Where is the buzz and why (or why not)?

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Over the past two years all the buzz in the SMB has been about conferences, new products, managed services.

This year, not so much. Few folks have covered their intentions to hit the NOLA conference, which would be the only one I would attend this year if I wasn’t expecting to be a daddy that week. Not a heck of a lot of chatter about Vista SP1 which is just around the corner. And the Windows Server 2008 launch that is just about a week away almost doesn’t exist in the minds of the SMB tech world. Ditto about the managed services, for some an afterthought for others a long time way of doing business.

So if the SMB world is not caught up with the new product launches, disafected by the conference sprawl, service packs, beta testing, MSPish stuff… what is everyone up to?

The big thing of 2008 is the apparent consolidation of offerings. Nobody I have talked to in the past two months has even noticed a slowdown, it’s actually the level of growth and adoption of managed infrastructure that is making people not look at the conferences and other out of office activities (though I’m sure the perenial disappointments of SPF Nation and people pouncing on the blood may have something to do with it). New names are showing up as employees of my long time partners, order flow in Feb is yet again the largest it has ever been, people are knocking the door down asking for more.

So what’s up?

Be it through managed services or just geeks becoming better businessmen and women, SMB appears to be consolidating around the things that work and seeking out the more profitable solution over the more flashy and hyped one. People seem to be unplugging more crap, testing less betas, participating less and focusing on their own a little more. Who seems to be winning out? Hard to say, you never know who is telling the truth. However, judging by the growing employee counts and orders it seems the pureplay MSPs are maintaining or stagnating while the people with a wider focus are growing – guys with expertise in security, VoIP specialists, portal designers, financials.. Basically shops that are more than just workstation-server types appear to be getting the most clients.

So to those of you that are wondering about why there seems to be so little happening in the way of Server 2008, Vista SP1, Conferencing, MSP and overall chatter.. successful folks have their mind on their money, money on their mind and all the extracurricular bullshit just doesn’t seem to make more money. About as raw and honest as I can put it.