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

5 Tech Observations: 15 Sept

Good morning, IT channel partners and IT service providers. Here are five technology news updates, insights, chatter, gossip and plenty more to start your day for Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 12 items to sip on.

12. Where to Start: So, you just stumbled onto ChannelE2E and perhaps you missed our launch announcement (it's set to hit the wires sometime on Tuesday, Sept. 15). To get started on the site, check out What to Read First -- which describes what we're up to and how to engage with the ChannelE2E community (and us).

11. Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Launch: Circle October 6 on your calendar. That's when Microsoft is expected to unveil its next Surface Tablets and Windows Phones -- running Windows 10, of course. A media invite just hit my inbox. Hashtag: #Windows10devices. Sure, some channel fans are upset about Dell and HP reselling Surface. But competition in the tablet market is only a small piece of the real IT service provider challenge these days. The far bigger challenge has little to do with reselling mobile hardware. Instead, the race is on to leverage data for real business insights.

10. Cisco Systems and Salesforce.com: Why is new Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins speaking at Salesforce.com's big Dreamforce conference this week? Hmmm...

9. Watching Tampa for Clues: I never had a chance to officially report that ConnectWise hired a CFO, promoted a bunch of folks (including Adam Slutskin to Chief Revenue Officer), empowered co-founder David Bellini to accelerate the international charge, and is seeking a CIO. Hmmm... A bigger strategy seems to be unfolding... But that's not all. The Tampa-based company is part of a larger IT revolution in the area -- though much of it involves HealthTech rather than IT services automation.

8. Hijacking the Apple Enterprise Conversation: So, Apple continues to expand its list of enterprise partners (Cisco, IBM). Instead of waiting on Apple to put it all in perspective, MobileIron Director of Strategy Sean Ginevan attempts to put his spin on the situation. And generally speaking... his spin is on the mark.

7. Midmarket Storage: I expect new IT service provider opportunities to arrive in, oh, about 24 hours. Stay tuned.

Michael George

6. On the Road Again: Will I see you at Continuum Navigate 2015? Yes, I'll be there. Thanks to the Continuum team for the invite.  Poke around and you may find some rather dramatic growth figures for Continuum over the past year or two. It sort of makes me wonder if CEO Michael George is poking around the market for more M&A targets...

5. IBM and the IoT: IBM is the latest company to launch an Internet of Things (IoT) division. No doubt, MSP- and VAR-friendly software companies (example: RMM software providers) increasingly focus on IoT opportunities for partners. Some IT service providers get overwhelmed by all the future talk -- robots, machine learning, etc. I prefer to keep the IoT discussion rather simple -- and focused on real-world opportunities. A prime example: Smart building management.

4. ITSM Meets Big Data: Poke around ChannelE2E and you'll see a growing wave of coverage involving IT service management (ITSM) and big data. Or, more precisely, ITSM and analytics. One recent development involves HP Service Anywhere -- a SaaS-based ITSM solution -- now featuring big data capabilities that can potential improve quality of service and issue resolution times, HP claims. I expect similar messaging to increasingly surface in the small business market -- especially at MSP friendly software and cloud vendors embrace machine learning.

3. C-Suite Relationships: If you're an IT service provider engaged with the University of Minnesota -- be extra careful with your business relationship going forward. Former university CIO Scott Studham is under fire for alleged misspending and misuse of time off. I emphasize the word alleged since I'm not in direct contact with Studham or the university. Still, this tale is a friendly reminder that you need to build relationships across the C-suite... and not just with the CIO.

Paul Dippell

2. Join Me Tonight: Service Leadership Inc. CEO Paul Dippell is ChannelE2E's podcast guest this evening (9:01 p.m. ET). Dippell is an expert on IT service provider performance optimization. Through aggregated data, he has a unique view of VAR and MSP performance, and can benchmark your company against the broader partner ecosystem. So, what key data points and metrics should you keep in mind? Dippell shares the answers with ChannelE2E this evening.

1. ChannelE2E Launch Announcement: At some point today we'll issue a press release and ignite a social media campaign about ChannelE2E's official launch. If you want to spread the word please use the hashtags #E2E and #ChannelE2E. In the meantime, hello to those who visited the site even before our official launch announcement. Feedback and constructive criticism are always welcome.

PS: Thank you so much for visiting ChannelE2E -- tracking IT service providers from entrepreneur to exit. Not sure where to get started? Visit here first.

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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.