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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  • Free internal use Windows Intune, Office 365, Dynamics CRM Online licenses for Microsoft Partners through Cloud Essentials and Cloud Accelerate

    While asking at Microsoft of any information they wanted me to share about Windows Intune Olivia asked me to share this.  I think this is so key, I will share this on the blog too.  Something to remember is that you can join Windows Intune ticketing up to Dynamics CRM Online for a more joined up helpdesk experience. Cloud Essentials is a free programme for all MOSPA-registered partners, without sales or reference obligations. Partners just need to sign up at www.microsoftcloudpartner.com and they can then sign in at this portal to receive the following benefits: Internal user rights for: • 250 licences of Office 365 • 25 subscriptions for Windows Intune • 250 licences for Dynamics CRM Online • Marketing resources • Demo showcase • Profitability Modeller • Online technical communities for Cloud • Listing as Cloud Essentials partner on Microsoft PinPoint online marketplace For partners who are actively selling Cloud, they could become Cloud Accelerate partners after completing three deals (with 150 aggregated seats) of Office365, Intune and/or Dynamics CRM Online, they would receive the following additional benefits: · Increased internal user rights for Intune (100 subscriptions) · Prioritised listing as Cloud Accelerate partner of Microsoft PinPoint online marketplace · Marketing resources · Demo showcase · Profitability Modeller · Online technical communities for Cloud · Microsoft Office 365 Practice Accelerator · 20 partner technical advisory hours · Specialised Cloud training More information can be found about this on www.microsoftcloudpartner.com , or for any partner queries around this scheme please feel free to forward my details. Kind regards, Olivia Excellent information if you were not aware. David
  • Manage customers with #Windows #Intune and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online (Updated)

    As a Microsoft partner (or customer), you can connect Windows Intune to MS-CRM to enable management ticketing from MS-CRM for client computers managed through Windows Intune. The details of how to configure this can be found at https://partner.microsoft.com/india/40169122 and it states “This document shows how Managed Services Providers (MSPs) can use Windows Intune™ in conjunction with Microsoft Dynamics® CRM Online to create and manage customer contracts, establish and automate internal business processes, and create cases based on email messages sent by alerts that track against a customer’s contract.” It also states that: As organizations build their Windows Intune MSP capabilities, they can use Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to: Track customer accounts. Create and manage contracts and service-level agreements (SLAs) with customers. Create and track cases against customer SLAs. Assign customer cases to Windows Intune technicians. Create workflows and dialogs that enforce standardized business practices. Schedule required customer tasks for Windows Intune technicians. The setup is documented in the file, although the alerting is quite simple: [Updated information] Since posting this it turns out that there is some key information missing. This was highlighted in this forum post http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-GB/windowsintuneprod/thread/0991538d-2a3d-48de-99b4-a1f0fcf51afe and has the following information: I'm afraid this white paper is missing a very important prerequisite of E-mail Router. I mean the whitepaper does not mention the fact that CRM online is not an e-mail client, and cannot receive e-mail messages sent by Windows Intune to notification recipient. For this purpose you need an E-mail Router. E-mail router function can be solved several ways, maybe this link will be helpful: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/crm/archive/2011/05/19/crm-online-e-mail-router-yes-we-do-that.aspx I hope this is useful. David
  • How to sell Hosted CRM (CRM Online) in the UK and still retain your customers and a good profit – by working with Increase CRM

    [updated with contact details at 16:38] I have a partners or two that are looking to implement CRM internally and through the conversations about how they could do this came to know of the guys at Increase CRM. The good folks at Increase CRM seem to understand how SBSC partners think because the offerings they have for referral and resellers seem to be quite good to me. if you want the brochure on the subject, let me know, but here is the important piece for partners: What is the Referral Program? Partners in the Referral Program refer their customers to Increase CRM and we offer hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM and support services directly to the customer. Typically, the partner will provide implementation consulting services and may choose to provide first and second line support. Referral Partner Commissions The Referral Program guarantees partners commissions from any customers referred to Increase CRM: Subscribers Commission 5-10 100% of the first month’s subscription fees 11-50 200% of the first month’s subscription fees 51+ 300% of the first month’s subscription fees What is the Reseller Program? Partners in the Reseller Program resell Increase CRM’s hosted services under their own brand and Increase CRM does not contract with their partner’s customer. Typically, the partner will provide all the implementation consulting, user support, system administration and billing services to the customer Reseller Wholesale Fees The Reseller Program guarantees partners a low wholesale fee for hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM that partners can mark-up and offer to their customers, as described in the table below: No. of Users Reseller Partner User Subscription Fee 1 to 250 £30 per user per month 250+ Available on request Comparison of the Partner Programs The table below compares the two partner programs: Responsibility Referral Partner Program Reseller Partner Program Marketing Partner Partner Sales Partner Partner Setup Increase CRM Increase CRM Implementation Partner Partner First line support Increase CRM or partner Partner...
  • 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
  • Import and export business data in Business Contact Manager 2007 - Outlook with Business Contact Manager - Microsoft Office Online

    Again, something I have been asked before - how to get data into and out of BCM - have a look at Import and export business data in Business Contact Manager 2007 - Outlook with Business Contact Manager - Microsoft Office Online Import and export business data in Business Contact Manager 2007 You can use the Business Data Import and Export wizard to import (import: To bring information from one system or program into another. The system or program receiving the data must somehow support the internal format or structure of the data.) data into or export (export: To copy your Business Contact Manager for Outlook business data to a file of a different format for use in a database, a spreadsheet, or another program.) data from Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2007. What do you want to do? Import data Export data Use the wizard to update an existing database with information from another database ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , BCM , Business Contact Manager , Office 2007 , Office System , CRM , Small Business
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC Image

    I saw this and thought I would share for those who had not seen it - Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC Image Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC Image Get familiar with the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 release: Preview Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 in a Virtual PC (VPC) image. Overview This Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 preview leverages Release Candidate (RC0) code in a Virtual PC image. The demo is designed as a one-computer setup with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 server and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 client for Microsoft Outlook. Note: Although the image can be utilised on a single PC or laptop computer, it is strongly suggested that the image be run using an external USB 2.0 hard drive for best performance. If you do not have an external drive, you can run the image locally on the host computer; however, you will experience a decrease in performance. Contents This VPC contains the following: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 (RC0) Microsoft Dynamics CRM Laptop and Desktop Client Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK (C:\CRM Tools\SDK) Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition (SP2) Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Internet Explorer 7 Microsoft Office Professional 2007 Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 POP3 E-Mail Services (No Exchange) Microsoft LCA Approved Sample Data System Requirements Supported Operating Systems Windows Vista operating system; Microsoft Windows XP Other Requirements Personal computer with1.5 GHz or higher processor and at least 2.0 gigabytes (GB) of RAM 12 GB of available hard drive space Super VGA (1024x768) video adapter/monitor Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 software (Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 and Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 also compatible) ttfn David Technorati Tags: MS CRM , CRM , Dynamics , Virtual PC , VPC
  • Lots of OneNote PowerToys (file and data importers, Outlook tools, table sums, word count, tools to subpage a page or merge pages, copy to mobile device, template maker, favourites, table of contents and even CRM)

    Many people out there love OneNote. Lots of people have it and don't use it - shame on you - try it, but also try the tutorial so you stand a better chance of "getting" this note taking tool. Anyway, I saw a mail by John listing some of the items posted about by him. It is an impressive list. Here's the list, broken down by area: Migrating to OneNote: 1. Journal import https://blogs.msdn.com/johnguin/archive/2007/12/21/journal-to-onenote-importer.aspx 2. Text File Importer: https://blogs.msdn.com/johnguin/archive/2007/04/30/customer-feedback-results-in-another-powertoy.aspx 3. Export Outlook Notes to OneNote: https://blogs.msdn.com/descapa/archive/2007/02/14/export-your-outlook-notes-to-onenote.aspx 4. Import books from Project Gutenberg: https://blogs.msdn.com/johnguin/archive/2007/05/31/a-tool-to-import-texts-from-project-gutenberg.aspx Outlook Addins: 5. Outlook Email to OneNote: https://blogs.msdn.com/descapa/archive/2007/02/06/powertoy-outlook-to-onenote-addin.aspx 6. Task Request https://blogs.msdn.com/johnguin/archive/2007/12/11/task-requests-from-onenote-meeting-notes-powertoy.aspx 7. Use OneNote instead of Outlook Notes: https://blogs.msdn.com/johnguin/archive/2007/04/16/4-16.aspx Work with data on page: 8. Audio Fine Tuner https://blogs.msdn.com/johnguin/archive/2007/12/12/media-fine-tuner-powertoy-for-onenote.aspx 9. Table Sums https://blogs.msdn.com/johnguin/archive/2007/12/10/table-sum-powertoy-for-onenote.aspx 10. Image Rotator https://blogs.msdn.com/johnguin/archive/2007/12/14/image-rotator-powertoy-for-onenote-2007.aspx 11. Printout Manager: https://blogs.msdn.com/johnguin/archive/2007/09/19/an-addin-to-manage-printouts-to-onenote.aspx 12. Word Count: https://blogs.msdn.com/descapa/archive/2007/02/14/onenote-2007-word-count.aspx Working with Pages: 13. Make a Page a Subpage: https://blogs.msdn.com/johnguin/archive/2007/09/07/make-subpage-addin-updated-and-a-lenovo-update.aspx 14. Merge Pages: https://blogs.msdn.com/johnguin/archive/2007/08/16/merge-pages-in-onenote-powertoy.aspx OneNote...
  • Where Customers may obtain License Keys for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

    I've been asked this a few times, so attached is the response I got from the nice Product peeps here in the UK. Since the easiest way to share was a picture - here it is :-) It covers the following license types: Trial MSDN/Technet MSPP MAPS VL BRL SPLA ISV Royalty Again, see http://www.uksmbgirl.co.uk/blog/archives/320 for more information on MS CRM and http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2008/01/17/microsoft-dynamics-crm-4-0-ready-for-download.aspx for download information. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Licensing , MS CRM , CRM
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Ready for Download

    Just in case you had not seen it - CRM 4.0 is available - http://www.microsoft.com/beta/downloads/Search.aspx?SearchText=crm . Susanne Dansey has also been to one of the CRM days and has some good info at http://www.uksmbgirl.co.uk/blog/archives/320 . Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Ready for Download By Stuart J. Johnston Microsoft announced Monday that it has released to manufacturing the long-awaited update to its Dynamics-branded customer relationship management software (CRM). Previously codenamed "Titan," the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM actually has two names in its final form. For on-premise, customer-hosted, as well as partner-hosted deployments, the product has been dubbed Dynamics CRM 4.0. The company will also be offering the package on-demand in a Microsoft-hosted environment that it has named Dynamics CRM Live. Existing and new customers will be able to download the update when it's released on the Web this week, a Microsoft official told InternetNews.com . The Microsoft-hosted version, however, continues to run under the early access program that the company began in September. Microsoft plans to take that version live during the first half of 2008, said Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. "[In the meantime,] more than 100 customers are using [CRM Live] at this point," Wilson added. The release of Dynamics CRM 4.0 comes two years after version 3.0 shipped. CEO Steve Ballmer demonstrated CRM Live – a.k.a. CRM 4.0 -- during his keynote at the company's Convergence 2007 conference in March. Probably the most notable feature in CRM 4.0 is its so-called "multitenant" architecture, which enables a hosting partner, for instance, to run only one copy of the server but support multiple customers simultaneously and securely. CRM 4.0 also features support for 25 different languages and multiple currencies, although not all will be available immediately, according to a company statement. Among other additions, the package adds business process automation...
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  • Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) v3, SharePoint Portal and Office Communicator, Partner Sales 101 and Dynamics and CRM training

    Office Communications Server 2007 Ignite Workshop This two-day workshop introduces many of the new features and capabilities that are built into Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, including Rich Presence, Instant Messaging, Audio/Video Conferencing, and Voice. Click here to enrol. Implementing and Maintaining Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Course This is a residential, intensive and compressed course intended for those partners who want to get a head start on the new SharePoint certifications. Ten days compressed into five Training for 12+ hours a day Residential course, with 24 hour availability of labs and instructor Exams taken during the week Limited number of seats – few deliveries are planned, so if you want your Partners to attend please encourage them to sign up now Click here for more information or to enrol Partner Sales 101 The next one is being held on the 11 th September 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. Dynamics Sales Workshop Being held on the 20 th September 2007 Aim : This one day course and workshop that will equip your Partners with the unique value proposition for you & Microsoft Dynamics, the Microsoft Dynamics Strategic value proposition...
  • Worldwide Partner Conference - WPC in Denver - what I know so far - Dynamics CRM Live

    Microsoft Announces Product Offerings and Customer Early Access Program for Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM - This could be huge - $44 per calendar month per user for Professional CRM and $59 for Enterprise edition (Professional Edition plus offline support)!!! Then, when you thought it was not so good for partners, look at the models: With the new Live service, partners in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM ecosystem will have new opportunities to deliver value to their customers and to drive revenue for their businesses by developing and deploying solutions across the three deployment options — Live, on-premise and partner-hosted models . For revenue in the new Live model, partners will be compensated on a recurring basis, not a one-time basis; each year they will receive 10 percent of the yearly Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription revenue for each customer for whom they are the partner of record. During 2008, a special incentive will allow partners to receive 15 percent of the SaaS subscription revenue for that year Steve from BMS noted the following: Microsoft WPC 2007 notes at BMS Blog: SBS Consulting in the UK Dynamics CRM Live launched Live Demo by Brad Wilson - General Manager for CRM Ability to download and completely remodel the CRM environment via partner provided XML templates Direct competitor for salesforce.com etc. Early adopter program Only available through partners Focus on making revenue from consultation ttfn David Technorati Tags: WPC , Partner Conference , Dynamics , CRM , CRM Live , Live
  • 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...
  • What is the Killer App for Office 2007 - Business Contact Manager (BCM)

    Many people have asked me what the killer app is for Office and I have always replied that it depends on the customers' needs. This is still true, so I am not doing a U-turn on that, but one thing people are always after is some form of CRM solution, but moving people to MS-CRM has an associated expense and complexity. BCM in Office 2003 was a nice package, but suffered on account of mobility, sharing account information and scalability. Office 2007 has addressed these issues and is now an amazing product. To see what it can do I strongly recommend you go and watch the small flash demo at http://office.microsoft.com/search/redir.aspx?AssetID=HA101759211033&Origin=HH101878561033&CTT=5 . When you load it onto your system (yes, I have it loaded on my work system connected to Exchange) you get the following mail that explains what it can do. I have bolded the sections I think are the most important. One of the really interesting things is that many customers say they want some form of contact management system, but are far less interested in the marketing side. When you drill down into this, it is often because they consider it too hard and complex. Once they have seen how easy it is to deliver a campaign professionally with Office 2007, it is often the area that excites them the most and BCM can manage and monitor this for them, ensuring they understand what gives them value and that they follow up with customers as needed. If your customers could do with a bit of this - then Office 2007 is the product for them. Welcome to Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager, which combines the familiar appearance of Outlook with great new and updated features. Feature Overview New Features! Customization - Tailor Business Contact Manager for Outlook to fit your business needs by customizing forms, lists, and reports. Marketing Campaigns - Manage and measure the effectiveness of the marketing content that you create. Promote your brand, quickly see which Marketing Campaigns help you generate more business...
  • Important Sneak Peak – UK Small Business Symposium coming

    I can't reveal all the details, although I am sure others will, however we are working on special event for SBSC members. This event design incorporates your feedback and suggestions as to what you want to hear about, share as a community as well as information Microsoft needs to share with you. Expect useful information, the opportunity to network with your peers, Microsoft and partners and the ability to socialise too J The timeframe for this event is February 2007, in Reading, Manchester (or Leeds) and Edinburgh, although more sessions will happen in the afternoon in Reading due to availability of speakers and rooms. The ROUGH agenda looks like this Morning: UK Exec who actually cares about Small Business (such as Natalie Ayres - Director of SMS&P*) talking about: What's the view from the top? Why does everything you've heard matter? What's the opportunity for partners? Aileen Hannah – responsible for SBSC programme in the UK, talking about: Highlights & lowlights of the program so far Latest resources & benefits for partners Reference partner success stories Steve Haddock – responsible for the Disty partners with some special news for SBSC partners talking about: Latest trend data Where Microsoft are investing What's the opportunity for partners? David Overton and Matt McSpirit from the PTS team and guest TAP** partner and customer talking about Vista & Office: Value for small businesses & partners TAP Partner preso with actual customers Challenges they faced & how to overcome Tim Kimber, David Overton, and others talking about new products: Office Live Antigen / Forefront AdCentre Afternoon: The afternoon will include Panel and Technology led sessions with many presenters from the SBSC community as well as Microsoft: Panel Sessions: Building a better business model How to market your business Partner Power, working with the community Working with your regional Small Business infrastructure (eg BusinessLink, RDA, Accountants, FSB) Technology & MS Sessions: How I use and sell CRM Licensing...
  • CRM Webcast focusing on the customer's needs that CRM can help solve

    CRM: Focus on the Customer Tune in and learn how you can help increase sales success, deliver superior customer service, and make informed, agile business decisions with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Whether your organization is currently using Microsoft CRM or considering it, this Webcast series offers demos and interaction with CRM experts that you won’t want to miss. ttfn David
  • What do the Stone Roses, Chris Parkes and the Demo Showcase have in common? Apparently small business solutions that come in fours!!

    Chris, who I previously mentioned the other day, has been up to his old tricks. Not only does he think that the Demo Showcase is an amazing tool for everyone to be able to show and tell how a computer solution can solve real business problems, but he has done an amazing job of describing exactly what is in the kit for the small business partner. The small business demos cover a wide range of technologies, but everything is built using 1 SBS Virtual PC and one XP client VPC. This means that showing things like mobile devices and how they work is much easier than just showing 1 person a PDA or mobile phone. It also enables you to show accounting solutions, CRM etc and each one comes with an amazing script that you can change to suit your needs and they are even tailored to who you are talking to, be it the owner manager or the sales people, etc! For more info, pictures and the ability to leave comments, pop along to The Demo Showcase & Small Business & The Stone Roses ttfn David
  • What is the Demo Showcase and how do you use it?

    I have a mate at work, Chris, who has always been a good and clever egg the whole time I have known him. He is also very passionate about partners getting the right level of support as well as liking Stoke City, but something's just have to be forgiven. One thing he has got a bee in his bonnet about this year is the Demo Showcase, which we will be using for all our demos going forward for a while. If you have been to an ignite tour, that was based on an early version of the Showcase DVD set. Chris has been a prolific blogger on the subject - this is a great tool for you to use, so look at: Whoever heard of the Demo Showcase for the People Ready Business? The Demo Showcase Line Up What Does the Demo Showcase Look Like (Physically)? What Does the Demo Showcase Look Like (in Reality?) The Demo Showcase Team Tactics ttfn David
  • Microsoft releases campaign builder tool for partners - Non-marketing folks can use it (as well as the marketing ones) as a step by step process for delivering Microsoft aligned marketing campaigns to your customers

    Imagine the scene - Microsoft is running a marketing set of events and awareness to encourage customers to buy their technology. We tell customers that they need to work with SBSC specialists and point them to the bCentral web site. However, at the same time, you also get the materials you need from Microsoft to run your own campaign - be it post cards, handouts, telephone scripts, letters. And using a simple tool it will take you a few minutes to create the materials. Below is a walkthrough of how I built a campaign for SBS using 5 types of material (Telemarketing script, Postcard, Business Letter, e-Mail and Flyer) 1st off, you need to visit the Campaign Builder Web site and log in. This enabled you to choose the campaign that is right for you. You may notice it looked at the fact that I am a registered partner with the SBSC badge, so suggested the SBS Campaign (there are also campaigns for solutions that major in Office, Windows, CRM and so on). One I had selected the campaigns, it is simply a case of walking through the process. I ticked the boxes for all 5 templates offered and hit the next button. I then proceeded to fill in the details for each template, modifying them from the standard MS text where desired and inserting my logo etc. At any time I could stop - so after I had competed the two above, this is what the summary of the process showed: I then continued on in the same vane and completed the e-mail, flyer and call script. This then took me to the fulfilment screen - here I can choose to have these printed and potentially managed by Arvato, or I can take the materials and run. I opted to download the materials for myself. I then had the ability to download these materials - very simply really. While I would strongly recommend you do not use the materials I produced - you can see them here: Campaign Builder - Business Letter.pdf Business_Letter-Letter.mht Business_Letter-Envelope.mht Email.mht Flyer.pdf Flyer-Front.mht (zipped) Flyer-Back.mht Postcard.pdf Postcard-Front.mht Postcard-Back.mht Telemarketing_Script...
  • UK Research shows that small business owner managers are doing everything to avoid working at the weekend - is this good or bad news for IT suppliers?

    I came across this article which suggests that small business owner / managers are avoiding working at the weekend. The article is backed by research from Barclays Bank . There are a few facts that really sound out to me: The development and uptake of new technologies is having a positive impact on hours worked: - 46 per cent of businesses with internet access work a standard 5 day week, compared to just 35 per cent of those without. Owners of small and medium businesses in the UK work 24 hours longer each week than the rest of the UK workforce 43 per cent said they now will not work weekends compared to 36 per cent in 2003 and Sundays have become even more precious with only 29 per cent admitting to working on that day compared to 36 per cent in 2003. On average entrepreneurs are spending over 15 hours a week – equivalent to almost two full days for most workers – on administration. Six out of ten entrepreneurs feel that regulation is a barrier to doing business, particularly in larger SMEs, where owners highlighted the impact of employment regulation (PAYE and payroll, health and safety, pensions) and accounting regulation (tax and VAT). #1 is a real win for putting in IT and internet connectivity, could you ask your customer "would you like to reduce the hours you have to work? Research from Barclays suggests that you are 11% less likely to have to work longer than a standard 5 day week with Technology helping you" #2 and #3 show that these business owners do not want to work at the weekend - depending on your relationship with your customer and their requirements, this either means you no longer have to (so they want to see you work which means it will be a week day - hurray) or their "free down time" is the weekend. These points also provide the capability to talk about how going mobile with SBS and either Windows XP or Windows mobile could if not unleash them from the business, enable them to work from better locations. #4 is also a real winner - if administrivia really is such...
  • Updated Technology Assessment Toolkit – Understand your customers and deliver the right solution

    Hopefully you have all heard of the Technology Assessment Toolkit – if not, it is a great set of tools, whitepapers, presentations and other "stuff" to enable you to quickly take your customer through the thought process as to what technology can do for them and how you can deliver the value their business needs. One award submission to the Worldwide Partner Conference awards stated – "We make great use of the Small Business Technology Assessment Toolkit we received from Microsoft. This has proved to be an invaluable tool for us and our clients in outlining their business / IT requirements & defining the solutions. We provide an excellent service to our clients & they recognise this from the hard work we put in for every installation—from sales, design, installation & post-installation support—they know they are in good hands and we would never let them down." As to the actual contents of the toolkit: Ready-to-use "Business Assessment" guide Comprehensive "Technology Assessment" guide Microsoft Small Business Solution Selling guide Three-year planning template Sample proposal Customizable sales and marketing tools Datasheets, presentations, white papers and more Information on Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 and Microsoft products designed for small business, such as Office 2003 Small Business Edition, Windows XP Professional, Microsoft CRM 3.0, Windows Mobile, and more To learn more about this, go visit https://www.mssboffers.com/default.aspx . There is also the readiness centre to learn about best practices on using the toolkit to be found at https://partner.microsoft.com/global/40029617 Ttfn David
  • David Overton moving to a solution / revenue based role (it means I need to help partners sell)

    Many people ask me what I do and sometimes they are amazed with the answer "I help Microsoft Partners build solutions that deliver value to their small business partners – for free". This is a great job and part of it is to engage with as many partners as possible to improve the quality and knowledge around the solutions that can be built upon Microsoft technology. This year my role has a slightly different focus, but the way I achieve it will have many similarities. It has becoming important for me to ensure that partners are not just technically capable, but also selling solutions, sometimes even offering their customers alternative licensing options to suit their business needs. Some may see this as me selling out in some way, but while I love technology, if it is not applied correctly and you and I can't make money out of it, then there is a limit to the business value of the technology. I will still be blogging, posting on both business and technical ideas, but also be discussing how to sell solutions, what the licensing options truly mean, what extras you can add to a sale to add value for you and the customer. I'll even be discussing how online services are an opportunity for you, but more on this later. On this note, is there more I should do to help you sell more, have more customers and make more money? If so, let me know what is needed, whether it is something from Microsoft or David. Comments are open on this one, so fire a comment onto the blog. Expect to see a post on the work we are doing with the Technet team to get you even more technical resources and the process for access to all those nice betas, hosted services and where they fit as part of a solution and the options on licensing to make it easier for your customer to understand the value of technology and even buy earlier. Ttfn David
  • Summary of Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) just before I leave

    so, I have about 5 mins to write this, so it will be short & sweet. From the Small Business pre-day: event was sold out people told us licensing was still not up to scratch, but Eric Ligman's lessthancoffee.com site was very useful Much of the information for people was how to run a small business as it 1) enables us all to understand what is going on in the minds of our customers and 2) since many SBSC members are small businesses, hopefully gives them some ideas on how to be more successful as a business The Sloan Brothers were the highlight for me in advice ( http://startupnation.com ) - they said Got for 10% of the Watermelon, not 90% of the grape - this basically meant get funding and help to grow your business - keeping ownership of your business is more than just the number of shares - it is being there, so even if other people own 90% of the equity, you are still in charge. Outsource non-core skills Hitch your wagon to a star - eg Microsoft, but also someone local who will recommend you - so you get business by the power of recommendation from someone your customers will trust Harness the eye of PR - basically, PR is whatever you do for it, but use it, write it yourself or outsource, but make it have impact Manage your burn rate - know at all times how much cash you have and balance needs vs this my favourite - Know thy end game - to help you make decisions about all of the above you need to know what you want to achieve - is it to sell the business, to chair, to work until you are 90.... what is it - know this and many decisions canbe done on does it help me achieve this or not. There were many other announcements at WPC, which can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/events/wwpc/materials.mspx One other key thing that James Akrigg said to me: "Why are we always talking to people about their pain points? We also need to find out about their aspirations. " This was a key thing for me. ttfn David
  • Off to Partner Conference in Boston - see you blogging from there

    Hello, just a quick note to say that I am due to fly today @ 11am to Boston for the Partner Conference - if you are going then I will see you there, if not, you can read about it here. ttfn David
  • UK Managing Director Leaves the UK bound for Microsoft Corp - welcome to Gordon Frazer from South Africa

    Today we had a bit of a kick of for FY07 (Financial Year 07 in Microsoft) and a review of FY 06. We had a healthy year with excellent growth (this is no way a prediction of the MS Company results) and we also did a bit of sweeping a few things out. It has been speculated for a little while that Alistair Baker would be moving on and today we had it confirmed. As of 31st July, the new MD of MS UK will be Gordon Frazer from the South African Sub. He did seem like a very positive and fired up person, so I think this will be nothing but goodness, as will having another Brit in the power halls at MS in the States. For the press release, have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/press/content/presscentre/releases/2006/07/PR03662.mspx ttfn David
  • Bad links now fixed

    Sooo many of you clicked the links in the posts from the last two days, but got an OWA screen that I had to go back and edit about 16 posts. All fixed now - thanks to Rob for pointing it out. ttfn David
  • Draft release of my web log analyser tool (using IIS Log files)

    People have asked for my tools I use to produce my site statistics, so I have released a draft cut. It should all work. To get the best out of it you need a $20 subscription to http://www.maxmind.com/app/web_services_guide#city and MapPoint , but otherwise it works - without both these it is fully functional, but no maps. The source can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/files/11/files/entry735.aspx and the exes at http://uksbsguy.com/files/11/files/entry736.aspx . ttfn David
  • The best event at Microsofts World Wide Partner Conference - about you and the community, presented by the community - Mark Taylor, Susanne Dansey and Tom Crosby

    This years World Wide Partner Conference should be a storming success - yes, I will be attending for the 1st time and presenting, but that is not why. Why, you ask, well probably one of the most important sessions for those who work in the Small Business market is going to be the sessons on the community. And one of the best will be presented by 3 fine community members in the UK. These people do not work for Microsoft and the community they represent is not owned by Microsoft, but we walk the same path helping eachother out because it has benefit to our business to do so, The short answer is to be there, at the Small Business Symposium on Monday 10th July. Look for the Community presentation by these three. You will learn what has powered the UK & Irish communities both in terms of their success and the individual partner success. They have broadened their relationships beyond just Microsoft and are having real impact with other vendors such as HP, CA etc. Finally, they will deliver a one-two on resources for you, but not necessarily the MS Partner program, but things like SMB Nation, blogs, community forums, events etc. If at the end of it you do not understand how the community can benefit you, your business and how to find the answers easier, then you have been sat in the wrong room!! I will post the room details closer to the time. ttfn David
  • OFF TOPIC - Feel the force - See Star Wars Lego II - The Original Trilogy Game - AWESOME

    As some of you may know, I am a true Star Wars Geek. I love all 6 films - yes, even Jar Jar. I had heard about the 2nd game - me & Molly are loving the 1st game and then I saw this on MSN Video - amazing! Cool features - all the characters, the ability to go off piste with any vehicle and the ability to take characters apart and create new ones - just like you would with Lego Pieces :-) ttfn David
  • Giving money to good causes - Warren Buffet follows Bill and Melinda

    One of the reasons I picked Microsoft to work for was that I felt the company had a goal stronger than "to make money for the shareholders", but also to actually do some good in the world. Bill Gates has announced that he is planning to slowly transisition to a part time role in Microsoft over the next two years to dedicate his time to the Bill and Melinda Foundation who have already given away billions to help those in need. (See http://www.gatesfoundation.com/AboutUs/Announcements/Announce-060615.htm for Bill's transition. For some astounding stats, look at http://www.gatesfoundation.com/MediaCenter/FactSheet/ - snipped from it: Number of employees: 241 Endowment: $29.2 billion Total grant commitments since inception: $10.5 billion Total 2005 grant payments: $1.36 billion Illustrative Grant Commitments United Negro College Fund , Gates Millennium Scholars Program - $1 billion The GAVI Alliance - $1.5 billion Malaria Vaccine Initiative - $258 million Save the Children , Saving Newborn Lives - $110 million United Way of King County , Seattle, WA, - $55 million Knowledgeworks Foundation - $20 million National Council of Culture & Arts , Mexico Library Project - $11.7 million Public Access Computing Hardware Upgrade Program , Multiple library systems - $5.3 million Now I read that Warren Buffet is to give away 85% of his 40B$ wealth to charity, with 5/6 going to the above fund. For more info, see http://www.gatesfoundation.com/AboutUs/Announcements/Announce-060625.htm This is what I want to help others do, while Microsoft makes lots of donations, by making MS successful, I enable these people to continue to do this. I think Microsoft donates something like 7% of its cash each year to good causes - not many other companies can say they do that. When working recently with the SBS product team in the UK I discovered that we give away 4+ copies of SBS plus associated software to UK needy causes a month. That is just SBS, we also give away many other products too. I know that the nay sayers could say "why not give away...
  • Site look and feel updated

    I found some amazing site themes at http://japan.communityserver.info/ and have updated the default site with this. If you wish to change it back, click http://uksbsguy.com/user/EditProfile.aspx and select the site theme of "default for CS2.0". You might also notice the Posts on this site Zoom Cloud showing you a cloud of the keywords mentioned on the site. See the site in it's full glory at http://uksbsguy.com ttfn David
  • Off Topic - How not to retain customers - Someone wants to cancel their AOL subscription

    I just had tto post this. Microsoft sometimes gets a bit of a kicking about support, but things like the Official SBS podcast , changes to search on our http://support.microsoft.com site, people like me and even the huge SBS community have changed most peoples experience with our support. When I say this, you just have to laugh in amazement as to what was going through this guys mind? http://video.msn.com/v/us/v.htm?g=5ff445af-bf5c-4c3c-9424-ff467ea97a87&f=rssimbot_us_default ttfn David
  • OFF TOPIC - Raise money for NSPCC (UK Childrens charity) while searching the internet using clickscount.co.uk

    I know this is s a small one, but if you go to http://www.clickscount.co.uk to try your internet web searches, you will rasie money for the NSPCC each time you click. Underneath is the MSN Search engine, which has improved hand over fist over the last few months, but it has got to be worth a try, even if it is just for MS related information. ttfn David
  • OFF TOPIC - Overton Family has another child - Lizzy May

    Hello everyone, just a quick note to say that today Lizzy May was born into this world at 2:24am GMT. She is happy and health, as is her mum and the rest of us. She weighs 6lbs 15 1/2 ounces and was 54cms long. If you want to see some lovely pictures, go to http://uksbsguy.com/photos/doverton/category1018.aspx obviously this will slow down some of the posts over the next few days or weeks. ttfn David
  • Microsoft CRM V3 on SBS 2003 Livemeeting presentation from "An Hour with Dave" for SBSC members

    Hi, SBSC members get a special ability to request livemeetings on any topic they want. This months was on MS-CRM. I provided an overview and then details as to how to join the partner programme, get training and further information. Given the fact that as a MS partner you can get discount off the price of the software when you have passed your exams, this can be an important source of income or differentiation for you. The presentation can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/files/445/download.aspx and I will post the URL for the recording in a day or two. ttfn David
  • MS-CRM and Mappoint for your customer map needs, of course it works with SBS

    I promised it a while ago, but it is finally here. Jedi Master Simon Hutson has finally documented the quick process of getting Mappoint services and MS-CRM working together. All the details including a downlaod are located in his blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/ukcrm/archive/2006/05/04/590006.aspx ttfn David
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  • Windows Vista, Office 2007, Sharepoint, Community and others at the May Kent (SBS) Partner Group on 23rd May 2006

    Susanne has asked me to attend the Kent Partner Group and talk on a number of subjects. The best I can do is May 23rd, so this is when I will be there. As always I expect the discussions to be lively, but we will cover for sure the up & coming technologies as well as some tried and tested areas, such as SharePoint, licensing and anything else you need to chat about. For more information, have a look at http://www.sbsbpi.co.uk/phpbb2/viewforum.php?f=22 See you there David
  • Do you want to understand more about Small Biz and Microsoft, meet cool people, influence and discuss our strategy

    OK, so the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) is coming. As with many things in the MS International world, we have some firsts coming up. The WPC is always a huge event for understanding and changing MS strategy and networking with both key MS people and also key people in the community. This is also the time to hear from industry experts about the external influences on the market and how to take advantage and prepare for them. You may think this all sounds a big "la-de-da", but a little while ago at WPC someone asked Steve B in an open session why MS people had great demos, but our partners did not. Within 6 months we had added the Technical Demonstration Toolkit for partners to our offerings. You can have this impact if you ask the right questions too. We have a day in the pre-conference dedicated to Small Business, with a fee for non-SBSC members, but SBSC people get entry for free. More information on the conference can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/partner/events/wwpartnerconference/ and it is already being discussed on http://www.sbsbpi.co.uk at http://www.sbsbpi.co.uk/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?p=1708#1708 While I don't have all the final information (in fact it is very draft), below is what I can share. Now I do have a baby due in June, but all being well I may well be there with you. If you want more information, let me know. We understand that being a partner who sells to small businesses means working hard day in and day out to help your customers, leaving you little time to learn about new market opportunities, or network with other partners that sell to the small-business market segment. To help you continue to capitalise on this market opportunity, we are hosting an all-day event to help you get the download on industry trends and market insights. The Microsoft Small Business Symposium 2006 will be held July 10, 2006—the day before the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference kicks off—in the U.S. city of Boston, Massachusetts. · Hear the latest from industry experts. · Network...
  • GPRS sync of CRM data to mobile now available

    When we launched MS CRM, the world was wise and fair and rightly said that CRM was great for customer relationships, but perhaps only fair to good for the gentle, overworked sales person on the road. To this end, various ISVs brought out tools that would enable PDAs to work with MS CRM. Microsoft took this feedback on-board and indeed a new CRM client was born, which would enable PDAs to work, but somehow lacked one special ingredient. While PDAs did indeed sync with MS-CRM, a wireless of through PC connection was required, making the concept of true PDA only sales people a mere dream for many. Finally Microsoft has accomplished the desires of many. Hail, we have a new CRM client, one that "goes mobile" and can do so without a wire to a PC or even a WiFi (although these can be used), for finally the GPRS is not a dream, but a tool to provide syncronisation for PDAs to MS-CRM. If such a venture is just what you were looking for, then you can find it at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=EA5A3566-7EC8-4AFE-BBFA-91E7210C55C4&displaylang=en , which for many is a tad long, so it is also linked in the files section - http://uksbsguy.com/files/18/windows_mobile/entry178.aspx for the entry - of http://uksbsguy.com/files to search through the menus. As always there is a wee catch, and that is that for GPRS sync you need Windows Mobile 5, otherwsie all other functionality requires 2003 or above (providing your hardware can handle it) So, if you can handle it, Go Do!! ttfn David P.S. Have a happy Easter!!!!!!
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  • CRM V3.0 Demo tools (inc VPC)

    I have posted details in the forums, but there are a great set of tools to help you learn, use and sell MS CRM V3.0. This information was provided by Dan Best at the Bristol Partner Group ... good on ya Dan . About the only bad thing is that I was not aware of it until Dan told me. Anyway, go to the forum posting for more information, but the basic link is http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=a8edfc7b-01d8-4500-845b-01370d4eed21&DisplayLang=en and the forum to discuss these can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/forums/thread/140.aspx ttfn David
  • 10 tips on how you and your customers can easily market their business

    Hi, so one of the often asked questions is "How do I take my business to market without spending a huge amount". While I don't have all the answers, this question is often asked and I have seen answers on both www.bCentral.co.uk - THE UK destination for Small Businesses, but I also saw this article on the US MS site - http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/resources/marketing/customer_service_acquisition/10_low_cost_ways_to_market_your_business.mspx?xid=c0007 - it has the top ten tips that we recommendations and by simply going through the guide and asking your customer "Would you consider doing this", you can start to get the grey matter going. In fact though, don't ask the question above, ask this one - it becomes easier to clear the fog around the benefit of technology "What would be the impact on your business if you did X?" - and try to get that impact down to a financial statement - this is your budget :-) Of note, the Marketing pages on bCentral are not all about product and can be found at http://www.bcentral.co.uk/marketing/marketing.mspx - it includes basic questions and answers on marketing, plus the absolutely fab "How to guides" ( http://www.bcentral.co.uk/downloadcentre/default.aspx ). You might also want to look at the direct marketing guide produced with Experian - http://www.bcentral.co.uk/downloads/guides/directmarketing_guide.pdf ttfn David
  • Quick note on CRM migration tools

    Hi there, this is just a quick not to say that MS have published a migration tool for MS CRM - more details and link in the forums - http://www.uksbsguy.com/forums/default.aspx . These tools cover two scenarios - Outlook Business Contact Manager and "everything else" :-) ttfn David
  • How the IDC whitepapers can help you choose a new business area - or Turning presentations into information for those who were "not there"

    Hi, So the previous blog entry talked about the IDC information for all those at the Harry B event - Lets explain how they can help you change your business if you were not there. Have you ever wanted to know what people are doing to be successful in a particular area of business that you might want to expand into? I know that I always like to be early into a new segment, but not the 1 st . The IDC whitepapers give you this information on the following technologies and areas – have a look and tell me what you think: Delivering Server Solutions with SBS 2003 From 2005 through 2009, more than one million servers are expected to be installed in small businesses worldwide.* This market opportunity is unmatched by any other segment and is a key opportunity for Microsoft partners. Read this article to get specific guidelines, best practices, and tools for building a business around first-server deployments, entry-level installations, enhanced deployments, and migration projects. *Source: IDC Delivering Maintenance and Managed Services with SBS 2003 As more small businesses move toward client/server infrastructures, the need for trusted IT advisors grows. Learn how successful Microsoft partners have built maintenance and managed services into recurring and predictable sources of revenue. See maintenance and managed-services models, including fees, costs, efforts, and profits, as well as specific guidelines on designing contractual agreements and positioning your own business for long-term growth. Delivering Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 SBE with SBS 2003 Learn how you may be able to add revenue by delivering Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 Small Business Edition (SBE) with SBS 2003. Get best practices, guidelines, and business models from Microsoft partners worldwide. Delivering Mobility and Remote Access Solutions with SBS 2003 The market for mobility and remote access in small businesses represents a growing opportunity for partners. According to IDC, the worldwide market for converged mobile devices is forecast to reach 107.6...

(c)David Overton 2006-13