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Thursday, March 28, 2013

013: "MpS in a Box", "Managed Services in a Box" and other Silly Things Marketing Comes up With

We can call this out, because we've been part of the movement.

I saw another services-in-a-box marketing statement the other day.  They were advertising a webinar about something or other - managed services in a box.

It struck me, weren't we just complaining about the commoditization of MpS?  Wasn't it a couple of years ago, when we started to see "MPS in a Box" offerings? And once we put ourselves in a box, are we not off to see our maker or worse, a commodity?

Why do we do this ?

Like you, we've been spoon fed the " a box..." value proposition time and time again.

From the word "solution" to the phrase "Professional Services", unique approaches to unique problems do not easily translate into predictable ROI.  So they box, barcode and ship creating commission gates forcing us to attach the latest software sku to our boxes in order to collect the pittance.

Think I'm wrong?  How many faxservers, DocSends or ECopy did you sell?  Without a copier?

Here's the deal - we in the field do not place our expertise in a box.  We are unique as individuals and when we discuss opportunities with clients, our uniqueness shines through.

The only people who want to place expertise and acumen in a box are those who manufacture the box.  What are they making in those plants, anyway?

  • Are they assembling business solutions? No.
  • Are they putting together answers to complex business problems? Not really.
  • Are the container ships unloading Workflow or Process Optimization? Nope.
  • How about Business Acumen?  Oh heck no.
What leaves their shores and hits our docks is a box - glass, plastic and tin - that's all.  As long as the factories kick out machines, machine based quotas will continue down stream into the trenches - from the manufacturer, to the branch/dealer, to the sales manager, down to you my good friend.  Scrub your MIF, churn n burn, and call it ALL managed services in a box.

"On the first of the month we sell solutions, after the 15th, we sell boxes..."- Ikon, 2005ish.

Remember when "think outside of the box" was the mantra of the day?  What fools we were back then, buying into the whole think differently mind set which was only true as long as our different thinking on the 1st of the month brought in more boxes by the 28th.  Fact is, back then, we could of attached George Forman grills to our copiers and people would have signed 68 month leases anyway.

It just didn't matter.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The other day, Jennifer and I had the privilege of visiting one of the premier software companies in the world headquartered locally. The campus was impressive and facilities as opulent as the Wynn.

We were there as guests invited to check out something called Visual Analytics: a long way from the Ricoh Demo-Rama at IKON.

The rest of the story...

CompTIA Unveils New Name for IT Channel’s Premier Event: Welcome to CompTIA ChannelCon

Conference will build on Breakaway legacy with more education, training and networking opportunities

Downers Grove, Ill., March 6, 2013 – CompTIA, the non-profit association for the information technology (IT) industry, today unveiled CompTIA ChannelCon as the new name and identity for its premier annual event.

The inaugural CompTIA ChannelCon is scheduled for July 29-31 at the Peabody Orlando Hotel in Orlando, Fla.

“Our premier event, known for many years as Breakaway, now has a name that truly reflects its scope,” said Kelly Ricker, senior vice president, events and education, CompTIA. “The quality of the meetings, partnership opportunities, hot topic sessions and channel-neutral training make ChannelCon an unparalleled experience in the IT industry.”

The format and content of CompTIA’s Breakaway conference has changed significantly over the last several years, shifting from an event that emphasized lead generation to a conference centered on business education and networking opportunities.

In 2010, CompTIA shifted Breakaway from a hosted industry event to an un-hosted model, where attendees chose to make their own investments to participate. The following year, a vendor-neutral channel training and education platform was added to the conference.

The introduction of CompTIA’s member communities also raised the activity and engagement levels at the event, allowing vendors, distributors and solution providers to sit at the same table to discuss best practices, address issues facing their businesses and develop initiatives to grow the IT industry.

“We embrace our role as the gathering place where industry opportunities and challenges are addressed collaboratively by all channel professionals, regardless of company or category,” Ricker said. “CompTIA ChannelCon brings together the best cross section of the industry: solution providers, vendors, distributors, analysts, media, tech associations and other channel organizations.”

ChannelCon attendees can expect great education and training opportunities, a lively vendor fair and the unparalleled access to key channel executives.

Other planned activities include:

• Workshops on CompTIA trustmarks, the business-level credentials for IT businesses that adheres to the industry's best practices.
• CompTIA Executive Certificate programs, which provide busy IT professionals the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skill sets in areas such as cloud computing and mobile technologies.
• E-learning Capstone Sessions, the final piece to completing an e-learning Executive Certificate.
• Keynotes speeches and panel discussions featuring top leaders in the business and IT arenas.
• The “Unconference Lunch”, an opportunity for attendees to drive the conference agenda.
• Private events for exhibitors.
• Best of CompTIA ChannelCon Awards.

Registration for CompTIA ChannelCon will open in mid-March. Visit CompTIA Events for the latest information and updates.

About CompTIA

CompTIA is the voice of the world’s information technology (IT) industry. Its members are the companies at the forefront of innovation; and the professionals responsible for maximizing the benefits organizations receive from their investments in technology. CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth through its educational programs, market research, networking events, professional certifications, and public policy advocacy. For more information, visit, and
Steven Ostrowski
Director, Corporate Communications

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