IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Expanding Our Mindset and Preparing to Innovate

By Israel Lang

In the first blog post of this series I introduced my concern that most small to midmarket IT organizations are failing to innovate. They have shifted into the status quo of cost leadership, trying to maintain margins or remain competitive in an MSP market that all tastes a bit vanilla bland.

You are likely saying, “Israel, you’ve made your point.  So what? Now what?”

I’m so glad you asked.  I believe the answer to the danger of deceleration is differentiation through innovation.  This is the second blog post in a series where I will expand on what I am seeing and how you can begin to explore innovation.

Two Ways to Jump Curves  through Innovation

For the last 12-18 months I and my team of HTG consultants have taken a few dozen solution provider organizations through a Strategic and Operational Planning System called Paterson’s StratOp process.

One of the tools we use is called the Fountain of Youth .  This tool is intended to help organizations sense opportunities in the market, seize the ones that they felt had the best chance for success, build the appropriate product and services to take advantage of these opportunities, and then reap the rewards of those opportunities.

When we facilitate a StratOp, we help our clients get outside their current mindset, which in many cases is limited.  We help them consider how they can differentiate through innovating in one or both of the following two ways:

  1. Product Development looks at current markets and developing new products, solutions, or services for those markets
  2. Market Development looks at new markets and taking existing products to those new markets

Want to ignite innovation in your company?  HTG wants to help.

Along with our StratOp offering, HTG is walking with our members to help them harness the power of differentiating through innovation.

This year we provided both cloud and security workshops to our members. In those workshops, we brought thought leadership from key member vendors as well as real world examples of how member organizations have updated their value proposition in those areas.

Scott Scrogin, one of our key executives, has shifted his role to focus primarily on better understanding the innovation that is occurring and identifying how our members can best leverage those opportunities to grow their businesses. During 2017 Scott led our team to develop what we call the Opportunity Framework.

The Cloud Opportunity Framework is the first Opportunity Framework released by HTG.  It provides a holistic view of cloud services, practices and opportunities.  It also utilizes HTG’s Business Builder Academy learning platform to provide opportunities for innovation and best practice sharing between members and vendors.

This framework is designed to expose members to new opportunities, reducing their risk and time to get to market.  Our goal?  Improved innovation leading to increased profitability and sustainability.

It enables members to reduce the unknowns involved in expanding their cloud practices .


We want to walk with you.  HTG’ers are leaders in the industry and will be at the forefront of these next curve jumps .

That will require you to think differently and expand your mindset around innovation.  Here are two ways to engage with the Cloud Opportunity Framework:

  1. Keep an eye on the HTG Expedition Leadership blog where our team will be writing about innovation and HTG’s Cloud Opportunity Framework.
  2.   At HTG’s Q4 meeting in Orlando, plan to visit us at the Innovation Fair where you can see this framework in action and visit the various vendor members who have solutions to help you innovate.  If you would like to attend, please register here.

In our next post, we will examine future horizons and strategic planning.  As you prepare to innovate, remember that the framework is designed to help fuel your journey as well.




About the Author

Arlin Sorensen's picture

Arlin Sorensen serves as the CEO and Founder of the Heartland Companies which includes HTG Peer Groups. When he is not traveling to speak and consult, he is home on his farm in Iowa with his wife Nancy. He is a proud “Pop” to four precocious grandchildren who serve as daily reminders of why he is intentionally living to leave a strong legacy of faith and integrity. He loves making a difference in the lives and businesses of small business owners. You can reach him at or on Twitter @asorensen.

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