Tips From A Channel Jedi Master


David Powell -- one of the guiding lights for powering the channel forward -- says one of the things that infuriates him is the fear some solution providers have of moving ahead to the next technology adventure.

Powell, who once helped chart the cloud services course for MSP superstar TekLinks, is now general manager of the service provider business at LogicMonitor, which offers a next-generation performance monitoring tool for on-premises, cloud and hybrid IT.

I should point out that this column is based on a Channelcast I did with Powell called "Beyond The Buzzwords: Making Money With The Top Trends." The Channelcast from CRN parent The Channel Co. is straightforward advice on how to make money in new emerging markets. I'd urge all solution providers to listen to it.

That said, here is some sage advice from Channel Jedi Master Powell on taking advantage -- and not shying away from -- today's hottest technologies.

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Internet Of Things: Approach the market from the "inside out," looking at places to put sensors that solve real-world problems. That means teaming a tech expert, a domain business expert and an MBA business expert to come up with new solutions in industries like manufacturing and agriculture. A farmer as the domain expert has no idea of what is possible with new technology. The technologist doesn't understand enough about farming to create a solution. The MBA is good at seeing the business problem. "If you can get those three people together, magic can happen," said Powell.

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning: Look for repeatable tasks that can be automated and involve massive amounts of data. Real-world example: A law firm that had a team of 20 doing billing coding moved to an AI-based dynamic billing system. That system has reduced the time it takes to get bills in the hands of customers from 90 days to just 20. "Wherever there is massive amounts of data, there are patterns and trends and information that needs to be mined," said Powell.

Serverless Computing: Think about how many customers have a trigger-based event (i.e., an ER registration attendant completes an incoming patient form, triggering an alert to nurses and doctors via text). An AWS IoT Enterprise Button and an AT&T LTE Button are powering email and text notifications for serverless compute projects. "You can pay someone, notify someone, initiate a request," he said. "It is fascinating to see people's brains run wild around the different ways they can make money with this."

For solution providers fearful of taking that next big step, Powell stresses that we are all like conductors on a train. We get to choose the speed at which the train moves along the tracks, but we do not get to choose the destination. "These big trends are taking us to a destination and we get to decide how fast or slow we get there, but we don't get to decide where we are going," said Powell. "What you are doing is taking someone into a new frontier," he said. "Step into that space and claim it."

Great advice from a Channel Jedi Master. Go forward, solution providers, and may the force be with you.

BACKTALK: Have any more advice for solution providers? Contact at Steven Burke at [email protected].