IT Business
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For years I’ve been writing about industry developments and trends on Vladville and I’ve been remarkably correct about what is going on. Not because I’m smart or because I have a crystal ball, but because I actually work in this industry and it’s one thing to have an uneducated opinion as a reporter who regurgitates what other CEO’s want them to believe… and to actually experience market shifts and trends as someone who puts the money on the line with tons of real data points around the world. For example, anyone can fill out a survey with any bit of fictional data they want to – which explains why Gartner has been so consistently and remarkably wrong about every study they were paid for – and why so many small business IT companies have grown at such a remarkable clip. It’s one thing to be optimistic and guess that things are going to look great 12 months from now – but the reality of cutting services and removing mailboxes as you trim staff is the real indicator of business trends.

Want my advice?

These days the rumors about ExchangeDefender are louder than even our own PR and webinars. My competitors are slinging more crap at us than ever but we’re more successful than ever in spite of slashing our traditional marketing expenses into a tiny fraction of what they once were. I have one piece of advice for everyone, friend or foe:

Successful business record of today does not predict the successful business track record for tomorrow.

Quite simply, things can turn quickly because we are at the mercy of the consumer. Consumers are fickle and have no loyalty. Therefore every day should be about what the consumer is willing to pay for, not what is best for the consumer. In crude terms: we’re a vendor, not your mom. In Axel’s words: If you’ve got the money honey, we got your disease.

Reconciling Irrationality

Over the past 15 years my single most successful business strategy has been bridging the gap between the things consumers want from the enterprise and delivering it to them at the consumer price. It’s remarkably simple when you consider that consumers want a very limited set of really high powered solutions – and they are willing to compromise so long as those few big features they get are ridiculously easy and reliable. It’s why Apple and Google have been able to pick apart their more successful, more sophisticated, more feature-filled competitors. People like the idea of having everything but they don’t need everything – and they sure as hell don’t want to pay for it. Solution then happens to be simple: Give people what they want at the price they are willing to pay for it.

Easier said then done but that’s the game, right?

What We Are Doing

We’re remarkably open about what we do. But we only happen to share it with our partners at ExchangeDefender. I appreciate loyalty.. and I repay it. I also have to prepare the business for the next few years because like it or not, you are consumers and you will vote with your dollars for the services you can make money on. It’s my job to make those services today so that we’re ready when you get there.

Consumerization is the number one priority at ExchangeDefender.

Remember when I started Shockey Monkey? Over 8,000 solution providers later we are the largest IT PSA in the world. Yet we’re not a PSA at all and the IT market is not our ultimate target. Yeah, I know it’s nice for people to try to pretend that we’re a ConnectWise and Autotask killer and that we’re after them… but if you do some basic math (or if you’re aware of not-so-private partnerships we have going on) that’s just not the case.

Then we launched LooksCloudy. Several hundred posts later, we continue to build a consumer-centric voice for the cloud built on common sense that gives our partners a business advantage.

agentpNow there are (many false) rumors about Agent Perry Nukem solution we’re building. Supposedly it’s an RMM, even though I’ve publicly stated and blogged at numerous occasions that we’re not building an RMM.

The folly of mankind throughout history is that it’s only able to interpret things in the context of their existing surroundings, blissfully rejecting any new ideas as insanity. Yet time and time again, innovation drives us forward through the visions of the few people who tweak things.

Let’s assume I’m not a genius. There? Good.

If the present tense of IT management is all about PSA, RMM, NOC and other acronyms that will be obliterated by consumerization.. does unwillingness to pay for those solutions invalidate the value those solutions present to business? I don’t think so.

So if the net commercial value of those solutions is $0 but the solution is still necessary and demanded.. how can we continue to deliver the solution without asking for a direct compensation for it?

I’ve been in the IT business for a while and I’ve seen much bigger and much smaller companies go under for no other reason than conviction and arrogance of knowing better than the client. If that’s your mindset, you’ll soon be working for someone else.

Otherwise, listen to your clients. Listen to their wallet, not their mouth – because everyone has an opinion – what really matters is what that card swipes for.

You will never go broke taking money from people that can’t wait to give it to you.

Common sense seems so simple when you’re willing to let go of your bias. Everything else is just details.