I made a comment on Twitter today after watching some of the announcements from today’s WPC Keynote. It got a nice conversation going and also got me thinking, an IT consultant’s role goes overlooked by the Tech Companies.
Being unable to attend Microsoft’s WPC in Toronto, I turned to Twitter to keep up with it, as I go out to clients on a regular basis and can’t always stream the keynotes. The announcement today of a complete refresh of all Microsoft products in the next 12 months was the icing on the cake. Microsoft was promoting through those at WPC, and forgetting about getting the refresh items in the hands of IT people.
the point comes really into play in the vast SMB marketplace. I have great influence over my clients and what they decide to purchase, due to a level of trust that I have built with them over the years. One the other hand I have limited resources of my own, and have to convince my bosses to get me new technology that I can test in our environments. Being a consultant is not easy.
Where Microsoft dropped the ball, is with TechEd. All the refreshes should have been on display and easily accessible to all the attendees. We are the ones who can drive adoption, and even give higher marks to a product compared to main tech site reviews. Now figure in that you need to set up budgeting for the following year, and Microsoft really dropped the ball. The Surface Tablet, if announced 2 weeks earlier and put on display/testing for the thousands at TechEd would have gotten even more press, more word of mouth and been ready to burst, if it is as good as they say. Office 2013 has been talked about, and I think has been shown a little at WPC, but still no build up for something that is coming out late this year or early next year.
TechEd pushed Server 2012 and Windows 8, but even then, unless one had time to do labs and not go to seminars, there wasn’t a lot to work with. the idea of having given or at least loaning a Windows 8 Tablet to all TechEd attendees would have been a boon. A chance to use it in a real world situation. the majority of us don’t have a way to test it on a tablet unfortunately.
TechEd also pushed cloud services, which for SMBs is still cost prohibitive. You have the cost of the services plus the cost of extra bandwith needed to be able to function at a smooth rate. The barrier to entry is too great. Add on that we are still seeing cloud service crashes every 4-6 months. the lack of the SBS edition of Server might drive more to the cloud, but could leave SMBs with older software, lack of funds to upgrade, and eventually create security issues.
As Scott Ladewig said in response to one of my tweets in our conversation, “ I love the deep dives into technology and educational opportunities, but TechEd keynotes should be more like WPC,” and about TechEd, “Great event, can be even better!” He is right, and hopefully Microsoft will learn. The SMB consultants are the true movers and shakers for a large majority of technology. Get us on board because we are not going to recommend something we haven’t tested.