David Overton's Blog and Discussion Site
This site is my way to share my views and general business and IT information with you about Microsoft, IT solutions for ISVs, technologists and businesses, large and small. I specialise in Windows Intune and SBS 2008.
This blog is purely the personal opinions of David Overton. If you can't find the information you were looking for e-mail me at admin@davidoverton.com.

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  • Must attend UK event - filling up fast - Wembley 7th October - Microsoft Partner Network

    [updated with correct URL] I saw this and thought I should pass it on. Microsoft Partner Network 2009 will explore strategies that enable you to continue to meet customers' needs and exploit new opportunities. Designed for Partner executives and sales leads, this event follows on from the Worldwide Partner Conference in July and provides more details of our UK execution plans. Join us for: - Insights from Microsoft executives as they share the Microsoft vision and strategies together with business growth opportunities and product innovation - A range of Partner-to-Partner online and offline networking opportunities, plus strategic and practical guidance on how to collaborate successfully with other Microsoft Partners - Market insights and guidance on developing customer opportunities - Useful resources to help you sell, market and deploy Microsoft technology, particularly when you find yourself in competitive technology situations - A glimpse into future industry trends and innovation, with exciting demonstrations - An introduction to the UK award winners from the Worldwide Partner Conference 2009. To register your place at this essential event, click the button below and enter invitation code 22BAF4 . You can also register by phone: call 0870 166 6670 . Check the Microsoft Partner Network 2009 website for more details about the event over the coming weeks. You can also sign up to our RSS service , or follow us on Twitter . We look forward to seeing you at Wembley Stadium on 7 October. Kind regards, Scott Dodds General Manager Small, Medium Enterprises & Partners Group - Microsoft UK ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Partners , MPN , MSPP , Event
  • Can't find the WSS (Windows SharePoint Services) sales and marketing toolkit for SBS 2003 - here it was

    I've had someone ask me about the WSS toolkit that was referenced at How to Sell, Deploy, and Build Business with Microsoft Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 and SBS 2003 R2 . The download location has moved to http://www.partnersalesresources.com/Pages/sbskit.aspx# . ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows SharePoint Services , WSS v3 , SBS , SBS 2003 R2 , Microsoft , Partners
  • Microsoft wants to know what you want for the UK SBS 2008 Launch? Time to stop saying you want it better and time to start saying what you actually want and would use!!

    One thing I have never been accused of is holding back my opinion and on the Yahoo Groups recently there has been some discussions around what Microsoft has done for partners. As part of the discussion this blog post from Sonal, the UK Product Manager for SBS 2008 and EBS 2008, came up with a question around what do partners want to see in a UK launch. I thought people who read this blog might like to pop over to Sonal's blog and give a voice to their wants. I've seen suggestions from free beer, which was a Joke I was later told, to license pricing, features and benefits, how to up-sell/cross-sell. The problem with the later items is that they are simply personal to the business doing the selling - why have an upsell to mobile devices if your business can't facilitate it? What do you want to see at the UK SBS 2008 Launch? In May 2006 we had a server event for guys (and gals) who sell server - specifically Small Business Server. We split the event into two - the morning event was for those who were new to selling SBS and the afternoon track was for those who already have a great deal of experience in selling SBS. Both sessions went down a storm where we covered off all sorts from market analytics to Windows Mobile with SBS. With the learnings from that event and feedback from YOU, we're hoping to do it again - but better. So, while James tries to uncover how you want your content delivered, I'm keen to understand what exactly it is that you need from us. And it may seem obvious to you. But tell me anyway. As we plan the UK launch event for around the September/October timeframe, it would be really helpful to hear from you on what you need from us - either at the potential launch event, or before that via webcasts. <snipped - contact details on Sonal's blog> SBS stuff and then some... : What do you want to see at the UK SBS 2008 Launch? ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , SBS 2008 , SBS , Small Business , Small Business Server 2008 , Marketing , Community , SBSC , Partners
  • Proof that SBSC partners can grow from 1-man businesses into Microsoft Certified Partners – and still be good for small business – congrats Richard Tubb

    I remember the name Richard Tubb being mentioned a few times over the last 2 year and remember him on some of the Live Meetings I delivered and then he launched his blog. One thing that was apparent from his questions, contacts and especially his blog is that this is a man that “got it”. Now there are a few others that I believe live and breathe this attitude and to name some and miss others would be bad, so I wont name any (if you want to know if your on my “I love you man” list, drop me an e-mail, but I’ve probably told you or made time for you, which is a good hint), but one thing about living your life by certain principles is that you still have to live your life. By got it, I mean: is solution, not product oriented Is value sensitive, not price sensitive Believes in the value of the community Is prepared to stand up and be counted for his opinion – which is his, not others Will tell you when he things you are talking… erm… rubbish!! Believes in good processes (eg service plans, documentation etc) If you look at his blog, you will see the above, so it is nice to see the business grow and achieve an amazing milestone. Richard is still a great SBSC partner, but now he is ALSO a Microsoft Certified Partner. Well done - TubbBlog: Netlink IT achieves Microsoft Certified Partner Status I'm chuffed to announce that Netlink IT achieved Microsoft Certified Partner Status this past month gone. After striving to reach the level this Certification demanded for quite some time, the achievement of reaching the goal-post almost got lost in the business that taking on new staff, moving into a new office and re-organising the business brought on! It was March 2006 that Netlink IT became a Microsoft Small Business Specialist Partner - and two years on I think that the SBSC certification , and in particular the benefits of working with the community that surrounds the "blue badge" from that certification, have significantly helped me to grow the company to the stage it's at now. I'm hoping that Microsoft Certified...
  • Want to legally download Microsoft Software (Vista, Office, Works, Maths and Expression) - go to the www.MicrosoftStore.co.uk (UK & Germany for now)

    I would have put money on this not happening this year, but finally there is a legal place for people to download full copies of Microsoft products. Go to http://www.MicrosoftStore.co.uk and you can buy software and download it there and then. At the moment this is limited to the UK and Germany, but I would personally expect it to go broader like all Microsoft ventures! I suspect the list of products will also expand. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Windows Vista , Office 2007 , Works 9 , Expression , Buy , Download , Shop
  • Where will your customers be looking for solutions – will they stick to on premise, or will they move towards a S+S or SaaS solution not from you?

    I know the table above is really, really simple, but I wanted to start the ball rolling – I have been thinking about this for ages!! Let me explain the diagram. The horizontal axis signifies how much of a solution is hosted. An example of this might be Office Live or Hotmail, where almost all of the solution is hosted. We then have the “on premise” or on-site IT going vertically. For most people, this is solutions like SBS 2003. A typical S+S solution might be MS CRM Online which has online components, but also enables you to go off-web and use Outlook or one of the mobile clients when on the road. While many thought on-line would be the next best thing even the king of on-line, Google, have recently admitted that it would not always be the answer in the posting they made on April 1st. Steve Clayton did the leg work and checked this was not form of April fool too!! Even the NY Times is talking about it, which to me says it really is going mainstream - http://www.nytimes.com/idg/IDG_002570DE00740E180025742400363509.html . Ok, so that is the picture out the way, now lets talk about the question. Which question you ask… well, this one: Will any of your customers be running in the “S+S or hosted” marketplace in 5+ years time? Now while that is a good question, I expect most of you will say … some, definitely not all, but some. How many customers can you afford to lose to a S+S provider? Now this leads to an even bigger question …. What will you have done to ensure they are still your customers, as opposed to someone who is skilled in S+S? Personally I find this question much more concerning as many people can’t articulate any plans they have to capture these customers!! So what do I suggest … If you are a services partner I recommend you start to look at SaaS services like Office Live that are slowly moving towards S+S or S+S services like CRM online and start to plan how you could add value to them and make money in the future. If you are an ISV, then now is the time to start to look at services like the Sync Framework...
  • I know I shouldn’t, but the EU is beginning to make me wonder what they are playing at .. is it personal and how is it better for the people in the EU?

    It is strange that I have come to accept that we live and work in a global economy quicker, it appears to me, than the EU. I accept that we can’t be the best at everything in the EU and we have to work out what our value is to others – true for every business. However, the EU seems to have an anti-non-EU feel to it. It also seems to want to create competition, even when no-one wants to compete – just to stimulate the industries, rather than because “punters are asking for alternatives”. This week I’ve seen two things that I wanted to share that raise concerns in my mind. Oh, in case you weren’t sure – this is a personal rant – nothing to do with anyone else but my own opinion! First was the Intel vs AMD piece which talks about requiring Intel to raise prices to avoid being nabbed for anti-competitive practices - disco-tech | Discovery Institute's Technology Blog: EU vs. Intel : Since Intel can't possibly know what AMD's cost of production is, we either have to accept collusion or accept that Intel will attempt to avoid further legal trouble by setting its prices in a safe zone, which is likely to be well above its costs. These are some of the reasons antitrust law doesn't protect less efficient firms, since to do so would saddle consumers with higher prices. Competition law as practiced by the EU provides far more scope than our own antitrust jurisprudence for enforcers to intervene in the market in search of perfection. Yet Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes’ds summation of her own philosophy is consistent with our approach, My own philosophy on this is fairly simple. First, it is competition, and not competitors, that is to be protected. Second, ultimately the aim is to avoid consumers harm. Trouble is, the EU is trying to make Europe more competitive without making it more efficient Then from InternetNews Realtime IT News – EU Parliament Member Wants to Ban Microsoft Bids I see that the competition has seen the EU as a way to attack Microsoft, rather than competing in a more traditional way....
  • ISVs can learn about Microsoft’s strategy and products and how they fit into selling solutions – come to the events in TVP and Manchester on the 10th and 24th April

    One of the biggest criticisms of Microsoft by our ISV partners is that they don’t know where we are going… well this even should help solve that – see you there perhaps: Introduction 09.30 - 10.00 Registration & coffee 10.00 – 10.15 Welcome & Introduction Deliver Innovative Solutions 10.15 – 10.45 Microsoft strategy direction 10.45 – 11.30 Microsoft technology roadmap 11.30 – 11.50 Coffee break Increase your opportunities 11.50 – 12.15 Marketing & sales initiatives Close more sales 12.15 – 12.30 Services & licensing for sales acceleration Support your Customers 12.30 – 12.45 Technical support resources 12.45 – 13.00 Wrap up with Q&A 13.00 – 14.00 Lunch & networking 10 th Apr, Chicago 1, TVP Registration url: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032373283&Culture=en-GB 24 th Apr, The Lowry, Manchester Registration url: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032373286&Culture=en-GB Enjoy the event! ttfn David Technorati Tags: ISV , Microsoft , Strategy , Roadmap , event
  • Understand Microsoft adCenter from the new Blogs & Forums that include the UK!!!

    I spoke to Mel a few months back about how he can engage with the communities out there and he explained about the great facilities that he was helping with to enable people to understand more about advertising and the Microsoft solutions. He also pointed out to me the importance of getting the right ad in the right place and said that we are twice as good at that versus the competition (but then he is biased). Today the details of new blogs and information was released and finally you can ask all those "nasty" and "searching" questions that you always wanted to know the answers too. New Microsoft adCenter Blogs & Forums Are Live! Very excited to say our new site for the adCenter Blogs & Forums is now live at www.adCenterCommunity.com There you’ll find all the latest news, views, tips, tricks and best practices and forms including: adCenter Advertiser Blog adCenter Analytics Blog adCenter Api Blog Let me know how you get on ... I hope to switch to this as soon as it becomes available. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Advertising , AdCenter , Blog , Microsoft , Analytics , Community
  • Manchester SBS Group (Kick Off Meeting) - 27th March 2008 - be there to see how it all starts again - with Chris Parkes, Ceri Thomas and me

    Ceri Thomas is planning a new group in Manchester and Chris Parkes will be there to host things with him for the 1st meeting. I will also be there slightly later in the evening. Below is the mail sent out by Danny Ovens to SBSC members in the area, but all are welcome. Dear Partner New: Manchester SBS Groups (Kick Off Meeting) What is the purpose of the SBS User Group....? SBS User Groups are partner meetings, run by partner, for partners. They are an independent forum that enable partners to meet one another, share best practice, learn how to better engage with IT Vendors and also hear directly from Microsoft about our products and strategies. · Partner to partner networking – how can collaborating, learning what successes others have had, sharing problems and concerns or working as a group help your business · Connect with Vendors – The group can invite Microsoft and others to attend and present to your agenda...be heard! · Plugged in to Manchester Northwest activities – We’re increasing our engagement with partners in the Northwest through events and communities and we’ll keep the forum updated with relevant news · Ability to shape the agenda of the User group in future – What works for you...? Influence the agenda to reflect your needs. The first meeting is being held in Manchester on the 27 th March and if you’d like to register your attendance please do so through the voting buttons above. [to vote from this blog entry, click here: Yes, I'd like to attend I would like to attend but can't make this date I would not like to attend thanks ] Date & Time: Thursday 27 th March, 18:30-21:00 Agenda: 18:30 Welcome, introductions. 19:00 Microsoft Update 19:45 Partner Roundtable – Issues, concerns & successes 20:45 AOB – Agree Next meeting agenda 21:00 Close Venue: One Central Park, Manchester M40 5WW Host Partner Your host partner for the evening will be Ceri Thomas (168tech.co.uk) from 168tech and he will be supported by Chris Parkes, Microsoft Technology Adoption & Solutions Specialist and Dave Overton...
  • More ways to engage with customers using the Microsoft advertising campaigns

    [updated 4th March] Many people congratulated Microsoft after the Mr Busy campaigns allowed partners to drive their customers back to them using a MS campaign. Well, this is now being repeated for a number of campaigns. Today I found the click and go site to get them all ( http://www.campaigns.arvato-services.com/ ). You can get 200 post cards or 1,000 e-mails for free and then a low price for additional cards/ e-mails if required. The campaigns covered include: Business Productivity Customer Acquisition and Retention Security and Reliability Small Business PC Mr Busy This method of engaging is not new to the Small Business team and others have covered this before (eg Susanne here ), but it is worth re-highlighting this now as some of the campaigns have been renewed, so go back and visit the site!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Marketing , Campaigns , Business Productivity , Customer Acquisition and Retention , Security and Reliability , Small Business PC , Mr Busy , Partner , SME , Small Business Server 2008 , Mid-Market
  • Microsoft Online Services - beta in US, international .. not for a while yet, but you get to see where Microsoft is going!

    What is it? I know Vlad is not going to like this, but even he will admit that this has been on the cards for a while. Software plus services is coming to town in a bigger and bigger way. At the moment there is a limited beta in the US and (just like Google), it has the beta tag on it . So what have we seen today, well we have seen Microsoft stand up and be counted in it's commitment to the software-plus-services strategy. We have seen existing "on premise" solutions of Exchange and SharePoint be offered as a S+S (software-plus-services) alternative for those customers who don't wish to run these themselves. There is no "must switch" or "dropping" of the existing, very successful products, just more options for people. As a customer you would consider whether you get better value running these in-house yourself, or with a partner delivering them for you in-house, or completely outsources to another partner or Microsoft. As a partner you have to consider how you deliver in all worlds. While today you probably add value to "on premise" solutions you need to understand how and if you add value should your customer opt for the new services. If you want to deliver theses types of services yourself, look at SPLA agreements and the information at The Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) . If you want to build solutions on top of those announced today then look at http://www.microsoft.com/online/partner/learn-more.mspx . Either way you can learn more at http://www.microsoft.com/online/default.mspx . Other's reactions As you can imagine, there have been a few prople covering this, from bloggers to journalists. Below are just some of the items I've seen so far: Press Microsoft to Expand Microsoft Online Services for Businesses of All Sizes (press release) http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Enterprise-Apps/Microsoft-Expands-its-Online-Services/ Microsoft moves further into the cloud.. cautiously http://www.ebizq.net/blogs/saasweek/2008/03/microsoft_expands_ondemand_ser...
  • Microsoft Office Live Small Business v2 - have you got it already?

    This happened a couple of weeks ago, but it is always worth sharing the improvements in Office Live. Not only do we have this going on, but we also have the beta of Workspaces progressing. Remember, your customers could benefit from Office Live and if you don't offer it, someone else might just offer them Office Live or something else, blocking you out from that customer as they grow in size. Microsoft Office Live Small Business is the award-winning, easy-to-use suite of Web-based software and services designed to help small businesses affordably take, promote and manage their businesses online. Used by nearly 600,000 customers worldwide, Office Live Small Business is available in the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan. The service also provides an excellent environment within which partners can build industry-specific solutions. Office Live Small Business is now available with : Full Firefox 2.0 support for PC & Mac Easy-to-use Website Designer tool or use html/3rd party design tools Outlook Connector for offline synching of email, calendar, contacts & tasks Mobile access to email, calendar and contacts from Windows-Powered SmartPhones or PocketPCs Solutions Packager for Web designers FREE when you sign up : Domain name * 500MB fully hosted Website Up to 100 email accounts Contact Manager Document Manager Project Manager Workspace * (.co.uk free for the first 2 years or .com, org, net, .eu free for the first year) Additional affordable features : E-mail marketing beta Search marketing More storage, users and tools Simple Windows Live ID signup process. No need to validate with a credit card any more ! What are you waiting for ? Read more details and signup now at : smallbusiness.officelive.com See what you can do with it. David Technorati Tags: Small Business , Office Live , Office Live Small Business , Web site , domain , e-mail , workspaces , document manager
  • Announcing the Retirement of the Partner TDT and Release of New Product Demos Resource

    Chris Parkes sent a mail round internally telling us about MORE resources & demos etc available to partners. Chris has written about it on his blog (discovered this after I wrote this - here , there may be some comments on his worth reading, so double check!!) The Demo Showcase has been extended to include Deep Dive/Product virtual environments *which are available to all partners * Only Demo Showcase remains as the Gold/Cert benefit moving forwards... The following are now available for immediate download: 2007 Microsoft Office System 47 Hands-on Labs 25 demonstrations Microsoft Forefront and System Center Demonstration Toolkit Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager Microsoft System Center Operations Manager Intelligent Application Gateway Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server Forefront Client Security Microsoft Business Intelligence Demo (Data warehousing, reporting and analysis, performance management) Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Microsoft Office 2007 Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Download location is here: https://partner.microsoft.com/global/salesmarketingsection/smsalesdemos/sdproductdemos As for the difference between the two, the web site says: "This collection of Microsoft software product demonstrations is designed to complement the business-scenario-based Demo Showcase sales tool. These demos illustrate product-specific features and functionality in detail, while the Demo Showcase tool helps illustrate how a full range of integrated Microsoft software platform solutions work together in business scenarios. Use the links in the table to download or order the product demos you need." However I was able to access the demo content online at https://partner.microsoft.com/global/salesmarketingsection/smsalesdemos/sddemoshowcase - perhaps as I am a SBSC partner!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Demo Showcase , Technical Demonstration Toolkit , TDT , Demos , Partner , Microsoft
  • Time to Nominate your solutions for the Awards at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference!

    You may remember people who have one awards at the Worldwide Partner Conference before - is it your time now? I saw Steve Morrow (my boss) has put some great information on the UK ISV blog and while he is thinkking about it from a purely ISV point of view, you could apply under any of the categories. Time to Nominate your Applications for the Awards at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference! Time to submit your entry for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference Awards program! This is a great way to get some free PR. As a finalist or winner you’ll receive promotions that identify your company as part of an elite class of Microsoft partners. Logos will also be displayed in Microsoft Solution Finder. The nomination process is open NOW and closes on 4th April 2008 . Finalists for the 2008 awards will be announced on June 9, 2008. Winners will be announced and recognized at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, July 7-10, 2008. Go to Award Submission Tool For a full list of the award categories can be found here . UK ISV Blog : Time to Nominate your Applications for the Awards at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference! ttfn David Technorati Tags: WWPC , WPC , Worldwide Partner Conference , Microsoft , Awards , ISV , Developer
  • Microsoft and Yahoo merger with Google cartoons

    I saw these and laughed lots: Pavel Constantin, Romania Daryl Cagle, MSNBC.com Enjoy :-) Please do not copy the images as they are (c) the artists and I have paid a royalty to share them. If you like them, please point people to this post ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Yahoo , Google
  • Official Google Blog on Microsoft and Yahoo and David Overton's thoughts on it

    This is a personal rant. If you want to read on, please do so, if not, thanks for getting this far. Oh I love how people wave flags "for the greater good" when they really mean "for my own good". Today I saw something that just made me have to comment. Unless you have been in a bunker, you should be aware that Microsoft have made a bid for Yahoo. Google, who obviously care greatly about Yahoo decided to have a pop at it: Yahoo! and the future of the Internet The openness of the Internet is what made Google -- and Yahoo! -- possible. A good idea that users find useful spreads quickly. Businesses can be created around the idea. Users benefit from constant innovation. It's what makes the Internet such an exciting place. So Microsoft's hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It's about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation. Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies -- and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets. Could the acquisition of Yahoo! allow Microsoft -- despite its legacy of serious legal and regulatory offenses -- to extend unfair practices from browsers and operating systems to the Internet? In addition, Microsoft plus Yahoo! equals an overwhelming share of instant messaging and web email accounts. And between them, the two companies operate the two most heavily trafficked portals on the Internet. Could a combination of the two take advantage of a PC software monopoly to unfairly limit the ability of consumers to freely access competitors' email, IM, and web-based services? Policymakers around the world need to ask these questions -- and consumers deserve satisfying answers. This hostile bid was announced on Friday...
  • 2008 Pre-Launch event with Bill Gates - Scott Dodds and why Partners are important

    Technorati Tags: Events , Windows Server 2008 , SQL Server 2008 , Visual Studio 2008 , Launch , Scott Dodds I will try to publish information from each presenter as I noted it from the audience and then my scribbled notes. I can't guarantee 100% accuracy, but the virtual even should show more of this information and the Partner Portal will have the presentations on them in a weeks time. So... here goes: Microsoft rarely does a launch even for it's partners 2 months before the "big event". It is normally the night before. Scott re-iterated that partners are "extremely important" to Microsoft as they are the feet on the ground talking to customers. If partners have not seen / heard all the messages, technology, plans then how can they participate and recommend to customers? It is also worth noting that we do not have a "Bill Gates" for the customer events - his insight was reserved for our partners! Scott kicked off the day by suggesting that there were 4 areas we were concentrating on (more on these in coming posts): Secure Trusted Platform Virtualisation Next Generation Web Business Intelligence As far as participation goes - there are many ways a partner can participate as highlighted in another blog post, however it will include the new social network community work the UK Partner Team have put together where you can form your own communities as a partner. Scott showed the new roadmap information and forums / blogs / status information available. Scott also pointed out (scarily) that the BBC had access to the event as they were following Bill's last year. Sure enough three small business partners were caught and asked to comment!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Events , Windows Server 2008 , SQL Server 2008 , Visual Studio 2008 , Launch , Scott Dodds
  • What Bill Gates said he will be working on once he stops his full time role - from 2008 Partner Pre-launch event

    I had the pleasure of attending this event today. The last item was Q&A with Bill Gates and there were a number of questions that you will be able to watch and listen too in the future. However, the one that I thought was most interesting was this one: "What will Bill be doing in his part time capacity with Microsoft and what will the Bill and Melinda Foundation focus on?" His reply was roughly (I made a few scribbled notes, so I hopefully have the gist, if not the words): Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie will take care of the "one Microsoft and R&D function" Bill will focus on 3 areas: Search - still have lots to deliver from the various teams - we have just started to see the beginning of this - in both internet and enterprise areas Office - Bill has always had a keen interest in this area and it will continue. Things to be included are Modelling and declarative rules Natural User Interfaces - more voice, touch, gesture and general non-keyboard interaction with technology For the foundation: Healthcare systems - including disease management in poorer countries Malaria vaccine Use of mobile phones in disconnected regions to share skills, diagnosis and information Micro finance transactions to facilitate these operations Metrics to enable measure of success and targeting Would like to think that within 10 years had a big impact - reduce big diseases in poorer countries by having a vaccine / treatment for around 1/2 of the illnesses (could not say which ones as investing in many areas, but hoped for it to include Malaria) That was it - much more to follow (about the rest of the event) David Technorati Tags: Bill Gates , 2008 Launch , Partners , Gates Foundation
  • Do you have a good story to tell about you, your customer and the use of Microsoft technology? If so, get your name up in lights (well, the web) and get Microsoft to tell everyone about it

    Microsoft is currently looking for Small Business case studies about how customers use Microsoft products. These case studies include the name of the partner used to install the solution and so are a great way of generating completely free publicity. Case studies are mainly targeted at a customer audience and will be used on our customer website's, in newsletters, in collateral and sometimes in the press. If you would like to nominate any of your customers please go to www.articulatemarketing.com/partner.html and fill in the short form with their details. After you have submitted their details no further work is required from you as we will contact the customer directly for a short interview. Both yourselves and the customer will then be able to review any case studies before they are used. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Small Business , Case Studies
  • Simple Office / Excel information to share with customers

    This is a fab tool - for example, the page has: Inside Microsoft Office Excel 2007 Stop the Press -Microsoft Office Excel 2007 - making working with numbers easier than ever! Where minutes are kept and hours are wasted Well-planned and organised meetings can be very useful. However, not all meetings leave attendees feeling like their time has been well spent! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Excel , Tips
  • Saw this last year - how right they were "In memoriam: the ISV" - Oracle announces purchase of BEA and Sun announces purchase of MySQL

    So here we are on the day (or a day later) that Sun (JAVA) decides to buy MySQL, finally putting a blow against Oracle who had self selected Linux (personal opinion was Oracle saw the deal having the same money, just less for the OS, so more for them) and BEA gets welded to the Oracle Fusion integration story. Consolidation is indeed the way forward... unless the European Union think that there is too few companies in which case companies will have to give away some corporate asset in order to not be too successful. The article is worth a read.. will everything eventually be owned by Microsoft, Google, Oracle or Symantec ? YEAR END - In memoriam: the ISV By James Niccolai and Chris Kanaracus, IDG News Service, 12/12/07 The world of business software continued its inexorable march toward Total Consolidation in 2007. If IBM was off the mark in 1943 when it (supposedly) predicted a world with only five computers, it might have better luck today with a similar prediction about the software industry. The trend has been under way for years, but the past 12 months saw many of the remaining big names in business software absorbed into other companies, including Hyperion, Business Objects, Cognos, Opsware and webMethods. They join PeopleSoft, Siebel, JD Edwards and JBoss from the recent past. Outside of security companies, it is now difficult to name even a half dozen well-known, best-of-breed vendors that are holding their own. YEAR END - In memoriam: the ISV - Network World Working in the ISV "space" I can tell you that new ventures are coming along just fine and growing well. Yes, some bigger fish gobble some of the smaller fish, but many still swim freely in the sea, making money and changing the world. ttfn David Technorati Tags: ISV , Business
  • Video for Bill's last day

    I've seen this mentioned in so many places that I had to share: ttfn David Technorati Tags: Bill Gates , CES , last day
  • Samba developers can now see the Windows Protocols, make their products more interoperable with Microsoft Windows and see where Patents are to then choose to avoid or license

    I have never been known to sugar coat my opinion and one that has been forming recently is that much of the EU work on opening the Windows Media player is undesired by the consumers or the industry. This is my opinion, but I've seen no evidence to the contra. However, the licensing of protocols, while I don't wholly agree with the pricing structure, I see it as a good thing. This is a classic example of a de-facto standard working how it should. Today yet another organisation licensed the protocols, this time for the Samba community (with restrictions on redistribution and patent awareness) and this should deliver the reality of "interoperability, not standards" that I personally feel is the true desire of the world. Update: Microsoft to hand over Windows secrets to Samba team | InfoWorld | News | 2007-12-20 | By Robert McMillan, IDG News Service Developers of open-source Samba software will find their work a little easier thanks to an agreement with Microsoft, signed Thursday, that will give them access to previously secret data on how the Windows operating system works. <snipped> The deal was signed with a nonprofit group called the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation, (PFIF) which negotiated on behalf of the Samba team because Samba is not represented by a corporate entity. PFIF will pay a one-time fee of €10,000 and, in return, will be able to allow open-source developers, including the Samba team, to access the documents. Developers will have to sign nondisclosure agreements and will not be allowed to redistribute Microsoft's documentation, but they will be able to write open-source software that implements the Windows protocols. The deal will also clarify which patents Microsoft believes are related to this technology, making it easier for open-source developers to avoid patent violations. The article is quite negative in tone, ignoring that the licensing process was available before the EU stepped in and giving the glory to the EU, when I believe it is the free-market that made...
  • Service Availability and what it mean, or have a consumer broadband line and get consumer availability (10 hours downtime)

    The UKSBSGUY.com server is on my home broadband connection and this means it does not get business availability. Last night I had another 10 hours downtime and 8 hours earlier in the month. This all sounds bad, but here is where you need to understand SLAs and what availability statistics mean. If I have a 24x7 contract and I want high availability then this is how much downtime I can have through the year: Availability 365 days 31 days 1 day 99% 3.65 days 7.44 hours 14.4 minutes 99.9% 8.76 hours 44.64 minutes 1.44 minutes 99.99% 52.56 minutes 4.46 minutes 0.14 minutes 99.999% 5.26 minutes 0.45 minutes 0.01 minutes From this you can see that I am somewhere between 99% and 99.9%. If I assume 24 hours downtime this year then I am at about 99.7%, which on a consumer service is pretty amazing. Now, if someone offers you a service rebate then you need to consider the service period. For example, if someone offers 99.9% every day and you have a whole days outage, that is 1 day in 365 that they have failed, so any rebate might be very small. Also bear in mind that if the service hours reduces (eg 9-5) then the amount of down time that is in spec reduces, but the service could be available or closed outside the service hours. Hopefully this helps point to what you need to know when offering or signing up to SLAs: Over what period is the availability measured (remember it is possible to offer 99.99% from 9-5 and then 0% outside this, so beware) What is the recourse that is offered if a SLA is missed and how does it fit in the bit picture What is the cost / impact of taking an SLA How do they manage with existing customers What are the exceptions (eg telling you 2 weeks in advance that the service will be down for 8 hours might exclude that service from SLA measures) that is it. Obviously there are a couple of SLA and managed services kings out there such as Karl - http://smallbizthoughts.blogspot.com/2007/09/final-thoughts-managed-services-in.html and the two PALs in the UK (Vijay and Gareth) ttfn David Technorati Tags: Service...
  • How to buy Microsoft products - for businesses up to 250 PCs

    I saw this ( How to buy Microsoft products ) and thought I should share. Not only does the site have some very simple information on what solution may well be right for each customer and how to choose, but if you are still confused there is a good questionnaire to help you and a link to find your local SBSC partner. Find the right purchasing option for you Volume Licensing Best option for companies that would like to save money on software by buying in bulk. If you are buying more than 5 licences for any mix of Microsoft products, you could save money in comparison to buying boxed software. Learn more Hosted software Best option for businesses that want to outsource IT. You can rent the right to use Microsoft products through an IT provider who offers Software as a Service (SaaS). Learn more Software in a box from a retailer Best option for companies that only need one or two copies of software, or that want the convenience of an instant purchase. You can buy software in a box that contains a licensed software CD for installation on a single computer. Learn more Pre-installed on a new computer Best option for companies with plans to buy new computers. If you are buying new computers for your company, you can have many Microsoft products pre-installed. Learn more Comparison Chart: ttfn David Technorati Tags: Small Business , How to buy Microsoft software , SBSC PALs
  • SharePoint continues to grow - now being considered "viral" in it's take up and what you can do about it.

    From a Microsoft and Microsoft Partner point of view the press article below is great news. IT departments are finding users who are deploying SharePoint to get the benefits and the easy of use that SharePoint offers as well as developers who are building on SharePoint as an application Platform. I recently had a partner who told me that their belief was that Windows 32/64 was the desktop and server operating system, but they saw SharePoint as the web OS. Given the benefits that SP1 provides to SharePoint this is even more the case. http://napps.networkworld.com/news/2007/120707-microsoft-sharepoint.html The analyst firm CMS Watch is claiming the newest version of Microsoft ’s SharePoint is spreading “virally” throughout enterprises, catching IT departments off guard and introducing risks related to uncontrolled content and regulatory compliance . […] CMS Watch says viral proliferation of SharePoint is nothing new, going back to the 2003 version. But Pelz-Sharpe says the “problem is becoming acute now” with the popularity of the 2007 product. SharePoint is a runaway success, reportedly generating $800 million in revenue this year for Microsoft, with 85 million licenses across 17,000 customers, the CMS Watch report states. For those who are finding SharePoint overload then a quick visit to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/sharepointserver/bb507202.aspx should offer some relief. ttfn David Technorati Tags: SharePoint , SharePoint Portal Server , SharePoint Portal Server 2007
  • SQL Server Web casts (Preparing for SQL Server 2008, New T-SQL features, migrating from Access, Policy based management framework, BI, certifications, reducing hardware and maintenance costs)

    From the TRM Blog at November 2007 - Technical Rollup Mail - SQL SQL 2005 Webcasts and Virtual Labs SQL Server 2005 is data management and analysis software that delivers enhanced security, availability, and scalability to mission-critical data applications—while making them easier to develop, deploy, and manage. Choose from a wide range of live and on-demand webcasts. Or take part in a virtual lab, which allows you to cut your teeth on the new platform by experimenting with its different capabilities. SQL Server 2005 Webcasts TechNet Webcast: Prepare Yourself for Windows Server 2008 (Part 1 of 8): Product Workload Scenarios (Level 300) – Monday, December 03, 2007 9:30 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada) In this first session of our series, we discuss how Windows Server 2008 addresses key deployment scenarios for customers. We start with an overview of the key product workload scenarios for Windows Server 2008. We cover as many as 10 different scenarios, and we discuss how each scenario can be categorized into one of three different design pillars. While examining the scenarios, we take a closer look at the specific technologies used within the scenario, describe how they are used, and explain why they are needed. We show which technologies comprise each scenario and the value propositions they deliver. Finally, we see how the scenario adds value to Windows Server 2008 and, in some cases, we provide real-world examples of usages for the scenario. TechNet Webcast: Prepare Yourself for Windows Server 2008 (Part 1 of 8): Product Workload Scenarios (Level 300) MSDN Webcast: New T-SQL Programmability Features in SQL Server 2008 (Level 300) – Tuesday, December 04, 2007 1:00 PM Pacific Time (US & Canada) Join this webcast on new T-SQL programmability features in Microsoft SQL Server 2008, an extension from last year's presentation on top Microsoft SQL Server 2005 T-SQL features. We cover exciting new features such as: New data types (i.e. date/time, filestream, HierarchyID, large UDT, sparse columns) Dependency management...
  • Download the "How to Sell, Deploy, and Build Business with Microsoft Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 and SBS 2003 R2" now

    I have been asked about this loads of times, but for those of you who want to know more about using WSS v3 and SBS 2003, the guide is finally here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=59acc518-023e-43c3-b8f3-378c5e387461 . How to Sell, Deploy, and Build Business with Microsoft Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 and SBS 2003 R2 Partner tool to create solutions using Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2. File Name: Selling_WSS_and_SBS_Kit.zip Date Published: 11/15/2007 Overview A new partner enablement tool helps you create solutions using Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2. Access the toolkit’s resources—including a process cookbook, technical documentation and marketing materials—to learn how to build your business by selling and deploying customized solutions. ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 R2 , SBSC , WSS v3 , WSS , SharePoint , Windows SharePoint Services
  • Lots of Partner training (new url) - Licensing 101, Sales 101, Office PerformancePoint, Office Business Applications (OBA), Enterprise Search, SharePoint Services and Server 2007, Office Communications Server 2007, Infrastructure Optimisation (IO) ...

    [updated with a working URL] Partner Licensing 101 – The next one is being held on the 4 th December 2007 This session will equip sales people with a top level knowledge that will enable them to talk to new and existing customers about Microsoft licensing. Target Audience: This session is aimed primarily at sales people from all Partner types, although it is appropriate for all Partner roles whether in Sales, Purchasing or Technical. The course is ideal for new starters looking for a good introduction to Microsoft licensing or just a great as a refresher for those who have taken a break from Microsoft licensing. This session is suitable for people who present technology solutions to customers from a non-technical perspective and need to demonstrate the correct way for customers to purchase. Click Here to register For further information please contact Carla Symonds. Partner Sales 101 - The next one is being held on the 5 th December 2007 - Aim: This session will equip sales people with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to talk to new and existing customers about the business benefits of Microsoft technologies, and associated areas such as licensing. -Target Audience: This session is aimed at sales people. People within a partner organisation who present technology solutions to customers from a non-technical or business point of view and people who are not technical experts and do not demonstrate software, but talk about the possible solution outcome. -Objectives: For the sales person to gain an understanding of all key Microsoft technologies, with additional focus on infrastructure, and the Portals and Business Intelligence solutions, Windows Vista, Office 2007,the Microsoft Dynamics products and the fundamentals of Microsoft licensing. Click Here to register for the 5 th December 2007. For further information please contact Carla Symonds. Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 Technical training. This four day instructor-led workshop provides students with the knowledge and skills to architect...
  • Microsoft's Small Business Blog : Fancy winning £5,000?

    I saw this at Microsoft's Small Business Blog : Fancy winning £5,000? and thought I would pass it on. Fancy winning £5,000? We’ve just launched the Microsoft Office Live £5,000 prize draw and you’re amongst the first to hear about it. You have the chance to win £5,000 or one of several £100 Amazon gift cards. Just click the link and enter the prize draw at https://microsoft.eprize.net/officeliveuk . If you haven't explored Office Live yet it really is worth spending some time looking at what it could do for your business. Microsoft Office Live is a set of Internet-based tools aimed at helping small businesses to quickly and easily create a professional web presence. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Small Business , Office Live
  • Office Accounting Professional 2008 ships in the UK ... download the free Express version, buy or try the Professional version for extra features (Multi user, SQL support, sales order, purchase order etc) and also sign up for online services (Paypal, BACS

    Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2008 It is finally here!! There are 2 major versions - the free version and the paid for version, plus a number of add-on services you might want to buy too. You can get lots of information at http://www.msofficeaccounting.co.uk/default.aspx and if you are an accountant then the Microsoft Professional Accounting Network is for you ( http://accounting.microsoft.com/mpanuk.aspx ). You can download the Express Version here: You can Download Free Trial here It says about itself: Microsoft® Office Accounting Professional is an easy to use, comprehensive accounting package that works with other Office applications you already know. Easy to learn and use Works just like Word, Excel and Outlook Get started in minutes with wizards that import your data Save time managing everyday tasks Share and reuse data across Word, Excel and Outlook Manage customers, suppliers, employees and stock Pay bills, track expenses, send invoices and bank online Get a complete view of your business Run customisable reports so you always know how you’re doing See all your important data in one glance with the Digital Dashboard Get reminders of important deadlines, pending bills and overdue invoices Product Overview information is available here: Product Overview Product Overview Below are the product features and the comparison between the 2 versions Top Features Click for details Get up and running in minutes Import data from Sage © or Excel * Choose from dozens of business templates to set up your company Work in the familiar Microsoft Office interface Visit the Resource Centre to get help with common questions Save time on everyday tasks Track your income and expenses Manage customers, suppliers and employees Print cheques, create quotes and invoices Bank online and download transactions Get paid faster with PayPal invoices Get reminders for recurring documents and activities Save time with Office integration Track billable time, create quotes and send invoices in Outlook Export reports to Excel with one...
  • Do you know who should be the British Small Business Champion 2008? If so, you might want to read this press release as it also carries a £10,000 prize

    My good friend Peter Scargill is the IT Chair at the FSB ( http://www.fsb.org.uk ) who have spent a good deal of time adopting Microsoft Technology. While looking at their recent press releases I noticed that they have the Small Business Champion 2008 competition running. FSB launches British Small Business Champions 2008 Date: Monday, November 12, 2007 Ref: PR 2007 83 FSB News Release PR/2007/83 Issue date: Monday 12 November 2007 FSB launches British Small Business Champions 2008 The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) today launches British Small Business Champions 2008 (BSBC) to coincide with the start of Enterprise Week. BSBC is the only national awards scheme solely for small businesses. Entries are invited from thriving businesses that are well run and highly regarded by staff and customers. Businesses have to have been trading for at least five years at the time of entering and employ no more than fifty staff. Across the UK, six Area Champions will be chosen and these six businesses will go forward to the national final. One business will be chosen as the National Champion and scoop the top prize of £10,000. For BSBC 2008 there are two additional categories: Young Entrepreneur and Most Promising New Business, both sponsored by AIMS Accountants. These have been chosen as a way for the FSB to show support for the new generation of up-and-coming businesses. Entries in both will go straight to national judging. BSBC was launched by the Federation of Small Businesses in 2002. It is now firmly established as the most prestigious and highly valued of business awards for the small business sector. What former winners say about BSBC: “Entering BSBC is a good exercise for you and your business. It makes you focus on what is good about your business…and helps you identify any weaknesses. I hate forms. Running a small business we have so many. The BSBC one was pretty straightforward.” Graham Barnard, The Happy Hutch Company, BSBC National Champion and Northern Area Champion 2007. continued at FSB Press Releases Got to...
  • Want Office 2007 with a 50% discount? You have until Christmas to upgrade and get a 50% discount with Open Value Subscription

    Again, browsing the small business blog and I thought this was very interesting: Why wait? Upgrade now to 2007 Office and save 50% Until 31 December 2007 you can get a 50% discount off the 2007 Microsoft Office system when you upgrade through the Microsoft Open Value subscription programme. Why do it this way? Because you get a huge discount, you can manage your payments over three years to help your cash flow, you’ll receive a single agreement for all your software licences, and get the benefit of Microsoft Software Assurance, which offers version upgrades and training and partner services. Learn more about the benefits of upgrading here . Microsoft's Small Business Blog : Why wait? Upgrade now to 2007 Office and save 50% ttfn David Technorati Tags: Office 2007 , UK , Discounts
  • UK SMB Girl » DemoShowcase goes SBSC

    This is old news, but in-case you have not seen it, here we go. The Demo Showcase is an extremely valuable sales and learning tool, but it is also a benefit of the being a Certified Partner. Most SBSC partners are not Certified partners though, so this is a great win. DemoShowcase goes SBSC October 25th, 2007 Great news! Microsoft Corp. have finally allowed one of the greatest tools that bridges the gap between the techies and the sales teams. Vijay announced it on his blog after the much anticipated Worldwide SBSC PALs meeting. Thank you to Nigel Postings and Chris Parkes for taking the feedback the Community has been generating over the last few months regarding this and helping to make a difference with the big guns. Keep an eye out for it in your Action Packs (I assume?) UK SMB Girl » DemoShowcase goes SBSC ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBSC , Demo Showcase
  • For once a balanced review of the market and Windows Vista

    I am used to seeing reports that come from one end or another of the spectrum - either Vista is amazing and everyone else is stupid, or 70%+ of the worlds computers are still not running Vista, so it is an obvious flop. Obviously, given the view that there are now something like a billion PCs in the world, you can't expect them all to be running Vista. At the same time, Microsoft announcing that 88m people were now with Vista is a pretty strong indication that things are going the right way. The article at The balance sheet on Windows Vista | CNET News.com is very balanced on both sides. I thought that it could and would be useful to anyone discussing who should and should not run Windows Vista. Here is a except that hopefully gives you a flavour of both sides (much more by clicking the above link). I should point out that recently I have been contacted by NT4 and Windows 98 users :-) The company said it is seeing some positive signs on the business front, notably a rise in the number of businesses signing long-term deals that cover Windows. "They wouldn't be signing these agreements if they didn't have the intent to (deploy Vista)," said Mike Nash, vice president of Windows product management. But while corporations may be planning their Vista move, most large companies that are buying PCs are still immediately reinstalling Windows XP, said IDC analyst Al Gillen. "That's completely normal behavior," Gillen said, though it has quashed Microsoft's hopes of getting businesses to move more quickly to a new operating system by developing new tools for running compatibility checks and aiding in deployment. Businesses are "certainly not rushing into it more quickly than they have other Windows (releases)," Gillen said. Historically, large companies tend to drag their feet on deploying new operating systems, he said, not wanting to be in the leading edge and preferring to wait as bugs and compatibility issues are ironed out. A catalyst for some businesses could be the first...
  • Microsoft lends a tech hand to U.K. startups

    I feel very close to this team... they sit just down a bit from me :-) All good stuff, plus go to the website if you have something you think could be a candidate. Microsoft lends a tech hand to U.K. startups Microsoft's Startup Accelerator Program will help startups use software technology such as Silverlight and Live Services</WEBTEASER _extended="true"> By Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service Microsoft will assist U.K. startups in using its software technology under a program launched on Monday by CEO Steve Ballmer. The Startup Accelerator Program will include technologies such as Silverlight , Microsoft's multimedia browser plug-in, and Live Services , a group of Web-based applications. Microsoft will also offer assistance in business development, marketing, and sales. Microsoft stands to gain momentum if startup companies are successful in building applications based on its technology. The program could also put Microsoft closer to key startups with technology that Microsoft would rather buy than develop itself. At least five companies have joined the program so far: Ether Digital, which has a platform for video content over IP; Zebtab, which has a desktop video application; Corebridge, involved in customer relationship management and communication software; ViaPost, which focuses on electronic document delivery; and Miomi, with a Web site that lets people mesh their own content with interactive timelines. Microsoft already has the U.K. Emerging Business Team , which works with startup companies and venture capital organizations. Microsoft lends a tech hand to U.K. startups | InfoWorld | News | 2007-10-01 | By Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service ttfn David Technorati Tags: Startups , Microsoft , Silverlight , Live Services , UK
  • Small Business Building Blocks: Learn How To Create Magnificent Marketing Materials

    I always say that every contact you have with your customers is marketing and that marketing is not "hard", but does require some thought. Well I thought you might like this teleseminar. Learn How To Create Magnificent Marketing Materials John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing will be conducting a 3 part teleseminar that will teach you how to create marketing materials that educate and connect with your prospects. In this series, you will learn how to create a marketing kit, learn how to use stories in your marketing to connect on an emotional level, and learn how to develop and use case studies and testimonials in your marketing. Small Business Building Blocks: Learn How To Create Magnificent Marketing Materials ttfn David Technorati Tags: Marketing , Small Business
  • Ballmer Talks Cloud, Advertising, SAAS and what is Microsoft doing about it

    Software as a Service, Software plus Services etc, etc is a hot topic, but the reality for most of us is that for today we need to deliver traditional software while planning for the future. Steve Ballmer discusses this and more at the Gartner ITxpo 2007 event. I have snipped a few words that I thought were interesting, but please read the rest of the article for more info. For a video of Steve on Microsoft in the online world, have a look at Steve's blog at Steve Ballmer video - The Online Opportunity Ballmer addressed what appeared to be recurring questions among attendees: What is Microsoft's strategy around SAAS (software as a service), and what is Microsoft's answer to Google? Ballmer made it clear during the session that seeing any similarities between Microsoft and Google would be a mistake. "We don't look alike at all," he said. There is a "world of search and advertising, where Google is the leader; we're number three, working to be number two and then working to be number one." Microsoft has been able to differentiate itself in certain verticals such as shopping and through its user interface, Ballmer said. He then said that in productivity and business computing, Google's offerings are "not as good as 'me-too.' We haven't seen a lot from the other guys." Moreover, Ballmer said he sees the on-demand, cloud-computing world evolving differently in the short term than over the long term. He focused on Microsoft's four major business models: the PC, the Web, the enterprise market, and devices and entertainment. "We need to bring them together, and as we bring them together, the cloud will get more important," Ballmer said. "But we're not going to move to a world where everything is on thin client. We aspire to bring the rest of all of these models together." <snipped> And SAAS is one of the facets of Microsoft's Web strategy. Still, Ballmer said, users will never be able to do as good a job with a services...
  • What's In A 'Small-Business' Label? - Forbes.com

    I saw this and thought I would share it. As small business partners we need to decide what the "Small Business" means and tell our partners and customers. It is not about sticking a label on something that fits everything, but actually customising it for the real small business customer. And I don't mean the less than 1,000 person business, but the sub 100, sub 50 and even sub 10. It is worth reading the rest of the article to see what is said about brand and laptops. What's In A 'Small-Business' Label? Lisa LaMotta , 09.12.07, 6:00 AM ET It's one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book: Make the same product, but sell it to a new audience. That's what large retailers and manufactures have been doing lately to tap the lucrative small-to-medium-sized business (SMB) segment. Last month, for example, Best Buy (nyse: BBY - news - people ) added a Professional Series label, which signifies products putatively geared for small businesses, though many have mass appeal as well. Dell Computer (nasdaq: DELL - news - people ) insists its new Vostro line of notebooks is perfect for small fries, while virtually all the options are available on other machines. And AT&T (nyse: T - news - people ) sells the same telephone and cable connections under the SMB banner as they do for plain old consumers. Can you blame these guys? See-through as this strategy sounds, it's also very effective--and perfectly legal. As long as companies aren't making any false claims (after all, these products aren't not appropriate for small businesses), the Federal Trade Commission has no beef. <snip> To be fair, many products bearing the "small business" moniker work just fine. But it's a bit of a stretch to claim that many of them are specifically tailored for that segment. “A phone line is a phone line," admits John Reagan, vice president of business marketing for AT&T. Some so-called small-business products deserve the distinction more than others. Take Microsoft 's...
  • BT launches free business tools | CNET News.com

    If you like the look of Microsoft Office Live for Small Business and Office Live Workspaces, then you might also like this from BT. It looks even more like understanding how to build a business on the back of Windows SharePoint Services is going to be vital in the small business space! BT launches free business tools U.K. telecom company offers BT Business Builder, which bundles free management applications for small businesses. By David Meyer Special to CNET News.com Published: September 11, 2007, 8:34 AM PDT U.K. telecom company BT Group has added a set of business-management tools to its portfolio of free hosted applications for small businesses. BT Business Builder incorporates bookkeeping, invoicing, sales, planning, payroll, human resources, and health and safety tools, together with a news-alert service covering new business legislation. <snipped - go to site to see more >BT, which is gradually shifting its image from telecommunications incumbent to global IT services giant , has already launched several hosted services for small businesses this year. BT Tradespace, launched in April, is a free social-networking and marketing facility designed to let small business set up an online presence easily via a series of templates. BT Workspace, launched in January, is a Microsoft SharePoint-based collaboration tool. BT launches free business tools | CNET News.com Other related items include http://blog.echosign.com/2007/07/btmicrosoft-all.html and http://ukbroadbandfinder.blogspot.com/2007/10/bt-tradespace-new-features.html thanks David Technorati Tags: BT , WSS , SharePoint , Workspaces
  • SBS rebates for partners - get up to $225 back per installation - and don't complain that we only do these in the USA - this is available in many countries, including the UK too

    I just know when a rebate offer goes up on the Microsoft web site that I will get an e-mail asking if it will be available in the UK. For this one the answer is most definitely YES. To prove that it is not a waste of time, I need you to USE the offer, i.e. sell SBS and claim back you money, CALs or D-Link wireless router. Below are the details from the UK web site, but if you go to http://www.sbsoffers.com you will be able to select your country. Since this is a limited time offer, the more you sell now, the more you make - you can make up to 50 claims under this offer!! Take advantage of these offers when you provide on-site, deployment services for Windows ® Small Business Server 2003 R2! Don’t miss this opportunity! From September 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007, the on-site services you may already provide to customers to deploy Microsoft ® Windows ® Small Business Server 2003 R2 could make you eligible to receive some great rewards. Provide on-site deployment services to your customer between September 1, 2007 and December 31, 2007. Submit your valid Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Certificate of Authenticity or Volume License Number and then upload, fax or mail your deployment services invoice Choose which offer you would like to receive! Server Rebate Offer - UK rebate site ttfn David Technorati Tags: If you only read one post today , SBS 2003 R2 , Rebate , SBSC , Partners , Microsoft
  • Replying to Vijay's "Who understands Microsoft Licensing?" blog - why I think he is right and wrong

    Nothing like a blog entry on licensing to stir the people into action. Vijay posted a "small" post - Who understands Microsoft Licensing? . I'm now going to respond to both the main blog post and also some of the comments. I highly recommend you read the entry, the comments (some are included below, also for comment) and the linked blogs, especially the entry by Adam at Sorting out the complexity of Microsoft Volume Licensing as well as the others My conclusion to this question is that hardly anyone understands Microsoft Licensing. I’ve been to quite a few Microsoft Partner events and when the above question above is asked there is usually a very low number of businesses who say they understand it. This feedback is given time and time again but nothing really changes. The solution isn’t explaining it over and over again or writing Licensing Reseller Handbooks. If you can't explain something to a customer in a very succint way, then it’s just a waste of time and if as an organisation you have to employ an army of people and distributors to support this, then something is fundamentally wrong. Most people who don't understand licensing don't spend the time required to actually try - I mean, I've been on 1 course, maybe fired off 20-30 e-mails over the last 7 years, yet I answer almost every licensing question I am asked. I'm no super hero, I've just put in the same level of effort to understand licensing as I did when I moved from Unix to Windows. I decided it was a technical problem I needed to understand and solve. Sometimes it still trips me up, but so does hardware and software, so no different there. Explaining licensing to a customer should be succinct, but the details of how it works will take longer - this is no different to anything else you sell. Explaining to a customer what you do to install a SBS server, the reasons for it, how it works etc would take several books worth to do. Saying you need to buy software to facilitate these aspects of your solution should be simple...
  • Licensing with Microsoft could be easier, but the need for everyone to make money and provide options is also key

    I saw Vijay's posting on MS licensing and I have to admit I was quite amazed. 1st off it was a huge rant, it seemed to fail to understand the basics of how businesses make money and finally there was not a good suggestion on how to make it better, except to remove the ways to pay. I will do a reply to the blog later, but first I thought I would offer some insight on licensing. Why does Microsoft sell licenses Microsoft uses licensing to get paid for our products. Customers buy the license if they see the value in the products. If the customer does not see the value, they would not buy. People who say Microsoft should give it away or reduce the price seem to not understand the basic economics of supply and demand - every business, while it may have many goals, ultimately has a responsibility to the investors and this is nearly always to make money. Even when I was treasurer for a charity we needed to make money - it was probably the biggest problem we had, followed by how we deliver the services the charity delivers. What about license types Microsoft has lots of license types, why? Well, 1st off since we have an estimates 600-800 million customers, we need some standardisation, both from a simplicity point of view and from a legal and time point of view. Our contracts are discussed by many lawyers, we need them to work, to protect our intellectual property, the Microsoft staff and the 3rd parties working with Microsoft. We also need the contracts to not be in breech of any legal requirements, so, for example, we need to ensure we can not compete with desktop OEM providers or control how they operate. We also can't customise every license, so we provide flexibility and options without having to involve lawyers - this is probably where most complexity comes from. Finally we have volume discounts and benefits. OEM - installed when the system is sold and in the desktop space, Microsoft can't offer anything that competes with this because of the DOJ ruling, so it is a must have for any other licensing option...
  • UK ISV Blog and more importantly, the ISV Partner Kick-off on September 13th

    I don't think I ever gave Steve Morrow the plug I promised for the UK ISV blog , however since he is now my Boss, I read it more often. I saw this and thought I had better get it out pronto. If you develop software in the UK and sell this in a semi/fully packaged form to your customers, then this is for you. However, even if you can't make the event, subscribe to the blog to see what is happening and when. ISV Partner FY08 Annual Kick-off - Sept 13th TVP, Reading In my haste to get out of the office today to enjoy the great British summer...I forgot to make a quick mention of the ISV Partner Kick-off Event we have planned for Thursday September 13th at Thames Valley Park, Reading. Many of you will already have seen this in either the email we sent out or the Partner New Letter. I think we're got some really interesting initiative to share with you for the year ahead: We'll be telling you about a number of new business development tools and initiative that we'll be launching and running over the next twelve months. We have a new approach to the conundrum of how to demonstrate revenue influence without becoming a Microsoft licensing expert! We'll be sharing our plan for delivering some exciting new technologies along with the programmes we'll be running to support them. If you'd like to attend - please click on the following link to register: ISV Kick-off Event - Sept 13th or call 0870 166 6680 and quote reference 5947 from the UK ISV Blog . ttfn David Technorati Tags: ISVs , Developers , Partner
  • Microsoft, web services, new business models and small business

    In the IT market the term "change is the only constant" has been around for years (well, certainly since I left ICL where change was not constant, but that was due to the contract that dictated that everything did not change, so fell behind). Note, this post is purely the ramblings from my mind, not a statement from Microsoft in an Official or Unofficial capacity We've seen big iron, then smaller systems, the rise of SMP, the reduction in IT hardware and software costs for solutions, the rise of Microsoft servers, client server, 3-tier, clustered computing, multi-core and now internet enabled computing. There is much more, of course, to come, but how we deliver IT to customers has changed too. Of course, this is all generalised and some people have always been at one end or the other, but general acceptance is always shifting - remember the ASP business model of the late 90's - dead, yet here it is again with Software as / plus service. The pricing of some services even appears to be £0, yet you pay by clicking on adverts or by others buying adverts for you to see. Business Models Google and salesforce.com have once again shown that non-distributed computing means that a central failure grinds everything to a halt, just as Terminal based computing did before SAS was being considered. While you can architect to reduce these impacts, when they happen, hundreds to millions of people are impacted and if that is your business, it can be fatal. Once upon a time it was building PCs, then custom PCs, then servers, then core infrastructure, now ICT. However this is all the technical "stuff". We now deliver solutions more than just boxes (I know some always did) and the need to move beyond core infrastructure is a business necessity if you have not already moved this way. Excitement about a new "gizmo" (OS, application, gadget etc) is now tempered with "So what can it do to improve my business and is it worth it." One of the conversations I have had repeatedly with partners over...
  • Why should a small business use Office 2007

    Once again I thought I would put pen to e-paper on the top reasons I give people to move to Office 2007. I don't think there are many businesses out there that use a PC and don't use some form of office productivity suite and while most use Microsoft Office XX (where XX could be 97, 2000, XP or 2003), some use other products that in my opinion just don't compare for a business that wants to look great and work efficiently. With Office offering a massive choice of products and features, these are the headlines I use when talking to people. For those with a version of Microsoft Office, but not 2007 More Professional and Impressive documents and materials Use Microsoft Publisher 2007 to build sales and marketing materials that look agency made, but are actually in-house work The updated Microsoft Word 2007 has many features to ensure your documents have a professional, consistent look and feel throughout the whole document conforming to your brand goals (no matter how big or small they might be). The readability tests will also share with you how easy it is for someone to understand the document. Writing can be so unengaging, yet pictures are often very time consuming to get right. Using the new text features, features such as subtle shading or reflections or glowing words are a click away and can make text dazzle. For the words that can be better communicated in a picture the impressive Smart Art feature can take a simple list and turn it into a process diagram, or an organisation chart and all with any of the new professional style schemes to be sure to enhance the impact. Most people can recognise an "old" Excel charts - the colours are bland and the charts often quite flat. For this very reason the charts in Office 2007 have been given a significant facelift to ensure they look professional, while still conveying the information they are supposed to. While sending an Office document to someone is very common, sometimes you want to be able to send something they can't edit, such as a price...
  • How to use Office Outlook 2007 with any internet connection and how to access Outlook Web Access from any web browser - all in a Video presented with Silverlight

    The Video I have delivered a number of Vista and Office demos over my time, so I decided to record a number of them for others to borrow, use, learn from or anything else they choose. This video covers the following subjects in enough detail for people to hopefully understand what they need to know on how to use Outlook via a web browser and via an internet connection: Outlook Web Access with recent browser (IE5 or above) Outlook Web Access basic or lite edition for low speed internet connections Configure Outlook to use RPC over HTTP To see the video played using Silverlight (just try it) click here *. I am hoping that in the near future that the WMV file will be available at new bCentral - the UK Small Business Center on MS.com. At the moment it is not available there, but a copy can be found here * it will take a few moments to open if you have Silverlight installed and require you to download Silverlight if you don't, but it is a 1MB download How I made it I simply ran through part of my normal demo talking as I went. When presenting to an audience it is easy to correct anything you do without anyone caring, however I tried to fix up the videos so this was not a problem. This has one drawback which is that the sound is not that good (one of those things I want to fix, but have not yet got round to) due to editing & cutting of the videos. I find it really hard to talk and move the mouse to the right place at the same time without a fluff in either my words or my mouse movements. Having captured the video is was simple to turn them into "Silverlight" Videos that were hosted on the Silverlight Streaming site for your pleasure - if you like them I can do more. Feel free to re-record the audio and play for your customers of make as a download for them. I have cut 10 videos to date and will release them over the next 2 weeks. The videos cover: For Vista - How to copy files to a DVD / CD, Use the recycle bin, Use previous versions for files and Use the built in Vista backup to check for Updates in Windows...
  • Why should a business get Windows Small Business Server 2003 (SBS) to help their business

    I have been asked this many times and had promised to put these things down on paper (well e-paper), so now I am. This is my thoughts on why someone should buy SBS and also how I would sell it if I was selling it. Obviously there is much more that can be said and tailoring a solution to a customers needs is vital, but if presenting at an event or describing it on the radio, this is what I would say. Windows Small Business Server 2003 (SBS) is priced lower than other Microsoft servers to enable a small business to get the benefits of servers without any functionality compromise. We have even enhanced the product to put MORE in there than a standard Windows Server. To enable this price benefit Microsoft has put some limits (see below) on how SBS can be used which basically stops big businesses from using it, however you can cash in your investment in SBS and buy an Enterprise server should you ever need to and use the "cashed" in value to make the Enterprise server easier to afford too. Having said all that, the functionality limits rarely impact a small or smaller mid-market business and some of them are very technical. The Limits Only 1 SBS server in your business, but you can add as many other Windows Servers to your SBS network 75 or less licenses - a license can be a user or a device, but they cost the same so in 98% of cases user licenses would be the best Technical restrictions - SBS must be the "root" of the domain (rarely a problem in small businesses) and there can be "no server trusts" (again rarely a problem in small businesses) If you don't already have a server Share your files, printers, internet connection, fax and more without limits, while choosing who can read and modify information and who can't see it at all Enable strong security on PCs and Notebooks with a common password for each person on all machines, security updates automatically delivered all machines and all internet access protected by a server firewall Professional e-mail addresses for everyone in...
  • Its a shame when plans don't work out - another side of the story (When Linux drives you to Windows)

    The e-week article Windows Server Woos Linux Customers has some very interest facts. Not all of them are pro-Microsoft, but it does show that some of the marketing fluff out there is not quite right yet either. The migrations come after a quarter in which Windows Server revenue grew faster than Linux revenue—the first time that has happened since research company IDC started tracking Linux server spending in 1998. Recent Linux-to-Windows converts include consumer products manufacturer Unilever, online retailer Overstock.com, French sports yacht Areva Challenge (the French entry for the 32nd America's Cup yacht race), and California candy maker Jelly Belly. Windows is particularly gaining ground against Unix and Linux on the supercomputing front, a space that Microsoft did not play in until 2006, when it released its Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 product. <snip> Candy maker Jelly Belly, of Fairfield, Calif., had a challenge of a different kind: Its Linux-based VPN software, which it declined to name, was unreliable and difficult to administer, resulting in its IT staff spending a lot of time supporting it. Matters started coming to a head when the sole person trained to administer the Linux-based VPN software left the company. "At least three times a week, someone attempting to work remotely would not be able to get into the network. Problems were so common that we would plan on some issue arising—and set aside time to handle it—every time one of our executives traveled," said Nick Saechow, the IT manager at Jelly Belly. In the end, the company switched to a Network Engines VPN-and-firewall appliance running Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2004 because they were most compatible with the company's existing IT infrastructure and skill set. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Server 2003 R2 , Linux
  • Licensing Reseller Handbook are now available for UK partners

    This little tool is something worth downloading and reading to help answer some of those licensing queries and to learn more about selling Volume Licensing and the rules and benefits of other licensing types. Get it from here It walk through: Basic licence types How to become a reseller How to sell these licence's (key messaging and operational info) Product Specific licensing ‘need to knows’ ttfn David Technorati Tags: Licensing , Tools
  • How to find and use an Accounting template to use with Office Excel 2007 and then change it from US to UK currency, change the formatting of dates and drag lists (or Excel Tips and Tricks 1) - all in a Video presented with Silverlight

    The Video I have delivered a number of Vista and Office demos over my time, so I decided to record a number of them for others to borrow, use, learn from or anything else they choose. This video covers the following subjects in enough detail for people to hopefully understand what they need to know on how to use these features in Excel 2007 and apply them to all of the Office 2007 applications: Find a template and use it - I use an accounting template as it is based on Office 2003 and US based Change the currency cells from dollars to pounds using find and replace for formatting Change the date formatting from US to UK Dragging a list across a range of cells to give column a different month To see the Excel 2007 Video played using Silverlight (just try it) click here *. If you want to download it as a WMV file then head over to the new bCentral - the UK Small Business Center on MS.com - It is on this page as an Excel Accounting sample: * it will take a few moments to open if you have Silverlight installed and require you to download Silverlight if you don't, but it is a 1MB download How I made it I simply ran through part of my normal demo talking as I went. When presenting to an audience it is easy to correct anything you do without anyone caring, however I tried to fix up the videos so this was not a problem. This has one drawback which is that the sound is not that good (one of those things I want to fix, but have not yet got round to) due to editing & cutting of the videos. I find it really hard to talk and move the mouse to the right place at the same time without a fluff in either my words or my mouse movements. Having captured the video is was simple to turn them into "Silverlight" Videos that were hosted on the Silverlight Streaming site for your pleasure - if you like them I can do more. Feel free to re-record the audio and play for your customers of make as a download for them. I have cut 10 videos to date and will release them over the next 2 weeks. The videos cover: For Vista - How to...
  • Want TechNet Direct for free - that is all out software for trial and 2 support calls - simply submit two assessments to the Microsoft Business and Technology Assessment Toolkit

    I have always like the Assess and win program along with the Technology Assessment Toolkit, although some say they have little to learn from it. It is one of those things where someone says "I need more stuff from Microsoft, but not anything to help me sell because I am great at that already." A partner who I respected told me that the format of the kit did not work for them, but they took the questions and used them as a checklist, added some of their own and now it works well. They also said that they don't run through the questions one after another, but have a conversation with their customer, and then fill in the blanks at the end. Anyway, the toolkit is a great way to understand more about your customer and their motivations and then plug some generic data into the engine inside Microsoft that tries to build solutions that match your customers needs. Technet Direct gives you DOWNLOAD access to almost all of Microsoft's software AND two free support calls - and you get this for FREE after submitting two entries into the Assess and Win tool. This is how the Microsoft Business and Technology Assessment Toolkit website describes the tool Assess the business and technology needs of your small and midsize business prospects using our step-by-step approach. By getting to know your customer’s business needs, you can recommend solutions that fit their long-term goals and that demonstrate real business value. You’ll be on your way to closing the deal and securing life-long customers. New assessments to evaluate your customers’ server, mobile, and desktop needs and to help you identify solutions based on Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 , Windows Mobile , the 2007 Microsoft Office system , and Windows Vista technologies. A customizable question bank that allows you to tailor assessments to your customers’ specific needs. A Windows-based platform that’s compatible with both Microsoft Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system. Download Toolkit * Need help getting started? Visit the toolkit...
  • bCentral Moved - now the Microsoft Small Business Centre AND a new blog too

    I blogged about this a week or so ago, but the new site is now up and running and looks pretty fabulous. Click the Image to get to the new site. You can see that it is split into two sections, for those starting a business and those growing a business. Have an explore to find out what is there that you or your customers can use. Remember that bCentral was able to draw over 1/4 million UNIQUE visitors in a month, so your customers might well be on the list. The new blog can be found at http://blogs.technet.com/smallbusiness/default.aspx - it already has some excellent entries which I will be referring to soon. ttfn David Technorati Tags: bCentral , Microsoft , Small Business
  • How to copy files to a DVD / CD, Use the recycle bin, Use previous versions for files and Use the built in Vista backup tools - all in a Video presented with Silverlight

    The Video I have delivered a number of Vista and Office demos over my time, so I decided to record a number of them for others to borrow, use, learn from or anything else they choose. This video covers the following subjects in enough detail for people to hopefully understand what they need to know on how to use these tools: Use of the recycle bin Use of shadow copies to undo changes to a document Use of the DVD writing tools to copy and update files on a DVD Use of the built in Vista Backup tools To see the Backup Video played using Silverlight (just try it) click here *. If you want to download it as a WMV file then head over to the new bCentral - the UK Small Business Center on MS.com - It should appear on this page soon. * it will take a few moments to open if you have Silverlight installed and require you to download Silverlight if you don't, but it is a 1MB download How I made it I simply ran through part of my normal demo talking as I went. When presenting to an audience it is easy to correct anything you do without anyone caring, however I tried to fix up the videos so this was not a problem. This has one drawback which is that the sound is not that good (one of those things I want to fix, but have not yet got round to) due to editing & cutting of the videos. I find it really hard to talk and move the mouse to the right place at the same time without a fluff in either my words or my mouse movements. Having captured the video is was simple to turn them into "Silverlight" Videos that were hosted on the Silverlight Streaming site for your pleasure - if you like them I can do more. Feel free to re-record the audio and play for your customers of make as a download for them. I have cut 10 videos to date and will release them over the next 2 weeks. The videos cover: For Vista - How to copy files to a DVD / CD, Use the recycle bin, Use previous versions for files and Use the built in Vista backup to check for Updates in Windows Vista use the new Security features in Vista and Internet Explorer to...
  • How to add a trade-in line item (i.e. give cash back to discount a deal) to BCM 2007

    Someone asked me how to do this and I discovered that you can't have a negative discount percentage, negative quantity or negative price. So this makes it impossible to do... well, no, but it is not quite as easy as we would like. To make it work you need to create a Product and Service csv file to import to make it work. Here are the step by step instructions on installing it and using it. Installing the trade-in items Go to the BCM menu and select the Product and Services menu item Press the import button at the bottom of the dialog to get the screen shown on the left Create a csv file on your desktop called tradein.csv (start / run "notepad %homepath%\tradein.csv") Copy and paste the text below into the text file and save Trade In (10000), Trade in, -10000 Trade In (1000), Trade in, -1000 Trade In (100), Trade in, -100 Trade In (10), Trade in, -10 Trade In (1), Trade in, -1 browse the csv file on your desktop and press import Job done Using the trade-in items in an opportunity Now we have these line items, all you do is select them in an opportunity and use % discounts to make them fit. For example, if you wanted to give £2,000 discount, simply add the trade in (1000) qty 2 to the opportunity. You can add a higher number and then discount down, so for example if you want to add a trade in of £39,000 then you would discount by 2.5% and have a qty of 4 for trade in (10000) - see the picture on the left. Hopefully this little kludge will enable you to do trade-ins. ttfn David Technorati Tags: BCM , Business Contact Manager , Office 2007 , Trade Ins , Discounts , How to
  • Worldwide Partner Conference - WPC in Denver - what I know so far - Software plus Service

    Steve Ballmer has stated his case for Software PLUS Service. This should not be news for anyone who has been watching the world, but what is great to see if how Microsoft is trying to get it's existing partner leveraged model to work in the new web 2.0/3.0 world. Of course this will not suit everyone, but if done well, everyone can move forward is a happy little dance as things get re-jigged. Ballmer Outlines Microsoft's Software-As-A-Service Plans - Software - IT Channel News by CRN and VARBusiness noted Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer believes the evolution of the "computational model" and new user interfaces are going to create a flood of opportunities for the vendor's channel partners. In a Tuesday keynote speech to more than 12,000 attendees at Microsoft's worldwide partner conference in Denver, Ballmer provided insight into the Windows Live platform and how new technologies like Silverlight mark the beginning of the transformation to a new user interface model. Ballmer peppered his keynote with demos and testimonials about upcoming technologies, focusing on Microsoft's Google-like Windows Live services and on Silverlight, Microsoft's fledgling Adobe Flash rival. Silverlight demos have been in the spotlight at all of Microsoft's recent conferences, including Mix07 and TechEd. Ballmer's keynote showcased an MLB.com application created by Microsoft partner Frog Design, illustrating the power of the platform Microsoft hopes will bring rich Windows functionality to mobile devices and Web browsers. One big question partners have had about the future of Windows Live is what will happen on the back end with servers, which used to be on customers' premises, but increasingly are hosted and on the Internet, Ballmer noted. The emergence of server farms, and the ability to adjust capacity on demand has enabled the focus to move from back end servers to shared computation handled on customer premises, he added. "This is a long term migration to bring the best of the web and best...
  • Worldwide Partner Conference - WPC in Denver - what I know so far - Office Live and Windows Live as a platform for partners to build on

    Office Live is already a great success, but today Microsoft announced even more to make it a business for partners to make success for them and their customers. We've released information about partners, solutions and using Windows Live, sample sites and more information on how to make it a business success. Have a look at Microsoft Office Live Launches Partner Program, Helps Partners Reach Small Businesses for more information. Add to this the extra opportunities that Windows Live also brings and the new tools to build on there too ( http://partner.live.com/windowslive/ ) and you really start to get something amazing. The press release Microsoft Office Live Launches Partner Program, Helps Partners Reach Small Businesses includes a reference from Solution Canvas: Solution Canvas is a Glasgow, Scotland-based Microsoft Gold Certified Partner that uses the Microsoft Office Live platform to host justia, a powerful practice management system for small legal firms. justia offers a cost-effective solution that provides improved financial control and an umbrella view of client activities for smaller law firms that are trying keep costs down. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Office Live , Windows Live , Small Business
  • WPC Partner Conference in Denver - what is on and how to follow it even if you can't be there

    The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference is an amazing opportunity to understand what Microsoft is planning on doing for its partners over the next 12 months, what changes will be happening to our products, look Microsoft in the eye and ask your question and to build relationships with other partners and people inside Microsoft to benefit your business. Some of the speakers include UK Small Business partners, such as Susanne Dansey , Gareth Brown and Andy Trish . They represent two areas of the community and their own companies, Westcoast a Microsoft distributor aiming at the small business end of the partner market and thriving, now Gold Certified SBSC partners who two years ago were not on Microsoft's radar and have made being a SBSC partner a real benefit. In terms of what is on that is just for small business partners we had the Symposium yesterday. As to what was expected, here is the small business blog http://blogs.msdn.com/mssmallbiz/archive/2007/07/03/3677168.aspx Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference: We know many of you will also be participating in the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) beginning Tuesday, July 10. There are several special activities planned especially for small business partners that you will want to add to your Conference schedule: · Network with your peers before you arrive by joining the Small Business Discussion Group . This group is hosted on WPC Connect and is a great way for you to stay current, share ideas, and discuss what you have seen and heard at the conference. · Also check out the Small Business Specialist Community Blog on WPC Connect to get an early glimpse of what to expect at both the Small Business Symposium and the Worldwide Partner Conference. Visit the Small Business Partner "Yellow" Lounge . This lounge is a gathering place for connecting with people who care about small business as much as you do. The Lounge is located across from Lobby F, near the 14th Street entrance to the Convention Center. C ome chat with Microsoft about small business technologies...
  • New Microsoft UK Small Business Blog and bye bye bCentral

    Well, we are in a new financial year and the small business team has undergone several changes. While internally things are being shaken around a bit (as every year - there should be more news soon on this), the web site bCentral is being moved and there is a new pretty cool blog to go visit. Much more business than my blog today. The new website should be up in a day or two and the blog is http://blogs.technet.com/smallbusiness/ . I will be contributing to it every so often, so expect some more here. ttfn David Technorati Tags: if you only read one post today , bCentral , Small Business
  • Do you want to IM (messenger) someone in the UK Partner team with a question, but not have their address - now you can try the Partner Bot. It is your Instant Messenger 'data digger' retrieving partner-related information and the answers you need

    This is a long intro, but I got the mail this morning from Alex that this is alive and kicking!!! Go have a conversation - it is even clever enough to know that if you ask for me, this is my blog!! I am very pleased to announce that the PartnerBot is now live. Partner Bot is your Instant Messenger 'data digger', which quickly retrieves partner-related information and shows you where you can find the answers you need. Simply type in your question and Bot will bring back an instant response. Add Bot as a buddy in your Windows Live Messenger contacts and it will always be available whenever you're logged in. Use Partner Bot to Help You Get answers quickly, whether you’re in the office or mobile Find partner resources, like blogs and marketing help, more easily How Do I Add Partner Bot to My Contacts? · Log-in to Windows Live Messenger · Click on 'Add a Contact' icon · Add 'partnerbot@hotmail.com' into Instant Messaging Address > Click here to find out more Please be aware that PartnerBot may guide you to areas of the Partner Portal which can only be accessed by Registered, Certified or Gold Partners, so you may need to sign-in to view this information. ttfn David Technorati Tags: partners , partner bot , Microsoft
  • If you want to help shape Office 14 (the next version of Microsoft Office) tell us about yourself and see if you can get on the International Planning Panel

    I saw this and while it is old, thought you might like it: Participate in the Evolution of the Future Microsoft Office Versions Microsoft is committed to continue building solutions that address your needs and requirements. As part of the process for building future solutions, the Microsoft Office International Planning team is recruiting an international user panel. The goal for this panel will be to contribute in helping the Product Planning team get an in-depth understanding on users' habits, needs and requirements. We are convinced that listening to users' feedback is key to the development of great solutions and products. If you would like to participate, please complete the questionnaire. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Office 14
  • Susanne Dansey (UK SMB Girl) off to make Westcoast even better as she broadens her horizons

    Congratulations to Susanne on her impending job move. She is the best UK SMB Girl out there :-) She often keeps Microsoft straight with her views and I will always be grateful for her honest conversation and being a good friend. Anyway, as always you can go to her blog, but here is an extract. Note, she is still the UK SMB Girl and not just a Westcoast employee, so remember to treat her as a person and not just a support line for Westcoast. But you can’t take SMB out of the girl! July is going to be a busy time for me, I’m off to the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference to speak at the Small Business Symposium (hope to see you there!) and I’m also off to pastures new in terms of my career. After being with Readycrest for seven years (well really since I was 13 when the sales office was my bedroom!) I’m taking a change in career and will be working with Westcoast Distribution as their Microsoft Channel Development Manager with a specific focus on the SBSC community. I’m not going to talk much more about Westcoast on this blog unless I feel it is appropriate as this site is independent of who I work with/for UK SMB Girl » You can take the girl out of SMB… ttfn David Technorati Tags: community , westcoast , partners
  • What can Microsoft do to help your business as a Microsoft Partner

    It is rare that I copy a MS web page directly, but the information in here is amazing and worth spreading the news on. I found the Microsoft Partner Drive Your Business web site and not only does it have the information below. It also has references like " Read How a Partner Maintains 100% Growth Year After Year ". If you have seen one or two of them, don't fret - look at all six options and tell me if even one of them was a nice surprise for you. Are you looking for ways to strengthen your business performance? Find out how partners in the Microsoft Partner Programme are outperforming 12 out of 14 industry benchmarks through market differentiation. Find Out the Partner Pathway to Business Performance Is your company as profitable as it could be? Take a comprehensive assessment that measures your business performance across key indicators, including profit margins and revenue growth. Get Your Customised Business Report Increase your market visibility, generate sales leads, and promote your business to peers and customers - you can do all this by simply profiling your business solutions in Solution Profiler. Promote Your Business Create demand, increase sales and reach out to potential customers. A collection of tools and compelling information can help you engage clients and capitalise on revenue-generating business opportunities. Visit the Partner Marketing Centre Explore new markets, expand your services and strengthen your business propositions. Joining forces with other partners can help both of you grow your businesses and benefit from new opportunities. Get Connected with Partner Channel Builder Whether you're a Small Business, a growing ISV, a multinational or somewhere in between, the Microsoft Partner Programme offers a wealth of tools and resources to help you increase profitability. Discover How to Maximise Your Profitability ttfn David Technorati Tags: If you only read one post today , Microsoft , Partners , Sell , Market
  • Starting a business, Susanne always says good things and now has some nice places for information?

    Do you plan to start a business, or know someone who does / is, perhaps even a customer? Well, Susanne Dansey often makes for interesting reading with her views on life in the IT world. She also just posted a link to some areas worth looking at, so click on UK SMB Girl » Starting a business? to find out more. (Obviously the extract has the Microsoft Link in it - there has to be some perks of the job) If you have considered starting a new business and need a little extra push in the right direction, here are a few links for you to check out. The first, is the new Microsoft Startup Centre . It takes you through most aspects that you need to consider when starting up including your sales, finances, marketing, staffing, and branding. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Startup , IT
  • BMS in the UK understands how to use the Business and Technology Assessment Toolkit - do you?

    I get asked about this quite a lot - so Microsoft has this thing, the "TAT". I've looked at it and it is just a bunch of questions. Yep, but you can change the questions and all the results are stored and if you know what you are doing, you can use it to build an IT strategy for your customers which means that you go back to them regularly and take their IT onto the next stage for their business. I don't think this is rocket science, but perhaps it is something that we don't do enough of - look for the opportunities in a programmatic way. Now of course, this could be a very slavish process, but at Steve says: The questions are now much more relevant to the SME market and you don’t feel so uncomfortable asking your customers. We don’t just run through all the questions one after the other but slot them in to the rest of the presentation. It feels less like the Spanish Inquisition that way! We’ve conducted several surveys so far and they don’t just have to be prospective customers. You can survey your existing customers as well which we have found really useful as it starts the ball rolling on subjects that they maybe haven’t discussed with us previously such as desktop refresh timescales for example. Conducting the survey is really just the start. Once completed you can then start to spec. up a proposal based on the answers. It’s a great opportunity to open a dialog with your customers and prospects. BMS Blog: Everything SBS in the UK. » Business & Technology Assessment Toolkit ttfn David Technorati Tags: Technology Assessment Toolkit , SBSC , SBS 2003
  • Windows XP and Windows Vista feature comparison for small businesses

    I saw this at http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/products/wowpc/CompareWindows.aspx and thought this would be a great sales tool. While Vista has many new and unique features people often want to discuss how it compares to previous versions - this is a good place to start to go down that list. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows XP , Windows Vista , Comparison , Small Business
  • Office XP, 2003, 2007 feature comparison for small businesses

    I saw this on the Small Business site in the US and thought it was an excellent tool as to what has changed between the versions of Office from XP through to Office 2007. Simply go to http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/products/wowpc/CompareOffice.aspx and click out the tabs to get the details. Ttfn David Technorati Tags: Office System , Office 2007 , Office 2003 , Office XP , Comparison , Small Business
  • Can customers find you on the Microsoft web site? Did you know that the "old" method for customers to find you is being turned off on June 14th? Have you added your solution Finder profile yet? If not, prepare to disappear

    Promote your business online The Microsoft Resource Directory, listing all Microsoft partners, will be retired on 14 June, when all traffic will be redirected to the increasingly popular Solution Finder tool. This is where existing and potential customers can search for partners who offer the specific business solutions they are looking for. To be included in this partner listing, and to help increase your sale leads at no additional cost, you need to ensure your business offerings are entered in our Solutions Profiler tool. This is a great opportunity to promote your business online and it takes just a few minutes to profile your solutions. I saw this and somehow figured that a few people might need a little prompting. I have written on how easy it is to add a solution using solution finder here . ttfn David Technorati Tags: Solution Finder , Partners [updated @ 2:20pm to fix access error]
  • Do you sell Microsoft product and went something to make it easier to understand our licensing and products? Something that will help you up-sell and cross-sell to your customers? If so, then the Gear Up book is for you

    In a recent mail it announced: The Microsoft Sales Toolkit is your source for driving sales. It is the licensing and sales 'product handbook' that will help you generate up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, giving you and your Partners information on the full portfolio of Microsoft products and services. You can find information on what the product is, how to sell it, relevant SKU numbers and FAQs. The toolkit is produced twice a year and is available as a hardcopy, to keep on your desk, or to download as a pdf, to take out with you to meet customers. Visit www.microsoft.com/uk/gearup for more details or to download the pdf version. Go get it, it might just answer one or two of those questions you have!! ttfn David Technorati tags: Gear Up , licensing , sales , Microsoft
  • Where to go for information on Office Live in the UK, see a demo, see how to develop against it and even use it as a SharePoint data repository and show the information on the public site

    Tim Kimber the UK Office live product manager sent me these links and they are pretty good: bCentral Office Live SB+ webcast (requires sign-in) - http://www.microsoft.com/uk/businesscentral/small-business-plus/sign-up.aspx?xid=sbplus_ol_bcban Flash demo : http://www.microsoft.com/winme/0703/29661/UK/DEV_Deploy/index.html Office Live Mix presentation : http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1556816&SiteID=1 Tips and Tricks for Using JavaScript on Your Office Live Public Site : http://blogs.msdn.com/doncampbell/archive/2007/04/20/tips-and-tricks-for-using-javascript-on-your-office-live-public-site.aspx Using the collect/display data module (connect to the SharePoint back end) in Office Live : http://channel9.msdn.com/Media/Firesign.html ttfn David Technorati Tags: Office Live , demo , develop
  • Buying Vista and then installing an old version of Office - what are you allowed to do

    I have already discussed on this blog what is and is not support for Office on Vista (any version from 2000 on) here . However there is always the question of licensing what is actually allowed and what would be piracy. I am going to try to make it very simple here. · If you have the Home and Student (was the Student and Teacher) Edition then this can be installed on 3 computers in the same household · If you have a previous “Full Packaged Product” – the pretty box you bought at a retailers – version of the product then this can be removed from one computer and installed on a new computer. It can only be installed on one computer at any time · If your software is provided as part of a volume license agreement then you can install on a new computer or other computers, but if you change the number of computers that it is installed on you may have to pay more for the extra usage. · If you have neither of these then you have an OEM copy – this is provided and supported by the people who supplied your computer and part of the license provision is that it belongs to that computer only and can not be transferred anywhere else. I hope that makes it clear. As always, leave a comment for any questions. Ttfn David
  • Find out a bit about small businesses in the UK from the UK Small Business Regional Hotspots web page

    I found this and thought people might find it useful to see what our research showed us about the regions around the UK. The background is given as: Microsoft UK recently carried out online research, in conjunction with You.Gov to find out where in Britain most small businesses were being formed and to see if there was any correlation between geographies and the types of vertical sectors that dominated the small business landscape . It also sought to identify how successful small businesses were developing their business and their employees, and where they were investing money to help it succeed further. This site highlights the key findings for each of the UK regions excluding Northern Ireland (regions defined by Government Office). If you go to http://regionalhotspots.co.uk/default.htm and hover over the icons on the map you can learn more. ttfn David
  • Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference - will you be in Denver?

    I attended last year and the UK partners that went said that it was a very worthwhile experience, especially the Pre-event of the Small Business Symposium (eg http://www.uksmbgirl.co.uk/blog/archives/date/2006/07/ and . This year we have that again - see below or http://www.microsoft.com/partner/events/wwpartnerconference/precon.htm Microsoft Small Business Symposium 2007 The second annual Microsoft Small Business Symposium is the event for Microsoft Small Business Specialists and other technology providers who want to energize their small business practice! You will hear strategies and methods from industry experts to help you effectively manage your time, build business value and reduce financial barriers to continued business growth. Come interact with your peers and Microsoft as we examine the recent technologies, issues and forces driving today’s small business marketplace. I expect to see a number of UK partners there again this year. More details from Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference This premier partner conference will take place at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado, USA, July 10-12, and will provide a wide range of valuable resources for all Microsoft Partners. Leverage your Microsoft investment by sharing in future business opportunities, get hands-on training, and network with your Microsoft team and your extended partner community. Over 10,000 partners, industry experts, speakers, exhibitors, Microsoft executives, and many others are expected to attend this year’s conference—don’t miss out! What’s waiting for you at Worldwide Partner Conference? Hear from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and other leading executives on how to position your business to take advantage of Microsoft strategies and overall vision in Conference Keynotes . Dive deep into the latest solutions with Hands-On Labs and Sessions , taught by industry experts. Celebrate your successes using Microsoft products & solutions at the Microsoft Partner Program Awards Luncheon and Ceremony. Gain even more knowledge and...
  • SBS 2003 R2 & CALsare now on the Academic Price list so you can sell SBS to schools again :-)

    Hi guys, I've just picked this up from one of our internats web chats and thought I would share it. SBS will be on the Academic Price List and available in all languages (SBS Standard, Premium + 5 CAL packs) through Volume Licensing as of April 1st. For FPP, retailers will be able to get the product as of May 4th. This is great news and I have had it confirmed that it is on Wescoasts price list, plus some other distributors. ttfn David
  • Do you wish there was a good list of questions to understand a customers business and technical needs? Well you had better look at the Microsoft Business and Technology Assessment Toolkit FAQ (and win copies of SBS 2003 R2 to sell)

    I should have blogged on this ages and ages ago, but somehow I thought everyone knew about this already. It is a set of tools (pointers to documents, Q&A recording tool, customisation tool and general web based advice) to help you sell your services by understanding the needs of your customers and share this information easily around the business. The best place to start is the FAQ page ( Microsoft Business and Technology Assessment Toolkit FAQ: Toolkit Updates ), which has loads of good links - below is just the start of the good information. Also, if you do a few assessements and submit the data to Microsoft, you could earn a free copy of SBS 2003 R2 for you to do with as you will - give to your partner at home, sell to a customer, mount on the wall as the only free thing Microsoft has ever given you :-) Find comprehensive answers to your questions about how to download, install and use the Microsoft Business and Technology Assessment Toolkit (English only). For further information about the Windows Small Business Server Assess and Win offer, the Assess and Win offer for Microsoft Small Business Specialists, or the localised toolkits, please review the Assess and Win FAQ . Toolkit and Assessment Overview Getting Started with the New Toolkit Installing and Uninstalling the Toolkit Toolkit Updates Assessment Templates Creating Custom Templates Saved Assessments Assess and Win: Earn a Free Copy of SBS 2003 R2 Microsoft Products Included in the Toolkit ttfn David Technorati tags: SBS 2003 R2 , Technology Assessment Toolkit , Selling
  • Win an XBOX 360 or 5 x Office and Vista while getting Microsoft to pay some or all of your Marketing Campaign Builder Expenses for Small Business PC, Branch Office solutions or Build Customer Connections Campaigns. Time limited - ends 30th April 2007

    Hopefully I have your attention, which is good. Microsoft UK are trying to encourage the use of our marketing tools and also gain some feedback. First of all, the prizes for the best feedback - an Xbox 360 system OR 5 x Vista Ultimate AND 5 x Office 2007 Pro. Next, the cash - we can offer a limited number of people £150 towards a marketing campaign - if that covers the whole of the campaign, then so be it and it has cost you nothing! This money is to be used at the UK Partner Campaign Builder portal. OK, so now for the pitch! As many of you know we like to help our partners in many ways here at Microsoft and one area that small business partners have asked for help is in the marketing area. Campaign Builder is a one stop shop to either produce materials and run the campaign yourself, or use the agency to run the campaign for you (or at least print the materials). Well, we have a limited number of discount vouchers to make this a £150 easier process. The idea is simple to do, simply do the following this April (2007 for the pedants) Visit the Business Efficiency/ Small Business PC Campaign page to learn more about the campaigns Visit Partner Campaign Builder and get up to £150* towards your first Business Efficiency/ Small Business PC Campaign with Partner Campaign Builder You then need to enter the promotional codes as below Send an e-mail to Doverton@microsoft.com with the subject “I used campaign builder and it worked for me” with the details of how you used the campaign and what it has done to help your business and if necessary what it should do better. Send the e-mail by the end of May and we will read them and pick out a winner for either 5 x Office 2007 and 5 x Windows Vista Ultimate OR a Xbox 360 core edition for the 3 rd week of June (you choose which prize you want). (we will notify you of you success via a return mail to your e-mail address and will publish the winning reason on the blog site). We may also ask to discuss the benefits of Campaign Builder with you further to improve the service or ask to...
  • Help to make the Office 2007 document type a standard (Open XML) - click the link

    I love standards - they make life easier. TCP is one, ODF is one, SNA is one, ASCII and EBDIC are. Even PDF is one. It just makes life easier. In this connected world standards are a good thing and sometimes more than one standard is very good. Microsoft has offered the Open XML (Office 2007 document format) as a standard too. We can have it as a standard in a short time frame or a long time frame. I want you to sign the petition to help it happen in the short time frame. Even Novell are supporting this as they see it as just making their customers lives easier. Go here and sign the petition to help move things forward in the short time frame. If you want to see how developers could use the standard have a look at http://openxmldeveloper.org/posts.aspx . You might wonder why I am asking you to do this. Well I've read the text at the microsoft.com site on Open XML and I like the idea of this being a public standard that people can write to without having to pay for the right to do so and the knowledge that writing to the standard will give them good interoperability. My 1st three years after University was writing document converters, including those for Microsoft Office and Open XML would have made my life MUCH MUCH easier. To aid interoperability, XML-based file formats can unlock data in documents and help integrate front- and back-office processes. Recognising these benefits, Microsoft has implemented XML-based formats in successive releases of Office. Both public and private sector customers have expressed their preference for making Open XML an open standard so that they have broad rights to use, without cost, any Microsoft patents necessary to implement all or part of the format. Responding to this, Microsoft and others called for the standardisation of Open XML. On 7 Dec 2006 Ecma International, a highly respected standardisation body, approved the adoption of Open XML as an international open standard. The strengths of Ecma Open XML are clear: Ecma Open XML was developed through the collaborative efforts...
  • The Small Business Summit is coming - 19th - 23rd March - watch online

    [updated 29th March 2007] Now the event has happened you need to go to http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/small-business-summit/FY07/SummitVideo/Watch.aspx to watch the various sessions. The Microsoft Small Business Summit is just around the corner: March 19-23. It's free, it's online, and we don't want you to miss it. To help you get the best value and training for your business, we've identified the top webcasts from the Small Business Summit. With links below, we've also simplified the process of adding your chosen webcasts as appointments on your Outlook calendar. On the date and time of your preferred webcasts, you have two easy options for viewing the live webcasts : Click the linked webcast title below. -Or- Click the linked webcast title in the Outlook appointment text. Note: To view the webcasts, you must have Windows Media Player installed. March 19, Day one (9:00 AM - 2:00 PM, Pacific Time) 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM - Keynote: Solutions for Small Business Kevin Turner, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft Learn about new products designed to address the needs of your small business and to make a positive impact on your bottom line. Add this webcast to your calendar 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM - The Importance of Branding Julie Clark, Founder of Baby Einstein Hear from the woman who started a business in her basement and within five years built a brand with annual sales of more than $25 million. Add this webcast to your calendar 11:00 AM - Noon - The Art of Innovation Guy Kawasaki, Author and Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures Learn strategic steps for creating new products and services. Renew your commitment to innovation. Add this webcast to your calendar Noon - 1:00 PM - The Economy and the Small Business Owner Wayne Best, Chief Economist, Visa USA Hear this top business analyst explain how economic trends can affect your small business. Add this webcast to your calendar 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM - Small Biz Success Stories Moderated by Cindy Bates, General Manager, Microsoft Get tips and inspiration from battle...
  • Vista, by itself, and business value - what can you get

    I was a little horrified to see a small business group posting that said " In my opinion, there is nothing in Vista that warrants an upgrade at this time for businesses." Oh my golly gosh thought me. Has this person actually looked at the stuff we have to better explain what the benefits are? (I don't know, but if they have then Microsoft needs to do a better job, if not, then Microsoft needs to do a better job telling everyone). 1st off though, just as many people have commented - I expect many people to buy Vista with a new PC, but I also believe that the decision to buy a new PC will in part be driven by Vista as opposed to just hardware needs. OK, where does Vista add value to businesses (this is where I use it) over Windows XP out the box today and even more so over Windows 2000: Work More Efficiently Searching for documents, e-mails, contacts Preview files without opening them via thumbnails and preview pane Shrink to fit for IE printing Finding open programs, items on start menu, control panel items Enhance performance with ReadyBoost Glancable information with Gadgets Staying Connected "File" file sharing Ad-hoc wireless networking Wireless security manager Windows Mobile Device Center Data protection and integrity Automatic PC backups Previous versions of files, even when out the office Anti-phishing technologies Anti-spyware tools UAC and protected mode in IE File and disk encryption Image based backup and restore Systems Management Reliability Monitor Enhanced Event Viewer Memory Checker Problem History Enhanced Remote Desktop Recovery tools Sales and Marketing Fax and Scan tools Photo Editing tools XPS Support Faster response when opening the lid Dual use - home and business use Parential controls Media Center DVD Playback and burning Many many more It is worth looking at the version comparison document on http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/products/wowpc/CompareWindows.aspx and the Vista comparison guide that can be downloaded at http://download.microsoft.com/download/E/5/E/E5E1A4B0-124F-4A6E-A152...
  • Was Vista's arrival a surprises to anyone? No? Then how come so many people were unprepared - hardware vendors, ISVs, even Microsoft to an extent

    Lets start off by saying this is a RANT. If you don't like rants, look away now. I saw this in CRN and it made me laugh and cry. We have seen news that iTunes has undisclosed issues with Vista (even after being fixed ), poor drivers from nVidia and others and even enough to stop a BBC reporter from getting it going , yet from the list below, most are down to 3rd parties. I have only a little sympathy for hardware partners who didn't get drivers out - I was at WinHEC 3 and 2 years ago when the need to build drivers was hammered home. I have seen the offers of help to ISVs to get their applications working. I have seen the large amount of online training available for partners of all sizes to understand the benefits of the products. However, I have also seen the difficulties people have in when to bet on Vista and deploy the resources - I think its success has taken a few people by surprise! Microsoft is certainly happy with the launch . If like me, when you have 2 years to solve a problem it is always tomorrows problem, until eventually the deadline looms and it suddenly urgent - perhaps many face this issue. Of course, I am hugely over simplifying the issue. Some people chose not to move, saying that they would wait until there was enough market demand. Others, so the rumours say, have no desire to make older versions of hardware or software work on Vista and are using it as a lever to drive upgrades. Finally, the meaning of "minimum requirements" somehow seems to have been lost on people, so when all editions other than basic recommend a minimum of 1GB, that should not be seen as optimum for all users, but the minimum. I am frankly amazed that some vendors "top" PCs are not Vista compatible and it is because they were not ready - I thought the product was delayed to help these guys get ready - and if lower spec machines are working... gosh! While others have got it all working, on new machines and with new hardware designed for Vista style PCs . For application issues, many uncertified Windows Vista Apps May Work...
  • Sales tools, campaigns, downloads and brochures for Selling the Small Business PC (running Vista and Office 2007)

    Kerry in the Small Business team sent me this mail, so I thought I would forward it on. It is worth knowing that items from the stock shop are often free, including P&P. I’m getting lots of questions about what is available to partners to use to support the small business PC campaign. Details have been included in the campaign updates – but I understand the volume of email we all receive, so hopefully this will be more specific to your needs. We have the following produced and available: Item Details Where to get it! Campaign Builder This campaign promotes our latest product releases specifically for small businesses, Windows Vista™ Business and Microsoft® Office Small Business 2007 promoting how it’s going to transform the way they do business. Aimed at the small business owner/manager, it highlights how Windows Vista™ Business and Microsoft® Office Small Business 2007 introduces powerful new technologies that empower them and their employees to do so much more with their PC. Ultimately, helping them collaborate and communicate more effectively, increase sales, improve security and lower business costs. View Details Marketing Elements: Postcard , Business Letter , Email , Flyer Top 10 reasons sheet Printed and soft copy docuemnt outlining the top ten reasons why a small business would want a PC running Vista and Office Available in partner market M1486 – Top 10 WOW Small Business PC factsheet and Office 20076 and Vista Top 10 Reasons download Small Business PC brochure Printed and soft copy Available in partner market M1485 – Small Business WOW Brochure and as a download WOW Brochure Small Business WOW poster Printed and soft copy Available in partner market M1487 – WOW poster – small business Banners to go on website Various sizes (attached) Attached below. To be loaded on partner website Online demo See bCentral to see what this demo looks like www.bcentral.co.uk/vistaoffice Partners can potentially host this - total site is 46MB - contact me if you want to host yourself SBPC event in a box Part of EVO kit...
  • Using Windows Vista and Outlook 2007 in a Windows Small Business Server 2003 Network

    [updated 28th Feb 2007 - 07:47 with correct link for Outlook 2007 and Windows XP] Use this document to join computers that are running Windows Vista to your Windows Small Business Server 2003 network using the "Update for Windows Small Business Server 2003: Windows Vista and Outlook 2007 compatibility (KB 926505). http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=46E95C56-1A4C-45BD-8D69-5F41FF8F1F22&displaylang=en File Name: SBSVista_Conceptual.doc Date Published: 2/8/2007 Download Size: 265 KB The “Update for Windows Small Business Server 2003: Vista and Outlook 2007 compatibility (KB 926505)” adds support for the Client Deployment tools in Windows Small Business Server (Windows SBS), and it resolves compatibility issues for running Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 in a Windows SBS network. Use this document to join computers running Windows Vista and Outlook 2007 in your Windows SBS network. You might also want to look at: · Vista and Office 2007 FAQs · Related Knowledge Base Articles KB 926505 – Update for Windows Small Business Server 2003: Windows Vista and Outlook 2007 compatibility · KB 911829 – Outlook Web Access (OWA) update · KB 929556 – Firewall Client for ISA Server · KB 930414 – ISA Server 2004 update package for Vista 64-bit editions · KB 930955 – Vista User Profile WMI Provider KB 931905 – Regarding Outlook users; note: this is a catch all KB for someone who has XP with Outlook 2007 – a separate update is not required, it is the same update as mentioned in KB 926505 Technorati tags: Vista , Windows Vista , Small Business , SBSC , SBS 2003 , Small Business Server 2003
  • Easy way to learn Vista, while also learning how to demo it

    Many of you have Windows Vista, but now need to understand what you can do with it. Rather than reading one of the nice big books, you could go look at the www.windowsvistamagazine.co.uk and read all the great info there. You could also go and look at the training available on the Microsoft Partner site. Finally, you could go and get all the tools you need to build a demo system, including the "scripts" for home and business use and then work through them - it will not take more than an hour to work through them, but by the end of it you will know most of the interesting features of both products. Windows Vista for Partners - Your DRT - the site includes: Step 1. Before getting started, learn what it takes to create your own DRT. Download and review the Windows Vista Demo Setup Guide . Step 2. Gain access to the latest tools for DRT development. Download the zip file , which contains Sample documents Demo files Sample applications Management shortcuts Step 3. Need a little direction on how to set up your demo? Download a demo script. ( Consumer and Business demo scripts are available.) Step 4. Showcase your solutions with Windows Vista through your new demo account. Links to check out: Find Windows Internet Explorer 7 demos . Find the Healthcare Prototype , a sample Gadget for Windows Sidebar. Technorati tags: Windows Vista , Vista , Vista Demo
  • Microsoft, BT hook up for hosted apps | Tech News on ZDNet

    Given the recent good moves forward with Office Live (UK web site - http://www.officelive.co.uk , partners getting excited - Tim Long , bCentral information on the products and 5 amazing case studies ) I thought I would share this further advancement in the online world. There will always be a place for the small business products that rely on physical servers, but the business by Vlad and many others shows us that the SaaS (Software as a Service and Software AND Service) work well for a business model. The difference between SAAS and SaS, IMHO, is one is rich in both client and web based tools, the other is ONLY rich when connected. Take Exchange and Outlook - Outlook is a great client when connected to Exchange. OWA is a great client too, however Outlook's offline ability is what sets it apart. You can get get great online and offline experiences with SaS. Microsoft and BT are to launch an online marketplace for hosted applications, with small-business customers as the target. The BT Applications Marketplace forms part of Microsoft's concerted push into the field of "software as a service." In this delivery mechanism, software is remotely hosted and usually paid for on a monthly subscription basis, rather than hosted on a company's own server and paid for up-front. In the marketplace, customers can expect to see "commodity apps" such as those for human resources, customer relationship management ( CRM ) and payroll, said Claire O'Halloran, of Microsoft's partner development group. But the linkup with the U.K. communications giant will also likely provide niche applications geared to the likes of realtors and dentists. Around 30 hosted applications are expected to be available through the marketplace at its launch. Source: Microsoft, BT hook up for hosted apps | Tech News on ZDNet Technorati tags: SaaS , Office Live , Software as a Server , Software and Service , Hosted , Microsoft , BT
  • Why the blue badge will not help you find prospects, but might help you turn them into customers

    I'm going to start with a contentious statement "The Blue Badge is the best scheme in the world for IT partners serving the small business sector". The second thing is that it is not a sales campaign to get people to buy from you. It is a quality assurance and community system. We have been having a bit of a discussion internally today about the "blue badge" - you know, the SBSC logo. This discussion is a little UK focused as some of the features and benefits are UK focused. The discussion was triggered by the questioning blog by Tim Long who wants to see the community do more to promote the benefits of the blue badge. We know this can work - in the US some members put together a radio show and those of you who know Harry Brelsford will remember that he played the commercial they did at many of the events. The simple truth that SBSC is a flag for partners to rally around and build communities, not a flag for prospects to rally around. The people in SBSC have something that sets them apart from the pack, but does not completely separate them from it. They need to find and sell to their prospects as they always have done and the blue badge should be one of the tools they have. However, there is also fair criticism that the blue badge is not plastered over more places to drive awareness. Unfortunately this is not about to change, so while not desirable, we need to move on and see how it can be leveraged with the limited coverage we have (bCentral, Small Business Campaigns, Press Releases around small business, work with RDAs and Business Links) which is still quite good versus not having the badge. There is something I heard recently at the SBSC Small Business Symposium (yes, one of the benefits of being SBSC) and I think this is key. Gareth from Sytec Systems and Technology Ltd said (I am paraphrasing) “ Not all our prospects have heard of "Certified Partner" or "SBSC". It was not important to them. It is our job to make it important to them ”. The key here is that we don’t need to tell the world – just the prospect...
  • I'm sorry - I am not perfect and nor is Microsoft. Sometimes it is our fault

    I can be abrasive sometimes and whether it "is my fault" or not, I don't always understand others' point of views. To this I would like to say "It is my fault". Now, if you have got up off the floor, let me give you a few examples. I say "contact our customer support" and you say "I don't have time". Before I rant - OK, I understand this, if you could share the bug at some time, we will try to fix it. We haven't been able to identify it yet, so need your help I say "There is no OEM media, get over it" and you say "I need OEM media to do my installs". OK, I can't fix this one. I do understand where you are coming from. If I were to share the fact that in the UK, which is a low piracy country, our tests so far have shown between 10-15% of all copies of Windows are pirated and many come from Action Packs and other OEM keys, does that help understand why this is such an issue? I do wish I could give you back OEM media, but I've been told it is just not possible. While Microsoft did publish the changes coming, I now get the impression that many did not realise that this was linked to the change in qualifying an upgrade, making the process different to Windows XP The list goes on, however why did I even start this? Well a man I respect lots is Joel. I started reading his latest filing: "Now I was fuming. Squiggly lines were coming up out of my head. I was a half hour late to work and had to go to the locksmith for a third time. I was tempted just to give up on him. But I decided to give this loser one more chance." "Seven steps to remarkable customer service http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/customerservice.html It then carries on: I stomped into the store, ready to unleash my fury. “It still doesn’t work?” he asked. “Let me see.” He looked at it. I was sputtering, trying to figure out how best to express my rage at being forced to spend the morning going back and forth. “Ah. It’s my fault,” he said. And suddenly, I wasn’t mad at all. Mysteriously, the words “it’s my fault” completely defused me. That was all it took...
  • Just as predicted - Vista is driving new PC Sales - are you driving these into your customers?

    I was reading this http://news.com.com/Sales+of+boxed+Vista+copies+down+over+XP/2100-1016_3-6159700.html?tag=nefd.top and it said that Vista boxed product was down by 59% compared to XP and 32% by revenue (means people are buying Ultimate), but then noticed that it said PC sales were up 67%.. hmm, so I wonder what was on those. What we are seeing is people buying new PCs rather than upgrading. While people are doing that, perhaps we should ask our customers if they would like to take advantage of the great things that Vista, Office SBS and Windows Mobile can do for them and put together a package, potentially using Open Value Subscription to spread the cost (or finance) and help them get that new PC and everything else they need in 1 easy go :) ttfn David
  • Upgrading from Windows Vista Home to Vista Business or Vista Ultimate

    Sometimes some people end up with a copy of Windows Vista Home on a machine that they want to use in a business environment. The Windows Anytime Upgrade provides for people moving to Ultimate, but if you just want to move to Business, then this is what you need to know. Windows Vista Home SKUs qualify to use VUP FPP media As the home SKUs have some features that are not present in the business SKU, you have to do a clean install, the same as for Action Pack Upgrades (see How to do a clean install using upgrade media ). You can however do an in-place upgrade to Ultimate. The only media you can use to perform the home to business upgrade is retail upgrade media To preserve the settings that apply and documents etc, you can export your files and settings and then re-import them on the new system using the Easy Transfer Wizard, although things such as parental controls etc would not be there, so no longer work thanks David Technorati tags: Upgrades , Windows Vista , Vista
  • Why Windows Vista Home can only be Upgraded to Home Ultimate online, but can upgrade via retail media from XP Home to Vista Business (or any other version)

    Following a bit of a discussion on the user groups around this area, I thought I would add my thoughts here. Many home PC users will be getting Windows Vista Home Premium and then potentially discovering that they really wanted the business edition ( SKU ) as they are not just home users. The problem we have is that if you look at the Windows Vista product feature matrix you will notice item like those to the left (click to see larger image) where features are available in the Home edition, but not the business edition. When people "upgrade" within the same release of the OS they expect to not loose features and some of those features include items that Microsoft potentially pays licensing for. Because of these reasons, home users can either "upgrade" to Ultimate, or buy Business in retail and do a full clean install. Now, if someone has any version of Windows XP or Windows 2000 then they can "upgrade" to any of the Windows Vista editions, however the key item to note here is that if someone will loose functionality, they will end up doing a clean install (by running from the existing install of Windows) of Vista. This is detailed at Upgrade Paths for Windows Vista and a link to the key table is provided on the right. Hopefully this makes it all clear, but if not, drop a comment on and I will respond. ttfn David Technorati tags: vista , windows Vista , upgrades , vista home , vista business , vista ultimate , windows upgrades
  • Demo Showcase and Action Pack shipments

    [Please also read the Action Pack FAQ on this blog at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/13/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx ] Ok, so we failed to hit the January shipment, which is not something I am proud of, but everyone knows that we missed the shipment and my feelings already :-) If you are wanting to Demo Vista and Office then there are a few things you can do: Load it yourself and tell people how you use it Read the case study information on the bCentral web site and tell people about UK small businesses that are benefiting from the products already Portfolio Communications goes green Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 system help PR company A portrait of a small business Photography company snaps up Windows Vista and Office 2007 Accountancy firm profits from Microsoft investment Windows Vista and Office 2007 lift Aggarwal and Co. Load one of your Action Pack instances onto a PC. If you want to upgrade to Ultimate then do so, or run a demo copy (don't put in the product key) and choose the edition you want. Download one of our demo scripts & tools and do it yourself Office 2007 - https://partner.microsoft.com/UK/40034400?PS=95000131 How to build a Vista Demo system - Create your own DRT on the latest release of Windows Vista Vista Demo Script - Windows Vista Demo Script ttfn David Technorati tags: SBSC , Office 2007 , Windows Vista , Vista , Demo , Small Business , Case Studies
  • The Windows Vista and Office Consumer and Small Business Launch - 30th Jan, The British Library, London, UK.... and some demos you MUST run to understand what ISVs will do with Windows Vista.. and a couple of case studies

    Finally the day has come and the rest of us (well, you - but I felt that excited anyway) without a Volume License (or if you work at Microsoft) could get and use Windows Vista and the 2007 Office System (known as Office from here on in). The British Library was chosen as two Leonardo De Vinci codices were being brought together for the 1st time in over 500 years. One was owned by the British Library and the other by Bill Gates, who appeared in person to launch the event. These books, plus other treasures from the British Library can be accessed and downloaded from http://www.bl.uk - I've put some info on how to demo it at British Library Demo of Vista and the Windows Presentation Foundation and the Windows Vista Magazine have put their copy in the same format http://wpf.windowsvistamagazine.co.uk/ttpdownload/browserapp.xbap . As always I would like to thanks everyone involved - the partners and their customers who helped to shape and deliver Windows Vista and Office and the Windows and Office teams who put up with my rantings and demands and finally (still) invited me to the launch event to see it all so close up. Anyway, the day in pictures (clicking on the thumbnails will bring up a larger version - some will go "massive" as they quailty is better on those) The day started with a discussion between the customers, Doug Richard , the customers, the partners and Microsoft - think of this as a "what I'm going to ask you, so don't be scared... unless a great insight grabs me, and then I'll ask you something different" session The characters includr Richard Abel, with a great reference at http://www.bcentral.co.uk/products/accountancy-firm-aggarwal-profits-from-windows-vista-and-office-2007.mspx?xid=sbissues_020207 then the man in the blue shirt with the beardy is Mike Haigh - Windows Client Supremo for Small and Mid-Market customers. Next to Mike is the man who runs Bradley Photography and who said on stage "Using these tools has saved me time and will result in me saving 2 months in every 12) - his story can be found...
  • Microsoft software for Charities in the UK

    OK, so once upon a time I used to give out software for charities, but those days are gone. However, there is a fantastic deal available for charities via the Charity Exchange. The software is donated by Microsoft (and others) and then an administration charge is added. There are various criteria to be met to use the Charity Technology Exchange, but the overall pricing is VERY good for charities - and of course, if the software is discounted as this is the right thing to do, perhaps so should the services too ;-) Anyway, the site can he found at http://www.ctxchange.org/ctx/browse_products/microsoft/default.asp and the prices include software assurance, so the Office 2003 and Windows XP prices entitle the charity to Office 2007 and Windows Vista Enterprise (as it is a Volume License). An example would be a 50 seat SBS Premium solution with Windows XP and Office 2003 (both upgradable - also note that a previous Windows OS is required on the PC to load the Windows OS - it is an upgrade, not a version that can be installed on a bare hard disk) SBS - £37 5 CAL Pack x 9 - £11 x 9 = £101 Windows XP Upgrades x 50 - £4 x 50 = £200 Office 2003 Pro x 50 - £11 x 50 = £550 Grand Total = £888 - +VAT - including Software Assurance While I don't have UK prices, SBS would be $1,500, the CAL packs would be 9 x $495, Office is around $450 I think - so this marks a HUGE saving. These were the prices yesterday. Now, tell me why every Charity can't upgrade? ttfn David
  • Small Business Partner Community ‘Catch Up’ Evening - Come to the SBSC Symposium "pre-drinks" - yes, drinks the night before the Reading event (so drinks on the 31st January)

    If you will be in the Reading area on the night before the SBSC Symposium, then come along to Reading and have a drink and catch up with the community. You'll have the opportunity to mix and chat to different members of the regional groups as well as exchange ideas about business (or anything you like!). No agenda has been set for the evening (as yet); think of it as a regional SBS group meeting on steroids! The VIP area has been booked out for our meeting so there’ll be plenty of space to spread out and relax. Members of the community, Microsoft, and other vendors will be available to chat to and this will hopefully be a great start to the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Symposium. And just a reminder, while some drinks will be bought, more food and drink is available, but sorry guys, you've gotta pay for yourselves!
  • What do Small Businesses worry about in IT?

    I just saw this re-sent internally and the data is quite UK centric, so: 63% of small businesses put data back and privacy as a top priority 7.6% of UK small business software spending was on Anti-Virus, in 2006 they planned to spend 10% more on data security - Source AMI 2006 50% of small businesses have as a priority to deploy in house or hosting data back up and disaster recovery (AMI) ttfn David
  • If you don't know what OBA is, then you might want to watch the Partner TV episode: Ben Tamblyn on Office Business Applications

    OBA is not the nicest sounding acronyms, but we still seem to use it. Oh well. If you want to know more about performance management and business intelligence, or these terms mean nothing to you and you are now getting worried, then watch Partner TV at http://blogs.msdn.com/ptstv/archive/2006/11/28/partner-tv-ben-tamblyn-on-office-business-applications.aspx ttfn David
  • Partner TV and how you can do your own marketing and sell more using Captain Campaign

    I've mentioned Captain Campaign before and now Lorrayne Gilbert talks on Partner-TV about marketing with him. This episode of Partner-TV can be found here . After watching this you will be better equipped to do your own marketing, even if it is to just 5 new customers. What is more, you will probably be better at it if you use the tools :-) ttfn David
  • SBSC (Small Business Specialist Community) has a little chat about what is coming up on Partner TV

    Do you know Robbie? Have you met him, if so, then you will feel justa little sorry for Aileen in this short film (possibly up for a Bafta) staring the two of them. I did record one, but alas, like many things I do, it ended up on the cutting room floor!! Jog along to Partner-TV: Small Business Specialist Competency for a little glimpse of stardom in action and find out what is coming your way. ttfn David
  • A bit late (from me, not the team), but Happy New Year

    Our nice Partner Group in the UK wanted to say Happy New Year.. http://blogs.msdn.com/ptstv/archive/2007/01/04/partner-tv-happy-new-year-from-the-uk-partner-group.aspx ttfn and have a great year. David
  • Back from holiday, whats been hot in 2006

    A few people commented on my "on holiday" messenger tag line and said they felt better once things were "fair" and I was back in the office. Well I am back - and having done the inital cull, I am down to just 474 outstanding mails that need some form of attention. What did people spend time talking to me about in 2006: CRM - what it is, how to sell it, how to get training on it and why should customers care Windows SharePoint Services - to date the highest hit link on the blog site. How to configure, load, install, use, customise and then finally upgrade to v3 Licensing - This wss a strange one - historically, many small business partners have sold OEM or FPP only, but the discussion about what license when has really heated up with several partners now proving out the model that Open Value (and OV Subscription) are very useful sales tools as they help build a long term relationship with the customer, potentially reduce the up front cost of the solution and ensure your customer is always up to date on licenses meaning that services opportunities increase to implement the new technologies Community - has been a hot topic with many groups springing up around the country although membership and attendance has been fluctuating. There has been much, much more than this though - there has The Betas - Vista, Office, Exchange, Small Business Accounting, Office Live and Longhorn - People really showed their technical / geek glands last year with a huge amount of interest in future products. Now don't take that as any form of insult, since I definately played with a loas of them, but playing with them should be balanced with business opportunity. If you don't intend on selling it, then don't play with it (unless it is for the geek pleasure of it). Now these products are here for Volume Licensing customers, and launching on 30th Jan for everyone else (well, in the UK anyway) Marketing / doing business - was also discussed in quite some detail with many people finding this the hardest part of being in business - how to let customers...

(c)David Overton 2006-13