Newsletter May 26 2020

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From The Microphone

Welcome to the MSP Radio newsletter, catching you up on some stories you might have missed!   

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You May Have Missed... 

Child Care as a Benefit

From Monday, May 18th's episode: My statements last week in regards to child care being a wanted benefit are proving timely.
A coalition of companies have come behind the “invest in parents” initiative, coordinated by Cleo, a startup that provides services to new parents as an employer-paid benefit.     The coalition includes Salesforce, Uber, Snap, Box, Pintrest, Niantic and Zoom.
In a survey, 20% of parents say they or their partner are considering leaving the workforce over childcare concerns.   
Also today, a group of Seattle tech companies came together and released a new guide for employers to help small and medium sized businesses support working parents and caregivers.     Led by Leg Up, a company that offers a marketplace to find daycare, after school care and classes, enrichment programs and other activities, the resources are available at
Meanwhile, Satya Nadella spoke with the New York Times last week and offered this quote when considering telecommuting.
“What does burnout look like? What does mental health look like? What does that connectivity and the community building look like? One of the things I feel is, hey, maybe we are burning some of the social capital we built up in this phase where we are all working remote. What’s the measure for that?”“

Why do we care?

This is one of my big concerns about the move to work from home as society has also closed schools and child care…. The potential burn out of employees.   Parents, working from home and caring for their families, are struggling to keep up.
The opportunity here is to help – or partner – to not just focus on the technical portions of work from home, but also the culture changes required to support it.  There is also opportunity to stand out from your competitors for hiring by addressing these same problems.

Security Education for Work from Home

From Tuesday, May 19th's episode: Some new stats from Kaspersky about the situation around work from home.  
  • 73% of teleworkers and Work From Home employees are without help from their employers on security awareness, guidance, or training. 
  • 73% are also using the same devices they worked with before the pandemic.
  • 42% use personal email accounts for work.
Why do we care? 

This one just screams sales opportunity.   Frequent listeners will know I’ve mentioned the training opportunities over and over – and here we get a sense of how open this is.    That is a huge majority who are untrained, and this is best delivered as an ongoing service.
There are also clearly upgrade opportunities as well as the chance to close off those personal email accounts… or secure those home machines.     Pick your growth lever.
Facebook launches Shops

From Wednesday, May 20th's episode: Facebook has launched Shops, allowing Facebook and Instagram pages to become digital storefronts.   Focused on small businesses, the feature allows a customer to browse the goods of a business, and in theory could handle the entire shopping process.     The system supports third-party software like Shopify and BigCommerce, and there will be customer loyalty programs in the future.
Positioned as a response to the pandemic, this is designed to ease the on-ramp of ecommerce.

Why do we care?

There is certainly an SMB opportunity here.   I can quickly and easily draw the line to “you can sell this opportunity easily to help customers get setup” as a great project and consulting opportunity.  That’s not hard.
Do you want to go all in on eCommerce with Facebook?  It’s a solid question, and worth considering.  
If you look at the integrated WeChat experience in China, which combines chat, commerce, travel and the like, there is an obvious parallel.   Facebook is looking to build that, and already has the death grip with Google on online advertising.
The danger is ending up in a situation where Google, Facebook, and Amazon have an entire grip on the ecommerce stack, from marketing through to sales and fulfillment, and there are no other options.  
Google wins a deal with DoD

From Thursday, May 21st's episode: Google has won a deal with the Department of Defense.  A deal in the seven figure range, per reporting by Axios, it is through the DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit focused on identifying cyber threats, per the announcement.   

Google said the system “will provide real-time network monitoring, access control, and full audit trails, enabling DIU to maintain its strict cloud security posture without compromising speed and reliability.”

The system, which will be centrally managed from Google’s console, will allow the DIU to run web services and applications across competing cloud services like those offered by Amazon and Microsoft.

Why do we care?

Google hadn’t pursued that JEDI contract that we have talked about before – but that doesn’t mean thye are not interested in government work, and here’s that.   It could put them into conflict with their own employees, as there is pushback on some of their government procest, such as Project Maven with the Pentagon, which was designed to use Google AI and machine learning to analyze drone footage.  That project was abandoned in 2019 after those protests.
Government is a necessary sector for all the cloud players – when you are seeking the kind of growth numbers they are at the size and scale of operations, there are only a few industries that really do it.  Healthcare, education, and government.
Cloud providers in government is good for the public perception too, as if its good enough for them, it’s good enough for any business.  
And, importantly, how they handle those employee concerns.    They need this business – how will they manage that perception, and what can we take away from that.
That’s why we care about these moves…


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