The Half Geek's Blog

My goal is simple: enable small businesses to compete on a level playing field through the use of affordable cloud technologies. I understand the challenges of small business and know how to use technology to overcome those challenges and succeed. Enabling small business is what I do.

To Fight or Not To Fight Office 365: That Is Not the Question

As the airplane from Seattle landed at the Tokyo Airport, Alan couldn’t help but smile at the thought of how much fun he would have with his son’s family in Matsumoto, a town three hours west of Tokyo. He had not seen his grandchildren for three years, and it was all Alan could do to contain his excitement when he received a text message—complete with a photo of his three beautiful grandkids—from his son saying they were eagerly waiting for him at the baggage claim area. When the flight attendant finally announced that the doors were open, Alan had to resist the urge to squeeze past the elderly gentleman ahead of him who was taking too long to dislodge his carry-on bag from the overhead compartment.

The walk from the plane to baggage claim seemed like an eternity, and the 10-hour flight had clearly taken a toll on Alan’s back. But when he finally embraced and kissed his son and grandchildren, he knew it was worth all the trouble. Finally, he was going to have a whole week to not think about work and just spend quality time with his family--that is, until his phone rang.

Alan with daughter-in-law and grandchildren at Matsumoto Castle, Japan.
Alan with daughter-in-law and grandchildren at Matsumoto Castle, Japan

You see, Alan is a managed service provider who leads a team of six people providing services to 150+ SMB clients. They ensure that their clients do not have any network downtime, the green lights are blinking for all their servers, lost devices are immediately wiped, passwords are reset, and business critical issues are resolved in a timely fashion. So when the phone rang and he recognized the irate voice of one of his clients, Alan knew it was time to stop thinking happy thoughts.

The reality is that there are a lot of Alans out there in this vast world of 40,000+ SMB nation members. There are those who fumed at and fought the release of BPOS for the threat it posed to partner of record fees and the revenues generated from managed services. These people managed to survive the challenge and adapted to the changing technological environment. And just as things were getting sort of stable, Microsoft did it again and released an even bigger and better dragon: Office 365.

So how are we supposed to migrate all of our clients from Windows Small Business Server 2003 to Office 365? How do we make up for the loss of revenues from not providing 24/7/365 managed services? Are we supposed to now stop being heroes who get up in the middle of the night to fix a mail server that’s down? Or step out from a family dinner to restore network access for a client who kept entering the wrong password? Or lose sleep at the thought of potential exposure to legal and regulatory troubles from managing our clients’ data? Or give up quality time with family to resolve a line-of-business application that’s not playing nicely with Microsoft Exchange?

If you’re astute, like Alan, you’ll probably start realizing that after the second question, this whole time you’ve been fighting BPOS and now Office 365, you’ve been fighting an unnecessary cause. It’s like you’re so intent on making it hard for yourself that you can’t even see how Office 365 can actually help you grow your business…and have a life. Isn’t that what you want? If you answered yes, read on. If you answered no, go pick up your antiquated sword and keep fighting your battles because for the rest of us, we are sooo beyond on-prem.

Office 365 Migration Made Easy

Listen carefully and repeat after me: “I do not need to hire expensive engineers to migrate my users to Office 365.” Say that three times or until you believe it. Not working? Okay, how about if I say you can use a tested and proven migration tool that’s better than a prima donna engineer, twice as fast, and a fraction of the cost? When you use this tool, you’ll look like you have a team of engineers working for you, a marketing and communications team, and a project manager. All you have to do is make the pitch to your clients. Don’t hesitate to pad a generous amount between the cost of using the tool and what you actually charge your clients. After all, you are providing them with technologies that allow small businesses to compete with the big guys on a level playing field.

How do you achieve this level of Nirvana? By using SkyKick. With SkyKick, moving businesses to Office 365 under different scenarios is fast, safe, and easy. They only sell to service provider organizations like you. Whether on-premise or hosted, POP3/IMAP/Exchange, they can move the data from virtually any email system in the world. Client-side data? They do that too. And with their Project Management Application you have 24/7 visibility and control of your migration projects. Plus, they have a great support team to help should you have any questions.

The good news doesn't end there. It gets even better. In partnership with Microsoft, SkyKick just launched the Turbo Program where you’re eligible to receive valuable discounts on three SkyKick migration projects between now through March 15, 2014. With Turbo – the more you migrate the more your save – up to $10,000 in value. Here’s how the “Free-1-2-3” Turbo offer works:

  • Free - first 30 mailboxes free on first migration project (up to $1500 value)
  • 20% off your second migration project (up to $3200 value)
  • 30% off your third migration project (up to $4800 value)

To learn more about SkyKick, visit http://skykick.com/turbo.

Unlocking To Office 365 Revenue Opportunities

Office 365 revenues start with the licensing or partner of record fees. From there you can generate revenue for deployment and migration services (think SkyKick), charge fees for annual support, add-on software, and projects that maximizes your clients’ investments in Office 365. For example, you can help your clients automate some of their business processes using out-of-the box SharePoint functionalities.

But wait, there’s more! You can also earn affiliate fees from a unified communications provider who offers enterprise voice capabilities using Lync in the cloud. And you don’t even have to worry about maintaining the service! I will tell you about this company in my next blog, but I will say that I’ve tested their service and I am impressed. It works, it’s affordable, and I can now use Lync for my company of three the same way a company of a hundred thousand like Microsoft uses Lync! I’m in the big leagues now!

So you see, to fight or not to fight Office 365 is really not the question. The question is, do you want to be the Alan in Tokyo taking a phone call from an irate client and having to stay on the call for six hours trying to troubleshoot a server issue? Or do you want to be the smart Alan who realized it was time to stop resisting, embrace Office 365, and let Microsoft put its 20+ years of experience resolving enterprise network and server issues to work for him—allowing him to focus on generating revenues as a trusted strategic partner for his clients? Your call.

About Alan Martiny

Alan's granddaughtersAlan’s company, Ion Business Solutions provides Office 365 Migration Services, Managed Services, and Virtual Server Hosting in the greater Seattle Area. Since embracing Office 365, he has been able to carve off some time to pursue his passion in photography and spend quality time with his family, especially his beautiful granddaughters. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in Office 365, managed services, or virtual hosting for your business at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Comments 1

Angela McLaughlin on Thursday, 09 January 2014 11:01

This feels like a sales pitch for a Office 365/SkyKick but I don't see how your information addresses any pain points for businesses like mine (and Alan's). I see your point about additional free time, but that doesn't address how businesses like mine that service the SMB space are going to maintain a revenue stream. And you bundled this in with a sales pitch for another yet another company, Skykick, which may be worth checking out but we have the knowledge and skills to do our own migrations. I hope your blog entries in the future will be more relevant to this space.

This feels like a sales pitch for a Office 365/SkyKick but I don't see how your information addresses any pain points for businesses like mine (and Alan's). I see your point about additional free time, but that doesn't address how businesses like mine that service the SMB space are going to maintain a revenue stream. And you bundled this in with a sales pitch for another yet another company, Skykick, which may be worth checking out but we have the knowledge and skills to do our own migrations. I hope your blog entries in the future will be more relevant to this space.
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