Thanks for your concern, I appreciate it.
Pretty misplaced though. Things have been going so well that it’s hard to believe and I’m one of those folks that doesn’t really get much easy in business: so when everything is going well I try to figure out the ways it could all go to shit in a heartbeat and stay ahead of it.
The migrations business we introduced in October has been insane. We will be launching a hiring spree in January that will likely double us in 2014. Shockey Monkey and our mobile solutions have been maturing and due for a huge release shortly. Ditto for the Unicorn remote support and monitoring tool.
That said, the move from a pure software to a service business has not been easy. Far from it, unfortunately. Even though it’s been a grueling, grunting, bruising exercise it’s what gives me faith that we will more than double and become an irreplaceable component of our partners strategy in 2014 and beyond. Here is why:
Every time we get burned on some service aspect I hear the following: “We need to better define what we will not do and not touch so we don’t have to do this again.”
My response is always the same: No. It just means we need to ask more questions and define a better process for it the next time.
If you can sufficiently define the scope of what you’re willing to do and not there is no limit to the amount of business you can lose. And in real life people don’t grade on the curve or love you for what you do for them – they judge you by how often you’ve failed them and how many mistakes you’ve made. Trust me, I’ve got refund checks to prove it.
So how do we move this forward? Well, as I discussed in this weeks webinar it’s all about surrounding our partners with the end-to-end solution: marketing that makes sense, process and support that extend it beyond just tech work, mobile strategy, support strategy and coming soon – a training strategy.
The strategy of the service business is simple – do whatever it takes to get the user to the cloud, once there make sure they leverage the power of the cloud. This has been a bit of a tough bargain between me and some partners that want their clients to be limited and kept in the dark on many of the features but what’s the sense of going to the cloud if you’re going to keep the same crappy process that’s gotten the on-premise solution to choke in the first place? A lot more on this later.
Although I haven’t had the time to blog here as much as many of you would like, I did also hear and notice that the “channel” has been kind of quiet too. It’s a sign of maturity – by now all the hype has kind of died down and only a handful of vendors have proven themselves to be trustworthy and capable of innovating and moving their partners up.
The rest are being unwound, cost controlled and being financially book cooked for a sale (garage or rollup); it’s a natural progress of any business particularly the short sighted one.
As far as I can tell, IT in SMB is doing really well or it’s going out of business entirely. It’s somewhat polar: few really big winners and many losers. And when you’re doing really well but see the carnage of Marketing-In-A-Can and Indian-In-A-Box MSPs and VARs all around you then you probably thank your lucky stars and try not to brag too much about it.
I of course wouldn’t really know much about the humble part but I know this much: It’s one thing to be a perpetual hype machine and quite another to be a valuable revenue generator. Any jackass can throw a great show and be the next big thing, but after the champagne bubbles out and people go back to work and start solving true business challenges they are back to dealing with the real world problems and people problems. That’s where we’ve been for years and that is where we’re moving to become even more valuable in 2014: It’s just a whole lot more work. But given the choice of more work or unemployment is an easy one: None of you would make it working at a Verizon store.