The Social Media tools every CIO should have

Do you have an “outlook” of your social media or can you quickly run effective Social Media campaigns.

Social Media is gaining momentum and more businesses are using it to market themselves to a broader audience. In a small business it may mean the difference between being found on a search engine or not. For large corporations is as well brand recognition. Truly Social Media has become more than just awareness, it has become another way we communicate, research and rely on information to make decisions.

We are changing habits, we are more public with our ideas and we rely more on popular reviews to make decisions. As Social Media evolves into being an essential part of our working lives I have observed two solutions that are part of the what in my opinion every business owner, or in the case of Enterprise, every CIO should have in their toolkit.

HootSuite

Probably HootSuite does not need introduction. In simple words I refer to HootSuite as the “Outlook” you need for all your social media activities. Not only to effectively send messages across your media, as well to control your brand interaction, employee use of social media and effectively transform a twit into a business opportunity. In a way I think of HootSuite like Microsoft presented Outlook into the market… finally a place to see all your communications (social in this case) and effectively control and send your own. New development of KPIs information brings a great depth of understanding where is your brand in the online world.

3TierLogic

What amazes me from 3tierlogoic is the ability to give any business the great opportunity to use Social Media for localized marketing campaigns, with the ability to know about customers, and what is “really” popular…If you can transform your best customers into your best advocates, you have an incredible opportunity to grow your business. 3tierlogic is bringing world-class marketing, and brand programs into every business with their platform. As the company evolves the offerings the value of its data is truly a great example of what Business Intelligence is all about.

As I said… time to rethink IT services, adding the relevant tools for today’s technology needs.

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Cleaning the house – Microsoft LSP (LAR) uncertain future

In different geographies Microsoft has asked LSP (Licensing Solution Providers) previously known as LAR (Large Account Resellers), to answer RFPs to maintain their status to transact Enterprise Agreements, and other higher licensing agreement transactions.

The idea behind is to recognize those partners that have done investments on Services offerings that can provide value to Microsoft customers beyond the transaction. Passing the test will mean the continuity of operations as LSP, failing means “out”, at least is what I get from my conversations with LSP friends across the globe facing this situation or from the ones that faced it recently.

I wanted to share some of the comments from this Microsoft partners:

  • Revenue expectations pushed for volumes of sales beyond any services: The targets are aggressive, nothing new, but drive the behaviour of selling and upselling instead of consulting and servicing
  • Cloud open to other reseller types is very competitive: VARs and others can help clients subscribe and get fees even when there is an LSP transacting an agreement. This also means that VARs better prepare for professional services offerings can be very competitive and if their alliance is with a competitor LSP then the relation with the customer may be at risk
  • Global LSPs seem to be more attractive to Microsoft than national LSPs: selling agreements across borders is becoming a common practice especially when savings on price lists are so different between countries.
  • Hardware Surface revenue target attempts are “distracting”: Some folks are wondering what kind of partner Microsoft has truly in mind in the new shift to a Device+SaaS company model.
  • Fees cuts patterns, cadence and CRM type registration programs: For many years LSPs did not have requests to register deals and obtain fees from entering opportunities and properly track them on Microsoft CRM systems. Also LSPs have experience reduced fees for the same revenue as the partner programs have changed.

The common topic I heard is that the future of LSP as it is today is uncertain, if the new Microsoft RFPs and expectations changes will look for global LSPs then there was not much need for IT services afterall, and the Cloud has broken the boundaries between LSPs and the rest of partners in order to fulfill licensing needs specially in the shift to subscription licenses.

Interesting times!!!… for the LSP community

 

What is Cloud Computing?

Changes coming to Office 365 – #WPC2013

The Microsoft WPC 2013 is all over Office 365, Azure, Intune and Dynamics.

Cloud is clearly not to be sold but sold already and partners are trying to decipher the way to create the services and value.

Office 365 changes are coming soon. For example Microsoft partners will be able to sell more than the Midsize business sku to their customers through distribution and soon they will offer E programs and Exchange online for example. This is a significant change for Managed services providers that now can offer O365 to their clients without having them to register on their own to the Cloud solution.

Midsize business in Office 365 will also see the change to be able to accept other subscription registrations under the same company domain, like combining it with Kiosk. No ETA for the change but Microsoft said MSLI (the all-powerful licensing department) is looking into the changes to the terms and conditions.

Microsoft listened, I sense a more humble approach to concerns and realization that they can win the productivity Cloud war right now to gain momentum as in the past beyond the competitors.

The windows device ecosystem with Windows 8, and soon 8.1 is focused on user experience and that shift also will help Microsoft to gain tradition on the consumer market and the mobile phone market.

It is going to be a hard choice n the device for users however on productivity tools, integrated systems Microsoft has position itself very well.

Coming Open offerings


Mid Size


E1


E3


Pro Plus


Exchange Online

Office 365 on EA, the transition…

Office 365 is offered to Microsoft customers with an Enterprise Agreement (EA) as a subscription add-on, now offering the ability to use a “bridge CAL” to transition the use of Microsoft Cloud.

The complexities of changes on the licensing Customer Price Sheet, amendments and exceptions is going to be a very significant subject for existing EAs. Customers need to carefully understand the service delivery of Cloud, security liability and data recovery protection, to build the terms and conditions appropriately.

One example could be the initiative to license Office Pro Plus for Office 365 on an EA. Today there is no information to validate the use of VLKs (Volume Licensing Keys) for product activation on Citrix or Remote Desktop Services environments. The rights of use are there but not how to deliver it.

Another careful consideration to add to terms and conditions is the Kiosk License, to also include shared mailbox features, to allow continuing practices by users while re-educating them to use SharePoint if necessary.

For the Enterprise it is necessary a careful consideration of terms, definition and delivery practices. It may be a good moment to adventure yourself into discussions with Microsoft to accommodate your EA needs to your use of the Cloud and build with Microsoft the necessary processes to effectively go Cloud.

Ultimately I am hoping Microsoft licensing will understand and accommodate real technical delivery soon in the Office 365 service delivery details to mitigate concerns.

 

EA transition to Office 365… time to discuss

There are two ways to move your Enterprise Agreement (EA) to the Office 365 subscription

Obviously is an important topic these days as it is difficult to understand how you will be able to continue your EA investment and control costs during your way to the Cloud.

Every Office 365 plan as an equivalent on the CAL side to your EA, if your EA includes CALs. If you transition to an equivalent during the term then there is no increase of cost. However if you transition to an Office 365 option that includes more than your current EA you will incur into additional costs however highly discounted.

So basically there are two options for you

  • Move to Office 365 on equivalent subscription and continue annual payments until renewal
  • Increase licensing at a discounted price

True licensing experts could help you on the transition (ask me how @mslicensing or email me)

it is important to evaluate what can go Office 365 and which licenses will have to remain on the EA, specially if you create a hybrid model on your infrastructure.

All is possible…

 

Changing Democracy through the power of Software and Social Media

democracy's chorus

The change on democracy through the power of software and Social Media is real, and I personally think we are just starting to see how we as citizens will demand to be connected and participate on legislation directly and on real-time instead of just giving a vote every 4 years.

Let us imagine for a moment how could this work:

  • A Wiki government, where people can add text to propose legislation that representatives can take to vote in parliament or senate and vote along the people. A Wiki site is a powerful way to collaborate and contribute to the overall result of propose laws and can give voice to each citizen about subjects that matter, enhancing the reach of the work of our elected officials to read and listen the voice of the people.
  • Continue voting – online voting, having a balanced representation of collective vote and percentage of representation per parliament seat is a balance that can be adopted, and controlled through technology. A member of parliament could have more relevance to her/his constituents by allowing them to share their voice, the more participation there is on a bill, the more relevant the people become, for lesser participated votes the parliament seat becomes more relevant. This could allow significant matters to be taken more personally by each citizen and having more meaningful power in the democratic process, in other words, if a great percentage of the people vote directly on a bill the people become the decision power… technology can allow this.

Obviously enforcing transparency is key.

… is it a dream? is already happening in Brasil and Iceland.

http://culturadigital.br/marcocivil/debate/

http://betrireykjavik.is/

Social Media will play a significant role, to start debate, to share ideas, to connect with similar individuals for common goals. Public opinion will be driven by the public and not by lobby and media giants. Politicians can use Social Media to resource opinion and propose views. We can as well influence politicians we select to represent us according to democratic ways.

New generations are going to demand the connectivity we are creating these days with the Cloud and Social Media along with powerful software to be also applied to politics, that will affect us and govern our societies.

It is an exciting moment to create the necessary changes that will allow us as citizens to be more involved. This new era of participation seems to be born on the Spanish 15M or Occupy Wall Street. Social Media was key for these movements and what transpired is an example of things to come.

The revolution that each generation demands is going to take shape in the technology we use, like in the past the despotism conflicted with the “light” that the printed word provided  or the social class conflicts from the industrial revolution.

The concepts of: “direct democracy”, “wiki government”, “online vote” are extending and will be a topic of discussion everywhere more preeminently now.

I think these are interesting times…

2013: the year Cloud becomes “When” not “if”

CLOUDS OVER OKINAWA

It seems to me that this  2013 is the year Cloud becomes “When” not “if”.

Recent meetings with companies evaluating options have given me the impression that we are in the inflection point of Cloud adoption in many fronts.

  • Infrastructure co-located and moved to third-party data centers
  • Private Cloud creation with extensive application virtualization
  • Software developers going to market from the Cloud instead of traditional ways
  • Start-ups adopting Cloud from the get go
  • Small Businesses simplifying IT by using Software as a Service
  • many other innovative ways…

All is coming together on this way of computing, from the evolution of powerful servers in the data center to the change of personal devices along with the connectivity enhancements.

The conversation is no longer part of the IT industry exclusively. People is talking about backing up family pictures in the Cloud. Creating custom items on Cloud applications that they order after, or not accepting other way to use some applications than online from their tablets or laptops.

Financing IT has shifted more to operational expense, specially on times of uncertainty when “cutting costs” planing (just in case) is a security measure.

So the buzz has finally created the momentum… services to support healthy IT, considerations on which platforms to use, or which virtualization engines, along with a decision on how to deliver IT to satisfied users will reign this 2013

Looking forward to the challenge!

The potential of Azure on Enterprise Agreements

sxsw2010.microsoft.azure

sxsw2010.microsoft.azure (Photo credit: LisaSabin-Wilson)

The potential of Azure on Enterprise Agreements (EA), specially for the software developers and ISVs.

As Azure makes its way to be offered on Microsoft Enterprise Agreements, new offerings from third-party vendors are going to be available in the agreements, I envision new alliances from Microsoft to third-party software vendors beyond Microsoft portfolio. This will mean that enhanced solutions will be available.

As an example EVault is building on Azure and they can offer now their solution on Azure to complement backup solutions with Cloud, and it can be sold on an enhancement on the EA.

This will open a new set of possibilities and developers and ISV developing building on Azure will benefit from Microsoft customers licensed for Azure on their EA.

Microsoft will be able to extend their influence on the ISV, SharePoint and other developer community that is expanding and growing very quickly. I bet each company will be talking to Microsoft about the margin allocations and common sales strategies.

This is another example of how Cloud computing is changing the IT industry and the way we consume software and we license them.

More details will be developed in months to come.

Audited!!!! the balanced role of the licensing professional

Audited!!!! the balanced role of the licensing professional.

As a non regulated profession you find many types of licensing professionals, read my previous blog Types of licensing Professionals

Time and time again I have been engaged to consult on an audit that is requested right after another licensing professional involvement, specially from a vendor. Audits made on the suspicion of non compliance are normal these days when more software vendors are fishing for dollars disrupting with inquiries even the smallest of the companies.

It may not be the licensed professional fault at all that a company gets audited, however certain good practices can be established upfront:

  • The clarity of commitment to represent a costumer or a vendor
  • The clarity before  the customer and vendor to find the right solution
  • The explanation of duality of representation when exists.

The reality is that a narrowed minded vision on a licensing professional can harm as the advice should not be bias to certain goals, and it is key to establish trust and reputation in order to succeed and provide the right solution and advice to an end user costumer as well as the vendor.

Vendors should also understand that independent licensing professionals also work in the partner ecosystem and the best solution for their customers is the ultimate goal.

Specially the duality of representation is common in licensing engagements. A clear understanding on dual representation should be upfront and explained to the customer. I was reading a dual representation document that could help on this kind of situations, taken from real estate example that i edited as if it was for a licensing exercise:

“With regard to client confidences, each of you (Vendor and customer) should realize that the licensing professional cannot keep
information confidential between you, since the licensing professional is serving both of you. Therefore, by
requesting dual representation, each of you is authorizing the licensing professional to reveal each of your
licensing information, contents of documents and other disclosures and information to
the other.
After considering these factors, each of you must decide whether the licensing professional will continue to
represent both of you in connection with your licensing exercise planning, renewal or audit and related matters. If in the future
either of you wishes to have the advice of a separate licensing professional, you can do so.”

I think we apply the old rule that the costumer is always right…, (plus presumption of innocence, ) and regardless of being in two sides of the coin a licensing professional can dedicate the talent to the client with a balance for the vendor if has the right approach for both.