The Re-Startup Blog

08 January 2017

In June 2014, I wrote my first start-up blog, giving an overview of why I was starting up Embedded and what it intended to do.  I explained how there was a broken relationship between Clients, Vendors and the channel between them, and intended to change the world by fixing all of these relationships on behalf of clients.  Oh the naivety…..

What actually happened is in September 2014 I was engaged in helping a channel partner who were looking for a more serious engagement, and asked me to go permanent.  Despite my intention to save the world, I decided to defer my channel domination strategy for two years and use the project to learn some more things.  And I’m very glad I did.

I have just left their employment and am back on my world saving strategy with renewed aplomb.  And wow how the IT industry needs me now.  The complexities of Brexit, Trump, World Wars, and extended Toblerone gaps have sent the world into a tail spin.  The real world feels like an iceberg field, and without a good navigator its way to easy to be more Titanic than Ellen Macarthur.

My learnings from my two-year deferral have been immense.   I have helped this client establish new channel models, supported some legacy acquisitions, structured their product portfolio, reviewed their marketing approach and tried to make a shift towards digital marketing, helped establish their supply chain.  All good stuff.  I’ve made some good friends, some of whom are now entrenched elsewhere in the IT industry (something I said), and I’ve established a lot of knowledge of new vendors and technologies.  It has basically been an excellent few years of learning.

In the background, with my “spare time”, I’ve been advising some local small clients on IT strategy.  I’ve helped select suppliers and technologies to support a changing business landscape, I’ve helped interview and hire a new IT Director, I’ve managed a local government procurement process (frameworks are fun), I’ve performed IT Service audits and made recommendations on which way to go - I went cloud, how predictable….

The key thing I’ve taken from this few years of deferment is that there are still enormous problems in the IT industry. 

  • Clients still can’t find the right suppliers, or the right technologies.  There is basically too much choice and there aren't enough tools to help clients find the right partner. 
  • Vendors struggle to find clients.  Marketing strategies tend to be too generic and technology focused, making a client’s decision a technical one NOT a business enablement one
  • Service Providers and Resellers are stuck in the middle of these two entities, not knowing what to do.  Their margins are getting squeezed, business models shifting faster than they can cope, and as a result are all open to aggressive takeover or financial failure.

So I’ve decided to re-focus on developing models to provide ongoing support to clients to help them navigate all this, delivering Embedded Contract Management; Embedded Supplier Management as well as all the usual consultancy services.  I’ll be looking to survive year one, expand year two and solidify in year three.  I’ve employed the wife to run the back office (that’ll be fun over breakfast when I don’t get paid), and have a renewed conviction that this is the right thing to so.

So if you want to talk to me about how to improve your supply chain, either Client downwards, or Vendor upwards, give me a shout.  And if in two years’ time I’m writing another blog entitled Re-Re-Startup Blog, somebody shoot me.

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