Macro Trends

This is the fourth part of my presentation “Making money from the cloud”. You can find the full slides at:

and the previous parts are at:

We live in exponential times

Consider the following

Major Trends


We previously took a look at the large trends that are shaping our world but now let’s take a look at the small trends that impact smaller businesses.

No matter how large or small you are technology is the key differentiation point. The Internet has allowed any single person to compete globally, The Cloud has allowed any single person access to the same level (power) of technology that once was only once available to the largest of businesses for a few dollars a month. Now it is not about what technology you have, it is about how effectively you use that technology. That is what determines your profitability above everything else.

Companies like Amazon are at the cutting edge of utilising technology to provide better service to their customers as the above video demonstrates. Thus, the focus of technology is about being able to deliver better results for customers.

This means that if you are an IT professional you need to be not simply ‘selling’ technology, you need to implementing technology that helps your customers grow their business. IT professionals need to help their customers understand and get the best out of technology. If left to their own devices people use less than 10% of the full functionality of any technology that is provided to them. This means there is an untapped 90% opportunity to work with the existing technology people have. It is much easier to get more from what you have rather than trying to sell you something new now isn’t it?

This means that the business of an IT professional is all about consulting now. Pure reselling of technology is a commodity game and only the largest can survive in that environment. Much of this consulting will also involve the re-engineering of existing businesses. A good example of this, once again, is the shift from traditional email to things such as social networks for communications. You can’t simply enable a social network like Yammer inside a business, you need to help the business make the transition to this new way of working. However, this is not possible unless the IT professional themselves is actually using the latest technology themselves. You can’t implement a technology without understanding, and typically using it, yourself.

Here’s the key. Those that adopt new technology effectively are simply more competitive, able to react faster and adapt to suit market conditions quicker. Yes, that adoption requires and investment but that investment pays major dividends in the future. Unfortunately, so many businesses and IT professionals don’t want to make that investment, instead preferring to ‘stay with the current way of doing things’. That of course means living in the past as the future continues to accelerate away. That means that when change is forced upon the organisation it is that much harder because the leap is that much greater.

There is no doubt that change is hard, both for a business and for an individual. However, if you can get comfortable with change then you really have a competitive edge. The trick to becoming comfortable with change is to develop a system to help you manage it and therefore look at change as providing you a competitive advantage in the market as the vast majority are resistant to change.

However, the really adjustment most need to make when it comes to change is simply doing less. The real secret of success in the future is doing less and doing that exceptionally well. The traditional model of business growth was always to continue to grow revenue more and more. The problem is that costs and complications can rise faster than revenue. Thus, a focus on revenue is folly, while a focus on profit is sanity. The smaller you are, the reality is that you can’t do ‘everything’. You need to focus on a niche and become the best in the world at that niche and partner with others to fill any gaps. If you need heart surgery you don’t go to a GP now do you? You go to a heart surgeon. Heart surgeons make pretty good money even though they specialise. The same applies elsewhere. If you are everything to everyone, then you are nothing to no one. Focus on becoming more effective and generating more profit not merely revenue.

Technology is the game changer that effectively levels the playing field for all businesses. However, it is something that is always changing and needs a process for adoption. Those that can deal with the changes we see have an opportunity to be more competitive than any one else. This opportunity requires an on going investment and typically results in a change of business model but the message is clear. You can’t remain in the past. You can’t remain standing still as the progress of technology continues to move forward allowing others to leap frog you and take away your advantage.

Technology is a tool. Success is a measure of how well that is applied to benefit customers. Therefore, any technology implementations need to be focused on the value they provide to their customers. This will also require challenges of innovation to solve problems using different tools but when you do, truly, the world is your oyster!

Major trends

This is the third part of my presentation “Making money from the cloud”. You can find the full slides at:

and the previous parts are at:

We live in exponential times

Consider the following


To develop a plan for your professional and business development going forward you need to start with the macro and move to the micro. So what are the major trends we see in today’s world?

The first is automation. A great discussion on this can be found in this Dan Pink video:

If you play the video by clicking the above it should start at the right place, if not forward to 29 minutes and 52 seconds to hear about automation. The whole video is worth watching, and I recommend you do, but the section on automation is especially pertinent. In essence what we will see is anything that is routine, linear, or process driven can be automated using software. Have a look at this video at the 46m mark through to the 50m 30s point for a idea of what is becoming possible when it comes to automating something as mundane as ordering at the drive through:

The ramifications here are two fold. Firstly, it indicates that to be more competitive and attractive is today’s business environment you need to be developing more and more automated systems. This automation is typically created via software. Thus, no matter who or what you are you need to using software effectively to become more competitive. Secondly, it means that tasks that can be automated will fast move to a commodity model, which means the lowest price wins. For most business and individuals this will not be a profitable option. Thus, if you can’t compete in the world of process that can be automated then may be you shouldn’t be playing there!

We are witnessing a new focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning thanks to software. The data you generate when you shop, use your credit card, use GPS navigation, read your emails is all being aggregated to create a better profile of you as an individual. This allows the system to deliver you better results. It allows the system to know what you want before you know you want it.

Here’s a good example:

ThyssenKrupp is using tools from Microsoft like Internet of Things (IoT), Azure machine learning, and Power to provide more reliable lift operations. With the sensor data feeding into predictive algorithms in Azure machine learning ThyssenKrupp can determine pre-emptively when components may fail and can take action before they do.

We live in a world were more and more items are becoming directly connected to the Internet. These devices are generating massive amounts of data that can be analysed to provide benefits in so many ways. Here’s a great example of what is possible with IoT;

So the question is, what is your business doing about IoT? Machine Learning? Big Data? and Artificial Intelligence? They need to be part of your game plan going forward. How can you use these technologies in you business to be more productive or provide better solutions for you customers?

An indicative statistic when it comes to the growth of mobile devices is the fact that mobile ads now exceed ads delivered on TV! Also previously, nearly all office workers were tethered to their cubicle by a blue network patch lead. Today, by contrast, users are rarely solely working from their cubicle. Work is no longer a place you go, it is something that you do. That typically means that wherever you have internet connectivity the expectation is that you can work. The growth of mobile device has fuelled this ability to work remotely and will continue to do so.

Mobility raises challenges for IT departments in that they are still expected to manage, monitor and maintain fleets of devices now roaming the streets untethered. I see that many IT support departments have the ability to manage desktop devices but as yet have no strategy in place to manage mobile devices. Consider that the decline of desktop workstations and servers is only going to increase while sales of mobile device will increase. Also, mobile devices are upgraded at a much faster clip than on-premises hardware. If you consider those trends, what should your IT management business be focused on? Yes, that’s right, mobile devices.

Augmented reality is allowing a new layer on top of our existing world that can provide some amazing abilities as the above video demonstrates. Combine a HoloLens with a drone and now you can examine some of the dangerous places in the world from the safety of your armchair. The applications for business are enormous. Imagine being able to work on a jet engine and having the full schematics available to you in front of your eyes. Imagine being able to overlay those plans on what you are exactly looking at.

Some good novels I have read that give you a glimpse into this potential universe are:


Freedom TM

Ready Player One

Rather than learning about something by reading it or watching a video, imagine instead immersing yourself directly in the experience, right in front of your eyes? The quickest way to learn someone is to actually do it as they say. Augmented reality allows that. Although perhaps still in its infancy it won’t be long before we simple accept this ability as the default.

If you want to being to appreciate how modern technology is changing the basics of how people learn then I urge you to watch the video above Build a School in the Cloud. You’ll see how the availability of information has levelled the playing field. The question for you however is, how are you taking advantage of these trends? How are you using the wealth of information and technology that is in your hands TODAY, to lead a better life and help others?

Unfortunately, there are always two sides to the technology coin. Technology is neutral. It is neither good or bad. It’s nature depends solely on how it is used.

I have written many articles on how we are allowing the bad guys to constantly win:

Bad guys just keep winning

and I fear as we rush into this new world of everything being connected we are making ourselves more vulnerable to catastrophic failure.

An eye opening video I’d encourage you to watch is:

A vision of crimes in the future

Don’t believe security will be ab issue in our technological future? Then tell me why cryptolocker is still running rampant through businesses today? How it this possible with all the security, anti-virus and protection software in place? In most cases the cryptolocker delivery mechanism goes straight through all of these and entices the end user to activate. How is that possible? Why haven’t we solved these issues as IT people?

Technology is two headed beast. What works for good can also be used for bad. The more technology we adopt, the more risk we place ourselves in. If you took most people’s mobile phone away from them, they’d be lost and pretty much be unable to function in today’s society. That is not a good state of affairs now is it?

At this point many IT people smile smugly believing they are immune from such a future. My response to that is to ask whether every device they carry outside their business is encrypted? Every mobile device today has the ability to have the information on it encrypted so that if it is every lost the data can not be read by unauthorised parties.

So, is EVERY device you have encrypted? Are you using two factor authentication to protect you identity? Hmmm… are you? If not then you are certainly vulnerable and as we move forward more and more of your precious data will be vulnerable unless you take continuing steps to give security the primary priority it should have when it comes to our digital world. Alas, I fear the opposite is transpiring with more and more people abdicating the security of their digital universe and that unfortunately makes us all more vulnerable every day because we live an increasingly connected world.

These are the major technology trends sweeping our world today, both good and bad. Their adoption continues at unprecedented rates. However, the question remains, what are you doing to take advantage, adapt and to keep up in the face of these changes?

Consider the following

This is the second part of my presentation “Making money from the cloud”. You can find the full slides at:

and the first part at:

We live in exponential times


One of the major changes that is a reality in today’s world is the fact that millennials have become the dominant component of the workforce. This also means their dominance will continue to increase as will their influence inside organisations as they move into positions of responsibility and power inside all businesses.

The question therefore becomes, what are you doing to cater for this generation? They work in very different ways from previous generations you will soon find out. Don’t believe me? Ok, tell me what happens when you send a millennial an email? You never get a reply is what happens. Why? Because they don’t use emails to communicate. They typically use social media or chat, especially Facebook. They are going to expect the same style of “social” communications tools when they work in a business. They are also going to expect communication channels such as Slack (and Microsoft Teams now) where they can contribute and be heard broadly and publically across the organisation. If the only tool your business communications support is email, don’t expect it to be a place where the best millennial talent wants to work!

Coupled with the change in worker demographic, the vast majority of interactions people have with technology and information is now via mobile devices, typically their phone. Fewer and fewer people are remaining tethered to a network cable, desktop and cubical in the business. You want your sales people out talking with customers. You want your support staff out with customers in the real world. In fact you want your whole business out in the listening to what customers want and they can only do this if they have access to information through their mobile devices.

So how are you enabling your mobile workforce? Are you supporting and encouraging staff to work from the field? Are you enabling them to work when it suits them to provide a better work/life balance? If you aren’t, then there is a good chance you won’t retain them for long. Work is no longer somewhere you go to, it is something you do. Smart businesses reward their staff on what they do, not how they do it.

We are still at the beginning of the mobile revolution. What happens when countries like India, China, Indonesia and like come fully online? When they do, it will be via mobile devices not traditional desktops. How as a business are you going to enable, and also importantly, control this mobility? How are you going to enable ease of access but also ensure your information remains secure? There are no longer any borders to your network. You business information is free to roam outside your walls, wherever your users go. How are you dealing with that?

Mobile technology puts a powerful computing device within everyone’s hands cheaply. Combined with cloud services like Office 365, Azure, AWS and like it also gives them access to computing power beyond the wildest dreams of the largest governments just a few years back. The cost of all this is mere pennies per month. Importantly, it is also available freely to anyone. Anyone can sign up today for a 30 day trial of services like Office 365 and Azure, no matter where they are in the world. Technology has become pervasive, it is everywhere and technology alone is no longer the differentiator. How you actually use technology is the main determination of how successful you are personally and your business is.

Such pervasiveness allows anyone to deliver a product or service just about anywhere in the world. Mobile app stores are available to anyone who has a mobile device 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Successful businesses understand their greatest opportunity if outside their existing markets. As mentioned before, the sheer number of potential consumer is countries like India, China and Indonesia should have any business salivating ate the prospect of selling into such markets. With technology, it is possible today. Right now.

You can never be a success in business if you do what everyone else is doing. If you are simply selling hardware items you are in a race to the bottom with companies who are larger, better funded and more suited to the commodity game. The rules of this game you should be following are – if you can’t win, don’t play!

Here in Australia we have seen the demise of large businesses such as Dick Smith and Master’s who tried to play the commodity game against stronger players and lost everything. Even our biggest retailers, Coles and Woolworths, are struggling and deathly afraid of players like Amazon coming into our market, which they are by the way:

Amazon plans to ‘destroy’ Australia’s retail industry

The only conclusion a rational individual can make is that the commodity business is for ‘mugs’ and you shouldn’t be in it, yet you continue to see so many holding dearly onto it as their sole business model. Right. Good luck with that.

The world is a very different place from what many believe. The evidence is all around us, plain as day, yet many fail to heed the new reality. In the face of just points the mentioned here alone, you should now be looking to go back to the drawing board and chart a new plan for the future. There is massive opportunities for those businesses that embrace these changes because many are still living in denial. Yes, change is hard but it is also a fact of life. Once you embrace it, it won’t control you, you won’t fear it and you’ll see the opportunities were others only see threats.

We live in exponential times. The actions that you take right here and right now are what will determine your personal and business viability in the future. Grasp the opportunity or fade away. The choice is yours.

We live in exponential times

This is the first section of my presentation “Making money from the cloud”. You can find the full slides at:


The pace of technological change today is unprecedented. However, most fail to fully appreciate how fast indeed the world is changing around them. This means most don’t really understand the world in which they live.

We all get set in our ways and become comfortable with the familiar because we don’t like change, however the more we fail to embrace change the more obsolete we become. Success today is achieved by those willing to challenge themselves with the ‘uncomfortable’ for which the payoff is knowledge.

A thought provoking video on this topic is The Fourth Industrial Revolution created by the World Economic Forum. 

One of the key points made by the video is the following:

“Almost anyone will be able to invent new products and services cheaply and quickly”

The impact of that is going to be immense, in every industry. However, it is going to have the greatest impact on those who are locked into the status quo and the belief that they are immune from competition.


Most people and businesses today believe they reside in a linear world, in that if you do X, Y happens. Alternatively, if you wait X then the result will only have progressed Y ahead.

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. We live in exponential times where a change X results in YN difference, with N constantly increasing. Thus, the further you get along the horizontal axis X, the great the change in Y becomes, trending to vertical.

Thus, the longer you wait in an exponential world, the steeper the curve. The more energy you need to expend to simply keep up. However, the biggest challenge is simply the fact that many still have linear expectations and face an ever growing expectations gaps between where they believe they are and where the reality is.

A great quote which I think sums this up well comes from the former CEO of GE, Jack Welch:

“If the rate of change on the outside exceed the rate of change on the inside, the end is near”

The first challenge is therefore to accept that we live in exponentially changing times. The second challenge is then to actually adapt to that and do something to deal with this. One of the most common excuses hear today is that ‘things are moving so fast, we just can’t keep up’. Yup, welcome to the exponential world. Now show me what you are doing about it? Simply whining about the challenges doesn’t make them go away and every minute you waste doing this, the further things progress. Thus, execution is what matters here.

The greater you allow the gap between belief and reality to become, the greater the risk becomes when change is forced upon you. The longer you wait, the large you allow that gap to become, the more violent the change will be to the point that the chances of survival are minimal. In short, the bigger the gap, the greater the chance of an extinction event, a al Mr Welch.

Like most things however, there is an alternate way of looking at this. If you have an open mind set you’ll see nothing but opportunity. You’ll see that thanks to today’s exponential times you’ll need to invest a very small amount of resources to yield significant resources. The scale and speed you achieve with technology now is unprecedented. Tools such as Azure and Office 365 give ANYONE access to the same resources. They provide the ability to automate and scale beyond anything that was previously possible. The trick is that you can only see these opportunities if you have an open mindset!


Evidence of our exponential world is most evident through the technology we use. The above diagram show the rapid exponential decline in storage pricing with the rapid exponential increase in storage capacity (taken from

I’ll dig into some other major trends that we see happening in our business world today thanks to technology in upcoming articles, but it is important I feel to set the scene here about how we are living in an exponential world whether you like or not. The question is, as you can’t change your environment, how are you managing your response to it?

The rate of change will only continue to increase. The actions that you take right here and right now are what will determine your personal and business viability in the future. Grasp the opportunity or fade away. The choice is yours.

Making money from the cloud

I’ve just completed a presentation entitled “Making money from the cloud” aimed at SMB IT resellers and you’ll now find it available for download from my site here:

or displayed above.

I plan to work through the content in a number of upcoming articles I’ll post here but for now have a look at the whole presentation and let me know if you have any questions or comments and I’ll work the responses in to upcoming articles.


September Webinar Resources

Webinar for September complete. Thanks to all who registered and attended.

The slides are available at

If you are not a CIAOPS patron you want to view or download a full copy of the video from the session you can do so here:

you can also now get access to all webinars via:

for a nominal fee.

Details of the October webinar coming real soon!

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 110

Marc and I kick off the show with the latest cloud news as usual but then I talk to SMB reseller Jeff Huze from Interconnekt all about the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) that is now available for Microsoft Cloud products such as Office 365 and Azure. We talk about the differences it brings for licensing and the tangible benefits it provides resellers when it comes to growing the cloud business. If you haven’t looked at Microsoft CSP, and you sell Office 365 or Azure, then you should. so tune in and let Jeff explain all about it.

You can listen to this episode at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send me any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.




Azure news from Marc

Jeff Huze

Twitter: @jeffreyhuze





Twitter: @interconnekt

Rhipe CSP

Microsoft CSP FAQ

CIAOPS Tech Support Facebook group


I’ve set up a private Facebook group to provide a support community around cloud technologies, especially those from Microsoft. Invite to the group is via a minimum monthly pledge of $10 on my Patreon page here:

The group allows me to post a lot of additional information I find as well as being involved with members. This typically means answering questions, providing feedback and basically helping them work better with the cloud.

The conversation are not only technical but extend to the business application of things such as Office 365, Azure, and more. That means it is suitable for end users through power users right up to IT Professionals actually implementing these technologies.

All you need to become part of the CIAOPS Tech Support community is pledge at least $10 per month to help me continue to build content and then friend me ( on Facebook so I can add you to the group.

I hope you’ll join our community.