As the holidays draw near, I thought I'd keep things a little light today and put together a "Best of" article. Below, you'll find commentary on some of our 2012 blog posts that come to the top of my mind, for various reasons (positive and negative).
Mike's Favorite Article Of 2012
Shortly before attending RSPA RetailNOW this past July, I wrote the article "How Safe Are POS VARs from Extinction?", which was my first rallying cry to retail and restaurant IT VARs, urging them to focus on all the opportunities presenting themselves, rather than the threats. Sure, there have been many technological and societal changes that impact VARs in these verticals, but there are also a ton of new opportunities. This article kicked off many of the themes I've focused on all year. Sell digital signage. Sell video surveillance. Sell mobile POS. Sell loyalty. Sell solutions as a service.
Little did I know that the future of retail and restaurant IT VARs -- and many of the technologies I was writing about -- would be such huge topics at RetailNOW and, in the following months, give me a ton of fuel for this blog.
By far, the best conversation and sheer volume of comments came from my article "How Dirty Is The Business Of Payment Processing?" Maybe I was naive, but I didn't realize the storm I'd be creating in writing the article (not taking any sides, mind you) and posting it all over the Internet. When I posted a link to the article on the Greensheet MLS forum, things really heated up. In fact, I had to stop visiting the forum for a while because the comments got out of control. More than 1,200 views and 62 posts, which were essentially all hate mail. It was clear that many people just read the headline and didn't even read the article. Since our Business Solutions blog was relatively new, getting so many negative comments really affected me and I took it personally. On the flip side, I received a lot of positive comments -- even from people within the payments industry -- who told me that the payments industry really did have a dirty side. In the end, this article taught me that nothing is better than an article that stirs up thought and conversation, whether good or bad.
Most Under-Appreciated Article of 2012
A big trend in the reseller world is adopting a managed services model. Resellers who operate in areas such as networking are generally further ahead in this trend than, say, retail and restaurant IT VARs. Regardless, it's a model anyone can adopt and many should, particularly if interested in a stable profitable business. I've spoken with VARs in the retail world who are very interested in a services model, but don't know where to begin. My counterpart, Jay McCall, created an excellent resource, "8 Killer Resources For Your Managed Services Practice" for VARs interested in the managed services model, but based on comments and clicks, I think a lot readers missed the boat. So, if the services model is in your future, here's your second chance at this great resource.
Biggest Misses Of 2012
How do you measure a miss? One could say based on the number of comments, but even the most popular blogs on the web often don't get a lot of comments. Perhaps number of page views? Even the worst blogs probably get a decent number of visitors on headline alone. Here's what I think our biggest miss of 2012 was, and the headline was almost prophetic when I look back now. On the heels of a Netgear announcement about the creation of 802.11ac, I wrote the article "802.11ac: Do You — Or Your Customers — Care?" The answer to the question, based on comments and stats for the article, was a resounding no. Sorry if I wasted your time on that one.