This week I attended Summit '10 Profit from the Cloud  hosted by Parallels and held at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Resort. Now you might think that I went to this event because it was located in Miami Beach and who doesn't want to be in Miami in February? In fact, Microsoft has been gracious enough to let me be based in Redmond, Washington, and live in Miami Beach. I can do this because we have Unified Communications Capabilities similar to those offered for SMBs by Outsourcery in the UK.

This summit was a great event for me. On Monday, I was able to chat with my friends at Tier1Research to share thoughts on the future of hosting. This business is going through a significant transformation and opening up opportunities for those willing to go after it. On Tuesday, I gave a keynote on this transformation. It was based on a study Microsoft ran at the end of last year. Here is the cliff notes version. Revenue for small businesses are growing. They are looking at IT as a critical component to enable growth. They are looking to hosters to provide IT services for them. If you are hoster, you should be thinking about how you can provide a portfolio of services that enable you to become the Trusted IT Advisor to your customers. To do this, you need to ensure you have an agile infrastructure, the appropriate skills in your company and the right partnerships. Partnering with Microsoft and Parallels is a great start.

I spent the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday talking to hosters and understanding what Microsoft could be doing better to enable their growth. More on that later....

John Zanni