SMB Nation

I attended SMB Nation this past weekend, 10/3 – 10/6.  I really learned a lot and enjoyed the experience.  CMIT had a booth to represent how we can help independent solution providers grow by becoming part of the CMIT family.  CMIT of Denver, Debi and Phil Bush, were there as well so I was able to catch up on how their business is doing.  We have reached the critical mass to now be pursued by vendors.  They want to partner with CMIT so it is my job to make sure they are a good fit and negotiate wonderful support and pricing.  SMB Nation made me realize how many vendors are marketing to the small business space.  I think there were over 10 backup and disaster recovery solutions represented.

I attended a pre-day event with Karl Palachuk and Erick Simpson on IT Best Practices.  I also bought Erick’s newest book on Best Practices for Service Delivery.  I plan to use as much of this information as possible to help the CMIT system document service delivery.  I want to create Autotask projects for this information.  I’m excited to get this completed as I know it will help the system, especially new franchise partners.

Karl presented information on tracking your goals and balancing your life.  It was good information as I’m sure all of us could do a better job of working less and accomplishing more.  Some of the key tips were to work in real time, don’t be interrupt driven, and ALWAYS work off of a service request.  This is key for the CMIT partners to use Autotask and have their clients enter tickets via client access.

Erick presented information about marketing and service delivery.  Most of the marketing information was similar to what we currently do.  He talked about the importance of newsletters and direct mail.  The service delivery part was quick as he covered 13 slides in about 13 minutes.  The key points were to raise your rates yearly, take advantage of a NOC and helpdesk, and invoice break/fix work every week.  I’m looking forward to getting his book – it was a pre-order purchase so maybe another week or two.

Then it was off to a 3 day conference and I really enjoyed it.  I’m trying to get some of the slides from a few of the sessions as I believe others would enjoy reviewing them.  The main topics were SaaS, SharePoint, Autotask and Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).  Autotask users should check out the Autotask community to learn more about the new features coming soon.  They are really really cool and will allow us to work with even larger clients.  I am really excited about it.  All these changes with SaaS adoption and cloud computing are changing the IT landscape.  It is important to become the trusted advisor and stay current on new technology.  IT Solution Providers are no longer break/fix techies with a cell phone, they are now consultants advising small business owners on how to leverage technology to save money and make the office more productive.