Post-Acquisition Strategies in Tech Companies

Just a brief note on an interesting trend I am seeing with some of my technology partners ... Virtela, an international telecom / data services provider out of Denver, CO was recently acquired by NTT, a massive ($130B) international presence. At our business review meeting last week, we were assured that NTT intends to leave Virtela alone, to operate very much as they have in the past. "NTT bought our people, processes, and services as much as a customer base".…

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IBM Marketing Message Muddle

Just an observation from the past week; I had a meeting with an IBM Sales Team, reviewing a range of products as they work to understand where IBM might help my business. I appreciate the fact that IBM has a wide selection of offerings, and we were doing an OK job of reviewing various families / groups of products ... until we got to something labeled Smarter Cities. This one piqued my interest - something potentially related to the products…

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Is SharePoint WSS dangerous to SharePoint contractors?

Firing Up Internal Opportunity It was true last year, but even more so now; SharePoint is very important for corporate IT, both strategically (medium- and long-term) and tactically (short-term). Sure, it's a terrific way to iterate on collaboration, internal portals, document management, etc. - "enabling innovation" in every buzzword-compliant sense. But there is solid benefit for even short-sighted, plodding, tactical IT - and it's all about staff retention. SharePoint WSS represents a nice opportunity for folks in IT to get…

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Field Notes: Lean Times for IT Services

I know it's lean times in IT, and product / services vendors are all beating the bushes. Some interesting patterns have emerged over the last few months ... My Boss Is In Town: This is far and away the #1 meme / structure of incoming cold calls; I get a (very) brief synopsis of services/value add, the caller and pushes for some face time with "their manager". Did some newsletter or web site suggest this novel approach last summer? I…

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Aggravating Vendor Behavior – Ever Heard of CRM?

I got a call a few weeks ago that put me in a slightly cranky, slightly bemused mood. This is not a recent phenomenon - it has happened at every company in my career. A few of the big-name vendors (including IBM, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, HP, and others) have no problem peppering different people in a company with requests for basic information (What systems are your running? Do you have a general ledger system? Do you use computers? Do you…

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Strategies for Malware in Consulting Engagements

Last in a series on some practical legal mumbo jumbo (disclaimer: IANAL) for your Master Consulting Agreements (MCA). This one was particularly interesting to put in; it's really interesting to see who catches it, but it was an amazing (in retrospect) observation that led us to include the language. The Trigger Event: A virus outbreak. We had been hit before, and the executive group was not fond of losing their email for a day or two, so we implemented fairly…

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Strategies for Risk Sharing in Consulting Engagements

I am late is responding to a comment on this post, first in a series about Consulting Engagements. Earlier this week it was Intellectual Property, with another good comment ... so, why all the harsh language about protecting IP that I probably can't commercialize? Ah - welcome to the world of Risk Sharing. The issue is that most businesses, especially SMBs that are simply not used to paying $200 an hour for labor, typically have a tough time wrapping their…

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Strategies for Intellectual Property in Consulting Engagements

Previously, I wrote about Fee Structures in Consulting Engagements, which is the stuff that the consultants are primarily interested in. If the consultant / firm has any strategic skills,their next concerns will be about Intellectual Property (IP) rights. <aside> Not that IP, this IP </aside> Do you really think that they make it all up from scratch for each new customer? Of course not - like any other developer, they have a body of code (and/or project/process methodology) that has…

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Strategies for Fee Structures in Consulting Engagements

Yet another vendor seminar last month, and the idiosyncrasy of the day was an abnormal amount of focus on the fee structure (they were presenting their expertise on a certain platform, and talk of fees was a tad disconcerting). The vendor is, of course, railing against the fixed fee - puts all the risk on them, artificially constrains the project, etc. They didn't mention how the fixed fee enables an upside on their part - if the Vendor (contractor/consultant/them) pads…

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