ITCloud.ca invited their partners to a 2-day Event designed to train them in the tools they use on a daily basis and services they can add to their portfolio. The sessions were presented mostly in French, an English summit will follow in Toronto in September.
Speaking with David Latulippe (Executive VP of IT Cloud) during the cocktail party closing day 1, he mentioned, respectfully, that the main reason he is seeing an influx of partners from the distribution channel to IT Cloud is the 85%. Distribution is made up of 85% sales & marketing people. IT Cloud, on the other hand, is made up of 85% techs! The partnership becomes more than just selling licenses. Their focus is on helping partners implement the solutions in such a way as to allow them to do so successfully.
Office 365 Administration Training
The event started with a deep dive into the Office 365 Administration portal. For a little over 3 hours, attendees learned about all aspects of the portal and how best to manage it.
For those that wanted to train in Bitdefender, they could attend this training and by the end of the afternoon, walk away with a Bitdefender Certification as MSP Specialist.
David Latulippe spoke about their Storagecraft disaster recovery solution called Replica and performed a live recovery of a laptop. 40 seconds if restoring from the physical unit, 10 minutes for cloud recovery. This brave demo was using the hotel WIFI, which could be a disaster in itself, but at 10 minutes on the nose, the laptop booted up in the Cloud as promised.
Storagecraft is a leading provider of backup and disaster recovery solutions and ITCloud allows its resellers to easily deploy and manage this solution with the backing of their own support call center.
Steve Noel took the stage to setup while David was finishing up. David introduced Steve who was one of the owners of Cloud IT, along with Majida Rhazi. With a name like Cloud IT joining forces with IT Cloud…it was meant to be.
Steve, who has a background as an MSP explained the benefits of moving from a break/fix business to one that focuses on prevention and monitoring.
Olivier Abecassis spoke about the importance of ITIL and how the exam for certification will soon be offered in French, much to the delight of this Quebec crowd.
How can IT Cloud partners benefit from a move to an MSP model? Tomorrow will be the launch of Ninja RMM where more details will be released.
Office 365 Business Opportunity
Steve Noel is back on stage and showing partners that Office 365 is not just about emails and Office Suites. Now that clients are used to paying recurring revenues, it’s time to roll out the other Microsoft solutions to replace legacy systems.
Microsoft 365 includes what was in Office 365 Premium but also includes Intune, unlimited Online Archiving, Advance Threat Protection and a license for Windows 10 to upgrade Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 PRO among other bells and whistles.
Microsoft 365 includes over $100 worth of similar third-party tools, all for one low price of $25.60/user.
A live demo of the features of Office 365 was done in the portal to introduce attendees to the various options to secure the workstations and email accounts.
Gabrielle Champagne, a member of Women in Technology (WIT), started by sharing a statistic. You will have 35% more success when a corporation has a diversified workforce, which includes women. Who doesn’t want that?
The second statistic was that 91% of security breaches (Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report 2018) comes from emails. No one wants that!
She played a game…everyone was standing while she showed a Paypal email requesting login into the account to keep the account active. She asked attendees to stay standing if they believe it was legitimate, sit down if it’s fake. About 1% of attended (2 out of 200) stayed standing, while the rest of us sat down, including myself. It was legit.
We did three more stand up/sit down examples, which is more exercise than most IT people get in a day! The lesson was that it’s hard to determine what is legit and what isn’t.
SPF and DMARC are examples of technologies that help protect you, but what do you do about Zero Day attacks?
ZEROSPAM developed ZEPAD – ZEROSPAM Email Pattern Anomaly Detection. This technology allows for a better protection as it searches for patterns rather than specific threats.
The ZEROSPAM partners that have the most success automatically bundle ZEROSPAM with their email licenses.
Nathalie Benitah is the Go-To-Market Channel Chief for Microsoft Canada. Her theme was Thriving in a time of accelerated disruption.
Microsoft’s vision is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more…bringing it to life in Canada. True to their statement, Microsoft is investing heavily in Canada, enough to make Canada another Silicon Valley.
Data is increasing from 4.4 Zetabytes in 2013 to 50 Zetabytes in 2020. With all this data, Microsoft sees the future as one where AI is crucial.
Canadians have been slow to adopt new technologies, but Microsoft is looking to change that through investments and education. This brings up a large opportunity for partners who are willing to buy into the same vision and become Digital Transformation (DX) leaders in Canada.
The DX opportunity projection for 2023 in something we all can relate to…money…is 20 Trillion (IDC). This number was revised recently from 4 Trillion, a huge jump in valuation.
The biggest drives of DX are CMO’s (Chief Marketing Officer) who know that it’s not enough to just reach customers, but to know them intimately and suggest tailormade options to entice them to buy.
In 2019, Microsoft are shifting from partnering to partnership. “What can we do together?” is the new business relationship it is striving to have with their partners.
The day ended with a cocktail where attendees could mingle, network and play around with the Microsoft HoloLens.
There was a WIT (Women in IT) breakfast with Nathalie Benitah to support fellow women in the industry.
IT Cloud started in 2005, in a basement. Over the course of the last 14 years, they have added various Cloud backup solutions with a big investment in Microsoft solutions in 2017.
Since then, they have added DR solutions with Replica and today announced the addition of Ninja RRM, Letssignit, and ZEROSPAM partnership.
Gui Carvalhal (National Partner Development Manager Lead) of Microsoft emphasised the sheer amount of data we will be using by 2020. For example, an autonomous vehicle will use 5 TB per day.
Continuing with the car industry, the average American Car Company has 1.0% of their staff as developers versus a company like Tesla which has 6.6% of developers.
The opportunity is a focus on accelerating Cloud profitability. For every $1 in Microsoft revenue, partners can attach $9.64 in services. That’s a 10X increase if your mindset is towards Cloud Solutions.
Rather than selling solutions, a Cloud Mindset is about consumption of services. The scalability alone is a major selling point.
The revenue possibilities have changed. Back in the day, one would resell products with a 15% profit margin. They would next have a project with 35% margin. That was it.
The new paradigm is adding Managed Services with a 45% margin to end up with Packaged IP which can bring you 70% margin.
To get there, specialization and choosing a vertical is key if you are to build IP. The niche is the future.
So being a reseller is no longer good enough. Your business must become a Solution Architect.
Jason Eberhardt (Head of Global Cloud & MSP) of Bitdefender congratulated the 70+ partners who got certified day 1.
Founded in 2001 in Romania after the fall of Communism, Bitdefender wanted to create a company that employees would be proud to work for. This was expanded since then to where they are today.
Bitdefender’s motto is: Embrace the future.
Blockbuster is the on-premise analogy versus Netflix as the Cloud solution.
It’s only logical to move the security solution to the Cloud.
Douglas Brockett (President) of StorageCraft started in a slaughterhouse, as his first job. Air conditioning rather than refrigeration was on his wish list for his next job…which led to computing.
Because of his early interest in computers, his journey took him from the 14 baud modem to today’s 300+ MB home internet.
90% of the data we have today has been generating in the last two years. In the next 5 years, this is expected to grow by 10X.
Small company cost per hour of downtime is estimated at $8,581. Average downtime events in a year is 3.92 (Aberdeen Group).
77% of organizations experienced cyber-attack while running up-to-date security solutions (Cyberheist News).
What is the solution?
Solutions need to protect both SaaS Data in the cloud and on-premise solutions.
The challenge of past solutions was preparing for the future, which included offering costly unused capacity for future use. That leaves the customer unhappy having spent his CAPEX on a solution that only at one future point in time will they feel satisfied with their purchase.
Do you want to offer a solution that gives your customers buyer’s remorse?
The key take-away is that all data is not created equal. The challenge is to manage all this data and identify what is business critical and what is secondary.
Once identified, the StorageCraft solution will provides you with a scalable solution which provides complete protection while reducing costs.
Microsoft Teams 101
Mathieu Lavoie, Territory Channel Manager for Microsoft, shared that by 2020, 72% of employees will work remotely from home. How do we prepare for this eventuality?
Virtual teams are becoming the norm in the modern business and Teams is up to the challenge of making collaboration easier and more powerful.
One appreciated feature that may seem inconsequential is the ability to send GIFS. This seemingly odd feature allows you to personalize and humanize the experience.
Chat is the natural way that Millennials like to communicate. They are onto something. Once you use chat to replace emails, you can focus on the work and not get distracted by the flood of emails and replies going back and forth.
Another benefit of teams is the inclusion of applications that can plug into teams to make it even more useful.
Security is a key component with Teams and the investment that Microsoft puts into Azure security, the backbone of all this technology is impressive.
Teams is platform agnostic, so you will be seeing Teams integrated in more appliances such as VoIP phones and conference systems.
Steve Noel did a live demo showing the functionalities of the solution and management examples.
IT Cloud Academy
Steve Noel rolled out the new training program available to partners. Need help getting certified for Microsoft? IT Cloud can help.
For an average of $20 per hour on a monthly basis ($295/month), you will get between 180-200 hours of training for your organization. How many can attend? It’s unlimited for your organization for instructor led classes. You also get a ticket to Altitude and reduced rates for Trimestral Boot Camps, on a first come, first served basis.
Carl Emond (Cloud Infrastructure Director) of IT Cloud introduced the features and simplicity of Ninja RMM.
Choosing the right RMM is crucial to any MSP.
Even if the agent is not charged to the client, it was shown that revenue can be generated simply by the monitoring.
Ninja does not try to add everything, including the kitchen sink, into the tool. That is the key to its simplicity and one of the reasons that it’s in the Gartner Magic Quadrant.
Carl, in an animated delivery, did a road test/live demo showing the features that an MSP would use the most. While most are available in most RMMs, the ease of use to hook into a workstation, even without a remote session was impressive.
The best question during Q&A was: “Can the conference end, so we can go and install this?” I didn’t see money change hands…but this softball question made it clear that attendees are anxious to get their hands on this solution.
Secure Score Office 365 or Azure 101
Since security is a high priority today, I decided on attending the Secure Score session. Jano André Gutierrez demonstrated the value of using this tool to not only secure a tenant, but also use the tool to generate additional security revenue.
Not only can you see your security score, but if you follow the recommendations, the tool will guide you to tighten security and increase your score.
Microsoft CSP/MPN Incentives
Andrew Tawastsjerna, Partner Development Director for Microsoft Canada
If you are going to resell Microsoft solutions, it’s important to know how to build a relationship with Microsoft and take advantage of the help they provide.
You can dip your toes into the program with membership, then add an Action Pack to level up and finally gather Microsoft Competencies to fully realize the potential of the program.
Developers are getting more resources going forward to fill future needs.
The most unused benefit of the action pack is the 5 hours of pre-sales support, which can really help you grasp a solution before building your offering.
Silver and Gold competencies were explained and the benefits of each demonstrated.
The one thing that IT Cloud provides, through Majida Rhazi, is a way to navigate the various complexities of all these programs. She will take the time to understand your situation and let you know if reaching for a competency is a worthwhile investment.
One IT Cloud partner that I spoke to at the conference didn’t even know they qualified for a competency, and since their investment, they have added an extra 8% revenues on their licenses.
Lastly, Smart Marketing Resources can help you get a sense of your social and online presence.
Mathieu Lavoie, Territory Channel Manager for Microsoft, stood between attendees and the “5 à 7” (happy hour). He is the matchmaker between clients and partners and will assist in closing deals.
Cloud Ascend is a program that highlights clients whose licenses are about to expire. This will allow a partner to take preemptive steps to fill the need, before someone else does.
Cocktail & Prizes
Work before play. Now that our brains were full, it was time to unwind and give out door prizes during the “5 à 7” cocktail.
Banquet – Partner Prizes
Before the supper, 5 partners of the year were announced for various categories and rewarded with a trophy.
The winners are:
Growth Performance: 6TEM TI
Cloud Backup Performance: Rhesus
Bitdefender Performance: Informatique Inpro
Microsoft Performance: Solutions GA
Partner of the Year: BGM
The room ambiance was filled with mystique. What followed was a scaled down Cirque style show that ended with a standing ovation from attendees.
Unbeknownst to the majority of the attendees, was that in an adjacent area of the hotel, a suspected man with ties to the mafia was gunned down during a wedding reception.
I had to use the washroom during the performance and as soon as I left the room, I noticed all the flashing police lights and the chaos of people wandering the halls.
Since attendees were all in the reception hall for the performance, the drama was over by the time the performance ended and everyone was safe.
Because of the heavy police presence and investigation, we were not allowed to leave till much later, so we made the best of it.
Casino & DJ Miss Shelton
DJ Miss Shelton spinned some classic dance tunes, while the back of the room featured some Blackjack and Roulette tables.
Altitude 2019 was a great first event for IT Cloud. The focus was on all the various products and services IT Cloud offer, including some special announcements on the new partnerships.
The drama at the end of the conference just reinforces the words of a famous book: “…time and unexpected events overtake them all.”
There are events outside our control that will happen. In the digital world, to prepare for these eventualities, having increased security will help, but having a working backup can reverse time to a point where everything was working.
Life, unfortunately, doesn’t allow for such 2nd chances, but choosing the right vendor partner can help us safeguard our client’s every increasing and important data.
Special Contribution by Randal Wark. Randal Wark is Yoda for IT Companies.