The day before Thanksgiving, CRN posted a story written by Marty Wolf explaining that Microsoft was on a new feast of its own.
Microsoft is becoming a consumer products company starting with the Surface tablet and Windows 8. In the process, as the company sets the table for a new menu of items and business strategies, it is impacting the value of its channel partners that have been decades in the making.
As we write this, it is Cyber Monday. This underscores that the new focus is on consumer products: Microsoft announced its new offering just in time for the holiday shopping season. Clearly, Microsoft is aiming to create new relationships direct to consumer and compete directly with Apple.
Whether or not the new Microsoft will succeed is, of course, unknown.
But, what is clear is that this holiday season Microsoft is leaving many of its channel partners out in the cold.
Our article noted that in formulating its new strategy, Microsoft is facing four new realities:
- We are in a post-PC era;
- The post-PC market is dynamic, exciting and rapidly changing, driven largely by consumers rather than Microsoft's traditional sweet spot customer (large enterprises);
- The key to innovative hardware that appeals to consumers is strict control over all aspects of product design; and
- Having a direct relationship with customers is everything.
For Microsoft, the fact that they are admitting these new realities may or may not be too late.
But, what we can learn in the IT Services industry is this one basic fact: every industry has a lifecycle: beginning, middle and end.
As Microsoft's business has migrated, so has IT Services. We have seen it in the past few years with the SaaS wave. Before that, with the BPO wave.
The point is, make certain your IT business is always relevant. Today's cash cow could quickly become tomorrow's steak dinner.
To read the entire column, click here.