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Security. Everyone is talking about it and everyone claims they are following guidelines and securing their data, but I am still consistently being asked the same question from partners, "where do I start?" Everyday partners hear about various vendors and solution portfolios, but they’re still struggling with the best way to broach the subject with end-users. There is concern that using various statistics about the importance of security comes off as a scare tactic, and understandably that’s not the way they want to be perceived by their customers.

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In the same way that you may decide to drink Orange Juice for a Vitamin C boost, workout to improve your overall health, or avoid those cookies that showed up for a co-worker’s birthday, you can take all the right steps and still succumb to illness.  Security is no different; no matter how “secure” you or your clients are, there is always risk. However, fear not because there are still many steps you can take to minimize risk and ensure the best health and longevity for both you and your clients’ organizations.

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In 2018, Channel Partners are dealing with a ridiculously high amount of marketing fluff and fear tactics.  Never before has there been so much interest in the channel from Wall Street, equity firms, and end users themselves. All of this attention and spotlight means more vendors developing programs, more complexity as vendors merge with one another, and more emerging solutions that the channel is told to sell lest they miss out on the “skills pivot” that is necessary to handle “digital transformation.”

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Everyone talks about ‘cloud’ and defines it in their own way. Because of the various definitions and interpretations, the topic of cloud has become an instant eye-roll or sense of boredom when brought up.

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In 2017, Contact Center trends focused around data integration. In 2018, there has been a renewed emphasis on showing increased business value through the use of more intelligent contact centers. With the advent of social integration, machine learning, chat bots, and powerful analytics as part of CCaaS solutions, or as add-on solutions, contact centers are being transformed into holistic customer intelligence hubs.

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It’s hard to believe the second quarter is already upon us. No doubt you’ve finalized your goals for 2018 and are eager to start putting those plans into motion. Whether your initiatives include investing in new staff, expanding your technology portfolio or developing a marketing strategy, TBI can help you achieve those goals.

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One of the least liked phrases around here is digital transformation. What does it mean? It’s so nebulous and doesn’t attach any particular technology or pain point when using it. We talk about the customer’s digital journey and it means something different for every company and every “owner” of said journey.

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Start 2018 off right by aligning your best practices.

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Evolving your compensation structure to adapt with convergence.

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We’re quickly moving right into 2018, and if you haven’t broached the subject of budgeting and projects slated for next year with your customers, your time to get in as their tech consultant of record is rapidly closing. It’s important to remember the perspective of your contacts. Pending their title CIO, CFOs, CISO, CMOs and/or IT Directors, they all have very different agendas. Schedule time now, find out what their priorities are and how you are equipped to handle them.

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Your LinkedIn network is an untapped resource for prospecting to new customers.

Access How to Market to Your LinkedIn Network SlideShare from TBI, the nation's largest master agent.

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The Worldwide IT spend (hardware, software and telecom) is projected to total $3.5 trillion in 2017, a 2.7 percent increase from 2016, according to Gartner, Inc. Though according to a Channel Partners and 451 Research Global Channel Survey, 45% of partners lack the personnel resources to sell outside the U.S.

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Failure paves the road to success. The best way to learn is to make mistakes and build off them to ensure they’re not repeated. While this is true, not enough is said about lessons learned from others’ mistakes. Case in point, there is much partners can take away from Amazon’s public cloud outage last month.

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As mobile technologies continue to emerge and evolve, businesses will invest more in mobility. According to Citrix, 71 percent of enterprises currently regard internal mobility as a top priority. That should come to no surprise when seeing the benefit it can bring to both employees and employers. Among many other perks, mobility enables employees to access critical apps and data remotely, allowing them to be productive when out of the office.

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How to talk your many customers' languages.

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With each new year comes new technologies and business opportunities to capitalize on. As we reflect on an exciting and successful 2016, we remind ourselves how we can better serve you, our partners, in 2017. The following is an internal memo that was sent out across TBI. Please know, we make every effort to do right by you and always have our partners’ businesses best interests at heart.

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The fast-paced technology landscape is ever changing, and as product sets continue to narrow and end users become more connected than ever before, it’s crucial to understand where the market is headed. Based off what we saw in 2016, here are common business challenges and solutions worth addressing with your customers at the beginning of next year. These range from easy-to-sell products that lead to greater sales to emerging technologies that will spark interest and truly add value.

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This article was originally published on Business Solutions.

Every industry is being affected by the convergence of technology in the marketplace as offerings broaden and shift to delivery as a service. According to Harvard Business Review, “IT-Driven innovation is reshaping industries and redrawing the lines of competitive rivalry.” Technology companies are rapidly expanding their portfolios through R&D or acquisition to provide new services to their clients. Facebook is developing Messenger to become its search platform. Google is architecting a fiber connectivity network. Dell bought EMC to create an end-to-end hardware and software powerhouse. Similarly, convergence is driving the VAR industry as telecom companies incorporate leading routing and security services into their connectivity offerings and now cloud service providers market solutions directly to the end client.

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Businesses depend on a solid network infrastructure. Every department within an organization relies on that infrastructure. A mismanaged network impacts almost everything from customer communication, data storage and retrieval and data analysis to collaboration and network security. Ultimately, data could be lost, productivity could lag, orders could stall and customer satisfaction could wane - all hurting the business’ bottom line.

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