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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  • Tech days 2010 – UK, covering Virtualisation, Office 2010, Windows 7, SQL Server 2008 R2, Visual Studio, the Essential Mix, Rich Client and Windows Phone

    Registration for UK Tech Days events from 12 th to 16 th April is open!. UK Tech Days 2010 is a week-long series of free events run by Microsoft and technical communities to celebrate and inspire developers, IT professionals and IT Managers to get more from Microsoft technology.  Our day events in London will cover the latest technology releases including Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, Microsoft Office 2010, Virtualisation, Silverlight, Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 plus events focusing on deployment and an IT Manager day. Please visit our website for full details: http://www.microsoft.com/uk/techdays and follow what’s happening @uktechdays   The agenda looks like this: Monday 12th April Tuesday 13th Wednesday 14th Thursday 15th Friday 16th IT Pro Days Virtualization Summit Office 2010 - the next wave Windows 7 - Deployment SQL Server 2008 R2 - The Platform Raising the profile of IT Dev Days Visual Studio 2010 Launch Visual Studio 2010 and .NET The Essential MIX Rich Client Windows Phone   ttfn David Technorati Tags: Virtualisation , Office 2010 , Windows 7 , SQL Server 2008 R2 , Visual Studio , the Essential Mix , Rich Client , Windows Phone
  • Server line-up for small businesses (and home) is increasing in options (or complexity for some) - SBS 2008, Home, Foundation, Windows Standard Server or BPOS - how do you choose?

    This is a long running question that people ask me - how to position the various server options from Microsoft for small businesses. The more choice Microsoft offers, the more complex it can become if you do not have a starting point to find the right product for a customer. So, Home Server, Foundation Server and SBS - what is it all about, especially when you look at something like Windows 7 or BPOS too? N.B. To get a detailed feature comparison between SBS 2003 and SBS 2008 have a look at the excellent work of Sean at http://sbs.seandaniel.com/2008/08/what-different-between-sbs-2003-and-sbs.html . Well, in the home or the smaller sized business market (think sweet spot of 1-7 users IMHO) there are a number of MS products that could fit the bill… Windows Client PC as a server (don't do this for businesses) Windows Home Server Foundation server Windows Server Small Business Server Online solution Server Options I suspect people know the options here, but here is a very short run-down on each and why you might or might not look at them: Windows 7 Client PC as a server Great to share files between a few PCs on a trusted network. Only with Windows 7 do you start to get better sharing security via the home group and many server oriented pieces of software can't run on it. Great for home hub (my Media Center does a bit of this), but please save your self trouble and get a server for the work environment. You will save of time and money of management very quickly in a business. Also note that server software will often not install on a Client PC. Windows Home Server This is a fantastic home hub server with functionality to hold and protect your shared files by duplicating them, backing up desktop PCs and providing remote access. Today it is built on Windows Server 2003 technology, but it does the job well. If in a business you simply want a place to store files and backups without managed security or any other server functionality and web based accessed to those files, it can do an OK job. For more info of...
  • Want MIX08 in the UK? Then come to ReMix08 in Brighton on 18th and 19th September and save if you book an early bird place now

    I love what goes on at these events. It would be good to see you there. Here is the little advert: Final chance to save £110 . Very limited Early Bird places left - don't say we didn't warn you! 1,000 web developers, designers, development managers and technology evangelists are going to take the media they love to the next level. Why? Because ReMix UK 08 is getting bigger and better. Scott Guthrie Developer Track Bill Buxton Design and UX Track For Designers, Developers, the Community and Beyond Work Julie Howell, Fortune Cookie • Brendan Dawes, Magnetic North • Paul Foster, Microsoft Evangelist • Guy Smith-Ferrier, Capella • Tim Regan, Microsoft Research • Mike Taulty, Microsoft Developer Evangelist See the website for the growing list of speakers... What's in the mix • Panel discussions to Interactive Mash Ups • Designers and developers hand-in-hand to • All day VJs to conceptual walls • Open Source project, CodePlex • Backnetwork to Moo cards • Photosynth master classes to Microsoft Surface • Our international act to geek bars • Swag giveaways to inflatable lounges • Designing for compatibility and for the wild • Visualising books to sneak previews • The latest developments in IM, VE and IE8 • Latest developments in RIAs and SSDs • WPF and Silverlight applications at work • • The technology Silverlight | Deep Zoom | Mobile | Expression | ASP.NET/AJAX Windows Live services | XNA | Partnering with Microsoft | Photosynth Robotics Studio | Data | Microsoft Research | Popfly | Advertising It's a full-on interactive event. Be a part of something special. Don't forget the Early Bird offer and register today at www.microsoft.com/uk/remix08/ . Early Bird price £239 (inc.VAT), full price £349 from the 301st ticket. See you there! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Silverlight , Deep Zoom , Mobile , Windows Mobile , Expression , ASP.Net , Ajax , Windows Live Services , XNA , Microsoft , Partner , Photosynth , Robotics Studio , Data , Microsoft Research , Popfly , Advertising
  • Why Microsoft Partners should embrace S+S and still deliver on premise solutions

    I was at the Microsoft World Wide Partner Conference when Microsoft announced their S+S (Software plus Services) and some partners decided to throw their toys out the pram and start a whole bunch of scare mongering around the partner opportunity. I’ve decided I will cover both off here, so here are some thoughts – please note, this is not an official communication, but simply my view and response having spoken to partners and Microsoft people alike. What are the customer options? A customer can choose from two non-exclusive models for their IT Services – On Premise on Hosted. The reasons why someone might want to have a solution hosted are many, but can includes: Remove IT from premises Remove soft off of the books Outsource the IT management Deliver IT from the best place for their customers (eg where they have low bandwidth) Outsource IT upgrade & delivery Enable simple price per seat solutions Should a customer choose to have a solution hosted then their is a choice as to who hosts the solution – Microsoft or a partner. It should be noted that just because a customer chooses to have some technology hosted does not mean that all their IT will be or can be, nor does it mean that they suddenly become able to do everything that is needed, thus removing the need for an IT partner. Hosted solutions using Microsoft technology is not new, what is new is the Microsoft hosting and much better licensing opportunities for partners to offer profitable solutions without tying customers into complex licensing schemes. So why should a partner keep with Microsoft and S+S? If you are a SBS 2003 aware and was there for the launch you may well remember throwing tomatoes at people like me because we said you needed to move away from relying on making money purely from the install of SBS 2003. It was the configuring, connecting, customising and enabling that was where the money was going – and the setup process was part of the reason as it got much easier in SBS 2003. This trend has continued and many partners now make very little...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Office Live Workspace is now available (in beta) for all - aka Windows SharePoint Services for all small businesses

    According to the site Workspaces (WSS for Office Live users) is now not quite out of beta, but still has a lot to offer: Anywhere Access Save 1000+ Microsoft Office documents in one place Access them from almost any computer with a Web browser No more flash drives or sending yourself documents via e-mail Learn more Share with Others Invite people to your workspace You control who can view, comment, and edit your documents Stop manually merging versions from multiple people Learn more Extend the Microsoft Office Experience Open and save files directly from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Synchronize contact, task, and event lists with Outlook No need to learn a new program Learn more In terms of what is actually new: Public availability of Office Live Workspace beta at http://workspace.officelive.com with immediate access and no waitlist (English language version only) The easy way to save Office documents to/from the web Organise documents and projects online and work on them from almost any computer (full Firefox support) Invite others to view, edit or comment on documents and workspaces Full document versioning and time-stamping View and comment on documents in the browser, even if Office is not installed Create simple Web notes and Web lists (export to Excel and/or synch with Outlook) Share screen and documents in real time through integration with Microsoft SharedView Brand new features, such as an activity panel, notifications, direct links and multifile upload While this is all very nice, there is actually some excellent materials, including videos and more explaining much at Permanent Link to Microsoft Office Live Workspaces Goes Live and some commentary about Google vs Office Live here and from Tech Radar here which goes as far as to say: Microsoft has launched its equivalent of Google Docs - but without the ability to edit documents. It’s left the actual editing of documents to Office itself and offers Office Live Workspace as a way for individuals and small businesses to share files on the web. A nifty Office...
  • 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...
  • New way to see information on Windows Mobile - regular updates and good detail

    I got the heads up on this on Friday, installed it today and already love it. Go to the MSN Direct site to learn more about what it is and how it works What is it MSN Direct for Windows Mobile is ready for a Technology Preview. It is a Windows Mobile Standard Smartphone application that connects to our information service and delivers the information that you care about – and it updates automatically – and you never have to enter an URL, or wait for a web page to load. What type of info can I get? Weather, Stocks, Top Stories, World news, Sports news, Entertainment news, Business, Travel, Tech, Health, even News of the Weird. *news includes: Top Stories, World news, Sports news, Entertainment news, Business, Travel, Tech, Health, even News of the Weird. Where do I get it from Download MSN Direct Will it work with my phone If it's in our Phone Finder , you're good to go. FAQ How much does MSN Direct cost? Microsoft does not charge anything for download or use of the MSN Direct application. Please note however, that downloading and using MSN Direct requires data connectivity from your wireless carrier, which may charge additional fees. Check with your wireless provider for its coverage areas and service fees. How do I get the MSN Direct application? 1. By Text Message: Enter your phone number on the website, and we will send a link to the download page directly to your mobile phone. 2. From Your Mobile Browser: On your mobile phone, open the web browser and go to http://phone.msndirect.com . Follow the instructions on the page to download and install MSN Direct. Other people have already started writing about it: http://www.modaco.com/content/Smartphone-Standard-News/265282/MWC-2008-Microsoft-releases-MSN-Direct-Technology-Preview-for-Windows-Mobile-Standard/#entry877361 http://www.downloadsquad.com/2008/02/11/microsoft-launches-msn-direct-for-windows-mobile/ Personally I would say if you have a Windows Mobile 5 or above phone, download it today!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: MSN Direct , MSN , Windows Mobile...
  • We may live in the Web 1.5/2.0/3.0 world, but most of our customers don't - Online office suites barely register with public, says study

    Just a final one before I go to bed (been at home ill today, so fired off some blogs while I was bed bound) - It is funny how much noise Saas and applications like Office suites online get in the IT press, yet go to your average consumer and you are down with 26% who are aware of them and just 6% who have tried them - and most of these are not regular users. Just reminds us to keep our feet firmly on the same planet as those of our customers, or help them very carefully to step to the new planet. A new study by the NPD Group doesn't paint a great picture for the current state of online productivity suites. If the numbers from a survey of 600 US residents are to be believed, most of us have never heard of, let alone tried, products such as Google Docs or Zoho . Considering various factors such as visibility and the industry's untested waters though, these numbers could be due for a significant shift in the coming years. According to NPD Group numbers, 73 percent of the 600 Americans surveyed have never heard of online office suites, while another 20 percent have, but simply haven't tried any for one reason or another. The remaining six percent of respondents are split between those who have heard of the suites and either haven't used them again, use them infrequently, and use both online suites and desktop apps like Microsoft Office. Based on these numbers, some have already written a eulogy for Web 2.0 office suites , but that assessment might be a bit early. Online office suites barely register with public, says study; that may change as they mature ttfn David Technorati Tags: Web 2.0 , SaaS , S+S
  • 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
  • New Windows Live Messenger V8.5 - its all about the look and quality, oh and the web messengering and the buttons ...

    I just saw this (as I have just updated my live suite). Anyway, if you look at the recommended " Nicole’s post " then you quickly discover that for Messenger it is all about the look, experience and quality. However, while this is true, we then have some amazingly cool new features that sit around it, such as Web based IM for people to contact you via a site and adding a "IM me" button to your site. Below are 3 blog entries that tell the whole story. Announcing Windows Live Messenger 8.5! After months of work, and two beta releases the Windows Live Messenger team is proud to release Windows Live Messenger 8.5! We’ve listened to the feedback from our beta users and made this one of the best versions of Messenger ever! If you were a beta user not much has changed for you. We worked hard to improve the overall quality of Messenger though, and we owe a big ‘Thanks!!’ to all of the beta testers that sent us feedback. If you haven’t been a beta tester you can read Nicole’s post about the new features in 8.5. Windows Live Messenger isn’t the only program getting released today. In fact a lot of Windows Live products are celebrating a new launch today. Be sure and check out the blogs of Mail , Photo Gallery , and Writer for all of the new features, then go Get Windows Live ! Let your friends IM you from anywhere!! I am very excited! Now you can create your OWN IM button to put on your blog or in your email signature. Just go to www.messengerbuttons.com and create your own button, it has a lot of cool ways to personalize your button. This makes it even easier for your friends to find you on IM. Once you have created your button, it is also easy to add it to your Windows Live Space, Outlook, Hotmail or Windows Live Mail! Here is a button I created. Who wants IMs from the web? I do! I do! <snipped> The Windows Live™ Messenger IM Control lets people on the Web reach you in Messenger by showing your Messenger status on your web site, blog, or social networking profile. The Windows Live™ Messenger IM Control...
  • Steve Clayton: Geek In Disguise - his new gig - no longer being my boss and now a servant!!

    Steve describes himself as my loyal blogging servant... how the tides have changed from when he was my boss. Ahhh!! Not my servant, but yours... post blogging edits are a wonderful thing. Well Steve was my boss, not bad really :-) Anyway, he is now a good part of the Software+Services drive in Microsoft and that is a warning bell for anyone ignoring Microsoft in this sector - Steve normally drives success!. My new gig 05 November 2007, 19:11:43 | stevecla01 "This transformation from software to software-plus-services is a very, very big deal for our company," - Ray Ozzie Today I started a new gig at Microsoft that has a lot to do with the image above. Hugh kindly drew this a few months back and I was quick to snag it as I knew it would become my new card. Basically I'm working in a part of the organisation known as Microsoft International and helping to shape how we talk about Software + Services internally and externally. It's a big new adventure and I'm really looking forward to it. It means I'm no longer managing the PTS team which I'll miss as they're just a great bunch of guys doing outstanding work, but the opportunity to be involved this deeply with S+S was something I couldn't pass up. I'll have involvement in a few other projects I can't talk about but S+S will be my main schtick. Steve Clayton: Geek In Disguise ttfn David Technorati Tags: Software plus Service , Steve Clayton , Microsoft
  • Windows Live SkyDrive Updates - 1GB of storage, RSS feeds when someone makes an update and easier sharing of files

    I saw this on the SkyDrive blog and thought I should share it. Updates to Windows Live SkyDrive! These past couple of months since our last release, we asked ourselves, “What can we do to make SkyDrive even better?” The most obvious answer is something that our users have asked us to do: give out more storage. We’re excited to announce that we’re doubling everyone’s storage to 1 GB! Many users told us, “Hey, we want to be notified when someone adds a file to a specific folder,” so we added RSS feeds to public folders. To subscribe to an RSS feed, go to the public folder that you’re interested in, and click on the orange RSS Feed icon at the top right of the page. Then, anytime that folder is updated, you’ll be notified. We love this feature because we get notified as soon as our friends upload new files to their folders. Another thing users told us is that it’s difficult to share a folder with people that aren’t in your address book. People said, “We have to go to Hotmail or Messenger in order to add someone to our address books. Why can’t we just do it on SkyDrive itself?” We fixed that. Now, you can share with anyone directly from SkyDrive by typing in your friend’s e-mail address. Finally, users told us that it would be nice to know who uploaded each file. So, we now display the name of the person that added each file. We’re excited about these new features, and we hope you like them. Check out the new version, and let us know what you think . --Windows Live SkyDrive Team Windows Live SkyDrive Team Blog: Updates to Windows Live SkyDrive! ttfn David Technorati tags: SkyDrive
  • 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...
  • Microsoft unveils more online services and additional features for Office Live

    You may well have missed this on Microsoft Press Pass, but I think all partners should read this and work out if there is even more opportunity for them. It was introduced under a title that might not have caught your attention: Microsoft Charts Its Software Services Strategy and Road Map for Businesses Company introduces “Online” services and Microsoft Office Live Workspace, solutions that combine client, server and services offerings to deliver connected computing options for people and businesses. REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 30, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. today laid out the next phase in its strategy for online services, offering a road map for new offerings that synthesize client, server and services software for people and businesses. These offerings will combine elements of client-based programs with software that runs large servers and new services delivered over the Internet. The offerings announced expand Microsoft’s existing portfolio of software plus service solutions — solutions that weave together the best of software and Internet services to provide a new generation of rich, seamless experiences that are personalized, integrated and available online anywhere. This approach gives individuals and organizations greater freedom of choice in how they interact with the people, information and activities they value most. Microsoft plans to deliver a wide variety of new solutions during the coming months under two key families of service offerings: “Live” and “Online.” “Live” services from Microsoft are designed primarily for individuals, business end-users and virtual work groups. Live offerings span entertainment, communication and productivity. These services emphasize ease of use, simplicity of access and flexibility, and are ideally suited for situations where people either don’t have access to professional technical expertise or don’t require high levels of system management. “Online” services are for organizations with more advanced IT needs where power and flexibility are critical. Online services from Microsoft...
  • Are you an IT related architect (Office Business Application, Windows Server Security or Services Revolution aka SaaS) - if so then one of these events could be for you

    I've hung up my architecting gloves, but I still get the e-mails. I saw this and thought there were a few partners out there who would want to take advantage of the events. As a practising or aspiring architect, it's vital to keep up to date with the latest news and technological developments to make sure your work remains at the cutting edge. By attending a free Microsoft Architect Forum you'll learn how to get the most from your architecture and gain information to aid your architectural decisions. The Architect Forum series gives you free access to one-day events providing an expert overview of a specific topic as well as fantastic networking opportunities. To register for one of these events, follow the relevant link below: Office Business Applications Architect Forum - 13 September 2007, London Office Business Applications are an emerging class of application that helps businesses unlock the value of their line-of-business (LOB) systems and turn document-based processes into real applications. Office 2007 has expanded off the desktop embracing the concepts of SOA and leverage the fundamental shift to combining software plus services. In this forum we will discuss the architectural elements of the Office Technical Platform and discover how these elements can be applied across several business scenarios. Windows Server Security Architect Forum - 11 December 2007, Reading Security, alongside reliability and interoperability, is central to Microsoft's software design philosophy. Yet it is still an area where Microsoft is perceived to underachieve. However, security is a very broad term that can be used to describe a great many number of IT scenarios. In this forum we will discuss the central role of security in the architecture of Windows Server 2008 (codename Longhorn) in relation to Systems Management scenarios such as web and application management, high availability, and server virtualisation. The Services Revolution Architect Forum - 19 February 2008, Reading The first Internet-based services...
  • 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...
  • How to connect to and import data from an XML Web Service into Excel 2007

    I have been wondering how to do this recently for one of my own projects and then the subject came up internally. A very unassuming Hovsep then wrote up the answer, so as a tip here it is - if you follow the link at the bottom you will see a step by step process with screen shots to help you along the way. Excel 2007 - How to connect to and import data from an XML Web Service Many organizations have adopted a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) as the architecture of choice. SOA allows a company to expose its services and data in a manner that is compliant with industry standards. SOA is the buzzword these days. Down the wire of SOA is XML data that is exchanged between entities. Microsoft Office Excel 2007 has built-in features that allow a user to connect to and consume XML data. Such data can be stored in an XML file on the local hard drive, shared in a portal or returned from an XML Web Service. If you’d like to use Excel to import XML data from a Web Service, follow these step-by-step guidelines. For the sake of simplicity, this document will be using a web service that is available on the Internet called Teach a Techie ( http://teachatechie.com ). This web service has a function named GetLocation and the URL we’ll be using is http://teachatechie.com/GJTTWebServices/ZipCode.asmx/GetLocation?ZipCode=11413 Go to Hovsep uses SQL Server for Development : Excel 2007 - How to connect to and import data from an XML Web Service for all the details ttfn & thanks to Hovsep. David Technorati Tags: Excel 2007 , Web Services
  • 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...
  • Jeff Raikes (Important Exec at Microsoft) talkes about lots of things, including how Office might go in a SaaS / SwS world

    This is funny, I was discussing Software as a Service (SaaS) / Software with Service (SwS) with a few people the other day. I said that I thought Exchange and Outlook were the best examples of Software WITH Service and why SWS is better than SAAS. Lets run through a scenario, it’s OK, not brilliant, but highlights the point. Client Server – a bit like Outlook with a POP3 account and no offline functionality. Service only – Exchange without any client except Outlook Web Access – full web based access – the 07 version is great, but no offline capability and limited by what a browser can do. Software WITH Service – Outlook connected to Exchange 07 – can use on the web (OWA) can use disconnected – Outlook in Cached mode. You get the best when the two are connected and working together. To me, this is the ideal of the future – I get what I want when I want it – like now, on a train, writing this blog – I hit send, when I sync up, it will appear on my blog. Magic and the 3 hours on the train are useful catch-up time for me. Some applications just don’t add value being browser or internet ONLY based – eg the Office desktop apps. While I might be connected 50-60% of the time, not being able to use them the rest of the time is a huge pain, so I just can’t. Others, I am very happy to live with only when connected, so they are great – these are to be honest new category applications (IMHO) than traditional applications. Anyway, what did Jeff have to say about all this: "...I think Exchange is a platform that will more rapidly move to a service form than Office client applications, where most of the time you want to optimise the power at your fingertips. ...I don't get a lot of interest in running Word over the internet. Bandwidth is precious, and most people have Office. Nobody's crystal ball is perfect, but I think in a few years those who say software is dead will go the way of those people who said PCs were dead and network computing was the thing. The reason is, people get very focused in on trying to undermine Microsoft...
  • Building Office Live applications - this is where you need to start

    I had a partner ask me about Office Live today, so these are the places you need to start: 1) Client SDK - Windows Live ID Client 1.0 SDK in Alpha 2) Web Based Info - http://forums.microsoft.com/msdn/showpost.aspx?postid=924592&siteid=1 and http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/office/aa905514.aspx 3) Windows SharePoint v3 APIs - Working with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Web Services (what is supported from WSSv3 and what is blocked) 4) Some important sections: How to: Integrate Access 2007 and Excel 2007 with Office Live How to: Integrate Office Live with other Office 2007 applications Chris's unofficial Office Live developer blog That is it for now - the client SDK is key - you can build rich client applications and then share data via the OfficeLive web. nice. ttfn David Technorati tags: Office Live , Live , Saas , Software as a service , software with service
  • 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
  • Office Live beta in the UK and how it works & competes with SBS 2003

    I have been behind on my blogging (have you noticed)? I was at the Bristol SBS group Christmas dinner (did I say thanks yet to Richard and Mark?) and we got to discussing Office Live. So first off, as to what Live is, why not go and have a look at Eileen Browns blog on it and then lets get down to the discussion points. They were: Who really wants this type of solution? Does Live compete with SBS? Can I make money out of Live If someone has Live, can I sell them SBS too? If someone has Live, can I "upgrade" them from this to SBS? So lets answer these is order: Who really wants this type of solution? Well, there are loads of small businesses out there that want a web site, some more professional e-mail addresses than simply "davidovertonatsomecompany@hotmail.com" (don't try mailing this address, if it exists, then they won't like it, but more likely it will not). Office Live will give them a website of http://www.somecompany.com e-mail addresses that at "@somecompany.com" and a simple way to build the site - for free. They can then upgrade to get a bunch of other things too, but especially if they are small - this is an amazing solution. If they are larger, then they might not use all the facilities, but they will use some of them - especially the features of the paid for services, which every time I present are seen as amazing value for money. Does Live compete with SBS? No, Yes, well sometimes. If you look at the services offered, some of them could be provided on SBS, but bearing in mind that SBS does so much more and something's that Live offers you could do on SBS, but probably would not, lets look at what is what. You could host e-mail, calendar, contacts, web sites, WSS sites etc on SBS, but would you really do website's and WSS sites on SBS - sometimes, but not always - it depends where people are located vs the network and whether they are internal or external to the local LAN - internal - SBS, external - possibly Live. With the Live services of mail, calendar and contacts - this is like a baby version of...
  • Microsoft Office Live is coming to the UK - domain name, website, branded e-mail - hosted by Microsoft

    If you have a customer who wants these capabilities, but does not have the resources or cash to buy it, then Office Live could be quite amazing for you. Microsoft Office Live is coming - what is it Today, more than ever before, an Internet presence is indispensable for small businesses. That’s why Microsoft is introducing Microsoft Office Live — a set of affordable business productivity services designed to help you grow your business more easily by establishing a professional presence online. Microsoft Office Live will provide your company with its own domain name, Web site, and company-branded e-mail accounts for free. Additionally, Microsoft Office Live will offer you and your employees expert business management applications, such as customer, project, and document management tools, and a security-enhanced private Web site — affordably managed and maintained by Microsoft — where you can work together and share information with your employees, customers, suppliers, and contractors. If you’re not at the stage to buy a server, set up an IT infrastructure and hire IT staff to maintain it, then Microsoft Office Live is a perfect solution for your business. A beta version of Microsoft Office live will launch in late 2006.* WHY MICROSOFT OFFICE LIVE? A professional Web site, expertly hosted by Microsoft A secure online workspace for organising and managing customer and business information A complete set of tools for managing time, tasks, projects, and company data that integrates with your existing Microsoft Office programs Register today * At this time, participation in the Microsoft Office Live Beta services program is open to United Kingdom residents only. Due to the number of requests received for this beta, we cannot guarantee participation for every registrant. If you are selected as a beta participant, you will receive an e-mail message from us with further information. Source: Microsoft Office Live Worldwide
  • James Akrigg is in the house and Out of Office... one of my best mentors FINALLY starts blogging

    This day has been a long time coming. James is someone who I always contact when I want to think out the box and apply creative solutions to problems. He is very technology savvy, but hides it much, much, much more than most people I speak to, when speaking to the business suit type of people. His skills cover almost anything from the Office System - old and new, Developer and OS (including Vista) and even has a good deal of search and online technology inside his head. Finally, he is a no BS type of guy. I would strongly recommend looking at his blog over at James Akrigg .:. Out of Office ttfn David
  • Microsoft local.live.com map technology - when it works, it is amazing - or just have a nostalgic look at Concorde

    I have just posted a blog item about the latest SB Ignite tour event - hurray I hear you all say, but the thing that got my attention was I went to local.live.com to get a map and it offered me 3 views - road, aerial view (using satellite imagery) and then Birds' eye view. This is just an awesome, awesome, way to see where you are going - have a look at the blog entry - Nottingham, England, 7th September - be there to learn so much more - Small Business Partner Ign and click on picture then play around or click the concord map above - get your personal driving instructions, look at the hotel that is the destination for 8 different angles - makes it so, so, so much easier. I was just blown away by this. Not every location has a birds eye view yet, but the aerial images, routing and the occasional birds eye views are amazing. For more information on Birds' eye images, go to http://www.birdseyetourist.com or to see the local.live.com blog have a look at http://virtualearth.spaces.live.com/PersonalSpace.... ttfn David
  • How to get content filtering (anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-malware), archival services, DR / Continuity and Encryption services for your SBS box at a great price

    As many of you know, I have always argued that MS online services only serve to complement our other solutions. One classic example of this is the Hosted Exchange Services - now before you run around with your fingers in your ears shouting "LALALA", have a look to see what they are. These services work with an existing Exchange server - ala SBS, so there is no threat to the SBS system at all. We then offer 4 services which includes those listed below, but the nice thing is the price. On the How to buy page is lists the prices - these are per user and you can start at 5 users - oh, and this is real per user, so if you have 20 aliases for 5 users (eg sales, support etc) - that is 5 users: Estimated Pricing All prices below are based on estimated retail pricing (per user, per month licensing). This pricing would apply to a small business with as few as 5 users. Services Prices Comments Microsoft Exchange Hosted Filtering $1.75 US Exchange Hosted Filtering is a fully managed service that employs multiple technologies to help prevent spam, viruses, and phishing scams from reaching corporate networks and to help enforce corporate email-use policies. Microsoft Exchange Hosted Encryption $1.90 US Exchange Hosted Encryption is a policy-based email encryption service that uses customizable policies based on users, keywords, character patterns, attachment types, and more to identify messages that require encryption. Microsoft Exchange Hosted Continuity $2.50 US Exchange Hosted Continuity is an email continuity service that is always on, providing your user community with access to the last 30 days of email and the ability to send and receive email in real time, even when the primary email system is unavailable. Microsoft Exchange Hosted Archive $17.25 US Exchange Hosted Archive is a managed service that captures and archives external and internal mail, IM and Bloomberg mail according to your contracted retention period. When the retention period is met, messages are automatically destroyed. Hosted Archive includes...
  • Microsoft's online strategy discussed at analyst meeting

    I saw this article from the NY Times and thought I would share it. It is a report on MS plans for Internet enabling even more things that we do. Some key statements from it included: "any big payoff from those investments would not come for a few years" - so this is a long term play "Internet search, according to Microsoft, will increasingly become seamlessly integrated into the Windows desktop operating system, Office productivity software, cellphones powered by Windows and Xbox video games" - I like the idea of hybrid utilities and the fact that search is a tool for me to do something, rather than something I explicitly have to go to a web site to do "In a demonstration, Mr. Mehdi showed some of the work being done by a group exploring the future of advertising in Microsoft’s research labs. In a digital television prototype, a viewer who liked a dress worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in an episode of “Sex and the City” could click on it, automatically pausing the video, and on the screen an Internet search result would appear, identifying the dress, its maker and a link to buy it" - contextual use of the search utilities - buying a dress rather than searching for a place to buy a dress. "Microsoft executives acknowledge that as computing increasingly gravitates to the Web and often toward ad-supported services, it creates both a technical and business challenge for a company whose great strength is in personal computer desktop software. But the Microsoft vision is that Internet services can complement rather than cannibalize the company’s traditional business if they are built into products like Windows." - This is key for me - people often ask me why Microsoft supports hosted services, Windows and Office Live and products like SBS. The answer is choice, and the fact that one day people will need it all. Imagine a server that has services that make it a better product - that is where we are headed. Some people say SBS and hosted Exchage compete, but they...

(c)David Overton 2006-13