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The Predatar Podcast

Author: Alistair Mackenzie

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Scaling a technology service provider business can be a challenge for many traditional IT channel players.In each episode Alistair Mackenzie, CEO of Predatar, is joined by guests whose insights will help to fast track your journey from traditional reseller to profitable service provider. This show is for IT channel leaders, whether you are a founder, owner, CEO or a key influencer in your business.
12 Episodes
Over the last 18 months, a lot has been going on at IBM.It has purchased Red Hat, plans to spin out its managed services business and promoted new leadership. A generational shift is underway to position itself as the leader in open hybrid cloud.Are these decisions too bold or are they too little too late? Sit back and listen, then let us know what YOU think.Al and Rick begin by discussing IBM’s decision to essentially split the business in two, with its Global Technology Services arm due to be spun out in 2021, this is then followed by their thoughts on the acquisition of Red Hat as the engine to return the business to revenue growth. Finally, what does this mean for IBM’s overall culture and the technology platform it is building?
Unhappy customers don't always fill in your NPS surveys, so how do you stop customers leaving your service?We speak to Andy Brown, Predatar's Customer Success Officer, who sharpened his skills in the furnace of Britain's coal mining industry. Is keeping technology customers happy easier than hardened coal miners? Not always.As SaaS models become the dominant delivery model for technology, Andy talks about the importance of the 2nd "S" - Service.In this 30 minute episode, Andy shares his beliefs covering employee engagement, cultural style and how the customer service function must become as agile as software development.Enjoy!
How can we help IT infrastructure operators, better serve the developer community in this world of agile, cloud-native workloads.In this podcast I’m joined by Predatar Managing Director, Rick Norgate. We discuss the key features of the “Falcon” platform release (r11.3, March 26th), all designed to help you deliver dynamic, consumer-friendly, data protection services. Rick also shares his passion for usability and good design. He gives a glimpse into the 2020 Predatar road map and how we are helping service providers, well.... better serve their customers remotely.
Are you 100% confident your backup service will deliver when called upon? And when you need to recover a system, do you really know how long it will take?In this podcast I’m joined by Predatar CTO, Steve Miller and for his first podcast, Predatar Managing Director, Rick Norgate. We discuss three new features in the “Orca” platform release (r11.2, December 19th), all designed to help you deliver dynamic, consumer-friendly, data protection services. Building on the recently awarded EPO Patent, we extend the DR recovery orchestration to support Spectrum Protect Plus backups.We also discuss asset usage to help you keep a handle on costs and billing. Finally, for Spectrum Protect users and builders, we've added features to help you make the transition to Spectrum Protect Plus, just a little bit easier. Have a listen to find out how.Keep the feedback coming. This is your platform built on your ideas.
The Ghost of Tom Joad

The Ghost of Tom Joad


“It’s hard, it’s expensive and it takes a lot of time”Alistair Mackenzie talks with Rob Anderson, CEO of Pinnacle Business Systems, based in Oklahoma, USA. Rob’s story of constant business evolution is reminiscent of the struggles of the Joad family, the collective protagonist of the great Steinbeck novel, The Grapes of Wrath. In a reversal of the Okie migration after the Dust Bowl depression, Rob describes his journey from California to Oklahoma to build a business and transform it from successful IBM reseller to independent service provider. Having started on a three-year MSP evolution programme he is staying the course, because just like the book’s hero Tom Joad said, there can be no turning back.With a strong background in accounting, Rob gives a different perspective on the changing landscape of the IT channel and what he feels is needed to be successful.Capturing the spirit of the Oklahoma pioneers, the early farmers of the “Sooner State”, Rob understands the maxim “you reap what you sow”. Listen to the podcast to hear Rob tell a story of managing risk and taking tough decisions. Despite the toughness, Rob actively manages and nurtures the business culture. He realises a business is like a family working together to ride out the times of drought, and celebrate the bountiful harvests.Patience is a virtue in the Sooner State.
Money, it's a gas

Money, it's a gas


"Grab that cash with both hands and make a stashNew car, caviar, four star daydreamThink I'll buy me a football team"In this episode I'm joined by Silverstring CFO, Graeme Titchener, who is on a mission to promote the "quiet men" of the IT channel. As more revenue switches to subscription services, the role of the "kings of cash" is changing from back-office guardians to key players in the creation of competitive advantage.Having steered Silverstring's transformation from VAR to MSP, Graeme reflects on learnings from a career which began selling "chips and boards" in high volume, through to VAR, then MSP and more recently, SaaS provider. He reflects on a transition from growth through boiler-room sales tactics to growth driven by good customer service and proven outcomes.Often candid in his speech, Graeme advocates Finance Directors take a much more proactive and visible role in the business-model change. Stepping out from the back-office to influence product development, pricing, marketing and even culture creation will be necessary for successful transformation.Whilst cash is still king, strong risk and liquidity management is essential to realise the vision of often overambitious chief executives. He goes on to detail the tooling and systems required to cope with subscription-based models and the financial pressures associated with balancing short-term cash requirements, with longer term equity value.Finance is an absolute bedrock to IT channel evolution so this episode of the Predatar Podcast is long overdue. Not just for CFO ears, we recommend any channel executive takes the time to listen to Graeme's insights.Enjoy!
In this episode Al Mackenzie, Predatar CEO, is joined by Barbara Giunchi Burr of Silverstring and Mark Sampson of Beliyf. We discuss the invisible force which drives your business transformation. Whether you like it or not every business has one and its culture, when product advantage is short-lived, which can so often be the key differentiation.It's so much more than a fancy two-day offsite workshop or motivational posters on your walls. Developing a culture which can propel the business forward, takes careful design and long-term commitment. It's what you do when you get back to the office after the rah-rah workshop; how you behave when you are faced with the mundane challenges of business life.Where do you start? It starts with you, the CEO, as role model and cheerleader.This is such an important topic, so powerful its been said that culture eats strategy for breakfast. Yet why do we not give it the attention it deserves. Take time out and listen to this important episode on culture and business transformation.
How do you build long term competitive advantage when products and features can be so easily copied?This episode looks at how to position your company for long-term success. As value-add resellers in the channel evolve to become cloud service providers, they can no longer stand on the shoulders of IT giants. Brand building and marketing become part of the strategy to be considered by any channel CEO.The products you build become the torch bearers for your brand, helping you to avoid margin erosion from commoditisation and copycat resellers.In this era, the service you provide is a reflection of your brand and culture. It's what makes you distinctive and unique. Whether you are first to market or late to market, you must take control of your position in a market segment by having a point of view, or a belief about what's right and wrong. If you don't, someone else, your prospects or competitors, will position your business for you.In this episode Al Mackenzie, the CEO of Predatar, is joined by Mark Sampson of Beliyf to discuss branding and positioning for IT Channel companies.
A Techie that Talks

A Techie that Talks


In this episode, Neil Warwick (Head of Technical Transformation at Predatar) and Steve Miller (CTO), join Alistair Mackenzie for a discussion on services design.Neil has been at the forefront of complex technical systems but its not all been plain sailing, as he shares his experience of Marconi's missteps to his work on the "Betamax" of the data storage industry.Steve argues for maintaining the human aspect of customer service and the likely impact of artificial intelligence.Their personal journeys have cultivated the experience needed to help partners design scalable MSP offerings, as technology becomes a tool to deliver great service, not an end in itself.It's well worth a listen!
In this episode we are joined by Predatar CTO, Steve Miller. Steve looks back over his career as a managed services professional to discuss the services evolution from mainframe to micro-services.As break-fix managed services suffer commoditisation, Steve makes the case for data-driven, customer focused service delivery to enable business transformation, not just outsourcing.Using examples from his personal life, Steve encourages us to embark on continuous, life-long learning to "future-proof" ourselves, raise the bar and embrace, not run away from, automation and AI.The episode ends with a sneak peek into the upcoming Predatar Lynx release, the service operating system for MSPs who want to rapidly scale their business.
Depending on their individual situation, there are several different ways businesses might approach IT VAR transformation. Some businesses may decide to part transform or become 100% MSP, whilst others may decide to spin out a separate business or, if the funds are available, acquire a ready-made business.  Whilst there is no silver bullet, it’s worth noting that companies who decide to try and run both models simultaneously could prolong the transformation more than it needs to, resulting in more cash being burned and the company never getting to the finish line.  Whatever path a business decides to take, whether it’s through acquisition or building from within, an invisible force is at work - culture.  CEOs need to understand that they are the keepers of the business culture and must duly recognise and address the ‘so what’ question. With any change, employees across the business will ask: how does this matter to me? How will this impact my role?  Therefore, internal communication and having absolute clarity around the ‘so what’ factor is critical so that employees understand how this change matters to them as individuals.
Re-wiring a business in response to evolving market demands is never going to be an easy feat, even when businesses have the luxury of time and significant cash reserves to draw on.  So, when a business needs to transform at pace because its competition is hot on its heels and it fears missing out, the pressure quickly intensifies.  This is one of the big challenges facing business leaders who are trying to navigate through the rugged terrain of today’s saturated and hyper-competitive IT channel landscape.  Despite best efforts to embark upon this expedition, senior management teams within traditional VAR businesses that are looking to take advantage of the profitable MSP world, are finding it hard to get past first base. In this episode, we highlight the top four fundamental priorities that leaders must pay attention to or risk getting lost in the fog or worse, failing completely.
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