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Reader Response: Attack of the Aussies

This week's entry about a Microsoft hosting deal with Telstra in Australia has a couple of our antipodean readers buzzing. We chose to comment on this story because we figured it would have some universal indicators for how SaaS is going to affect the channel worldwide.

But for folks in Australia, the issue is immediate, and the responses were passionate. (And for those of you not in Australia, which is probably most of you, try to imagine how your fellow travelers in the channel are feeling because you might end up feeling much the same way.) So, here we go. Let's start with Ken -- who identifies himself as an IT manager -- in Melbourne (and, FYI, we've Americanized the English for the home folks):

"Seems like a perfect marriage to me. With Microsoft and Telstra's recent appalling track record and the sort of pathetic leadership shown by both CEOs, most sensibly run businesses will only experience a short downturn before their former customer base realizes how bad the service is, how expensive the charge-out rate will be, how access to their own technology has vaporized and how the decision to go with these turkeys was a bad move.

"When they figure that out and go crawling back to the old service providers, don't be surprised if a new service deal costs 50 percent more. And yes we are peeved -- thinking of going back to Novell."

Wow...there's not really a lot we can add to that, so we're not really going to try. (We especially can't comment on Telstra, given that we know almost nothing about the company.) But, Ken, thanks for letting us "take the temperature" (in this case, boiling hot) of how folks in Australia feel about this deal. Microsoft partners in Oz: If this is typical of the attitude you'll run into from customers, you might want to think long and hard about your own SaaS strategy, how you're going to pitch it and how Microsoft is going to fit into it.

We move on to David, also in Melbourne (Victoria represents!), who is a partner, and who says that companies should have seen this deal coming and should be able to react to it:

"The Telstra-Microsoft deal is typical of what we can all expect as cloud computing kicks off. My response was to register Cloudintegrators.com and get on with looking at how we can build total business solutions for the SME sector so we can set them free from traditional infrastructure and have them integrate multiple cloud-based solutions for their business platform.

"The mistake Microsoft may have made on this deal is that SMEs in Australia hate Telstra with a passion and only use their services because there is no other total telephony solution provider in Australia. While Telstra holds an effective monopoly on our phone and data solutions, we would not choose to do IT business with them so long as there is a choice.

"This deal is not an end-game yet. Opportunities still exist en masse in the SaaS space in Australia and globally. Oh, and if all one can do is traditional IT infrastructure, one has at least six months to retrain, so start reading now."

That's good advice there at the end, David -- words that every partner around the globe should heed. It's time to adapt; although there's no reason to panic, it's worth figuring out, partners, how you're going to adapt your business model to SaaS. Dave seems to be on the right path there. By the way, not for nothing, David also told us that his company became a Salesforce.com Registered Consulting Partner in August and called that move the "biggest step forward [the company] has taken since becoming a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner."

And then there was Brad, who sent what is possibly your editor's favorite e-mail of the year so far. Brad's a fellow native Texan who, like your editor, sympathized with the poor folks of Australia who constantly have to de-bunk myths about their homeland and put up with lame jokes. Brad says:

"I am also a native Texan, and living in California provides a lot of opportunity for local natives to brutalize my home state (and me in the process). But after 18 years of being out here it is easier to handle. I found when I was in Australia that it was a lot like Texas -- so I had a great time."

We feel you on this one, Brad. From the brim of our Stetson to the tips of our cowboy boots...where did that "rolling eyes" emoticon go, anyway? (And, in case you were wondering, neither Brad nor your editor rode a horse to school as a kid, and neither of us grew up with oil wells in the front yard.)

Thanks to all who have e-mailed RCPU recently. We have tons of great stuff that we haven't run yet, but we're going to try to get to it in the weeks to come. In the meantime, keep your thoughts on any and all topics coming in to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 11/13/2008 at 1:22 PM


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