#WPC12: Just finished with the keynote. A predictable event chock full of Ballmer energy, weak marketing-run corporate humor (was it really funny that Roskill came in on a bike?), and introduced by a well executed but astonishingly random Cirque du Soleil performance (fire and drums as a metaphor for MS commitment to partners?).
Looking past that, the content was solid. Here’s what I picked out:
1. Office 365 Open licensing: We can now resell on our own invoice O365. Not certain if CRM is included in this (it should be), but this is a big step.
2. Social Enterprise and Office 15. They are hanging a lot of hopes on both, esp Yammer and Sharepoint. As a big fan of SP and new adoptee of Yammer, I think this is well guided.
3. Windows 8: Tami Reller did a fantastic hands on overview, with surprisingly good detail, on feature set and new hardware devices. GA is Oct – color me smitten.
4. MS = Hardware: Ballmer announced the acquisition of Perceptive Pixel, a cutting edge large format, touch screen hardware vendor. Think Surface on steroids on a wall. It is just flat out AWESOME.
Marketing guru Seth Godin hits the nail on the head with his look at Talent and Vendors. Please go read it. As resellers we are technically vendors but the “Value Added” part is what makes the difference. The application of talent to deliver the right solution is what sets one reseller apart from another.
From the article: “That’s the key economic argument for the distinction: if you treat an artist like a vendor, you’ll often get mediocre results in return. On the other hand, if you treat a vendor like an artist, you’ll waste time and money.”
And: “A key element of the distinction is that in addition to the varying output potential, vendors are easier to replace than talent is.”
Personally, I hate when I’m trying to apply “Talent” ie. a novel solution, a cheaper solution, etc. and get treated like a “Vendor”. Some of my favorites are “We’ll just white that out when they print on the P.O.’s” or “We’ll just track that in Excel.”
Understanding which clients want talent and which ones just want a vendor is an important part of the relationship. Of course, then there there are companies that want to get talent but only pay for a vendor.
This is Brian Hastings, the IBIS Services Account Manager from MS that manages our account. He’s an awesome guy and a critical partner in our success at IBIS.
IBIS could be a case study in transformational change. Historically a successful GP partner, IBIS intentionally took the risk of investing in a completely new ERP product, aggressively investing in sales and marketing, AND rebuilding almost its entire executive team – and did it starting last year, in the depth of the worst economic environment in 80 years. The above nomination demonstrates the wisdom of that decision and the courage shown by Andy Vabulas, Bill Forsyth, John Koontz and Kathy Fitts in executing on that plan.
Inside IBIS, two groups of people deserve the credit for this. The first is the sales and marketing teams. The did a great job of driving leads in the door, and then making certain those leads got closed and closed quickly. Truly a great effort and its been my rare pleasure to see this unfold. The second is the consulting team. They did a great job at scaling quickly, working hard and delivering great work. And, it wasn’t just the AX consultants – the GP and CRM teams did amazing work, generated huge revenue and provided us the financial wherewithal to make that kind of new investment.
Good work, IBIS!
* Disclosure: Dwight Specht is the COO of IBIS.