Archive for August 2009

Comparison of remote desktop software

Wikipedia Comparison chart of Remote Support tools. There are several popular tools not listed but overall the chart is a fairly comprehensive list remote support programs and their features but does not include a comparison of cost.

Thanks to Dan Hand of ACRBO for the link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_remote_desktop_software

Red Hat Partner Program

Red Hat recently revamped their PartnerProgram. There are now three tiers; Red Hat Ready Partner, Red Hat Advanced Partner and Red Hat Premier Partner. The program offers:

  • Up-sale and Cross-sale opportunities
  • Sales and Technical Training Courses and Certifications
  • Access to Red Hat Solutions and Support
  • Access to Global Sales Team

Red Hat Partner Program Overview and FAQs

Red Hat Partner Center

Are Social Networks Effective Tools For Marketing Your Business?

I read a thread on Technibble today on the topic of social networking sites and whether or not using them for marketing your business was actually beneficial. The responses were somewhat mixed but the general consensus was that they are. Interestingly, the individual who posted the initial query was not a fan of sites such as Facebook and had reservations about using it for business purposes. This is not an unusual position.

I have talked with a number of tech business owners who have no interest in social networking. In their view, sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter seem to be mindless diversions or a waste of valuable time. They are also somewhat intrusive. They don’t want their personal lives publicly displayed on the net for all to see or search for on Google. They don’t want to market their businesses in a fashion that to them is perceived as “unprofessional”.

I have also talked with those who wholeheartedly embraced social networking either on a personal level, a business level, or both and who invest a lot of time daily to exploit this type of public exposure to its maximum potential. They are not afraid to Twitter the day away or publish the most mundane details of their lives on Facebook with the ultimate goal of building online relationships with family, friends, associates and complete strangers for fun, profit or both.

 I certainly do not subscribe to the notion that social networking as a marketing tool is a bad thing or a waste of time. Neither do I think it is always the best or the only way to go. I do, however, think that utilized wisely, social networking on a professional level can be a very useful and effective tool in marketing your business. The key, as I view it, is the approach.

There are businesses that do quite well with sites like Facebook and Twitter. They have developed relationships with their customers on more than just a professional level. Using social networks these relationships have become both more professional and personal in a positive way. By monitoring social networking sites these companies watch and listen to customers more closely and customers enjoy a more direct and instant communication with the companies they do business with. This one-on-one relationship is in complete contrast to the typical phone IVR and web based customer service models which typically serve to insulate companies from their customers and their needs, effectively hurting customer relationships instead of nurturing them.

Of course, not every company “gets it”. There are many businesses that jump into the social network marketing model without a clue as to how to do it right and ultimately hurt their reputations instead. This is because, as with everything else, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

For instance, there are a few companies I followed on Twitter that seemed to treat every “tweet” as if it were an ad. Each post was a blatant shout to buy a service or product, often in repetitive, word-for-word carbon copies. There was no useful information in the posts, no links to newsworthy or interesting blogs on a mutual topic of interest, no attempt to engage me personally in any meaningful dialogue. They were all just mindless billboards with sales pitches in 140 characters or less. These are companies I did not follow long and I did not consider to do business with.

I also heard of companies who started out with a less than stellar reputation for customer relationships and turned their reputations around with social networking. These companies followed their customers, listened to the chatter on these social networking sites from those customers who had issues with the company and then contacted those customers personally to resolve those issues and make things right. These companies were actually listening to their customers and responding to their needs. They weren’t selling to their customers, they were building relationships with them – and that is what “social networking” is all about.

There are a few companies with loyal legions of fans and followers who have built their businesses and profits through social networking. Any company can do this if they follow proper social “netiquette” and utilize social networking sites for what they were designed to be – not as conduits for commercials, but as tools for personal interaction with others.

Is social networking a good and viable marketing tool for your business? That all depends on how you use it and how you want to interact with your customers. If your goal is simply to make a quick sale and move on to the next, probably not. If, on the other hand, you’re in business for the long haul and your goal is to develop long-term, meaningful and profitable relationships and develop a loyal customer base with word-of-mouth referrals (the best kind of advertising in any book), then social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are free and powerful tools that can help you achieve that objective.

Tips for building your business in a stressed economy (and why you should follow them)

I just started to clean my office a few minutes ago and began sorting through a stack of trade magazines when I ran across an issue of ChannelPro from May 2009. I stopped to parse through it and found an article that compelled me to stop and write this blog post.

This is one reason why I seldom clean my office. I get caught up in something I find during the process and go off on a tangent that goes into a completely different project. needless to say I never seem to finish the office.

The article that caught my attention was one written by guest columnist Randall Cochran called “5 Tips For Building Your Business in a Tough Economy “. It wasn’t an unusual title; the general topic  of building businesses under current economic conditions is a common one these days. Everyone seems to have tips, tricks and views on what it takes to start and manage a business under a stressed economy and such an article could easily be lost among many others.

But the first couple of tips caught my attention. Then I skimmed the other three. Then I read the article. It got me started.

The reason it compelled me to stop and blog about it was because it was exactly what we were discussing in FF Episode 35 . Exactly. Point by point, each item pointed out the same principles and advice we covered in episodes 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 34 and 35 of The Force Field podcast.

I wish I could reproduce the entire article here, but I can’t. However, I will paraphrase the 5 tips. You can read the entire article at your discretion.

The five basic tips are as follows:

  1. Educate yourself.
  2. Partner with your peers and other providers.
  3. Utilize vendor tools and resources.
  4. Find vendor programs that fit your business model
  5. develop relationships with your vendors

Now, I understand that the concept of working “in the channel” is a new and alien concept to many of you. There are those who think they are too small and won’t profit from it. There are others who think they are too big and successful already to need it. Either way a lot of providers, from field service professionals, computer shops and small VARs to large system integrators, vertical system resellers and MSPs can all service themselves and their customers by utilizing resources provided by the vendors and manufacturers of the products and services they support and sell.

I have discussions with other providers who are always looking for new ways to market their businesses and find more customers. They are always talking about the tough competition and they are always looking for a competitive ‘edge’. Well, here it is.

A large percentage of providers do not use vendor programs. This means that the minority of those who do already have a competitive edge over their counterparts. Why aren’t these programs utilized more?

Why do the majority of providers dismiss these resources? I could understand it if these tools were outside the reach of these business owners, but they are not. In fact, here are reasons of my own to argue why you should use these resources.

  1. They are free. FREE. They don’t cost you money to join. You can’t beat free.
  2. They don’t require a large investment of time. You use what you need as you need them.
  3. Co-branding opportunities abound. You are associated with your vendor.
  4. They add credibility to your company. You have a relationship with your vendor.
  5. You can better service your customers. You have a higher level of service and support.

Did I mention these vendor partnerships and programs are free? Even if you only purchase the actual products from retailers on the Internet, there are still many advantages to joining these programs from a training and marketing perspective.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Join NASBA . It’s free. Subscribe to ChannelPro . it’s free too. Both of these resources will give you a better perspective of the industry, your competitors and your own business, even if you don’t participate in any programs.

If you want to compete, you need to know what is out there, what your competitors are using and who you can collaborate with to better manage your business, especially in these economic times.

CompTIA Builds on Breakaway Success

New resources for members, new programs for workforce development

Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., August 10, 2009
– Building on the success of its recent Breakaway conference, CompTIA, the leading trade association for the world’s information technology (IT) industry, said today in the coming weeks it will roll out new member services, workforce development programs and public policy initiatives.

More than 1,000 executives from technology vendors, distributors, resellers, and solution providers attended Breakaway, held Aug. 3-6 in Las Vegas.

“Breakaway served as a rallying point for our industry,” said Todd Thibodeaux, president and chief executive officer, CompTIA. “New products and services were introduced and great ideas were exchanged.

“Our educational program was strongly focused on delivering advice that attendees can use immediately in their day-to-day operations,” Thibodeaux continued. “This was true of our keynote presentations, industry panel discussions and peer-to-peer meetings. Most importantly Breakaway attendees left Las Vegas with a greater sense of the IT channel as a community, working together for the benefit of our customers.”

To deliver added member value, CompTIA has launched a new Member Resource Center. Members can find companies providing services in finance, logistics, HR, channel consulting, training, public relations, marketing, research, and more. CompTIA members are eligible to receive significant discounts from top quality providers. The CompTIA Member Resource Center also features access to industry mentors, research and business tools all aimed at helping businesses become more efficient, effective and profitable.

Within the next 90 days two new robust online communities for the IT channel are scheduled to launch. The CompTIA Channel Community (C3) is intended to be the world’s premier channel-neutral online community, containing rich content on business solutions and trends, discussion forums, webinars, whitepapers, and other valuable business intelligence. The CompTIA IT Pro Community will provide a place for those who want to enter or advance an IT career to solicit expert advice, network with peers and find critical tools and resources. One of these resources is the CompTIA Career Center, which will match certified job seekers with employers trying to fill IT jobs.

To provide members with more opportunities for face-to-face, peer-to-peer networking, CompTIA will hold four additional events this year beginning with the Managed IT Services Summit, presented in partnership with MSP Partners. Three regional events also are planned for this fall where attendees will participate in business simulations that provide great insights into improving their business.

New workforce development initiatives from CompTIA include the launch of CompTIA Strata, a new credential that offers individuals a broad introduction to computing technology. CompTIA Strata is intended for students pursuing an IT education; individuals considering CompTIA A+ certification; and individuals seeking a deeper understanding of technology. Exams will introduce individuals to fundamental technology concepts, beginning with an introduction to basic hardware components and operating system technologies.

Also at Breakaway, leading workforce training, testing and IT skills certification curriculum providers met with technology vendors and resellers regarding training talent and lowering the cost of IT skills development.

In the public policy arena, CompTIA has created a new political action committee, CompTIA PAC, to focus on the interests of the people and businesses in the IT sector.

The CompTIA Educational Foundation raised more than $97,000 at Breakaway for its Creating Futures program. The donations, raised through the Third Annual Creating Futures Charity Golf Classic, raffles and other activities, will be matched dollar-for-dollar by CompTIA. This will allow more than 400 individuals to receive free training and certification to enable to embark on careers in IT.

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, please visit www.comptia.org.

Episode 35 – Partner With Your Vendors

Today we are going to discover an association that can help you build relationships with vendors, learn how these relationships can help your business grow and find out how you can do it – free.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :10
Intro 1:20
Billboard 3:20

News and Comment segment 4:35
OnForce released their Services Market Index for the second quarter of 2009 July 13. The OSMI can be downloaded free at http://www.onforce.com/OSMI/Q209

CompTia Breakaway 2009 will be held August 3 through 6, 2009 the The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sponsor: Try GotoAssist Express free for 30 days! For this special offer, visit www.GotoAssist.com/techpodcast.

The Summer of Podcasts contest is underway. To enter go to www.podcastmadness.com, read the rules and regulations, listen to the podcasts listed for the week and enter the code that you hear in each podcast in the form on the page. Listen to this episode of The Force Field for the code and your chance to win..

Laptop prices have dipped below $300.

Commercial Break 1:00
Get Great Web Hosting at GoDaddy.com and save 10%! Listen for the discount code in the show. GoDaddy.com 1:00

Intro to Topic 1:37
Today we’re going to talk with Frank Raimondi, Executive Director of NASBA and learn how vendor programs and other incentives can make our businesses more profitable.
Join NASBA FREE at http://www.nasba.com/members/become.php.

Interview with Frank Raimondi 23:52

Wrap up and Close :46

Comments, questions or suggestions? Send them in to comments@theforcefield.net. Feedback on this topic will be read by the host and included in future episodes of the show.

©2009 Savoia Computer. All rights reserved.

Episode 35 – Partner With Your Vendors

Today we are going to discover an association that can help you build relationships with vendors, learn how these relationships can help your business grow and find out how you can do it – free.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :10
Intro 1:20
Billboard 3:20

News and Comment segment 4:35
OnForce released their Services Market Index for the second quarter of 2009 July 13. The OSMI can be downloaded free at http://www.onforce.com/OSMI/Q209

CompTia Breakaway 2009 will be held August 3 through 6, 2009 the The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sponsor: Try GotoAssist Express free for 30 days! For this special offer, visit www.GotoAssist.com/techpodcast.

The Summer of Podcasts contest is underway. To enter go to www.podcastmadness.com, read the rules and regulations, listen to the podcasts listed for the week and enter the code that you hear in each podcast in the form on the page. Listen to this episode of The Force Field for the code and your chance to win..

Laptop prices have dipped below $300.

Commercial Break 1:00
Get Great Web Hosting at GoDaddy.com and save 10%! Listen for the discount code in the show. GoDaddy.com 1:00

Intro to Topic 1:37
Today we're going to talk with Frank Raimondi, Executive Director of NASBA and learn how vendor programs and other incentives can make our businesses more profitable. Join NASBA FREE at http://www.nasba.com/members/become.php.

Interview with Frank Raimondi 23:52

Wrap up and Close :46

Comments, questions or suggestions? Send them in to comments@theforcefield.net. Feedback on this topic will be read by the host and included in future episodes of the show.

©2009 Savoia Computer. All rights reserved.

 

http://media.techpodcasts.com/theforcefield/media.libsyn.com/media/theforcefield/The_Force_Field_35.mp3 

Show Call-In Line
Skype Me™!

or call 407-278-5698 from any landline phone!

Techpodcast Network
Get it On Your Phone!

Listen to Stitcher

Audience Survey
The Force Field
Recognition
Rick’s Picks