Stories by Brett Roberts

The year ahead, with no guarantees

My favourite six-word sentence is “No warranty is expressed or implied” and I think it is a great way to start off a column on my predictions for 2011. It’s almost a legal requirement for a technology writer (even the occasional sort such as myself) to come up with their predictions for the year ahead so here, in no particular order and with no implied or expressed warranty, are my predictions for what might happen in 2011. Or not. Maybe.

Cloudy opportunities will be met in partnership

It has been a cloudy time in more ways than just the weather conditions. Over the past few weeks I have had the good fortune to present on cloud computing at the Ingram Micro Showcase events in Auckland and Wellington and attend CloudCamp in Auckland.

Take control of your pricing strategy

While working in the Flight Operations department of Air New Zealand back in the 1990s, I was fortunate enough to spend four weeks at Boeing in Seattle on a 747 aerodynamics course. The room was full of highly-qualified aerodynamics engineers (yours truly was the only one in the room who didn’t have an engineering degree) and the course was run by a guy from Butte, Montana by the name of Al Ginter.

The habits of highly ineffective resellers

It’is 21 years since Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was published. While Covey’s book was not the most spell-binding I have ever read (I felt it needed more sex and violence) it is one which has stood the test of time and launched a huge range of spinoffs whose titles include a number, two adjectives and two nouns. Because it’ has earned a place in our literary consciousness, I thought this week’s column should draw inspiration from the book, with a spin for resellers.

At your service: a recipe for success

Let’s face it, we work in a massively commoditised industry. Ninety-nine percent of the hardware and software you sell is identical to what your competitors are selling. The same is true for the majority of online services. How things came to be in this state is an epic tale of natural market forces that has involved, among other things, vendors vying for market share, customers learning to play suppliers off against each other and an ever-increasing number of resellers.

Standing on the competitive edge

One of the things I love about the IT industry is the constant change and competitive jostling that goes on within it. As I write this, I read that AOL has sold ICQ for $188 million, HP has acquired Palm for $1.2 billion and HTC and Microsoft have signed a patent licensing deal involving HTC’s Android phones.

The cloud will make small companies big

I recently met with a director at a small, niche and highly successful consultancy. The business services customers worldwide from its head office in Auckland. Chances are you have never heard of them, but some of the world’s biggest companies have and their IP has been adapted, adopted and deployed extensively by big global players for the 10 years the local company has existed.

Do your cloud maths or risk missing out

To quote Isaac Asimov, “The only constant is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today.” When I started out in IT in the mid-1980s, I was amazed at how fast things were changing technologically. Today, I take the pace of technology change pretty much for granted — what amazes me now is the speed with which business models are created and changed. This brings me to the subject of this column, namely the changes cloud-based services are about to force upon many New Zealand resellers.