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.

Right from the Red Book!

SteaklunchThe sophisticated life learners in the SMB Nation community reading this will understand my reference to “The Ultimate Sales Machine” by Chet Holmes (PORTFOLIO). We used it in our Pocket MBA program and it’s about 12 key sales strategies. It’s affectionately known as the Red Book. One of these strategies is the steak lunch-and-learn. And that’s where eFolder, a multi-facetted cloud service provider, kicks in.

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Let Tablets do the Heavy Lifting for Your Small Business

Intel 6.20.2014The volume of work that comes with running a small business is enough to keep anyone busy for a lifetime. So when it comes to the technology that powers a small business, it needs to enable productivity without any user coaxing or coercion. For many, a tablet could prove the simple solution to a lot of complex problems. Tablets with Intel® Core™ and Intel® Atom™ processors have the performance and compatibility to power productivity, with the functionality that will allow for a simplified and satisfying user experience.

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Smartphone News: Blackberry beats the street while Amazon enters the market

blackberry-logo1The Smartphone space got news from an old player and a new player this week with the industry’s creator announcing that it isn’t dead quite yet, while a brand new player entered the market.

BlackBerry reported a small profit for the fiscal period ending on May 31. The $23 million worth of black ink the waterloo, ON-based company announced both beat the street’s expectations and turned around losses of $423 million in the preceding quarter and $84 million in the same quarter last year.

Revenue came in at $966 million, down from $976 million in the prior quarter ahead of analysts' expectations of $963 million. Ultimately this meant a loss of 11 cents a share after adjustments – also ahead of analyst projections of a loss of 26 cents a share.

“Our performance in fiscal Q1 demonstrates that we are firmly on track to achieve important milestones, including our financial objectives and delivering a strong product portfolio,” said Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen, who took over the reins of the embattled mobility vendor in November, in a statement. “Over the past six months, we have focused on improving efficiency in all aspects of our operations to drive cost reductions and margin improvement. Looking forward, we are focusing on our growth plan to enable our return to profitability.”

BlackBerry also announced what appears to be one of the steps in that plan: a deal with Amazon that will make BlackBerry apps available through the Amazon Appstore. Through the deal, which will become relevant with the release of BlackBerry 10.3 in the fall, BlackBerry hopes to dramatically revitalize BlackBerry World, the vendor’s moribund app store. This certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing, however some observers may question what appears to be a primarily consumer play from a vendor that might be better served focussing on the Enterprise space.

BlackBerry also hopes to foster the development of BlackBerry 10 apps and said it will unveil an enterprise application partner program for corporate developers, ISVs and systems integrators over the coming months.

Amazon had news of its own with the introduction of its first smartphone.

The Amazon Fire features a new 3-D dynamic perspective technology, four front facing cameras and Firefly – an app that will recognize objects including artwork and music and then streamline the shopping experience through Amazon’s retail portal.

Amazon-logo-2The new device, which is available for pre-order online from Amazon and AT&T and through brick and mortar retail shops, has a 4.7-inch HD display and runs the proprietary Fire operating system on a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.2GHz processor and 2 GB of RAM. AT&T will be the exclusive distributor of the device, making it available to AT&T Partner Exchange members, but limiting its overall market reach (as does the proprietary OS). Pricing for the new device, which will ship July 25th, comes in at $199 for the 32-GB model and $299 for the 64-GB model, with an AT&T contract.

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Cloud innovation drives growth and geographic expansion for Object Consulting


Awards in the IT space can be plentiful, especially if you spend any time on the conference circuit: Best Solution, Best Software, Best in Show, etc. All of these awards offer a measure of value, but for some that measure is slightly more significant than others.

When Object Consulting recently won the 2014 Microsoft Cloud Partner of the Year, Small and Medium Business (SMB) Award Kevin Francis knew it was the kind of award that would bring in major revenue for the Sydney, Australia-based solution provider.

Last year the Microsoft Gold partner won Microsoft’s Cloud Partner of the Year award for the enterprise segment and found it really put the organization on the map, says Francis, Object Consulting’s National Microsoft Practice Manager. “We grew our Microsoft business more than 50 percent last year and that’s really a testament to what winning this kind of award does. It gives us instant credibility. And it’s the kind of credibility that brings customers to us. They are calling us and that’s gold. We’re looking at another year of massive growth.”

The most recent award is recognition for a project Object Consulting completed for a two-man startup called Xpreshon which delivers free and subscription-based action sports content to users on Microsoft Xbox, Windows 8 and Windows phones. The media streaming and customer management components of the solution run on Microsoft’s public cloud Windows Azure, which makes it possible for a two-man shop like Xpreshon to manage and scale its business without compromising the time they need to spend on delivering core value.

Xpreshon’s original vision was to develop an offering specifically aimed at gamers however using the Azure platform made it possible to extend feature-rich applications to multiple platforms. “Running our applications on Windows 8 devices using Windows Azure means that our users have access to Xpreshon content wherever they are,” says Jason Webb, director and co-founder of Xpreshon.

The code sets for all three applications overlapped enough to provide an efficiency of scale that made it possible for all three to be released within one year. “We thought it would be great if we could be on multiple Microsoft platforms as a single presence,” says Webb. “The strength of our brand is enhanced by having simultaneous offerings on all three devices.”

This is exactly the kind of project that Object Consulting has specialized in, carving out a narrow niche that mixes specialty media with a variety of delivery platforms. The award they won last year was for a similar project – the creation of SuperFooty Live HQ for News Limited which delivered rich media content including video, images and data visualization to Aussie Rules Football fans on their smartphones, tablets, desktops and TVs.

According to Francis Cloud and Devices are the new frontiers in media delivery. “That combo of cloud at the back end and devices at the front end, that’s our space and it’s a fast growing space.”

Object Consulting was a very early adopter of the cloud and also quickly saw the potential of mobile and the convergence of the two. Today the company is one of the only premier Xbox developers in the APAC region and has also invested heavily building out its mobility capabilities with Windows phone, iOS and Android development.

“It’s been expensive for us to set up. It was a big risk, but it has paid off. Winning awards like this is what happens if your solution is really innovative, if it pushes the envelope then you can win against the big players.”

Next up, says Francis, is geographic expansion. Object Consulting already had plans in place to drive geographic expansion, but winning the Microsoft award will help accelerate that plan.

“We’ve started a move into Southwest Asia and we are actively looking for work globally. We have a unique set of capabilities – less than five partners globally have the kind of focus we have – we’ve found a way to play in a way that few others are doing and Azure helps us go to market globally with our capabilities.”

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Harrybbb Appears as a Guest on Continuum’s Weekly MSPtv Series

Harry on MSPtvAs many of you know, Harry has been on a traveling streak these past few months. After completing a worldwide tour, Harry took the time to visit with our partners in the lovely city of Boston, MA (check out one of his blogs on this visit here), where he was able to meet with Continuum in time for the filming of its weekly MSPtv series.

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