Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Zenith Peeks Into the Future

One of our favorite business partners is Zenith Infotech. Why? Because they're the future. They represent more than the future of my company or the future of the managed service industry.

Zenith is the model for the future economy.

On the drive home last night I listened to a bizarre radio interview, speculating what the economy will look like as we pull out of this recession. It was a fairy tale of cheap, fuel efficient cars and kinder, gentler consumers who will not be obsessed with commercialism and crass consumerism.

That's not going to happen. But some things ARE changing. For example: The cloud is coming.

Microsoft wants you to use their cloud. Google want you to use their cloud. But here are the concerns for real clients in the real world:

- I want my data where I know where it is.

- I can't spell SAS70

- HIPAA is meaningless. I want my data.

- I want my data in my office, on my machines

- I'll settle for having it on Karl's machine

- But I don't want my data "out there" on some cloud

- I don't know the cloud. I don't have a relationship with the cloud.

- What the hell is a cloud?

Partners like you probably don't know what to do. You've heard Microsoft change their tune from "We're going to steal your customers" to "We won't intentionally steal your customers." In the meantime . . . you ask yourself who owns the relationship.

That's easy: If you're charging the client's credit card every month, you own the relationship. If you get a few percentage points on the back end when someone else controls the transaction . . . then someone else owns the relationship.

If you resell Own Web Now hosting or other hosting, you pay for services as one set of transactions. And you collect money from clients as a separate transaction. The client doesn't know who provides that back end. As far as they're concerned, YOU do.

It's your cloud.

I've never been a big fan of white box solutions (for example, my clients know that I don't personally filter their email or build my own virus scanning software). But with cloud computing, branding will be important. Microsoft. Google. Go Daddy. [Your company name here].

"Who do you use for hosted services?"

"We use [Microsoft] [Google] [Go Daddy] [Cousin Larry's Pretty Good Cloud Computing]"

So why is Zenith the future?

First, they're thinking BIG steps ahead of the competition. Ummmm. Wait a minute. They don't have any competition for the product set they're announcing.

Everyone else is rushing to start hosting. You know all that stuff people like Vlad have been doing for years? Folks are scurrying to catch up and figure it out. Listen to SMB Conference Call #31.

So there's plenty of money there. And a bunch of people will be providing hosted services.

But Zenith is doing something different:

- Completely packaged solutions . . . Like SBS 2008 Server and 15 workstations . . . all virtualized, backed up, monitored, and supported for less than $400/month. Just labor alone without the cost of hardware, we would sell this for $1,250/month. Add another $1k for hardware and you're looking at $2,250/month with a gross profit of $1,850.

Let's see . . . 36 month contract . . . that's $66,600.

Do we have your attention?

Like it or not, that's your future. That's where Akash and Zenith are taking this industry. The funny thing is that they're totally committed to the SMB Space. Zenith has partnered with Aserver in Belgium. Aserver is used to working in the larger space, but Zenith redesigned the product for the SMB/SBS market.

My tune hasn't changed on this hosted service topic. You can either resell someone else's solution, host your own, or go do something else for a living.

Zenith gives you a way to drop an entire solution at the client's office for a low monthly fee . . .
OR host it all at your colo facility (your cloud)
OR host it all on their cloud.

Akash and Clint think the move to the cloud will be swift; I think the move to the cloud will be quite gradual. Listen to my conversation with Clinton Gatewood on SMB Conference Call #34.

Whether it happens fast or slow, moving to SOME cloud is in your future - and your clients.

I am most excited about the "Box Office" line of products from Zenith.

I recommend you consider these products in your solution stack.

For more information, see

And Zenith is putting on a great series of dinner presentations to announce these products. Find out more and register for free at

You could be selling this stuff by August 2009.


Register now for the big Network Migration Seminar with Jeff Middleton, Karl Palachuk, and Manuel Palachuk

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:46 AM

    Karl, thank you for your very kind words :). I do agree with you that the movement to the cloud will be gradual. More than believing that everything will move to the cloud, the threat that I see to our partner base (and hence us) is that once the prices of hosted applications start getting mainstream it will have customers questioning the value of onsite IT and the managed services that go around it. This, I do believe, could make it hard for our partners as a lot of justification needs to be given to customers to explain the cost difference. With BoxOffice we've tried to get some cloud ideas within the customer premise and do believe that for a small cost difference customers will much prefer onsite equipment. Thanks, Akash.


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