Friday, February 27, 2009

ASCII Success Summit - Los Angeles 2009

Last week I attended the ASCII Success Summit in Los Angeles.

There were about 100 VARs who attended the show. I didn't get to see all the presentations as they divided the group in half in order to fit in all the presentations that day. In the future ASCII should either let members determine which presentation they want to attend or allow speakers to talk to all attending members.

The two best presentations at the event were Kent Erickson (ASCII member) from Pointivity and Ron Gavlick from Zenith Infotech.



Kent Erickson's presentation focused on the shift in the IT industry from traditional hardware sales and break/fix services to hosted services and cloud computing.

To view Kent's presentation online, click here:
http://www.slideshare.net/secret/EKSs1rVyDP1xYb

Ron's presentation focused on Zenith's Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) device and the advantages of the BDR over traditional backup systems.

Other speakers at the ASCII Success Summit included:
  • Evolve Partners on Microsoft BPOS
  • ASCII Member, John Endter for Microsoft Response Point
  • ASCII Member, Dave Seibert for StorageCraft
  • ASCII Member, David Lawrence for Efolder
  • Autotask
  • Storage Guardian
  • Matt Makowicz – Managed Services Books
  • ARRC – HaaS Strategy
  • Reflexion
In talking with the attendees and ASCII members you can still see there's a big divide and difference in the IT market between traditional VARs (break/fix) and the MSP industry. Many of the smaller VARs are just getting into MSP or only entered into the MSP market with the last 6 months. Even fewer VARs are offering hosted services, they are still providing on-premise solutions with large hardware capital expenses which involve labor intensive support and ongoing maintenaince.

I had great conversations with many of the VARs about the value of adding hosted solutions as another sales tool. A handful mentioned they are reselling Google Apps and Google Email to their customers, but when questioned about revenue all them said they are not making any revenue off the sale of Google Apps/Gmail but provided the service to the customer to maintain the relationship and desktop support and desktop sales. The same goes for SalesForce.com and other online applications. The traditional VAR is being squeezed out of the market and companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are providing cloud based hosting services direct to customers with little or no revenue opportunities to the VARs.

It will be interesting to see how VARs move forward and what solutions they adopt, especially cloud or hosted solutions over the next year.

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