Case Study: How the Cloud Replaced $1M of Equipment

Intelisys filmed this comprehensive case study with the assistance of the following:

Metrolina GreenhousesThomas Baird, IT Director of Metrolina Greenhouses (End User)

Inspire CommunicationsMike Hancock, Owner of Inspire Communications (Intelisys Sales Partner)

MatrixNeely Loring, President and Founder of Matrix (Intelisys Supplier Partner)

Thomas Baird recounts his experience working with Mike from Inspire Communications and how he was able to bring a lot of resources to the table, evaluating all options.  In the end, the Matrix model was what worked best for them.  Matrix was able to assist Metrolina with getting out of the hardware business and to focus instead on controlling their spend and growing their business.

Excruciating Pain & Extraordinary People

2:15 a.m. PDT, Wednesday morning, it started.  Sharp, searing pain on the lower right side of my abdomen…flipped on like a switch.  This was not a foreign pain to me.  I had been dragged through this field of broken glass twice before over the past 5 years.  I knew what had just started and knew what I was in for.

“Susie, wake up, time to get me to the hospital.  I’m passing a kidney stone.”

We called ahead to the emergency room to get them ready.  “No fussing around.  Have the good stuff ready when I get there.”

I was scheduled to fly to Orange County at 8:00 a.m. to speak to 70 of our sales partners and to run another hugely impactful Intelisys Mindshare event.  As they began pumping narcotics into my arm, I knew I was not going to make it…someone was going to have stand in that gap.

It’s at times of crisis when the true character and talent of extraordinary people really shines.  This was one of those times.  Jay Bradley, Mike McKenney, Dana Topping, Chuck Mache.  It’s amazing what a deep bench of gifted leaders we have at Intelisys.  They all stepped in and ran a world-class event.  Sure, I’m guessing they made lots of jokes about me being stoned, but truth is always funny…  I was completely wasted while they were helping our partners build their businesses. Andrew in Hospital

This experience reminds me of a really important business lesson.

  • Is there something you do in your company that you’ve felt only you can do?
  • Are you sure there aren’t others that could step up if asked?
  • How deep is your bench?
  • How often do you test the capabilities of that bench?

Today I am grateful for so many things.  I’m grateful to be surrounded by extraordinary people who collectively make up the absolute best leadership team in the channel…truly awe-inspiring to be a part of this.  I’m grateful that when my body said "no", our team said "yes" and they hit it out of the park.  And lastly, I’m grateful this little fella passed on through and I can get back to doing my part.  And drugs…  I’m grateful for those, too. Pet Rock Good selling.

A Glimpse Into the Cloud

To be more accurate, this is a glimpse into the conversation on Cloud or, as we like to call it, the "conversation on convergence."

We wrapped up our second CLOUD LIVE! event of 2014 yesterday at the Petaluma studios.  We had a great time doing it and wanted to say "thank you" to everyone involved in the setup, the panel conversations, as well as everyone who took time out of their schedules to join us.  The next event is coming up quickly — our second Polycom Cloud Services University — and we’re hoping you’ll all be able to join us again!

For now, have a look at some of the inner workings of CLOUD LIVE!

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Cloud-Live-set-up-final-panel

CL-studio-andrew-checking-text-between-panels

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Vegas in T-minus…

The 2014 Channel Partners Conference & Expo at The Venetian & Sands is finally here!  We’re headed out to Vegas now in order to get everything set up at booth #4016.  The agenda is set, so come track us down! Wednesday, February 26

  • 11:00 am – 11:45 am: MPLS Alternatives – Challenging the Leading Cloud Networking Technology
  • 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm: Supplier Fair
  • 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Intelisys Exhibit Booth #4016

Thursday, February 27

  • 8:00 am – 3:00 pm: Intelisys Cloud Services University Training
  • 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Intelisys Exhibit Booth # 4016
  • 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Intelisys Cloud Services Cocktail Party
  • 10:00 pm – 1:00 am: Intelisys Late Night Party at The Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip

February, February 28

  • 10:00 am – Noon: Intelisys Exhibit Booth #4016

  For more details on the agenda, go here.  Looking forward to seeing you all in Vegas!

Is Your Data On Ice? Technology Services to Save Your Business

Raymond NelsonIntelisys knows this has been a very difficult winter for most of the country.  With ice storms and sub-zero temperatures knocking out services and communications, thousands of businesses are experiencing losses.  As I am writing this, another storm is heading to the Southeast, and it’s forecasted to move up to my area.  So once again, and over the next several days, thousands of businesses may lose millions of dollars in time and assets due to outages.  However, the good news is that many of these losses and hours of downtime can be avoided with some IT and communications services planning.  To better ensure uptime and productivity during these storms and natural disasters,here are three technologies to consider.

DaaS/VDI

Desktop as a Service (DaaS) can be leveraged to overcome outages.  For those of you not familiar with DaaS/VDI, the technology moves the desktop operating system into the cloud and streams the desktop out to any device running a small agent.  Why is this valuable in a power outage?  Accessing individual files and applications consumes a lot of bandwidth, while streaming desktop images uses a much smaller amount.   With lower bandwidth requirements I can run my full desktop and access my corporate data over my cell phone.  So when the power goes out, I’m able to switch from my cable modem to my cell phone and I’m back in business.  During Hurricane Sandy I worked like this for over a week.  Some of the companies to look to when considering this solution include Matrix, Evolve IP, RapidScale and NaviSite.

Colocation and Virtual Servers

If your customers are still housing their data onsite or in a low tier data center, now is a great time to talk to them about moving to the cloud or a colocation facility.  Data center providers such as Savvis, ServerCentral, Internap or Telx can provide customers with highly redundant facilities which include power, data connectivity, and cooling.  The peace of mind which comes from having higher levels of uptime due to this redundancy, especially during these winter storms, is immeasurable.

DRaaS

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is another technology which can help your customers “weather the storm.”  Even if your customer can not move everything to the cloud, a good DRaaS is a sound strategy and a great first step.  Companies such as Green Cloud, Windstream and RapidScale provide solutions which enable companies to back up virtual images of their servers to the cloud. Then in the case of an outage, those virtual images can be quickly and easily turned on to ensure business continuity during sustained power failures or when access to locations becomes challenging.

As we have done in the past, we will make it through this storm!  But times like these do make us pause to think about and consider better ways to protect our businesses from the impact of unpredictable, yet inevitable disasters.  What I have shared with you is just a few ways Intelisys can help you and your customers plan and be prepared for the next big one.  Because, in the end, it is Mother Nature who has the ultimate say.  We just need to prepare for her!

Be Safe and Be Warm!

 

Come See Us at Booth #4016

In just a couple of weeks, we’re headed down to Las Vegas for this year’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo.  This year’s three-day event is hosted by The Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino and it’s shaping up to be quite an event! The schedule isn’t fully finalized yet, but we can tell you we’re setting up shop at booth #4016 — don’t forget to come by and say hi!  For those of you interested in tracking our whereabouts and seeing what we’re contributing at this year’s event, you can check out our agenda here or read more about it below:   February 26, 2014

     9:00 am – 4:00 pm: Supplier Meetings

     1:30 pm – 3:30 pm: Supplier Fair Casanova 506, 507,606, 607

     4:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Exhibit Booth # 4016

February 27, 2014

     8:00 am – 3:00 pm: Cloud Training Casanova 506

     9:00 am – 3:00 pm: Supplier Meetings

     2:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Exhibit Booth # 4016

     4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Supplier Meetings Casanova 506

     5:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Cloud Cocktail Party

     10:00 pm – 1:00 am: Late Night Party at The Hard Rock Cafe on the strip

February 28, 2014

     10:00 am – Noon: Exhibit Booth # 4016

  We hope to see you all there!

Don’t be a Richard. Respect your competition.

Richard ShermanWe all saw the now infamous post-game interview this past Sunday.  A talented Richard Sherman, who had just made an outstanding football play to win the NFC championship, ripped the very competitor he was battling with seconds before.  Twitter exploded with disgust and anger and general “WTF was he thinking”? He had an opportunity to praise a worthy opponent, to celebrate a remarkable game, to thank his teammates who all played a critical part in this greatest of all team sports.  Instead he trashed the other guy and immediately lost the respect of millions. 

We all work in a highly competitive environment.  In fact, competition is foundational to this great country we all call home.  We ask every day, how do we beat the other guy?  How do we get smarter, faster, better, bigger than the guy we’re battling every day?

At Intelisys, we know exactly who our competition is, and yes, we talk every day about how we can beat them and how we can win.  But it’s also accurate to say that we hold our competition in high regard.  In our industry, along with fierce competition, there is mutual respect and admiration.  We all appreciate how hard it is to do what we do.  None of us have gotten where we’re at by dumb luck, or having something handed to us.  We all battle every day in a free market that is big enough for all of us to be wildly successful.

I always look forward to our industry events where we get to catch up, swap war stories over some brown liquor, and learn from each other about how we can build a healthier and more effective channel.

Its always fun to see our competition show up at our trainings and drinking our booze and dancing at our parties.  We welcome them with open arms. Could we lock them out, blast them in the media, tear them down in order to build us up?  Sure, we could. But we choose the opposite path, knowing that while we’ll enter the arena to battle each other time and time again, we’ll always do it as respected peers.

Where we could easily be Richards, we choose to be leaders.  And that’s a refreshing take on competition.

 

Grand Cayman, here we come!

Grand Cayman TPC

This year’s Top Performing Champions (TPC) Club Trip is moving to Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands from January 26 – 29, 2014. The Intelisys-sponsored program is specifically designed to reward top-performing producers and to encourage our rising stars to increase growth in new business with Intelisys.  This year’s period of eligibility took place from September 2012 through August 2013 and the prize for this year’s winning sales partners is a trip for two to Grand Cayman!

In addition to the fun-filled trip to Grand Cayman, Club TPC membership comes with some additional benefits.  For those of our sales partners who achieve a certain level of membership status, trip assistance to this year’s Channel Connect event will be provided. We’ve also made substantial additions to the TPC program, providing you with support services and mentoring programs in the following areas:

  1. Business Mentoring Program
  2. Finance
  3. HR/Administration
  4. Marketing
  5. Partner Support Services
  6. Process and Training
  7. Sales

The trip to Grand Cayman is fast approaching, so if you’re one of our elite, top-selling partners of 2013, we look forward to seeing you there!

Five Ways to Prepare for the Vegas Channel Show

Are You Ready For Vegas?

Well, it’s that time of year again…we are only two weeks away from the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. What you may not realize is that most of your success at the show will depend on your preparation, so we’re passing along some tips to make sure you’re prepared. These events can get pricey, so make sure you squeeze out every last drop of opportunity!

1. Set Some Goals – Decide why you are attending the show and what your desired outcomes, or as Stephen R. Covey said, "Begin with the end in mind." You may have three or four goals in mind, but make sure they are clear. This will help you greatly in planning your time at the show.

2. Do Your Homework – Rather than strolling the expo floor aimlessly, hoping to run into people you want to see, do your research and schedule as many appointments ahead of time as possible. Make sure to focus in on the goals you set above. You can access the list of exhibitors here: http://www.channelpartnersconference.com/2013/vegas/exhibitors.html

3. Prepare Your Team – Make sure you and your team are all on the same page in terms of strategy and logistics of the show. If you have a lot of people attending, it’s a good idea to have one person designated to manage travel arrangements and schedules. Make sure everyone has plenty of business cards and the appropriate attire.

4. Take Care of Yourself – Nothing is worse than feeling under the weather at a fast-paced event like the Channel Show, so take steps to ensure you’re healthy and have lots of energy. Start now, making sure you’re eating well, getting lots of rest, and avoiding sick people. And don’t forget your Airborne!

5. Plan Your Follow Up – Have you ever attending an event only to return and stare blankly at a large stack of business cards? Don’t let this be you. Instead, plan now for how you will categorize the people you meet, and how you will follow up with each category. Will you send an email, make a phone call, connect on LinkedIn? These are all things you can decide now so your plan is in place when you return. 

By following these simple steps, you can make the most of any trade show or event you attend. We can’t wait to see you in Vegas!
 

 

“We Can Do That Too!” …And Other Dangerous Statements for VARs

Four years ago I started Terrapin Solutions.  It was a big idea with lots of promise.  But as any young venture, we had our growing pains…had to find our way, had to carve out our niche, had to create our own unique brand.  Looking back, we made a lot of mistakes.  One of the biggest was expanding our scope before we were ready. 

"I understand you do this, but can you also do that?"  
 
"Uh…sure!"
 
That conversation seemed to happen a lot.  We actually took pride in our ability to be flexible and opportunistic.  But looking back, we can see how that took us off course, away from our core business, away from what we were really good at, what we were really strong around, and into areas we didn’t fully understand, didn’t have experience in, areas we couldn’t confidently and consistently deliver with excellence.  And because of that, everything suffered.
 
Fortunately, we figured it out early enough to make the appropriate course correction that enabled us to build a really successful cloud services practice.
 
I’m reminded of our story because I’m seeing it play out with increasing frequency amongst IT Solution Providers that I talk with every day.  So many that have built successful businesses around selling and supporting boxes are now struggling with the shift to carrier & cloud services.  They’re finding that stating "we can do that too" is woefully insufficient.  They desperately want to make the shift, but they are ill-equipped to do so.  They don’t have the capital, the staff, the expertise, or the runway.  Doing so in spite of those challenges results in more pain than profit.
 
So the real question is, how does a business transform itself without dying from the effort?  More specifically, how does a IT Solution Provider make the pivot to carrier & cloud services without running out of runway?
 
To successfully make the pivot, you must have three things.
  1. The expertise - you must truly understand carrier & cloud services…how they’re priced, sold, ordered, supported, etc.  Its a very different world than hardware.
  2. Dedicated resources – expecting your existing hardware sales people to begin selling carrier & cloud services in volume is a failed model.  You must have dedicated sales people who wake up every day looking to put food on the table by selling nothing but carrier & carrier services.
  3. Sufficient Capital – residual revenue can be compelling long term, but it takes a serious runway to get there.  Plan on 18+ months to get to a monthly run-rate that is meaningful.
So do these requirements kill this idea for many IT Solution Providers?  Does this mean the pivot is only possible for the biggest, well-resourced VARs?  Perhaps.
 
Or perhaps partnering with the right outside resource is the best answer.  We at Intelisys recently launched our Channel Alignment Program.  Very simply, it aligns VARs with cloud & carrier services sales professionals.  It enables a VAR to begin making the pivot immediately, without investing any cash and without redirecting resources from their core business.
 
Could this be the answer for many who are struggling to make this shift?  I’d love your feedback.