SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Lenovo Line Up

Last Look at Accelerate 2017!


I thought you might be interested in these two last looks at the recently completed Lenovo Accelerate 2017 conference in Orlando. I will repeat.

Long-term Roadmap: Analytics and IoT

Lenovo NA President Emilio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 1:1 with Lenovo NA President Emilio Ghilardi.

Different is Better

Sammy Kinlaw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 1:1 with  Sammy Kinlaw, NA Channel Chief

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Perfect Timing – A Mobile Phone That Meets My Needs


    Long-time SMB Nation readers will recall my mobile phone journey from Apple to BlackBerry to Windows Phone. Today I’m limping along with an aging Nokia 1020 that I originally purchased for its state of the art camera (40+ megapixels). That’s right– my need with my phone beyond basic communication was to have a kick ass camera. Fast forward the movie and I’m shopping for a new mobile phone.

I’ve made the decision to roll with an Android-based phone that doesn’t catch on fire. I need a superior camera, great sound and basic functionality and then some. I recently went on a first date with the Moto Z phone from Lenovo (Lenovo acquired the Motorola phone business October 2014).  

Features
The Moto Z is a capable Android-based phone on its very own. But it’s the Mods that add extreme value. My first need is a killer camera as I’m a blogger in the media. The camera Mod is based on Hasselblad True Zoom camera hardware and has the following features: 10x optical zoom, xenon flash, RAW format and easy sharing. My next need is sound. When I host a phone call on speaker, I need quality and volume (both missing on my Nokia 1020). The sound Mod (JBL SoundBoost) for the Moto Z uses JBL sound technology plus adds a ten hour battery boost. Imagine both a boom box and the world’s best speakerphone on a mobile phone! There is also an InstaShare projector Mod that blew my mind. You attach it and you can illuminate a 70-inch screen, even in a light room, to display a PowerPoint deck or watching streaming entertainment such as a football game.

Take a Look
At the Lenovo Accelerate 2017 conference in Orlando last month, I walked the trade show floor and got a look at the Moto Z and its mods. I shot a vid here of the experience and I highly recommend you look at it.  

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Drawback
Right now the Moto Z is only available with Verizon. Small problem in that I use AT&T. I was educated that you can use an unlocked version of the Moto Z with AT&T. However I don’t like using unlocked phones because of support issues. (I had a family member use an unlocked BlackBerry Z90 that was programmed for Sprint that I “opened” using Unlock River. It allowed the BlackBerry Z90 to use an AT&T sim card but it downgraded the AT&T network coverage to 2G. A bit later, AT&T terminated its 2G network and rendered the unlocked BlackBerry Z90 useless. But I digress. I don’t like unlocked phones however Lenovo reports that the AT&T version of the Moto Z phone will be out mid-year 2017. At that time, I’ll seriously consider the Moto Z.

Next steps
Over the next several weeks, I’m gonna find a way to demo the Moto Z for two reasons. One is to provide an update to you, the SMB Nation reader. The second is to see if the Moto Z is indeed the phone for me when the AT&T compliant version releases later this year. Standby.

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Mourn the Past or Celebrate the Future?

    This past week I received an announcement that Bainbridge Technology Solutions was closing its doors on Winslow Way (“Main Street”) on Bainbridge Island. It’s been a storefront institution for over a dozen years; a welcome man cave to pick up parts, order a new system and most importantly, receive expert repair services. It joins other recent closures such as an office supply store (“Paper Products) just down the street.

Bainbridge Technology Solutions was impacted by concurrent forces: retail disruption and pivot to cloud. Across Puget Sound, a short 35-min. ferry ride, is the home of Amazon.com who's disruption impacts physical presence retail everywhere. The pivot to cloud has reduced IT spends as we know it. In the words of Brandon Byron, owner of Bainbridge Technology Solutions, “We have sincerely enjoyed being part of the Bainbridge Island retail community. However, retail operations are no longer feasible in this evolving industry. So, we look forward to the next chapter that will allow us to continue to serve the community for many years to come.” Byron was also impacted by the very IT vendors he served. In this article, I outline how HP’s snub of small retailers in ink sales truly hurt firms like Bainbridge Technology Solutions.

 

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[Photo credit to Charles and Dona Keating and Pattie O’Loughlin]

SMB Nation is a long-time customer and supporter of Bainbridge Technology Solutions. For a few years, we upheld it as a poster child for Small Business Saturday (in late November) that you can read about here (included popcorn and coffee for celebrants in 2015) and watch a video featuring Bainbridge Technology Solutions in 2011 here.

Moving forward, Byron shared that “Commercial clients will continue to be serviced as usual, residential clients will have the option to schedule on-site and remote service calls via our web site.”

The choice is yours on how to absorb this news. On the one hand, you can be angry and perhaps have grievances about losing something from the past. I’d offer, knowing Byron well, he’s focused on the future and, shed from the retail overhead, will figure it out. I’ve got his number on speed dial!

PS – big discounts on remaining inventory the next few days. Stop by and tell Byron that “Harry sent ya!”

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Onward and Upward – Jamison West’s New Gig

Over the past few months, I’ve teased you with forthcoming changes in the world of Jamison West. He essentially divested

his MSP practice business interests, sold his Seattle home into a strong market and moved to Las Vegas with his family (pictured). It would jamisonbe easy to assume it was the record setting monsoon season in Seattle that caused his move to fun and sun but it’s more than that.

So it’s time to let the cat out of the bag. What’s the story with Jamison? With life changes afoot, West is the new CEO for Teamatics. It’s kinda like Myers-Briggs meets Slack. To level set, Microsoft Teams is the competitor to the wildly popular Slack. It represents Microsoft’s latest endeavor into the malleable world of collaboration (following similar positioning with Yammer, SharePoint, Skype messaging and so on). Slack largely created the latest generation of collaboration with what started as a IM tool for gamer developers and was validated but serving as a rapid development environment for the reboot of the Healthcare.gov web site. I view Slack as an internal email replacement to keep my Inbox free. I’m using Microsoft Teams as well but it feels more like a document storage corpus to me (say SharePoint Jr.). Admittedly I’ve only been using Microsoft Teams for five months and it only recently was officially released so the Microsoft Teams journey continues.

West is leveraging Microsoft Teams as a “new platform for developing human capital and improving team performance.” His firm Teamatics strikes me as one part Myers-Briggs, one part peer group/living theology and one part technology. I’d first and foremost define this as a services business, not a product line. West’s calling is and has been for some time to help others ad this new venture allows for that.

Of the launch, West said, “In my 20-plus years of managing teams and leaders of teams I’ve struggled to find a simple, accurate way to ensure talents are aligned to objectives and that the team is aligned with each other and to the culture of my company. I am thrilled to be part of a new team that has done incredible work to solve that problem.”

I’ll continue to monitor this startup.

UPDATED: Let me know if you thing we should weave Jamison into the fabirc of our upcoming six-part MSP Tech Talk series? He is a frequent speaker in the SMB MSP channel partner community. Hmmm...

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Check-in: Kaseya

I recently had a surprisingly transparent conversation with Fred Voccola, the CEO of Kaseya. He has gained his sea legs just crossing his second work anniversary. The tone and tenor of the interview was three-fold: Hello World, No IT and Office 365.

Hello World
Voccola reached out to reinvigorate the Kaseya conversation in the SMB Nation community. To be blunt, Kaseya hasn’t been top of mind for some time at SMB Nation. It was always perceived as an expensive tool for the big Fred Voccola Kaseyaguys. But Voccola had a different explanation. A couple of years ago, Kaseya was essentially acquired by a private equity group and had “lost its way” with the MSP community. Voccola promises it has returned with partner momentum. I’ll continue to monitor the situation.

No IT

I enjoyed a spirted conversation about the transformation MSPs are undergoing in a volatile business community. Loosely translated – everything is changing and very quickly. Voccola is committed to assisting MSPs with that transition to be, in my words, business advisors. I contributed to the conversation by highlighting how the IT spend is moving away from the server room (read CIO) and to other departments such as marketing (read analytics). It’s gonna be a rodeo ride and Kaseya wants to be right there with you, the SMB Nation MSP.

Office 365
I pressed hard on Kaseya’s commitment to Office 365. It acquired some dashboard technology but I had reason to believe it was put 365 Command on the shelf. Voccola insisted that recent actions such as moving internal operations to Las Vegas wasn’t a sign that the 365 Command team had been disbanded. Rather it continues to invest in this technology area.

BTW – the Kaseya Connect conference is May 9-11. I’ll miss it as I’m already committed to the Sage Summit in Atlanta. So many conferences, so little time!

UPDATED May 10, 2017 808AM Pacifc:

Hey Harry,

I am at Kaseya Connect and I read your piece on Fred Voccola. I know it was a short blurb, but one thing that underscores the “little guy” theme is that their PSA, called BMS is full featured and a lot less expensive than most other PSAs. It integrated, of course, with the Kaseya VSA, as well as Quotewerks, IT Glue and other vendors.

Yes, Kaseya had a bad two years (had to wait for their self-inflicted foot wound to heal up), but they are doing quite well and the ecosystem is back up and functioning due to a robust API in their products.

Randall C. Spangler, MCP, CSSA

Merit Solutions

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