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Small business IT and technology news for the SMB channel VAR, MSP, and IT professional.

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Partner Spotlight: NovaStor

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BoxWIthNew96Based on survey recommendations in the marketplace and feedback from thousands of NovaStor Reseller partners, the May 2014 release of NovaBACKUP 16 includes a more robust All-in-One Physical and Virtual backup solution. The new NovaBACKUP Business Essentials product is poised to disrupt the market, offering features usually found in far more expensive solutions.

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We recently received news that Microsoft is sponsoring the Seattle Chamber Business Tradeshow, taking place May 15 from 3-7 pm at the CentryLink Field and Events Center. As part of their sponsorship, they are offering free passes to SMBs in our community.

The event is expected to draw 1500 attendees and will include dedicated networking time, as well as a presentation from Marketing Guru Whitney Keyes and a variety of attendee prizes available.

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By Brian Ferguson

One of the biggest challenges Value Added Resellers (VARs) face is differentiating themselves from competing VARs that sell similar products. It’s fairly common within a city, or other geographically defined territory, to find several technology providers that offer similar, if not the exact same products and services within a few miles of each other. As a VAR, how can you separate your company from the pack? How can you become the provider of choice in your space? One way to do this is to focus on vertical markets.

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calyptixCalyptix Security today released a white paper designed to help MSPs accelerate profits. In particular, the white paper outlines three ways that MSPs can better manage their profit lines.

To start, the White Paper, titled: “Profit Rockets: 3 Fast Ways to Accelerate Profit with Better Network Security,” suggests that MSPs get a device that is easy to use. Going deeper into this tip is for MSPs to make sure they are selecting a device/service that is automated, can provide good reports, have good troubleshooting tools and can be managed remotely.

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A Proactive Approach in BDR Marketing

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Pronto 5.3.14While the title of this article may sound redundant, “isn’t being proactive the whole point of BDR?” being sensitive to your approach to marketing BDR services is important. People don’t want to think about disasters – until they happen. By taking a proactive approach to your BDR marketing, you can position yourself as a champion of business.

Business preparedness

The summer months heighten awareness of natural disasters – from fires to hurricanes – for a large part of the country’s population. That awareness provides a good opportunity to educate your clients and prospects about how they can be proactive to protect their businesses. It’s very important that all of your messaging be focused on the business value of preparation. There is a risk of being perceived as a profiteer instead of an advocate if your message is not genuine.

Resist the urge to use scare tactics to sell BDR. The message of business continuity allows you to take a positive approach to the subject. Help your customers imagine the value of keeping the business moving forward in the face of emergency. 

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Registration Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/702257688

Thursday, 8, 2014 10:00-11:00 AM PDT

Presented by: Ken Shaw, Jr., Founder and CEO, Infrascale and Harry Brelsford, Chairman and Founder, SMB Nation, Inc.

Spend 45 minutes with Ken Shaw Jr., Founder and CEO of Infrascale. Ken will cover the company and will detail our award-winning suite of cloud-based data protection tools designed specifically for MSPs and resellers.

 

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bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how hard it is to generate honest-to-goodness qualified leads – that is, having an opportunity to pitch your services to organizations actually ready and able to do business with you.

Most service providers and MSPs I know find marketing and sales to be the hardest part about running their businesses. In fact, most have resigned themselves to relying almost exclusively on word-of-mouth referrals for new clients.

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Hot on the heels of revamping its membership access model a few weeks ago, ICT industry association CompTIA has expanded its lobbying and advocacy capabilities with the acquisition of TechAmerica. The new organization will operate under the CompTIA brand, however the lobbying arm will retain the TechAmerica name, at least for the foreseeable future. 

todd-thibodeauxTodd Thibodeaux, president and CEO, CompTIA, said the merger is a complimentary one for both organizations, which have very little overlap between them, and creates an organization that will represent the entire ICT industry – from the SMBs that are CompTIA’s traditional strength to the public sector and large private organizations where Tech America has strength.

Shawn Osborne, president and CEO of TechAmerica, echoed the sentiment in a letter posted on his organization’s website this morning. “This is not the merging of two identical organizations. TechAmerica and CompTIA have complementary interests and goals within the ICT industry. Whereas TechAmerica has been a leading voice of large businesses and the tech public sector, CompTIA has built a strong reputation for workforce training and certification, business education and best practices, and advocacy for small and medium technology companies in the IT sector. Joining forces consolidates disparate segments of the ICT sector under one roof to enhance voice, reach and influence. A single, unified organization for commercial and public sector interests allows us to advance business interests and opportunities as a whole.”

“Over the last couple of years our board has been looking for ways to grow the value of CompTIA,” said Thibodeaux. Part of that was revamping the access model which has opened up access to CompTIA’s insight and research for the entire industry through a free membership. CompTIA has also broadened its educational offerings.

“Another part was broadening our reach,” he said, adding they the board knew CompTIA could be doing more for a broader audience and was actively looking for ways to accomplish that without compromising the services delivered to existing members.

The big win for CompTIA really comes with the deepening of is advocacy capabilities. Of the 24 former TechAmerica staffers coming over to CompTIA 14 are lobbyists, quadrupling CompTIA’s existing strength and extending its reach on the state and international levels and especially in Federal procurement.

“It’s about relevancy, it’s about influence,” said Thibodeaux. “And by doing that, hopefully it’s about making the other things we are doing even more powerful.”

CompTIA unveils CertMaster

Speaking of CompTIA’s role in education, the company also unveiled CertMaster a new online learning solution designed to help students and professionals learn and retain technical information more effectively, better preparing them for IT certification exams and, eventually, helping them deliver higher quality services to customers. CompTIA CertMaster uses the latest research in brain science, neurobiology, cognitive psychology and game studies, combining key principles from each field to help users learn necessary information quickly and retain it long-term.

Comptia logo

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Ray Vrabel HeadshotBy Raymond Vrabel, Director, Technical Account Management, Continuum

Part three of a monthly blog series examining tips on how MSPs can work to break “bad” business habits that they might unknowingly fall into as a result of just wanting to get things done.


In the previous installment of “Breaking Bad,” I discussed how to bring out the best in your employee talent. In this month’s blog, I’ll be more specific as to how to encourage your employees (and yourself) to maintain a work/life balance that is realistic and healthy.


Many of today’s MSPs are one-person shops that perform several duties throughout the day; there never seem to be enough hours, and multi-tasking is an understatement. However, whether we are talking about work/life balance for you, the business owner or your employees, it has to start at the top. As the business owner, you set the tone for the rest of the organizational culture. Here are a few tips for you and your employees to begin maintaining a healthy work/life balance.

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The Week That Was – May 3, 2014

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Our weekly round-up of the IT news you don’t want to miss.

Datto integrates with Servoyant RMM, LabTech integration coming

Datto Backup LogoDatto announced that its image-based backup and disaster recovery technology now integrates with Servoyant’s RMM solution. New features available through Servoyant include new reporting capabilities such as Datto-specific reports and aggregate status of all devices and backup processes. This broadens the penetration Datto has with RMM solutions beyond existing connections to Kaseya and AVG Managed Workplace and more are planned, with LabTech currently in the works.

Xerox integrates Managed Print Services with LabTech

xeroxXerox is continuing to upgrade its managed print services partner program for MSPs. After enhancing its partner program in March that added new opportunities to generate recurring revenue and strengthen customer relationships, the company has now embarked on a path to integrate with IT management tools. First up: The document management giant has unveiled a new cloud-based plug-in that integrates its printer discovery and monitoring capabilities with LabTech Software’s RMM platform. Through the integration, MSPs will be able to use Xerox PrintAssist Services from the LabTech Control Center which will also report on printer activity and error alerts. The company says that more RMM integrations are coming, but did not disclose which vendors it is working with or when the connectors will be available.

Equinix launches cloud exchange, delivering private network speeds to public cloud services

equinix logoEquinix, a builder of data centers and dynamic Internet exchanges, launched the Equinix Cloud Exchange – a new offering the company claims is a breakthrough in enabling enterprise hybrid cloud solutions. According to the company, the new exchange advances the process of managing connections to multiple clouds, enabling user to go from one-to-one to one-to-many, and many-to-many connections. Most importantly, it will allow enterprise customers to realize the scalability of the public cloud without compromising the speed, security and accessibility delivered by their private virtual networks. The claimed breakthrough is build on a pair of new elements: new hardware that interacts with software-defined networking vendors and offers adequate port-density and the next generation of its business intelligence software. Currently, the new exchange works with Microsoft Azure and AWS. Other cloud services will be added in the future.

Red Hat buys Inktank for $175M to extend open source storage footprint

redhat-logo1Red Hat announced plans to expand its footprint as a provider of open source storage with the acquisition of Los Angeles, Calif-based Inktank for $175 million. Inktank is the developer of the Ceph open-source storage technology that delivers object, block and file storage in a single file system for unified storage. This is the second storage acquisition for Red Hat, which is making a play to be the top provider of open source storage, and follows the 2011 purchase of Gluster, and its GlusterFS scale-out NAS file system. The company announced that it sees opportunities for both Ceph and Gluster and will maintain both storage solutions in the market.

IDC: Tablet shipments stall

IDCResearch from global research firm IDC reports that tablet and 2-in-1 device shipments have stalled and that sales are cooling off with large screen phones encroaching on the market. According to IDC Apple continues to lead the market (as it has since 2010) with 32.5 percent share, followed by Samsung, with 22.3 percent, Asus at five percent and Lenovo at 4.1 percent. Amazon rounds things out with 1.9 percent of the sales. Android is the leading operating system, with almost two-thirds of the market. IDC reported total unit shipments of 50.4 million in Q1 2014, up just 3.9 percent from the same period in 2013.

HP, Foxconn partner seize server opportunity with Internet giants

HP-logo2Hewlett-Packard and long-time contract manufacturing partner Foxconn Technology Group unveiled a joint venture they hope will deliver a major breakthrough in server price-performance for Internet giants like Facebook and Amazon. According to HP, the strategic commercial agreement is aimed at disrupting traditional hyperscale server design with a new line of cloud-optimized servers which "specifically target service providers." Hyperscale servers are low-cost x86-based servers that that power many of the world's largest Internet companies, a market that IDC predicts will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15 percent to 20 percent through to 2018. Rivals who will feel the pinch of the new server economics this deal is expected to produce include Dell, IBM and Lenovo, which is expected to finalize its $2.3 billion acquisition of IBM's x86 server business this summer.

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According to research completed last summer by Wakefield Research and Citrix as little as 16 percent of your SMB customers might actually understand what the cloud is. Twenty-eight percent of survey respondents said that it was weather-related (literally a cloud in the sky) while another 17 percent...well, the less said about their responses the better. Suffice it to say they were wrong.

The numbers are probably better now, almost a year later but the cloud has gotten more complex too. The big public cloud providers – which are gearing their services to large enterprises which have proportionally large IT staffs – have stuffed their offerings with hundreds of solutions and it’s your job as their IT guru to help them navigate that morass.

That’s why Continuum launched the Continuum Cloud Console – C3 for short – this week. C3 is an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) management platform that helps MSPs unlock the value of the public cloud for SMBs by streamlining the congested world of the public cloud.

dee-zepf“We’ve simplified the complexity of the choices out there,” said Dee Zepf, Continuum’s Vice President of Product Management and Technical Services at Continuum. Essentially, C3 preselects the solutions that are going to make the most difference for SMBs and excises the rest, decluttering the process for MSPs.

C3 – which provides cloud service management through the same pane of glass used by the company’s existing RMM solution, thus putting everything on one screen for techs – is initially limited to Amazon Web Services (AWS), but Zepf says that she expects to roll out enhancements every quarter going forward, including Google, Azure and other large public cloud offerings.

Tim Lasonde, president of Boston-based NSK Inc., which is focused on providing IT services to SMBs, says the conversation about the public cloud comes up with customers all the time, especially when a client is due for a technology refresh.

As a member of Continuum’s Partner Advisory Council, one of the partners who beta tested the C3 offering and an existing Amazon Web Services partner, Lasonde has some keen insights on the value of a service like C3.

“Working with Amazon can be a bit of a daunting process. They are big player and have a lot of offerings. It’s such a disruptive technology. There are a lot of different ways to implement it,” he says. “I think one of the reasons C3 is a good product is because it helps smaller MSPs that don’t really have the time to invest in figuring out all the options.”

Tim LasondeLasonde adds that considering the rapidity with which customers are moving towards buying services through the cloud, getting up to speed on these services is critical for MSPs in the evolving IT landscape. The very public price war driving costs down across the board is certainly a factor driving interest.

On the one hand, this is helping us get new clients over and above existing customers, he says, but MSPs really do need to look at this for their customers because if they don’t then someone else will or the customers will do it for themselves.

Right now anyone can go online and order Office 365, but someone still needs to manage that and controlling how the SMB is exposed to the value these services deliver allows the MSP make sure it’s own value proposition is included in the message.

“Sure customers can go online and purchase O365 and stuff like that,” says Lasonde. “But when it comes to managing it, like migrations, that requires some skill and some training. There are a lot of pain points. It’s not the kind of thing that the average SMB wants to do. That’s where we can add a lot of value.”

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Steven Ostrowski

Managed services providers (MSPs) must routinely and regularly examine their customer contracts and pricing strategies if they intend to maximize profitability. That message was delivered Wednesday by several industry experts during a meeting of the CompTIA Managed Services Community. The session was part of the CompTIA Annual Member Meeting taking place this month in San Diego.

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Unitrends Announces Release 7.4

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Unitrends logoEarlier today, Unitrends announced Release 7.4, which includes improvements in replication and archiving speeds, as well as the addition of improved disaster recovery setup. Chief among the updates is Unitrends Bridge, a system that allows users to move physical Windows machines to virtual versions with one click.

“Unitrends Release 7.4 moves us even farther beyond the point-product orientation of most of our competitors, strengthening our ability to help customers simply, quickly and reliably recover their diverse IT infrastructures anywhere, anytime,” said Joe Balazs, vice president of engineering for Recovery Series, UEB, and Unitrends Cloud. “We are delivering innovative conversion and recovery technologies such as Unitrends Bridge, Unified Bare Metal™ Recovery and instant recovery for physical, virtual and cloud-configured environments—plus optimizing all of that with incomparable disaster recovery testing, orchestration and governance.”

Additional features include:

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Microsoft LogoMicrosoft this week released the findings of a survey of worldwide financial institutions and how they use technology, particularly security technology, in their organizations. This week’s results are slated to be part of a four-section blog series from the technology giant, which will later include results from government, healthcare and retail sectors. Data for this survey was collected from over 12,000 respondents, all of whom used Microsoft’s Cloud Security Readiness Tool (CSRT) between November 2012 and February 2014. Let’s take a look at a few of the key findings of this report.

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continuumContinuum recently announced that it will be the exclusive sponsor for all of HTG Peer Groups’ monthly online meetings for 2014. This is a great expansion in the current partnership between the two organizations. Continuum has been a long-time partner and sponsor of HTG’s quarterly Centralized Meetings.

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By Rene Reinsberg, General Manager/Vice President of Product, GoDaddy

 

I am in Boston on a business trip and as I am walking down the street between meetings, my smartphone suddenly vibrates with a notification:

 

“Rene, it’s been 4 weeks since your last haircut. You have 1.5h until your next meeting. 5-star rated Judy’s Hair is nearby and is available right now. Say “book appointment” and get a $10 discount.”

 

Of course I go ahead. The above scenario from the not-too-far-away future is just one of the many examples and use cases that will impact how the world’s small businesses, in particular brick-and-mortar businesses like Judy’s Hair, will attract and retain customers. It’s a radical change from how customers used to connect with businesses; it is the Discovery Marketing revolution.

 

What has changed? I would have traditionally noticed looking in the mirror in the morning that my hair is getting too long and hence concluded that I need a haircut soon (‘intent to purchase’).

 

Assuming that I was happy with my usual hair salon and they had availability, the ‘discovery’ and ‘selection’ steps would have been limited. However, I may have heard or read about a better place (‘discovery’) or in a scenario where I was not satisfied with my usual choice or where there was no availability, I would actively engage in ‘discovery’, leveraging a variety of signals (local search, social, ads, coupons) that eventually lead to a decision (‘selection’) and booking of an appointment (‘purchase’), likely via phone.

Illustration 1 below shows how the typical customer journey is changing.

Guest 4.29.2014

Illustration 1: Typical Customer Journey – Traditional vs. Discovery Marketing


A New Category

The ways consumers find information about businesses and connect with them is changing. It has always been clear that ‘discoverability is key – both offline and online’, particular for brick-and-mortar businesses like Judy’s Hair. Forrester was among the first to use the termDiscovery Marketing to acknowledge how consumers’ behavior has been changing with respect to discovering businesses online:

 

“Where natural search results once were the primary way users discovered content or websites, now non-search engine media such as mobile apps, social networking sites, and consumer review hubs are veritable contenders in consumers’ paths to discovery. […] To ensure that SMBs are “findable” across all different types of media, we believe that we must shift the scope of our work (on behalf of the SMB) from just buying paid search ads and conducting SEO projects to enabling brand discovery — a practice we’ve dubbed “discovery marketing”

 

Having been helping local businesses get found with Locu, and now GoDaddy, I couldn’t agree more. I want to take this a step further and extend the framework by calling out five principles that my colleagues and I see at the heart of Discovery Marketing: mobile, multi-channel, actionable, controllable and measurable. GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving gave a sneak preview of this framework during his keynote at the recent BIA/Kelsey conference in San Francisco.

 

While I have no doubt that we will see a lot of great innovation around new self-serve marketing products in the industry, these five principles should provide a long-term framework for any business running marketing campaigns and any vendor building discovery marketing products by taking into consideration a mix of consumer behaviors as well as the business’ standpoint.

 

Mobile

94 percent of smartphone owners look for local information on their phone, according to a study by Televox. Due to the rise of smartphones and smart devices – think Google Glass, navigation system in cars, smart watches - the time between intent and purchase is being compressed; often intent is sparked and satisfied in close-to real-time. Another recent study reveals that when consumers use mobile search to help make a decision they are 57% more likely to visit a local store and 39% more likely to call a business.

 

Mobile goes hand-in-hand with local. Geo-targeting, i.e. the ability to advertise to consumers based on their location, as well the real-time consumption aspect allow for easier customization and optimization of marketing campaigns.

The rise in mobile devices – think of the number of local businesses who now use internet-connected tablets as point-of-sale - is also helping bring business data online, enabling the above scenario where appointment availability is accessible in real-time to consumers.

 

Multi-Channel

According to a recent report by Black Box Media, 92% of consumers use online directories to research businesses in their local areas. The average searcher uses 2.5 different types of sources when looking for local business information. For local business owners, getting found on search engines, directories and social sites, like Facebook, has become de facto mandatory. Given the numerous platforms and channels, aggregation is important to streamline efforts and help SMBs save time.

 

Actionable

In the above example of the haircut, I was able to book the appointment right after finding out about the business. When consumers search for local information online, 70 percent end up connecting with the business. The increasing availability of (internet-) connected devices in small businesses, fueled by rapid growth of tablet-based Point-of-Sale and loyalty systems, is making it increasingly possible to connect consumers and businesses, beyond the phone call.

 

Controllable

Describing a scene from the movie Minority Report, GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving highlighted the importance of the user being in control and surfacing content based on a set of events and criteria, such as time of day, calendar entries, and location. “The way we actually intelligently filter [content] and allow the user to be in control is going to be a necessity for [Discovery Marketing] to take off”, said Irving during his keynote speech at the recent BIA/Kelsey conference in San Francisco.

 

Measurable

Coming from a world of $10,000 newspaper ads with limited ability to track performance, small businesses want simple metrics to track campaign success; there is a trend of replacing brand dollars with metric-based spending.  A significant portion of local businesses interviewed by Street Fight as part of their Local Merchant Report 2013, said that ‘direct ROI is the No. 1 most important factor in deciding to run a local marketing campaign’[8] .  Simply put, Judy’s Hair should have an easy way to see how well marketing campaigns work, e.g. how much it costs to acquire me as a customer or what an incremental $500 per month mean in terms of new customers.

 

Conclusion

We are at the beginning of an exciting, new chapter in the history of marketing. During the last decade, companies like HubSpot reinvented marketing for larger SMBs, coining the term ‘Inbound Marketing’. The next decade is about enabling smaller SMBs, the hair salon at the corner and the car repair shop down the street. In a recent survey, 76% of SMBs said ‘attracting new customers’ is the #1 topic that keeps them ‘up at night’. We believe Discovery Marketing products will help SMBs grow their businesses without losing sleep

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vmwareEarlier today, VMware and Forrester released the results of a late 2013 survey about the virtualization habits of SMBs. In particular, this survey was run between November and December 2013, and includes responses from 389 SMB IT Professionals from the US, UK, France and Germany.

One of the foremost findings of this survey was that 71% of respondents said they expected their virtual environment to grow within the coming year, but only 34% of those SMBs will be able to hire the additional staff to manage the growth in infrastructure. In addition, the survey showed that 53% of applications are virtualized in the SMB sector, but that only 45% are “very satisfied” with the ROI of Virtualization.

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Pronto 4.28 1While content marketing has gone mainstream in the past couple of years, MSPs and other technology providers understood the importance of educating prospects long ago. Explaining the value of new technology and what it can do for a business has always been the foundation of marketing for MSPs.

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The Week that was – April 27, 2014

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Dimension Data dramatically expands U.S. Presence with Nexus acquisition

dimension-data-logoThe biggest news of the week was far and away the next (and possibly final) phase in Dimension Data’s growth-through-acquisition strategy. The global ICT solution provider announced the acquisition of Valencia, Calif.-based Nexus. Along with an additional 40 percent of the US market, and near 50 percent jump in US revenues, Dimension picked up 19 Nexus offices throughout the West, Southwest and Southeast regions, where Dimension is looking to grow. Valued at $471 million, Nexus offers clear synergies for Dimension. Both companies are prominent Cisco partners. In fact Nexus, which has nearly doubled its sales since 2011, was named the 2014 Cisco Global Americas Partner of the Year, 2014 Cisco Nationals Services Partner of the Year and 2014 US Cisco Capital Partner of the Year.Just a few months ago, Dimension Data expanded its European footprint with the purchase of NextiraOne. Company executives say they expect most of their projected growth (the company wants to double revenue globally and triple US revenue) to now come organically, with some small acquisitions still possible. The terms of the Nexus deal were not disclosed.

Birch Communications announces plans to buy Cbeyond, prompts investigations

BirchNational MSP Cbeyond will be acquired by telecom services provider Birch Communications in a deal worth $323 million, but the announcement was met by raised eyebrows and has prompted numerous investigations by law firms concerned that the deal was undervalued and that alternatives may not have been fully considered. Combined, the two companies, which are both based in Atlanta, GA, would form a national organization focused on communications, cloud and managed services with annual sales of about $700 million. If the current deal goes through Cbeyond shareholders will receive between $9.97 and $10.00 per share. News of the acquisition prompted Cbeyond shared to jump 38 percent to $9.83, up from closing price of $7.08 on the previous trading day.

 

New Microsoft CEO puts his spin of company in first earnings call

microsoft logo-100029828-galleryIn Satya Nadella’s first earnings call since taking over the hotseat as CEO of Microsoft, the company announced earnings that beat Wall Street's profit expectations for Fiscal Q3. Nadella then shared details of how he is going to steer the ship going forward. For the quarter ended March 31, the company reported a profit of $5.66 billion on revenue of $20.40 billion. That’s 68 cents per share, which was up from Wall Street analyst expectations of 63 cents per share on revenue of $20.49 billion. Microsoft's Commercial division saw revenue rise 7 percent year on year, while Devices & Consumer division revenue jumped 12 percent. Microsoft's Commercial Licensing business increased sales by 10 percent during the quarter, generating around half of the company’s overall revenue. Office 365 sales were up, driving adoption of the Azure cloud offering. Even the Windows Surface tablet is showing signs of market growth, posting $500 million during the quarter, up 50 percent year on year though still well down from the $893 million it made over the holiday season. Nadella claimed Microsoft will continually evaluate its plans for becoming a "mobile-first, cloud-first" company and suggested that the software giant would not hesitate to jettison products and services that underperform or which don't fit the mobility and cloud-based vision.

TigerDirect joins Huawei channel program

TigerDirectTigerDirect, one of the largest online resellers of IT equipment to business and end-user customers, is continuing to expand its B2B offerings with the addition of Huawei's server, storage and networking products. Miami-based TigerDirect has been aggressively pursuing the B2B market for almost two years and has been fielding requests for Huawei products, so the move was a natural one, said the company. For Huawei, the new partnership accelerates its recently announced US-based SMB drive, adding 500 more salespeople in a market the company has identified as a specific target.

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CompTIA Launches Dream IT Initiative

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comptia logo smallEarlier this week, CompTIA announced a new initiative to encourage women to pursue careers in the IT Industry. The program, called Dream IT, is a speaker outreach program through which women and men currently employed in IT fields will visit schools to share their experiences and inspire young women to get degrees in technology.

Nancy Hammervik, Senior Vice President, Industry Relations, CompTIA, said this about the new program in a press release this week: “Our goal is to create a grassroots movement and reach 10,000 women and girls with information about the opportunities, rewards and value of IT professions.”

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David Gerhart, an IT Consultant with over twenty-five years of experience, recently contacted us with information on an interesting article he posted to his blog.

In this article, titled “Social Media — New Economy Opportunity,” he draws parallels between the first twenty years of internet occupations, and the recent boom in roles designed for social media experts

Writes Gerhart:

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Attend.com recently released a free app for event coordinators to manage attendee check-in and seating. This app is currently available on iOS devices, with Android availability to come later in 2014.

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bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how hard it is to generate honest-to-goodness qualified leads – that is, having an opportunity to pitch your services to organizations actually ready and able to do business with you.

Most service providers and MSPs I know find marketing and sales to be the hardest part about running their businesses. In fact, most have resigned themselves to relying almost exclusively on word-of-mouth referrals for new clients.

If you’re in that boat, then you certainly can’t afford to squander those precious few opportunities. You need to “bat 1000” when it comes to closing those leads and turning them into clients.

There’s some great free information available for you in an information-packed 16-minute webinar presented by noted IT Sales Guru, Gil Cargill.

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dandhjpgD&H Distributing recently announced that it has signed an agreement with Google to offer the company’s Chrome Management Console to D&H SMB business and K-12 education resellers. In fact, D&H is currently one of the only companies with permission to sell this particular solution in the Channel. D&H resellers may either offer this solution as a total package, or as a “management-as-a-service” offering.

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RFTRapidFire Tools, Inc. recently released the Network Detective HIPAA Compliance module, a comprehensive compliance tool designed to help MSPs navigate the often-choppy waters of HIPAA. Mike Mittel, President of RapidFire Tools, took some time to speak with me today about the new module, as well as the current HIPAA environment in the IT field.

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