Need a reality check?
- Vladville: Angry Birds: The Microsoft Partner Edition
It is pretty obvious that things are changing big-time in the SMB/SME space. More so in SMB than anything.
Indeed, the writing has been on the wall since Microsoft introduced the Microsoft Small Business Specialist to encourage small IT shops, single contact business types, to get certified.
We upped our rates the day after my exam was passed and we were welcomed into the SBSC program. The program was an excellent incentive to change my perspective on the way we did business, the services we provide, and the level of excellence we wanted to pursue in our business.
Microsoft has since pushed the bar one step up with the introduction of a Competency. The only way an IT firm can capture one of these competencies is to have at least two Microsoft Certified Professionals on staff along with the requisite exams within that program and the Microsoft Partner Program.
Microsoft’s Cloud endeavours are pushing the SMB IT service provider further up against the wall. The SBSC program is looking to be finished while the Elephant squeezes as many SMBs into Office 365 (or in our case we set up OWN hosted Exchange with a huge Value Add by us) and thus virtually eliminate the small IT shop.
It is in Microsoft’s best interest to operate this way on so many fronts.
We have come across so many Microsoft server product deployments that were so botched up, unprofessional, no Standard Order of Procedure between all systems, backups not functioning or failing, and so much more that it stands to reason that Microsoft push the SMB envelope into their own house.
This is not to say that _everyone_ that provides IT services in the SMB space falls into the above category.
But, dollars to donuts the folks that are providing excellent IT Solutions to their SMB/SME clients are _not_ the ones currently crying about Microsoft’s push to the Cloud and front-line billing of the client.
The push to the Cloud is one of the reasons we have been pushing so hard into Hyper-V Failover Clustering.
Somewhere along the line our business model will shift from the SMB focus we now have into an SMB/SME focus on On-Premises IT Solutions that are built more on the Microsoft Stack than the SBS/Premium Add-On stack.
As I commented in Vlad’s blog post linked above:
Reality is such a harsh mistress (twist on Heinlein’s Moon is a Harsh Mistress).
A keen eye and hard work will always be rewarded. :)
Note the last sentence.
The ones that we don’t hear complaining about all of the changes are the ones with raw knuckles working themselves into a new Value Added Relationship with their clients. Or, they are working themselves into an entirely new market segment and product line.
The economic downturn over the last few years took care of a lot of small time IT Solution providers. The push to the Cloud will take of a lot more out of the picture too.
In the end it is up to us to work our way through all of the mush to discover the diamond in the rough. From there we can work it into something that folks will want to purchase to make their business better.
And that is the goal, the vision statement, the ultimate way: We develop IT solutions for our clients that make their businesses and business processes run in a vastly superior manner.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book