Vladstradamus Part 2

IT Business, Microsoft

Yesterday I wrote a little about the stuff that’s currently bugging me about the overall state of the SMB IT Land and to sum it up, I don’t appreciate it when people don’t like the reality they see and try to argue it as some sort of a future event that won’t affect them. And believe me, I understand why the majority of our industry refuses to come to terms with it – it’s busy with the mundane tasks to pick up their head and see what’s going on around them.

So go ahead.. get mad at me if you will.. but I’m going to take you down the fortune telling exercise of consumerisation and what will happen over the next few years (unless you actually pay attention to the news, developments, CEOs and so on, in which case this is just history and common sense)

If you are partnering with your vendors, you are an idiot

Several years ago, when everyone got mad at me for pointing out the mess BPOS is about to make, I posted a very accurate picture of the New SBSC program.

In hindsight, I was nice. I had a screenshot of what appeared to be a sex act with the female SMB partner actress in pain and the Microsoft actor in heaven. Now the factual inaccuracy of that picture is that the female actress made 5-10 times what the male actor made – whereas the reality today is that the Microsoft partner (if still even barely alive) has to pay thousands of dollars to wash Microsoft’s car but the benefit is that you get to put a picture of that car on your business card. Welcome to 2012.

At the time I worked closely with a lot of Microsoft people and was actually among the many that praised what used to be a very good program. When I posted the picture and pointed out to the partners that Microsoft is about to screw them out of their business, one of the very senior worldwide Microsoft SBSC folks (no, not Eric) confronted me about it. Here is how the conversation went, paraphrasing:

M$ VP: You know, instead of criticizing it, you should help the BPOS team.

Vlad: You mean you want me to help you obliterate the channel by perfecting your poison?

M$ VP: I wouldn’t put it exactly like that but yes.

Those would be the last words that we’ve exchanged and she has since moved on to greener pastures because.. well, you see what Office 365 has done for you so far.

Every war front needs an idiot to carry the flag

I understand that. Because whoever happens to be dumb enough to pick up that flag is going to be praised by Microsoft and championed for being the most innovative and leveraging the new path of Microsoft success.

Why the rest of the morons are climbing the mountain of dead bodies to stand up there is beyond me. There can only be one fool at the podium presenting awesome fictional models of making money with Office 365 but all the folks that fell off that mountain will tell you the truth: Only Microsoft makes money, you’re lucky to be able to pull off a sideshow project.

The upsetting part? This is ju96st the beginning. This is what Microsoft is working on and they need your help to make you obsolete! So please, sign up, certify yourself as a sales person, let’s hurry up this consumerisation move and we’ll pretend to triple your margins on that single digit revenue product.

Those are not my words by the way. Or the IT Solution Providers. That is the vision offered to you directly by the CEO of Microsoft and everyone underneath him. For the past 5 years.

Do you really think you get to play in Windows 8? You think Microsoft Surface is going to make you relevant?

Listen, it’s Microsoft’s problem that they are too big, too old, too overinvested in stuff people no longer want and it’s their perogative to keep on pushing the same old thing with a different package.

What the hell is your excuse?

It’s not just Microsoft.

Nearly all the vendors across the field are looking to work directly with the end user.

So why are you stuck trying to be someone elses agent when you have the location, accessibility and customer service that almost always trumps just about everything except the price?

IT Solution Providers are thriving. Worldwide. But only because they are focusing on the Solution to the customer problems. The guys that are stuck, physically/financially/mentally, on solving the problems we had with IT back in 96 are in the same place as the guys back from ‘06.

All the vendors are pumping you down the road to consumerization. The consumer makes the choice.

Oh yeah? Then guess what, all my money and all my marketing will go to them spending it with me, not with you.

This isn’t the future. This is just common sense – if your vendors are not working for you and making you money then they are fired.

It’s that simple.

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