5 things, Channel partner programs, CSPs, MSP, VAR

5 Channel Observations: 14 Oct 2015

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Good morning, channel partners. Here are five technology news updates, insights, gossip, chatter and more to start your day for Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 15 items for VARs, managed services providers (MSPs) and cloud services providers (CSPs) to sip on.

15. Ripe for Managed Services: When it comes to IT service management (ITSM), UK organizations seem to be ahead of the curve. Indeed, 80 percent of UK organizations have an ITSM maturity level of 3 or higher -- compared to 66 percent of organizations worldwide, according to an Axios Systems survey. To me, that means the vast majority of UK customers understand the value of IT automation and proactive support -- even before you start the managed services pitch. (Admittedly, the survey likely included larger organizations... but perhaps that means the midmarket is ripe for MSPs...)

14. Office 365 Password Management: Thycotic, which offers password reset solutions, recently launched password synchronization with Office 365, help desk integration and Activate Directory Attribute Integration. Password management is a hot-button issue for many MSPs and software vendors. LogMeIn just acquired LastPass -- a password and identity management company. And PassPortal has been gaining momentum as a password management solution that integrates with many MSP software platforms.

13. New Partner Program: Applied Systems, which develops vertical market software for the insurance industry, just launched the Applied Partner Program. Partners come in many shapes and sizes, but it sounds like ISV integrations are especially welcome.

12. Recurring Revenue Tips: How can VARs and MSPs really build out their recurring revenue models? Maybe you should steal a page from SaaS software companies and their subscription models. With that thought in mind, here are 10 tips for running a profitable, subscription-based business, according to CIO.

11. Server Industry Concerns: Intel's latest quarterly earnings, announced yesterday, included stronger-than-expected profits. But there were several warning signs to consider for Intel and the broader IT channel. Intel's net income actually fell a bit, revenue essentially was flat, and  Intel's server-related revenue forecast disappointed some investors.


10. Dell Tries to Exit PC Business?: Before Dell acquired EMC this week, private equity parent Silver Lake tried to sell Dell's PC business to rivals. Indeed, Silver Lake last week contacted HP and Lenovo, among other companies, to see if they were interested in buying Dell's PC business, according to re/code. Apparently, there were no takers...

9. Surface Book Solid Out: How's this for ironic. While Dell apparently considers a PC market exit, Microsoft's push into the PC industry continues to show great promise. The company's new Surface Book notebook is "sold out" at various online stores. Of course, we don't know actual production levels/manufacturing figures. But early buzz for the high-end laptop (which doubles as a tablet) has been strong.

8. Small Business Wage Gains... But...: Attention entrepreneurs who run small companies. Many of your peers plan to raise wages -- not that the overall business climate is all that positive. Indeed, 67 percent of small business owners say the U.S. business climate is fair to poor, and 63 percent think the U.S. is on the wrong path, according to a survey from the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

More: See Items 7 through 1 — including top IT spending priorities in banks, a warning about commodity IT services, why it's time to master APIs again, and how to get ahead with Amazon cloud consulting and migration services.

Page 2 of 2: Today's top channel partner updates, continued:

Adriana Karaboutis Adriana Karaboutis

7. Dell Will Make Speedy EMC Decisions: How will Dell manage EMC once the buyout is official around May 2016? The short answer comes from former Dell CIO Adriana Karaboutis. She says Dell will make thoughtful but rapid decisions about the EMC buyout. I suspect that means -- which products stay, which go and how everything fits together with Dell's existing data center offerings.

6. How Banks Will Boost IT Spending: Banking CIOs expect to increase their IT security spending roughly 10 percent in 2016, according to SourceMedia. Moreover, somewhere between 40 percent and 50 percent of executives expect to boost spending on compliance, online banking, BYOD management and payment software.

5. A Warning to Commodity MSPs, VARs: The warning goes something like this -- companies have stopped IT outsourcing, and are only willing to hand commodity services (data-center operations and end-user support) to their outsourcing providers, according to well-known consultant and professor Tom Davenport. While I don't fully agree with Davenport's premise, I will offer this. Many MSPs and VARs continue to make healthy margins -- 20 to 30 percent -- on commodity managed services that are delivered with incredible efficiency. And I also believe there are higher-margin IT outsourcing opportunities all around us... most of which involve the application stack...

4. Oracle Wins Battle vs IT Support Specialist: Oracle has won $50 million in damages against Rimini Street, an IT support specialist that sells Oracle support at steep discounts compared to the technology giant. Rimini Street is expected to appeal the ruling.

Alyssa Fitzpatrick

3. Progress Report: When Channel Chief Alyssa Fitzpatrick arrived at CA Technologies in January 2014, she spent a few months studying the company's existing go-to-market strategy. Then she wrote a two-year channel plan filled with priorities, goals and milestones. Fast forward to the present. How is the plan performing -- and what new wrinkles can partners expect? ChannelE2E got the details directly from Fitzpatrick. We'll share some insights in the days ahead, while also previewing CA World 2015.

2. Time to Master APIs -- Again: In the classic client-server age, Microsoft's Win32 API ruled the market. Today, cloud APIs that tied together multiple on-premises and hosted applications are the rage. That's why Oracle and its rivals now promote API management cloud services. I don't have a feel for which companies are leading cloud API market... but we're taking a closer look at the situation.

Related Podcast: C2S Consulting Group President Brandee Daly

1. Amazon Cloud Migration Tips: So, you're an IT consultant who wants to offer cloud migration services. Where do you start? Perhaps Brandee Daly can offer some guidance. She launched C2S Consulting Group in May 2015 to help customers migrate their workloads into Amazon's cloud. Listen now: Daly describes the strategy in ChannelE2E Podcast 047.

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Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.