operations and improvesolution is the answer for most organizations. Integrated CRM goes their business relationships. Saab is a nationalbeyond simple contact management and becomes a central speaker and published author on CRM topics,information hub that saves time and money, increases cash flow and including business growth strategies, office automation, virtual offices,improves business relationships. Integrated CRM systems boosting sales and gaining a competitive advantage. He can be reached atsynchronize data with the software applications that you use every NSaab@Results-Software.com, or 800-713-7013.day, including Outlook, QuickBooks and Microsoft Office. When a CRM solution is designed to be fully integrated withboth Outlook and QuickBooks, it ties in with email and everydepartment within a company, from sales to operations to finance.No one needs a case study to tell them that it can be time-consumingand frustrating to search for a particular email or document. Whena CRM system integrates with Outlook and also has documentmanagement capabilities, the contact record becomes the only placeto look for client-related emails, documents and notes. Likewise,when a CRM system properly integrates with QuickBooks, itprovides everyone in the organization visibility to the data theyneed without giving them access to the books. An integrated CRM will benefit your team by allowing them to: Jan/Feb 2011• Quickly respond to client questions or concerns regarding order status, purchase order history, payment information, invoice balances and more.• Work more efficiently by not having to switch back and forth between applications. Contact information, employee calendars, important emails, important documents, order history, payment 11 history, and the sales pipeline will all be centralized in one database.• Quickly identify up-sell opportunities after reviewing the order SMB Partner Community history of each account.• Assure accuracy by automating the pipeline to invoice creation. With a click of a button, quotes can be converted into sales orders and sales orders into invoices, ensuring no details are missed.• Eliminate double entry. It shouldn’t matter if information is updated in Outlook, QuickBooks or a CRM application; contact information, calendar entries, sales orders and invoices should only need to be entered once.• Improve information accuracy by ensuring that contact information is always up-to-date. This way, invoices and purchase orders will always be mailed to the correct address.• Use the company calendar to schedule appointments and assure availability. All calendar entries should be up-to-date and Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  8. 8. GEEKSPEAK by Andrew Edney Windows Home Server 2011 – The State of the Union S o you have probably heard about Windows Home Server. market, there is no reason for everyone to act as though it’s It’s that software from Microsoft, which was released in “all doom and gloom” for the SMB VAR market. Well it’s not 2007 and was based on Windows 2003 and is used to back all doom and gloom. Yes, DE is gone, and yes, a lot of people up your computers, share your digital content, provides remote may not use Vail now. But let’s not forget that it will still back access and more. It was originally designed with the home in up your computers for you on a nightly basis, and allow you mind, but has also been used in to easily and quickly restore home-based and small businesses. anything from an individual file to In early 2010, Microsoft a complete computer with only a announced the beta release of the few simple clicks of the mouse. next version of Windows Home For me, that capability is worth it Server – code name Vail. Vail is on its own. built on Windows 2008 R2, is 64- So with DE having been bit only and promised to be a removed, what is Microsoft great improvement on WHS V1. providing in its place? There is a Microsoft originally planned on new Move Folder Wizard, which Vail RTM’ing late in 2010 and an makes it easy for you to move data official launch at CES in January from one drive to another. As 2011. However, the product drives are added to the Home launch was pushed back, (which Server, your health alerts will often occurs when something notify you that a new drive has new is being introduced into the been added. From here, you can be open market) and is currently set automatically format and to happen by the time this article configure the new drive. This is published in February. I had deals with some of the concern originally planned to provide an from the community that normal overview of the product, but users wouldn’t know how to add instead, in the interim, I’ll offer and format drives because DE an update, or rather a “state of used to do it all for them. the union” on the Windows So if your drive becomes full, Home Server. you can just add a new drive and then use the new Move Folder A Bit of History Wizard to move data to that new In November 2010, Microsoft drive as you see fit, freeing up space announced that it was removing the Drive Extender technology on the original drive.Jan/Feb 2011 from Vail. Drive Extender, or DE, was the storage technology To further extend WHS 2011 storage capabilities, Microsoft that enabled users to utilize internal and external hard drives for are working with a number of partners who are planning to additional storage on your home server. In addition, users could offer integrated solutions, so watch this space as nothing has enable Folder Duplication for specific shared. Maintaining two been announced at the time of writing. copies of a shared folder on separate hard drives helped protect What about the other features of Windows Home Server?12 against the failure of a single hard drive. It was also one of the As mentioned earlier, the backup and restore capabilities are original pillars that made WHS what it was. there, as is the remote access feature, and an enhanced media At first, the community was unsure how to respond. As we streaming capability for those of us who like to stream mediaSMB Partner Community all know, change, whether negative or positive, is always a both around the house and outside of the house. challenge, especially when those involved are used to doing So before you make a judgement about Vail and its future, things a certain way. However, Microsoft felt that it was up to why not download the new beta and give it a try? You may just “OEM partners to implement storage management and find you like it. protection using standard RAID solutions.” In addition, on Dec. 1, HP decided to bow out of the Windows Home Server hardware market as well. HP was Andrew Edney has been a Windows Home Server MVP since Microsoft’s launch partner for WHS in 2007, and since then the January 2008 and has his own technology Web site at company has released various MediaSmart servers and even a usingwindowshomeserver.com. Edney has also written a number of business DataVault server, mainly within the U.S. market. books on various technology subjects including Windows Home Server and Windows 7. He is currently working on a Windows Small What Does the Future Hold? Business Server 2011 Essentials book with Charlie Russell and Even though HP has exited the Windows Home Server Sharon Crawford. Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  9. 9. CASE STUDYMSP Helps Outdoor RetailerSave $20,000 a Day viaManaged VoIP SolutionI t seemed like a pretty drastic move for someone so dependent on his phone system but, in March 2010, Paul Faircloth, owner of Mosquito Creek Outdoors, had finally had enough — hewas going to get rid of his leased phone system. With a network of two large storefront locations, and arobust telephone and Internet sales group, Faircloth had beenrelying on this type phone set-up for more than five years, andhe was through with it. With employees needing to roam thefloor, away from their desk phones, yet still needing access tocalls and voicemail, and with customer sales and support heavilydependent on a reliable voice solution, Mosquito Creek was at acritical crossroads. “The reliability was pretty poor,” said Faircloth. “The feature set offered by Whaleback Systems, including voicesystem would go down for days at a time, sometimes even messaging and the standard mobility offerings. Whaleback’sweeks. The phone service company would send someone out to solution, however, was to configure the system using standardfix the programming issue, but almost immediately something features like shared extensions, call diversion and voicemail withelse would go wrong.” Polycom IP550 and IP650 phones. This flexible system allows the Faircloth said that the company lost an average of $20,000 a sales staff to answer calls at one location, put the caller on hold today when the phone system was down, including irreparable gather the information needed for customer service, and pick thedamage to customer relations and reputation, which are priceless. phone up with at a different location. What really makes a While Mosquito Creek certainly was dependent on voice difference, according to Faircloth, is Whaleback’s key technicalservices for both in-store communications, sales and customer differentiator.service, Faircloth estimates that they were only using 10 to 15 “The sweetest feature of the Whaleback solution is that itpercent of the phone system’s features, which didn’t match up runs on our fiber network,” Faircloth said. He added that thewith what they were spending. “The system was so complicated, company fully leverages their ability to route the main numberwe couldn’t figure it out and neither could the service provider,” across multiple locations and the mobility of the solution. Thecommented Faircloth. “We were spending around $865 a month employees are able to route calls to multiple groups with thejust on the service retainer, and every time someone came out, flexibility to answer customer calls from any station — this is athat number went even higher. The bottom line was that it wasn’t key productivity enhancer for retailers.reliable or cost-effective.” In the future, as Mosquito Creek continues to grow, Faircloth When the lease with the phone services company was up, foresees the company taking advantage of the road warriorMosquito Creek had the option to purchase the equipment. capability, which will truly allow employees working the floor Jan/Feb 2011Faircloth was reluctant to do so explaining, “No one here could and on the road to stay connected to the office and customers atkeep the system working, so why would we want to buy it?” all times. After an extensive review, Mosquito Creek chose Bright “Our business is tough enough, and we certainly have noHouse Networks to help them with their data services. Shortly desire to be in the phone service business. We leave theafter, their account manager contacted Whaleback Systems, management and monitoring to the experts at Whaleback’sexperts in managed voice over IP services, to discuss how they Managed Service Center for all our day-to-day needs,” 13could jointly solve Mosquito Creek’s problem. concluded Faircloth. “Unlike our previous solution, Bright “The Whaleback managed service, complete with Polycom House and Whaleback Systems delivered a telephony solution SMB Partner Communityphones, sounded like a great choice for us, and it has worked that is reliable, comes with great service, and costs less. Whatflawlessly for our business,” said Faircloth. “The only thing we could be better?”wish we had done differently is to select a six button phone. But “We knew Whaleback would help Paul (Faircloth) get out ofour, Doug Bussa, our Whaleback Solutions engineer, was able to the phone maintenance business and back to what makes himwork his programming magic and make everything work great.” money,” said Paula Gray, account executive, Bright House Mosquito Creek currently uses a small slice of the robust Enterprise Services. Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  10. 10. BUSINESSSPEAK by Matt Makowicz, Business Development Manager, SMB Nation Million Dollar Hurdle Part 2 – Hitting the Wall B usiness growth is both a nebulous task and a common Long distance runners call it “Hitting the wall.” It is a term ambition among all business owners and managers. In used to describe an invisible barrier that gets in the way with the SMB IT community there are common challenges and little or no warning. Businesses approaching the Million Dollar predictable steps to achieve growth. Also common and Hurdle experience a similar “wall.” The major difference is, predictable are the obstacles, challenges, and warning signs in however, that the obstacle is not typically as obvious to the growing a business to be over 1 million dollars in sales. This business owner. The first sign that the business needs help is is the Million Dollar Hurdle. It is the aim of this article, in when “balls start to drop.” At first, the “balls” being dropped are whole and with each part, to illustrate how to overcome the not significant and carry few consequences. Over time, however, Million Dollar Hurdle and achieve the ultimate coveted goal commitments to staff, vendors, and customers are missed. of nearly every business owner – scalable and predictable Sooner rather than later, new problems begin to arise. In business growth. some cases these new issues stem from missed commitments. A This article is the second of a seven-part series with each company that approaches the Million Dollar Hurdle also often article focusing upon an aspect of the Million Dollar Hurdle. The experiences its first HR-related issue. Cash flow issues start to concepts included in this multi-part article are: become more significant as well. At this stage, a business owner 1. Defining the Million Dollar Hurdle suddenly realizes that there are numerous “hats” being worn – 2. “Hitting the Wall” certainly more than a year ago! The forced focus on these new 3. “Sizing up the Challenges” issues typically translates in a drop in sales and a plateau in 4. “Letting Go” revenue. A business owner begins to question his staff, question 5. “Breaking Through Barriers” his business, and question everything. 6. “Process Driven Success” A good friend of mine was running a growing IT business 7. “The Next Hurdle” and returned from a business trip to learn that his staff had notJan/Feb 201114SMB Partner Community Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  11. 11. BUSINESSSPEAKbacked up a customer’s data, which subsequently experienced a taking stock. Questioning everything is not necessarily a baddata loss. Even worse, his staff had authorized more than $8,000 thing if it leads to healthy conversations (either internally or within services to a data recovery company. My friend’s company a business coach/advisor). You, as the owner, are the only non-was in the transition of the Million Dollar Hurdle. After fielding replaceable employee. And until such time as you can exit thea substantial dressing down from the customer, he called his staff business as a self sustaining enterprise, you cannot be afraid tointo the conference room and in an expletive riddled rage, told make difficult decisions like replacing staff, changing spendinghis staff that he could have burned money on his recent trip and habits or business practices, or investing in tools, technology, orit would have been more profitable than employing them. training to improve the company’s operational efficiency.Clearly, my friend had hit the wall on his quest to overcome the There is a time when a business will be at a crossroads.Million Dollar Hurdle. Continue to make easy choices, and eventually, those same His staff had not acted in a way he had hoped or expected. issues will force difficult decisions to be made. Use theAll of the company’s new issues and problems had been crossroads before the Million Dollar Hurdle as an opportunity tobuilding until this point. The good news is that my friend make the difficult decisions. Doing so will pave the way forrecognized this “wall.” He subsequently took steps to put easier management of the business and allow for the Millionsystems in place, communicate more effectively and openly Dollar Hurdle to be overcome!with his staff, and the following year, crossed the MillionDollar Hurdle. Next Issue: Part 3 - “Sizing Up The Challenges” Scientists have learned that if a frog is placed in a pot ofscalding hot water, it will immediately jump out of the pot. Matt Makowicz has more than 17 years of salesInterestingly enough, however, if the same frog is put in a pot experience and grew his IT business to well overof cold water, and that water is slowly heated, the frog will $1 million in sales before transitioning out to beremain and boil to death. What’s going on with your a consultant to the industry. As an author ofbusiness? Is the water being brought to a boil? Are there three books and founder of Ambition Mission,situations that are acceptable today that would not have been Inc., Matt has dedicated himself to helpinga year ago? Two years ago? What are the consequences if these businesses reach their potential. He currentlyissues are not addressed? works with SMB Nation in sales and business Hitting the wall is about identifying problems. It is about development. Jan/Feb 2011 15 SMB Partner Community Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  12. 12. SMB Community Photos SMB Nation Holiday Party 2010 – Bainbridge Island Matt Makowicz Harry Brelsford Sue Unger Scott Beveridge Marianne Poulos Tiara Lark Chris Bangs Jennifer Hallmark Sponsor Visit Qwest Community Holiday Party Spam Soap – January 2011 Seattle – December 2010 Mitzi Maldonado, Steph Holt Shauna BrauchlerJan/Feb 2011 Chris Bangs, Leonard Dimiceli, Rob Leon Qwest SMB Channel Community SMB Nation BeerFest SMB Nation BeerFest CES 201116 Portland, OR Seattle, WA – January 2011 January 2011SMB Partner Community Karl Palachuk presents at Portland Technology Wizard’s January 2011 meeting. Harry and Matt at CES! Intel home Server was a hit at CES! Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  13. 13. TECHNOLOGY WATCH Lenovo’s New SMB ThinkPad Pair Cisco’s Connect and Secure Solutions Delivers Curves with Style Help VARs Boost Profits Lenovo showed off a pair of new Cisco launched in January a trio of networking, security andlaptops that are expected (according to storage products to its “Connect” and “Secure” small businessthe company) to elevate SMB computing portfolios. Designed specifically with SMB VARs and MSPs inwith high-level design, cutting-edge mind, the products will help end users quickly, easily and moretechnologies and extra features to go securely connect employees and devices with the content theybeyond business computing. need, wherever they need it. The product trio includes Cisco’s The company’s new ThinkPad Edge Series Smart Switches, RV220W network security firewall andE220s and E420s laptops was part of its CES NSS300 Series Smart Storage product line.product showcase located in the Venetian The company also announced that its Cisco Capital divisionHotel’s AquaKnox restaurant. Lenovo is currently offering competitive financing for small businessencouraged attendees to stop by during the show to view this laptop customers so they can obtain the technology they need to staypair, both of which come equipped with small details that make a big competitive and profitable.difference, mainly their infinity screens, a matte finish that’s soft tothe touch and real metal accents projecting a cosmopolitan image. Tigerpaw Software “Fast Tracks” VAR Best Practices, Education Keeping in sync with its competitors, Tigerpaw Softwarelaunched its Fast Track program, designed to help VARs andMSPs quickly implement the company’s software programwithin their respective businesses. Fast Track is based on gloStream, D&H Join to Help VARsindustry best practices that are tailored to an organization’s Capture Healthcare Stimulus Opsunique and specific needs. gloStream, maker of gloEMR, gloPM and gloSuite – According to Tigerpaw, Fast Track is a cooperative, hands- the only electronic medical record and practiceon project jointly managed by the software company’s management software with Microsoft Office built right inProfessional Services team and the provider’s team. – and D&H Distributing, have entered into a strategicAdditionally, IT consulting firm The Taylor Business Group will partnership. Together, both companies will help teachbe providing additional resources to the Fast Track program. D&H resellers how to build thriving Healthcare IT Practices so they have the capability to service and Triohm Medical Systems Responds to Stimulus support the local doctors in their communities searching EHR with Enhanced Channel Program for electronic medical record solutions. Triohm Medical Systems, a provider of EMR and PracticeManagement Software now offers an enhanced and expanded Autotask Names New CEO, VP of Strategy andChannel Partner Program, specifically geared toward VARs Market Developmentand MSPs who are looking to expand their reach toward In December, AutotaskHealthcare IT. announced the appointment of The Triohm Certified Partner Program is built with the Mark Cattini, a new CEO to replaceunique needs of today’s VARs and MSPs in mind. The founder Bob Godgart. Godgart willcompany is looking to build out its current program with serve as Chairman and in a new Jan/Feb 2011strong IT partners that are dedicated to the HealthCare IT role of Chief visionary Officer.marketplace. In turn, Triohm is dedicated to providing its Godgart hands over to Cattini aPartners with the very best training possible, helping them business that he founded and grewgenerate leads and providing them with the tools they need to to approximately 200 employeesdevelop successful Healthcare IT Practices and provide real and nearly 40,000 users in 43value for their end clients. countries around the world. In his 17 new role as Chief Visionary Officer, Jay McBain joinedBetter Idea Group, CSI Join to Form E&J Solutions Godgart will work more closely SMB Partner Community Autotask in December Ernest Cook, Principal of Better Idea Group told SMB as VP of Strategy and with other industry leaders,Nation that his San Jose, CA-based software services firm has Development. strategic partners and withmerged with Customized Solutions Inc. (CSI) of Ohio. The two Autotask customers to help shapecompanies have joined forces to form a new corporation — E&J the future of Autotask.Solutions Inc. The company will continue to operate under the After much speculation and social media chatter,Better Idea Group brand with locations at its Granite Bay, CA Autotask also confirmed (shortly after Cattinis appointment)headquarters coupled with a larger office in Cleveland OH. that Lenovo’s Jay McBain joined the East Greenbush, N.Y.- J. Lynne Lombardi joins Ernest Cook from CSI of Ohio. based PSA as VP of Strategy and Market Development.Lombardi, who has 24 years of experience with Intuit, Sage and McBain, who made a name for himself during his 16+ years atRadiant products, brings a wealth of knowledge to the IBM and Lenovo, most recently as the company’s director oforganization. Cook will continue as the company’s President; Small and Medium Business, is currently working to build outLombardi will serve as VP of Sales and Marketing while running Autotask’s vertical and specialty market opportunities forthe Cleveland office. partners and customers. Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  14. 14. PERCEPTIONS by Frank Raimondi, Executive Director, NASBA (The Association of Channel Resellers) Why Green? Why Now? And How? C ustomers are interested in buying them, (as long as they computers. In the federal government and some enterprises, it’s don’t cost any more). The federal government is requiring mandated. So what’s a VAR to do? it through executive orders (95% of all system purchases Well, first, you have to learn the basics. must meet it). Higher education and an increasing number of corporations and businesses are mandating it. What could it be? Regulations and Requirements Quite simply, it’s green and energy-efficient computing. Across the globe, there are various green government Unfortunately for many channel partners, that’s where the programs, but the two most important ones to know are Energy simplicity ends. Star and EPEAT. If you are selling into the Federal Government, you’re probably already familiar with both of these. There is an Why Green, and Why Now? Executive Order (#13423) that requires federal agencies to In this “how-to” type article, we will be defining green IT, as well purchase Energy Star systems when EPEAT isn’t available, and as discussing the basics of what you need to know, and even EPEAT, when they are available (today for client computers and more importantly – why. We’ll cover Energy Star, EPEAT and monitors). This Executive Order has made it easier for agencies other standards and which are most important to know and get to be green without having to do too much research and work to involved with. Finally, we’ll discuss the value proposition of figure it out. This ease of being green is catching on with local saving money and resources, and how you can help your and state governments, higher education groups, and customers do both. increasingly businesses from large enterprises to SMBs. If you’re not already selling energy-efficient and Energy Star (www.energystar.gov): Earning the Energy Star environmentally friendly computers and servers, you will be means products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by soon. We’ll discuss some of the essentials you need to know now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Desktop, integrated the basics in regulations and standards, and what you can do next. desktop, and notebook (laptop) computers, workstations, small- Let’s start with the state of the channel today. In a recent scale servers, and thin clients are all eligible to earn the Energy research study that NASBA (www.nasba.com) conducted, it found Star, and those that do are now more efficient than ever. that only 23% of VARs surveyed are confident in their abilities to The EPA has strengthened the requirements for sell green technologies effectively and/or are considered experts. computers earning the Energy Star in Version 5.0. For Interestingly, just more than 50% of the participants said they Desktop/integrated desktop and notebook computers, could talk the talk, but not walk the walk — meaning most people products must meet stringent TEC (total energy consumption) have barely started, or not started at all in the process of learning requirements for estimated annual energy consumption. how to build/sell/support green initiatives with their customers. Small-scale servers and thin clients must meet energy use You are probably in this majority as well. guidelines in “off” and “idle’ modes of operation and thin clients supporting sleep functions must also meet requirements in this mode. These requirements ensure energy How would you describe your company’s activity in “Green IT” or presenting yourself as “Green Aware”? savings when computers are being used and performing a Response range of tasks, as well as when they are turned off or into a Percent low power mode. Energy Star-qualified computers must also have efficient internal or external power supplies. We’re the opposite of Green 1.6% Power management is important for saving energy, We do the minimum 20.3% especially since computers are often in use more hours per dayJan/Feb 2011 We have learned how to talk 54.7% than they used to be. ENERGY Star power management features Green, but have only started place computers (CPU, hard drive, etc.) into a low-power “sleep We walk the walk and talk 20.3% mode” after a designated period of inactivity. Simply hitting a the talk related to Green key on the keyboard or moving the mouse awakens the computer in a matter of seconds.18 We’re considered experts 3.1% in the area and promote it consistentlySMB Partner Community How Your Computers Estimated Lifetime (4yrs) are Used Savings per Desktop Computer If you pay If you pay Other key findings the survey reported were: $.11/kWh $.18/kWh • The biggest green-building challenge: lack of demand, We typically leave our $88 $144 followed by inability to justify added cost. computers on at nights • Future research needs expected to be met at: consultants, and on weekends social networks, NASBA/Associations. We typically turn our $24 $40 • 62.5% have heard of EPEAT, but admit they don’t know much. computers off every night • 60% of survey respondents said they didn’t know the difference between EPEAT and Energy Star. We will activate power $216 $352 Obviously, there are several things that need to change and management settings on the new computers, but did not knowledge that needs to be shared. If you look at some recent do so on the old computers data from SMBs, the trends are “to buy more energy-efficient Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  15. 15. PERCEPTIONS It’s one thing to sell green, but when your customers are computers and monitors, the standards for printers and TVsasking if it’s going to take more green (meaning dollars) to buy will roll out later this year; a server standard should be availablegreen, how do you respond? Beyond the “goodness” factor, there in 2012.are real savings. According to the EPA, depending on typical use,an individual Energy Star system can save up to $352 inelectricity costs over a four- year lifespan. Article continues at our BLOG at EPEAT (www.epeat.net): So once you’ve got the basic energy www.smbnation.comusage taken care of through Energy Star, now we need to considerother green factors such as sustainability, chemical usage,recycling and take back, etc. That’s where EPEAT comes in. EPEAT is the definitive global registry for greener Gimmicks Not Welcome Here:electronics, covering the most products from the broadest range Symform – Truly a Green Companyof manufacturers. Only EPEAT combines comprehensive,objective criteria for design, production, energy and materials It seems that so many companies claim to be “green,” anduse and recycling with ongoing independent verification of will jump on the bandwagon just because it is cool or chic to domanufacturer claims after registration. With more than 3,200 so. However, at Symform, a Seattle-based provider of onlineproducts from 45 manufacturers registered in 41 countries, backup and disaster recovery, this is not the case. The companyEPEAT has rapidly become the most comprehensive green simply states: “we aren’t into tricks or gimmicks, and weelectronics registry in existence. certainly don’t like ‘greenwashing’.” Products registered in EPEAT must meet 23 required Built on its mission of thinking a little different than most,environmental performance criteria. They are then rated Gold, Symform decided that instead of building and maintaining hugeSilver or Bronze based on the percentage of 28 optional criteria data centers, it would aggregate the unused capacity sitting idlethey meet. Products are registered by country so you can see at businesses around the world to create a virtual data center.their registration details for wherever you buy products. EPEAT The systems that comprise the Symform Cooperative Storageoperates an ongoing verification program to assure the accuracy Cloud are going to be there, turned on and running, regardless ofof the registry. if they are currently operating or not. Symform has essentially Though today EPEAT only covers desktop and notebook taken one of the tenets of environmental stewardship – reuse – and built its business around it. What’s more is that Symform doesn’t require any new equipment to be purchased, or any additional electricity to be consumed in order to provide complete off-site disaster protection. Leif Espelund, Symform’s Marketing Programs Manager, is not only someone who practices green at work, but in his personal life as well. A self-proclaimed environmentalist, Espelund says that being able to ride his bicycle to work each day to Symform’s Seattle offices is definitely a plus. He added that another selling point for him was that since Symform is just green by nature, the company’s values and goals therefore matched that is of his own. “As a company, collectively, we are green by nature,” Espelund said. “Everything that goes into our cloud is something that was already there and already established. For instance, our data center is virtual, and was built on computers and an infrastructure Jan/Feb 2011 that was already in place and connected.” Espelund also addressed a question of which I have known to plague many VARs and consumers as well: How to dispose of PCs that are no longer in use? This is something that is always discussed as a safety issue from both an environmental and security standpoint. However, according to Espelund, VARs 19 shouldn’t be afraid of either, as long as proper channels are met. SMB Partner Community “When you talk about environmental impact, you do the least harm by reusing equipment that’s already been put into place,” he said. “If someone is going to go out and buy a new computer, then that of course is a bigger environmental impact than getting a used computer.” When it comes to data security, running a system restore, provided that it’s being performed by a trusted source, should take care of that.” Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com
  16. 16. BUSINESSSPEAK 2.0 by James Foxall, President, Tigerpaw Software Voice and Data: Much Better Together T he world of a technology provider is an ever-evolving SIP and the proliferation of relatively inexpensive bandwidth soup of acronyms, technology, products, and business have made telephone systems endpoints on a network, and methodologies. Whether it’s adding new services such as data guys “get” the network. This marriage of voice and data backup and disaster recovery, or completely changing your is called convergence, and it’s really catching on. In fact, it’s business model from break-fix to managed services, staying the theme and focus of my company’s upcoming user current may seem impossible. Today, a lot of discussion centers conference, which carries the title “Convergence: Better on “owning the customer.” This typically means owning all of Together”; it’s that important. the end points on a network, such as displacing copy Make no mistake — the smart telecoms are looking to get companies by offering managed print services. With so many into the data game, and there are many vendors willing to help choices, it can be difficult to know which bandwagon to jump them make the transition. Many old-school telecoms face various on — you have to balance your time and money as you invest challenges as they attempt to move to data, however. First, many in technologies that will add value to your existing business of the more established telecoms got started in the 1970s when and generate a profit. “Ma Bell” was broken up, and their leaders are looking for exit As an IT company, one area that you should consider strategies, not new business models. Managing networks and all devoting your attention to is voice. It used to be that VARs that goes with it is considerably different from managing phone provided data hardware and services, and telecoms provided systems, so an investment in new people or outside NOC telephone systems. The division was distinct and everyone knew services can be a barrier; in general, it’s easier for a data person their role. That line is quickly blurring. to get into voice than the other way around. While this can pose Telephone systems were once closed, proprietary systems, a substantial challenge, many telecoms have huge customer bases and manufactures were often absolute in their territorial – often numbering in the thousands! Think about that for a positioning; you had to buy from the guy in your area, and no second. What penetration could you make with a new product or one else would sell to you. This created a customer base that service if you had, say 2,000 existing customers to talk to? The was locked into buying expensive hardware from a single telecoms that make the transition have a pre-loaded database of vendor. Big margins were common. Now, technology such as hot leads and can quickly become a threat to IT shops.Jan/Feb 201120SMB Partner Community Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com