News roundup from Cloud Expo West

Cloud Expo West wrapped up yesterday, sending attendees back to their home states and offices with much to think about, particularly how their organizations must continue to innovate and adapt to the growing availability and adoption of cloud services.

If you weren’t able to attend the show, or if you did go but didn’t have time to stop by our booth or keynote sessions, here’s a quick wrap-up of the topics we were discussing and headlines we made.

SHI CEO Thai Lee Explores the Changing Atmosphere of Cloud Computing. Thai Lee opened Cloud Expo West with a keynote presentation that emphasized the value of examining the IT trends of the past in order to better meet the current and future needs of customers.

SHI Cloud Marketplace Simplifies and Optimizes Cloud Services Management. On Monday we followed up Thai’s presentation with the introduction of our Cloud Marketplace, an online portal that enables organizations to securely compare, procure, and manage cloud infrastructure from a variety of providers.

Quietly Efficient SHI Opens New Marketplace for Cloud Services. eWeek reporter Chris Preimesberger stopped by our booth and spoke with John Yung, CEO of Appcara, the web developer SHI worked with to develop the Cloud Marketplace. Preimesberger’s article relays more details about how the Marketplace operates and how businesses can use it.

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Recommended Reading: Cloud services help SHI redefine the buyer-seller dynamic for huge efficiency gains

Earlier this summer at the Ariba Live Conference in Washington, D.C., SHI’s John D’Aquila met with Dana Gardner, analyst at Interarbor Solutions, to talk about how the cloud, BYOD, and other technology trends are changing IT asset management and how SHI is utilizing e-commerce to help customers simplify and streamline the process.

John shared the example of SHI customer AGCO, an American agricultural equipment manufacturer. SHI developed a customized online catalog of the products and solutions that meet AGCO’s IT requirements in order to give end users plenty of approved tech options that they can obtain with a simple click while centralizing procurement and creating a more transparent process for easy reporting and oversight.

Dana’s complete Q&A with John is published on ZDNet in “Cloud services help SHI redefine the buyer-seller dynamic for huge efficiency gains.” I encourage you to read through it to learn more about how SHI’s e-commerce offering can streamline your IT product discovery and purchasing processes.

ZDNet Cloud Services SHI

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Keep IT involved in cloud purchasing decisions

The cloud’s accessibility makes it irresistible to end users working under tight deadlines (which, let’s face it, is virtually everyone). Order a virtual machine (VM) this morning and you can deploy that VM, well, this morning. But who ensures that this new infrastructure purchase is secure, meets an organization’s established technical standards, and is compliant from a volume licensing perspective?

Even well-intentioned employees will bypass IT when pursuing a cloud initiative, often telling their IT guys, “We didn’t want to bother you.” Until there’s a problem, of course.

SHI helps IT stay involved with cloud migrations

Last week I introduced ZDNet reporter Heather Clancy to SHI and talked to her about SHI’s participation in the channel and our work in the cloud. One of the main points I tried to convey was the importance of keeping IT involved in all of an organization’s technology purchasing and procurement decisions, cloud included. It was a theme that Heather picked up on and featured in her article, “SHI’s cloud mantra: Keep IT involved.”

Since Heather’s article went live, our sales teams have heard from numerous CIOs who were interested in learning more how SHI can keep IT more involved in what technologies their end users are bringing into their environment. Specifically, they asked how we can help them identify which consumer-based products are lurking in their environments so they can stop and replace them with a secure, enterprise-class solution.

Full disclosure: SHI only has visibility into the product lines our customers authorize us to manage. Most of our largest, longtime customers have found that the easiest way to manage a product line is to have as many IT purchases go through SHI as possible. It’s far easier for an IT manager to tell end users to “Call SHI” than to evaluate, source, procure, and deploy every new request they get.

So how do we do it? SHI helps organizations manage their IT environments in several ways: Continue Reading…

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CIOs reveal 6 ways cloud services are changing IT

At Cloud Expo this week, SHI had the opportunity to participate in a number of presentations and panel discussions about the state of the cloud services industry. We offered insights that have come not only from our experiences delivering these services, but through a series of CIO roundtable events we have been hosting over the past four months.

Using some of the best practices and case studies gleaned in these sessions, our CTO, Rich Taggart, kicked off the Expo for us on Monday with a breakout session highlighting how cloud services are changing IT delivery and, as a result, the role of IT departments. One of the attendees of the presentation, Michael Steinhart of The Enterprise Cloud Site, summarized the key takeaways in his article “CIOs Evolving With Cloud Services.”

Check out what he had to say:

CIO best practices and IT case studies

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Building a top-notch workforce with Millennials

Demographers like to classify Generation X and Generation Y based on the year someone was born: X = 1960s to 1980s, Y = 1980s to 2000s. That’s great to use as a baseline, but it looks too much like algebra to a slacker Gen Xer like me. (Remember that?)

Today’s employers are far more interested in the part of Generation Y that is currently joining the workforce: the 22 to 25 year olds more commonly called┬áMillennials.┬áScores of articles and blogs are written each month about how different this next generation is from its predecessors, including this one that ran in the New York Times Magazine three days ago: “Do Millennials Stand a Chance in the Real World?

I can’t comment on the real world, but I know this: Millennials not only “stand a chance” at SHI, they thrive! SHI has doubled both revenue and headcount over the past five years and we’re adding at least 500 more in Austin. That growth is largely comprised of young adults who just recently graduated college.

Young professionals are perfectly suited for SHI, a company obsessed with providing world-class customer service in support of IT products. Here are three simple reasons why:

  1. The consumerization of IT means that new offerings and solutions (like mobility) make perfect sense to those born with a silver device in their hands.
  2. Parents obsessed with saying please and thank you and covering their mouths when they cough have ingrained in their children a sense of how customers (and coworkers) should be treated.
  3. A society reliant on social media has already learned the hard lesson of both accepted and inappropriate, real-time forms of communication, including the need for immediate response.
SHI Milllennial workforce

SHI explains how to attract, prepare Millennial workers for leadership

Last week, I spoke with Investor’s Business Daily about how SHI attracts, retains, and cultivates Millennial talent. As I mentioned in that article, there’s a really simple way to build a business based on the strengths that 20- and 30-somethings bring to the table.

Talk to them. Ask them what they think. You’ll be surprised how much they already know and how at ease they are with being empowered and contributing to the decision-making process.

Even an old curmudgeon from Generation X can admit, Millennials are working for SHI.

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The impact of sequestration on IT

I chose not to blog about sequestration until now because, like most people, I never really thought it was going to happen. Much like January’s fiscal cliff, the prevailing sentiment was that the “D.C.” in Washington would stand for “Don’t Cut” and that an 11th hour deal would be made.

But now that the deadline has passed and the only thing delaying the start of sequestration is a presidential signature, we must all seriously begin to consider what will happen to those affected by the automatic spending cuts.

As reported by Computerworld this morning, the potential budget cuts are already causing uncertainty within a sector that relies on secure funding to foster growth and innovation: IT. Even though the official OMB report from the White House says that “no amount of planning can mitigate the effects of these cuts,” IT organizations should still start anticipating what those effects will be in order to properly manage them.

If cuts are indeed made, here are some questions IT managers will need to consider. Continue Reading…

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Direct2Dell blog tells the SHI and Dell story

Being in this business for 15 or so years has its benefits. I was reminded of a major one when I was interviewed for a blog post now appearing on Direct2Dell.com: being involved in the partnership between SHI and Dell.

“SHI sells hardware?” you might ask. “SHI sells Dell?”

The answers are “yes!” and “yes!” But our 23-year legacy in volume licensing expertise and a company named derived from the words “Software House International” sometimes obfuscates this reality for customers.

SHI interviewed on Direct2Dell blog

PROFITABLE PARTNERSHIP: Ed McNamara tells the SHI and Dell story.

We are particularly proud of our partnership with Dell and how far it has come over the years. I welcomed the chance to interview with Direct2Dell about what makes this relationship so mutually successful and how Dell’s growth, particularly its acquisitions (such as the recent acquisition of Quest Software) can affect companies within the IT channel. Continue Reading…

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