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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  • Check if your machine is ready for Vista with the Get Ready tool – Vista Ready or capable PC specs

    You will be hearing more from me around Windows Vista and Office 2007 over the coming months. Until the beta ships, one of the first things you might want to do is to find out if yours and your customers systems are likely to have any problems running Vista. People often ask what the minimum specs are for running Vista and there are really three ways to think on this: What can run Vista, provide access to search and new UI features All of the above, plus the 3D and transparency graphics Take advantage of all of the features possible To take advantage of the nice graphics, you will need at least 64MB of speedy graphics memory (but my 2yr old laptop with a Radeon 7600 does this fine) and a graphics card that the manufacturer states will be available with both a WDDM graphics driver and will support “Glass” For the other features, you will need to have technology such as TPM 1.2 or above for the BitLocker technology or SideShow technology to enable applications that run on other hardware alongside your PC. This defines the difference between Vista Ready and Vista Capable, So, finally, to the minimum spec. There have just been published at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/capable.mspx , but to be more sure, you can also run the check tool found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/default.mspx The Vista Ready and Capable information from the web site: A Windows Vista Capable PC includes at least: A modern processor (at least 800MHz 1 ). 512 MB of system memory. A graphics processor that is DirectX 9 capable. Windows Vista Premium Ready PCs To get an even better Windows Vista experience, including the Windows Aero user experience, ask for a Capable PC that is designated Premium Ready, or choose a PC that meets or exceeds the Premium Ready requirements described below. Features available in specific premium editions of Windows Vista, such as the ability to watch and record live TV, may require additional hardware . A Windows Vista Premium Ready PC includes at least: 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit...
  • New Microsoft web site design tool – Expression Web Designer

    Microsoft is launching a number of products over the next two years, which means a number of products coming into beta. Many of these cans be used by skilled small business IT consultants to build better solutions for customers. One such tool is the Expression Web Designer. It is designed to be highly accurate to online standards, ensuring greater compliance with a variety of browsers. It also makes extensive use of CSS to ensure a greater standard across sites. Finally, providing access to data and enabling data manipulation tasks through the browser is a key capability. To see more and downloads the product, go to http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/default.mspx and watch the videos and start playing today. Ttfn David
  • Off-topic – Get a bit of Vista technology on Windows XP - Windows Media Player 11 (wmp11) beta

    I know this is off topic, but as a beta tester of Windows Vista, I have also been using the new media player to manage my music. The new ways of organising music and seeing what is in albums or podcasts has got easier. WMP also now handles pictures, which given the number of them I have, it is a nice change to see this functionality off of Media Center systems. So, to get the new UI, formats and ease of management, go have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/11/default.aspx Ttfn David
  • More feedback that Microsoft Support for SBS and Windows XP, no matter where in the world, is great

    Every so often I get a mail telling me how MS Support was poor in one way or another. Recently I have been getting the other type of e-mail - how GOOD Microsoft support is. Yesterday, Paul sent me this e-mail: David i found your email address on the sbsbpi.co.uk website, i thought it appropriate to drop you a mail asking you to pass on praise to the relevant people for the technical support i received from Microsoft today. the problem was quite complicated and both support representatives who dealt with it seemed knowledgeable, thorough and also easy to get on with on, all the essential requirements for a telephone support engineer, lots of bad things are said about the support available from Microsoft but today i experienced something very different, please pass on my thanks to the SBS support team. How nice it is to get these, but also in the forums, someone posted this: http://uksbsguy.com/forums/thread/401.aspx I have used Microsoft support a bunch of times over my entire career and a few times since I have been a small business owner such as yourself. First of all, generally the level of support is very good. You are paying a premium price but you do receive premium support. I used support last week for a cost of £200 and it was worth every penny. I knew before calling that it was not a Microsoft issue, but I needed some expert guidance (was not for an SBS system btw). I put in another call last year for a problem which I believed was caused by a fault in the software and there was certainly no dispute and the money was refunded and a successful resolution was found. So, it is worth it? Depends how much of your own time you are prepared to spend and if the customer is willing to let you pass the cost on to them. The key is to stop and think is your time better spent resolving an issue or spending the £200 to get a fix. Only you can decide, but if you decide you need support, 1st go check out http://support.microsoft.com and search for any errors you might see and then you can see about getting paid for support...
  • 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
  • Learn about Windows SharePoint Services easily using online courses and books (for a small few $s)

    People are always asking me about how to learn more about Windows SharePoint Services and now finally we have two selfpaced items of training that can help. Have a look at these - they do cost a bit of cash – less than $23, but worth a look from the agenda. Course 4115: Getting Started with Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services Plus Access to Online Book The self-paced e-learning course will help you become familiar with the basics of working with Microsoft Windows SharePoint sites via interactive simulations that provide hands-on practice to master specific tasks. It also includes skills assessment to help pinpoint the areas where training can have the most impact. In addition, this course can be downloaded for offline use for the length of your subscription so you can learn even when you’re not connected to the Internet. https://www.microsoftelearning.com/eLearning/offerDetail.aspx?offerPriceId=73964 Course 4114: Doing More with Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services Plus Access to Online Book The self-paced e-learning course builds upon the concepts covered in “Getting Started with Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services” via interactive simulations that provide hands-on practice to master specific tasks. It also includes skills assessment to help pinpoint the areas where training can have the most impact. In addition, this course can be downloaded for offline use for the length of your subscription so you can learn even when you’re not connected to the Internet. https://www.microsoftelearning.com/eLearning/offerDetail.aspx?offerPriceId=73963 Ttfn David
  • Patch Management on SBS and Windows XP machines - advice and best practises

    I was asked this in the forums, but I felt it was important enough to write about it both here and in the forum. Patch Management should be a key part of what you do. Patching is like car servicing - it can sometimes be put off a little bit, but failure to keep the oil and water up todate and without a regular service, things go horribly wrong. You MUST tell your customers this so they can choose how to pay you for this service. (they can always just call you in when things go wrong, but it will take longer and cost them more). Obviously patching is just one tool in yout kitbag for keeping systems secure - local and perimeter firewalls and anti-spyware and anti-virus software is also needed, as is good password and administrator policy. The best person to talk about patching is the now famous Susan Bradly, who is a SBS MVP and known as a Diva. Before I point you off to some of her blogs on it, I thought I would answer some questions often asked in this area: 1) How do you decide whether to patch or hold off? You always have to make a decision regarding patching vs risk. How much time would you spend testing the fix for blaster vs deploying it asap. Likewise, how many times do patches break machines - if they do, find out why that system needs extra care and only evaluate vs that piece of software / hardware, but deploy to the rest. 2) What happens if things go wrong? Remember, support to fix problems as a result of a patch (or service pack) is free from Microsoft, so you can always pickup the bat phone and call. Microsoft do test all patches, but the amount of testing depends on the urgency of the patch and how it was obtained. If you go for a hotfix as suggested by a KB article where you have to call Microsoft, this will have been tested less, but still we will work with you to fix issues with it. No-Charge Support number ( 0870 60 10 100 ) is for virus and other security-related support. It is available... Mon - Fri 8am - 6pm 3) How do you patch David? Personally, I deploy all application patches from microsoft...
  • Vista and Office at the CTS show for small businesses and System Builders

    Wow, what a packed agenda. Over the two days, myself and James Akrigg (of PTS TV Fame ) gave 16 whirlwind tours of Windows Desktop Search, Windows Vista and Office 2007 client applications. When I say it was whirlwind, I mean each presentation lasted just 35 mins and we then had just 10 mins to get the next audence in. Overall, more than 900 people came and saw the two products and the feedback was awesome. (and all without even a lunch break) We then had super stars on the stand outside our briefing area who answered more questions and demonstrated answers to specific questions. Vista and Office mania definately started in Birmingham over the last two days. I will be posting the slides on the site later, but the key messages can be found at the following Microsoft sites: www.microsoft.com/office/preview www.microsoft.com/windowsvista As soon as the products reach beta 2 I will post lots of info on why Vista and Office 2007 for small businesses ttfn David
  • Learn what Information Worker is when Microsoft talk about it (Office 2003 & servers) and what James Akrigg has to say - More PTS TV

    The PTS Team (the group I work for - Partner Technical Support) are recording regular small videos to explain what we do and what it means to partners. One of my hero's in the team is James AKrigg. You will know if you have ever seen him present - he is very passionate about technolog and getting the most out of it - very much like me - and he was also one of the original architects of the SBSC programme idea. So (being one of my favorite words), what has he done, well he has recorded a small piece on PTS-TV about Information Worker. My advice to you, go spend 7 minutes learning what he has to say - you will find it valuable, and possibly funny as we seem to be leaving in outtakes :-) Where can you get it? - http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/pts-tv/ let me know if you like it :-) ttfn David
  • Latest Beta of Windows Live Messenger (replacement for MSN Messenger ships)

    Hi, this is a little off topic, but for those of you who like to play with betas, Windows Live Messenger is available, along with other products at http://ideas.live.com - worth a look in for sure. Lots of new features, but the ones I like the most are: Cheap calls to land lines from my PC send an IM to someone offline and they get it when the log back in IM while appearing offline :-) ttfn David
  • How to configure Mac’s with SBS 2003

    I was recently asked by a colleague about the ease of setting up Mac’s in the SBS 2003 world. We are all aware of the pitfalls of using a .local domain name (I hope) and that some of the wizards do not work (or perhaps none of them do), but I have never actually been through the detail. One question that stumped me was around certificates on the Mac. So, I posted the question internally and someone Mark Stanfill piped up asking if the customer / partner had looked at the Whitepaper on how to setup a Mac. For my sins, I was not even remotely aware of the whitepaper, so I downloaded it and had a look. Talk about an awesome document, so if you need to set up a Mac on a SBS network, get this document. The link is http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=46578 and this should take you to the download. Microsoft is not the only source for information like this, it is also worth looking at the below for some ISA and Mac info: http://simultaneouspancakes.com/Lessons/archives/2005/11/internet_access_1.shtml Ttfn David Just as a FYI, here is the table of contents: Connecting Macintosh OS X 10.3 and Higher Clients to a Windows Small Business Server 2003 Network 7 Step 1: Install the Latest Macintosh Updates 9 Step 2: Collect Information 9 Step 3: Configure DNS 10 Step 4: Share Folders Using the SMB Protocol 16 Configure SMB Settings by Using Directory Access 16 Disable SMB Signing on the Server 18 Step 5: Access E-mail 20 Step 5a: Access E-mail Using Entourage 2004 21 Add the self-signed certificate that the server created to the Macintosh certificate store 21 Verify DNS query resolution 22 Set Up an Exchange Server Account on the Client Computer 23 Step 5b: Access E-mail Using Outlook Web Access 26 Access E-mail Using Internet Explorer 5 for Mac 27 Access E-mail Using Safari 27 Access E-mail Using Netscape 27 Step 6: Access the http://companyweb Web Site 28 Using Internet Explorer as Your Web Browser 28 Using Safari or Netscape as Your Web Browser 28 Step 7: Access Remote Web Workplace 29 To connect to server or client-computer...
  • 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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  • PTS-TV - meet Mark Deakin and hear about Exchange 12/2007, and Unified Messaging futures - also with Katie Ledger

    The team I work with come in different shapes and sizes, with some of us very technology focused and others a bit more broadly spread around solutions. To try and get a bit more of the information out about what is happening, the PTS team (Partner Technical Specialists) have started small streaming TV shows, lasting a few minutes, but giving you the chance to meet the team and understand a bit more about the technology landscape. To this end, we have teamed up with Katie Ledger to bring you installment number one - with Mark Deakin. It is worth having a quick look at the two videos on the site, remembering that we have a bit of "outtake" material at the end to show you that we are human too, sometimes many, many, many times over :-) So, to get there, go to http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/pts-tv/ and watch the show. You can also find Mark's blog at http://blogs.technet.com/markdea/ Other members of the team have their blogs linked from http://blogs.technet.com/msppuk/ ttfn David
  • 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
  • David Overton at the East Anglia Partner Group (Sometimes known as the Cambridge SBS User Group)

    Hi folks, just a quick note to say that on the 9th May I will be in Cambridge talking on a number of subjects at the group. More info on how to sign up can be found on the group site at http://www.sbsbpi.co.uk/phpbb2/viewforum.php?f=41 . The agenda will include a 1st sight of the Small Business Ignite content, then a Q&A session around anything Microsoft and the groups should discuss. I look forward to seeing you there. ttfn David
  • Windows XP, Desktop Search, Vista and Office 2007 - at the CTS (Computer Trade Show) with David Overton and James Akrigg

    On the 10th & 11th May I will be presenting every 40 minutes on Windows, Office and Vista - a quick introduction on what these great products can do for you today and in the future. To book into the session, go to http://www.microsoft.com/uk/cts - it is advised as it is expected to be busy. For general information about the CTS show, go have a look at http://www.ctshow.co.uk . It is a great opportunity to get to see a large amount of the IT industry in one place. Signing up to the my session at the CTS show (and turning up) will also enable us to send you a DVD of Vista when it betas (if you want to). Clicking on the link here will give you a very basic lead into our stand at the show: http://www.ctshow.co.uk/cgi-events/exview.pl?exhibition_id=91&exbtr_id=6439 As for what these products can do for you - they are due to beta later this month and since I have been running both of them for ages, I can tell you there is a long list of great features that I will share - ripe for small business partrners. Also, if you buy a new PC now, you have 180 days (until the end of June) to register it in our Software Assurance (SA) programme, which gives you many advantages, including access to Vista and Office when they ship to voulume licensing customers later this year. AND, since SA sign-up is over 2 years and you pay something like ~30% of the product price per year, this means that you get Vista and the Enterprise features etc for about ~60% of the price you would otherwise pay. That has got to be something to shout about. For more info on the products, go look at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp , http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista and http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview . ttfn David
  • UK SBS GUY & Gals site (uksbsguy.com) up down and round and round

    Howdy, I have seen plenty of system failures over the last two weeks and while some nice new hardware is due to arrive soon, I will be moving the whole system to a virtual server environment on another box that has been a stalwart. If you see the site down, it will almost certainly be rebooting - I have identified it two a couple of drivers (either NTFS.sys or my AV provider) - once it is virtualised, it will remain so until new hardware arrives. One thing I will do is fully document the process I took to move from physical to virtual without the use of an Enterprise Server (which is required to use the MS provided tools). More blogs posts soon - once hardware issues are off my mind. thanks David
  • Cool backup e-mail when it has succeeded & tape changing scripts

    Hi guys, I just saw this and decided it is so awesome (as someone told me this one featured paid for an alternative backup product). Put simply, Marina Roos has documented a 2 minute process to add e-mail alerts when backups succeed. The details can be found at http://www.smallbizserver.net/Default.aspx?tabid=266&articleType=ArticleView&articleId=143 At the same time, I was asked in the forums about compression of tapes and I found Sean Daniels blog, which had a auto tape changing scripts in it. The article can be found at http://seanda.blogspot.com/2004/10/sbs-2003-backup-hack_05.html enjoy the new week ttfn David
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  • Off topic - Good Luck to Susanne in the London Marathon

    Susanne is running in the London Marathon - if you want to know more about her preparation, go have a look at http://spaces.msn.com/susannedansey/ . If you want to help with her chosen charity, again, go have a look at http://www.justgiving.com/susanne to add some more cach to this truely worthwhile charity. ttfn and go Susanne gi :-) David
  • Ever wanted a "Microsoft" show that your customers could look at on how to use a server

    This is just a very quick one. I found this interesting little tool on the web which is almost customer safe, but explains the value of a server. Download, customise the powerpoints and use when ever you are at an exhibition etc. This is the " Information Worker’s Guide to the Windows SBS Computer Network " and according to the site performs the following: Through a series of interlinked PowerPoint shows or "modules," the "Information Worker's Guide to the Windows SBS Computer Network" provides users with a high-level overview of the Windows SBS network. As they progress through the modules, users learn how Windows SBS can help them keep company data secure, improve personal and team productivity, and communicate more effectively with customers and co-workers. Along the way, they are introduced to Windows SBS features and functionality and to the basic scenarios of working remotely and staying connected. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=d566b19a-63c9-48d4-8add-ed7f99c9024c&displaylang=en ttfn David
  • Leave, holiday, R&R, time off, painting the nursery or Vacation - I will try to take some

    Hello, it is that time of year for me where I need to take some time off to do family things, namely build and paint a nursery – I have a wonderful daughter and baby number 2 is due to arrive mid-June, so I am shortening the distance I will travel to Partner Groups and trying to make sure I remember what 6 hours unbroken sleep feels like as I know this will change. So, this week will be light on reports as I take my leave, although I am sure one of two items will pop into my head before Friday :-) ttfn David
  • Lots more about the new Office UI - and some scenarios on how it all works together

    Hello, It is rare that I copy from MS newsletters, but I suspect many people do not get the UK MSDN (developer) newsletter, so since this issue talks about the online videos for Office 2007 and scenarios on how it all works together, I thought I should highlight David Gristwood, a great colleague who cares passionately about Office Development and also wrote this little article. I have clipped it to remove some of the more developer oriented content. Note the links for the videos to see more of the product. ttfn David Office Developers Conference, Redmond - David Gristwood <sniped> One of the big announcements was openXMLDeveloper.org , a community site supporting Open XML. You can see the video on demand here . (Bill Gates also gave an interview with InformationWeek just before the dev con, which you can read here , which explains more of his thinking) Part of the keynote included a very compelling demo, that showed end to end the various client and server elements of the Office platform all fully integrated (Excel services, SharePoint, Open XML, Workflow, etc). It showed a number of scenarios that I think many people can relate to, and find relevant to their own business or systems they need to build / integrate with. The new Office UI seemed to be well received, especially as delegates got to see the recently released Technical Refresh 1 version. Most seemed very positive about the amount of time it would take users to get used to it, and how much more discoverable it is, and how difficult it would be to go back to 2003. One of the best ways to see the new UI in action is to check out this short video . You can also see some screen shots and discussion on Jensen Harris's blog . There was a big emphasis on the server side element to what has traditionally been a more client based offering. Many attendees were impressed how rich the server technology stack now is. SharePoint 3.0 provides integrated workflow support (via Windows Workflow Foundation), native support for ASP.NET 2.0, as well as out-of-the-box...
  • The Power of the Wizards

    Many of you know that I am a Star Wars fan (anyone seen my avatar?), but you may also remember me telling everyone to "Use the wizards, Luke, use the wizards" over 3 years ago when explaining that SBS can help make life easier. Today, when playing catch up on a number of blogs, I noticed this article from Susan Bradley that said all I wanted to say / have been saying: http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2006/04/08/89925.aspx A blog worth reading, and I especially like the start: Well..actually more likely.. once you screw up the box so much .. you learn yourself why there are some wizards you should just never bypass..... and the biggie... the granddaddy of the wizards that you should not bypass unless you want me to personally hunt you down... is the basic install wizard of Small Business Server in the first place. HandyAndy's web site has the screen shots..but make your life and your customer's life easier by letting the box install everything as it wants to be laid down by that SBS installer. I don't care if you don't use Exchange and use Pop protocol inside of Outlook (ugh). I don't care if your client doesn't know what Sharepoint is....there just might be a time in your clients future that they might need it and want it and then you'll have to get those bits back on the box. Thus it's easier to install the SBS box and let it do it's "thing" and then when you are done, then go back and inside the "services" manually disable those services you don't want running. But do yourself a huge favor and let the box do what it wants do to. And don't even think that you can install SBS "by hand" like the big server boxes. Do ensure that user folders and Exchange get moved over to different partitions of course, but don't even think of installing a SBS box by hand the "manual" way. I really couldn't put it better, so read the who entry, then have a look at the blog - you will not regret it :-) ttfn David
  • Win prizes for telling us about how you have improved your customers' solutions

    Hello again, One of the common conversations we have is around how some SBS implementations are very poorly done. Then, the quality partners, often Partner Groups or SBSC members re-implement the solution to much higher standards. Microsoft has a competition to reward those excellent designs now – details found at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/technet/designit/default.mspx . This is the design IT competition with entries required by 3rd May. There is also a charity entry piece there too. Prizes include: Winner The winner from DesignIT will be awarded a trip to the Ice Hotel in Sweden for two people Runners up The four finalists that are runners up in the public vote will be awarded either: An Xbox 360 A Creative Zen (MP3 Player) A Smartphone A Media Centre PC The ten shortlisted designs will be exhibited in the DesignIT exhibition commencing 30 May 2006. The exhibition will be held at the Arndean Gallery, London ttfn 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...
  • Fixing SMTP Issues

    Do you find yourself struggling to fix SMTP issues with your Exchange set up? If so, give this tool a try and things might look much better for you. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=BC1881C7-925D-4A29-BD42-71E8563C80A9&displaylang=en ttfn David
  • 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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  • What did SB+ ever do for me?

    One of the recent heated discussions has been around the services that Microsoft has started to offer to consumers and small businesses. Last night at the Thames Valley Partner Group I was asked in Microsoft was going to start servicing customers directly. This was then followed by Matt's presentation ( http://www.axxis.com ) on SLAs and much discussion was had about how people do/don't want to deal with those "how do I format my Excel spreadsheet" type questions. So I thought I would highlight the services Microsoft offers, for both consumers and small businesses, but we are hardly alone in this and I think it ties up to Vlad's post at http://www.vladville.com/2006/04/your-potentialour-passion-they-took-r.html . The world is constantly changing, online services are being offered by many people and Microsoft is working to see how new partner can benefit and existing parnters can take advantage of them. So let's look at the services: SB+ / One Care - information about this can be found at https://www.microsoft.com/uk/businesscentral/small-business-plus/default.aspx?xid=sbp_bc_btn and the pricing is detailed https://www.microsoft.com/uk/businesscentral/small-business-plus/about-small-business-helpdesk-loggedin.htm . This is often just sorting out stuff that can be found on MS web sites, but can be hard to find. This is often the type of work that most partners do not enjoy doing, or is often not profitable. This is discussed on the SBSBPI web site http://www.sbsbpi.co.uk/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=115&highlight=onecare with people generally coming out positive, plus we are looking at how to make it even MORE partner friendly. We do have other services coming, such as http://www.officelive.com and http://ideas.live.com , however these are not finished products yet, so are either free, or will be advertising funded in the future. This will include services like hosting, Instant Messaging, e-mail etc. Many of these we have offered for a while already, or other competitors have come into the market meaning that the dynamics...
  • Are your SBS customers wanting to move off SBS to bigger things?

    I often tell people about organisations that have outgrown their SBS system. Many people are not aware that the answer to this problem is the Transition Pack. For those who are, they often worry about "what is involved" and "how long will it take". Believe it or not, I have not used the transition pack yet, so while my copy is on order, I thought that I would share this resource to help you understand more. It covers everything from licensing, to documentation through to process. http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2006/01/12/417350.aspx Let me know what you think David
  • Do you want to pre-register for info on the upcoming betas

    I just came across this place to register for info on betas via Technet. It may well be worth signing up. Since I already run Office 2007 & Windows Vista, I can wholeheartedly say these are great productivity tools. Exchange 12 has so many fabulous features that I can't wait. The down side is that Exchange will not ship for SBS until after Windows Server Longhorn, which means we will have several months of Exchange 12 shipping and the only way to add it to an SBS environment is via an additional server, x64 enabled. http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/beta/preregister.mspx is the link you need to go see. ttfn David
  • SMBNation photos from Susanne

    Expect more photos to surface, but Susanne has put some some up on her personal blog (did you know she has 3). Anyway, photos of the gang - http://spaces.msn.com/susannedansey/photos/ . Just don't ask why it looks like I am hopping in one of them - it was one of those timing shots. I forgot my camera, so no photos from me. Expect to see other photos linked on the site soon. ttfn David
  • What a great post by Vlad - arguing about Microsoft and the changing market

    Not thta I wish for this to turn into a "look over there" type of blog, I read the article http://www.vladville.com/2006/04/your-potentialour-passion-they-took-r.html at Vlad's site (he also does the podcasts at www.sbsshow.com . Anyway, I am always telling people the market is changing and he talks about this - we need to constantly find new business models. very much worth a read :-) ttfn David
  • Jo Carpenter from Microsoft joins the blogroll

    Hello everyone, as you may know my workload has got a bit silly, so I have the pleasure in announcing that Jo will be assisting me in the land of Small Business. She will specifically be focusing on how Office (2003 & 2007) works for small business. Her blog can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/jo_carpenter/default.aspx or the RSS feed at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/jo_carpenter/rss.aspx . Say welcome and start asking her questions :-) ttfn David
  • Susanne has gone for the split personality

    Now you all know how great a community leader Susanne is (and if not, better go find out by seeing here community site at http://www.sbsbpi.co.uk ) and that she has her blog on this site, well she has now struck out on her own as well - have a look at her posts on http://www.uksmbgirl.co.uk/blog/ ttfn David
  • Thinking about SLAs to improve your business, or better documentation or swinging?

    We are priviledged to have some of the SBS GREATs speaking over the next 3 nights on these subjects and more and if you wanted to join in, now is a great time to "come on over" to the Partner Groups. Details of the events can be found at http://www.sbsbpi.co.uk and you will find people speaking in Dublin (Jeff Middleton on Swing Migration), London tonight (Karl and Matt on documentation and SLAs), Birmingham on Tuesday (Karl, Jeff (I think) and Matt on documentation, swing migration and SLAs) and then in Thames Valley on Wednesday with Karl and Matt again. On the subject of SLAs, I have posted a short piece in the forum at http://uksbsguy.com/forums/thread/258.aspx for people to expand the discussion around. ttfn David
  • So what did Microsoft ever do for me - or latest offers and help with licensing?

    One of the things that I am often hearing is how Microsoft could do more for opur partners - and I don't disagree, but in many cases the things I am asked for are already available. One of the goals of SBSC is to enable me to spend my time with better quality partners, and for Microsoft to direct customers to those quality partners. There are lots of other benefits and purposes too, such as providing focused support and offers, listening to your needs and delivering on them etc. Two things that people have asked me for recently are: Help understanding what "offers" Microsoft has running at the moment - check out http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/sales_and_marketing/promotions/default.aspx?page=latest for a full list Help me configure against my license needs -See the license configurator - http://members.microsoft.com/partner/uk/sales_and_marketing/gearup/ One nice feature of the configurator is that you can compare various license types. We are also running a couple of campaigns at the moment, but the one I like is the "Right Server" campaign, designed to pitch SBS into those businesses larger than 25 users, but still where SBS sits - have a look at the material at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/windowsserversystem/rightserver/default.mspx and let me know what you think. One if the items I really like in there are the webcasts on what SBS can do for you - have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/windowsserversystem/rightserver/webcasts.mspx for more info. ttfn David
  • Blog moved to new URL and redirection in place against old URL

    Hello, I wanted to move my blog to an easier URL, and I have done so - the new URLs are: RSS - http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/rss.aspx WEB - http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/default.aspx Atom - http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/atom.aspx However when looking at the logs for the site, lots of people were trying to access via the old entries, so I have put in place a simple re-direction piece of software that re-writes the URL from the old to the new without yopu having to know. Once the new URLs take over in popularity I will remove this software. Obviously I would like you to change your Favourites and Reader software as soon as possible. For those who are interested, the re-direction software can be found at http://www.isapirewrite.com/ and the 1 line I had to put into their httpd.ini file was: RewriteRule (.*)david_overton_blog_more_technical(.*) $1doverton$2 Not exactly difficult to manage and that changes the longer name to the shorter one whereever it is found. ttfn David
  • Off-line site

    While I was away in Amsterdam my SBS box crashed twice, so I took the server offline today to run a lenght memory and hard disk test - neither returned any results, but the system appears to be crashing from random hardware issues - I will update you with hwo I diagnosed it soon. ttfn David
  • Off topic- another feature played with in Vista

    Hello again everyone, I have been playing with a new feature in Vista . It is the the ability to dictate directly into the operating system or application, so for example this blog was dictated using a the headset and Windows Vista speech recognition of my UK accent. While it can be frustrating while windows lands my voice one benefit at least is that I no longer have to spell check what type type is this is automatically performed by the voice recognition technology. It can even be set to use my local language so words which would normally be spelt in the American way such as a magazine are now starting the English way. While this technology is not knew I had spent many hours in the past training this sort of behaviour into applications before where is now it is taken over a short amount of time to get it right. The process of correcting its mistakes is also very nice as is the way in which you can now move around other applications including Internet explorer by showing that numbers for all of the places where you can click and then enabling you to voice activated a particular number. Okay that's enough for this particular entry it was really just to see how difficult this would actually be. It's turned out to be very simple in the end. ttfn David
  • Microsoft in the community and Susanne Dansey as a case Study

    Hello there, while looking at what Microsoft is doing in the UK as a responsible member of the community I noticed the following entry with Susanne in the picture. It turns out that Susanne has helped us with the information. Her story can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/citizenship/stories/susanne.mspx , and it mentions her site http://www.sbsbpi.co.uk and of course her blog can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/susanne_dansey/default.aspx on this site. Finally, if you want to know more about Microsoft and the UK community, go have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/citizenship/default.mspx ttfn David
  • Microsoft makes Virtual Server Free and buys Pro-Clarity

    Well folks, I could not tell you this was coming (and only knew about the price change in Virtual Server), but it is quite a day for news. VS becoming free means that all you who wanted to look at it for Swing Migrations, or small projects can now do so, although check the requirements for licesnes inside the VMs. Anyway, the two News items are: April 3, 2006 • Microsoft Agrees to Acquire ProClarity, Enhancing Business Intelligence Offering Leader in advanced analytics adds to Microsoft’s comprehensive BI capabilities. • Q&A: Bringing the Benefits of Virtualization Technology to the Mainstream Microsoft delivers Linux support and makes Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 available to customers at no charge as part of its ongoing effort to radically simplify IT management. ttfn David
  • Blog moving

    My blog will be moving to the new address of http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/default.aspx and the RSS feed will become http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/RSS.aspx on the 9th April. Until then, continue to use this feed
  • 2nd Partner Group lead now blogging on the site

    This is just a quick note to say welcome to Ian Watkins who is the London Partner Group lead and also a recent SBSC member. Ian is now also blogging on the web site. His blog can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/ianwatkins/default.aspx or the RSS feed at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/ianwatkins/rss.aspx . Ian joins Susanne with her blog at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/susanne_dansey/default.aspx or the RSS feed at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/susanne_dansey/rss.aspx . Look out for more soon. ttfn David
  • Off topic - This is awesome - BBC plans for internet & Vista

    Hi guys, this is something that truely knocked me out - check out the next gen of BBC with Windows Vista - site found at http://blog.mix06.com/virtualmix/archive/2006/03/17/BBC_demo.aspx and the video is linked through the video files forum on the site http://uksbsguy.com/files/18/videos/default.aspx ttfn David
  • Video's everywhere

    Hello, I have started added video links into the site - have a look under http://uksbsguy.com/files , but until I do so, you might also want to have a look at the following items on the Microsoft Partner blog site ( http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog ) http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo01-gettingemailanywhere.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo03-realtimecommunications.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo04-datavisualisation.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo05-portals.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo06-electronicforms.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo08a-businesssolutions.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo08b-businesssolutions.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo08c-businesssolutions.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo11-crm.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo13-enterpriseprojectmanagement.wvx ttfn David
  • Dave Sayers posts on Patching Pain

    Dave Sayers is a great guy (most of the time), is part of the same team as me, but has a very strange hobby - he worries about security and patching. We have an item that is not too technical on the web site at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/sales_and_marketing/pts-press/articles/patching_pains.aspx Worth a very quick scan for the more salesy people :-) ttfn David
  • Security Discussion

    While many people poo-poo the site, have a look at the get safe online site – it does do the job that people are asking for. John and Peter raised some interesting points. Some customers just do not believe that security is a threat they have to pay attention to, or that it requires real management to fix. This is something we can start to work towards. We do have materials on bCentral.co.uk around security which is key for business and obviously the www.microsoft.com/security newsletters to our partners. I was also asked “how long should I wait before I apply a patch”. This is always a difficult question in the real world, but you basically have to weigh between – what is the impact if I don’t apply the patch and what is the worst case if I do. On the “If I do not” front, then the system could be compromised, data lost or the server turned into a bot. If it is really nasty, it could also gather information from the employees potentially impacting both the business and it’s staff personally. On the flip site, applying a patch could potentially BSOD the system – not something we hear about often. With major changes such as SP1 for Windows Server or SP2 for XP, we built in a removal script that could be used with the Command Console (\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons to install from a windows cd) to remove the product. More likely is that nothing bad will happen. Should something “bad” happen it is more likely to be that an application has hit a problem with the patch. In this case, look at how to protect the system and then remove the patch. At each conference I speak at I ask about auto patching – for Audiences of 150-200 people I normally get between 1 and 4 who say they have had a problem with a patch. More raise their hand to say they have been hit with viri etc. John also pointed out some absolutely top adverts / video from Microsoft, which I have linked to in the downloads section, on Security and Livemeeting. John’s Blog can be found at http://blog.roundtripsolutions.com If you want to share thoughts on security, either...
  • Tour of Scotland - 2 down, 1 to go and only shot once, but I think it is only a flesh wound

    Last night was my second Partner Group meeting in Scotland. I have seen the delights of Aberdeen (previously I had only seen the docs and this was a very interesting perspective on life) and the joys of Glasgow - I discovered that the local offices for many businesses appear to be the SAS Radisson Hotel which USED to have free wireless. On my 1st night we spent our time talking about the importance of training and Office and Vista. Then last night at Glasgow we spoke about training again (as QA were a guest for the night) and Security. While one person successfully tackled me on security I hope I got across the theme that security is simple if rules are followed. To follow up on these subjects, I thought I would do a quick "David" to each area. Many people tackle me with 2 questions on training: Why do I have to go get training before I sit an exam and Why can I not just do on the job training? I always get a bit ratty about the 1st one as my answer is that if you know the technology enough to sit the exam without the training, then sit the exam - the pass marks are not set at the 100% level, so discovering a few small holes during the exam does no harm. However, it you are not yet skilled enough to deliver that solution - you need to get skilled and training (in its 110 various forms) is the way to do this. I don't mind if it is On The Job, e-learning, from a book, shadowing someone etc, just get the skills. The other really important piece here was that if you are going to do OTJ training - be fair to your customers and let them know. The security piece covered off the basics - such as information that can be found at www.getsafeonline.org . The biggest criticism of this was the ease of converting this information into something a business can understand and get excited (or depressed) about and see the value. John suggested many things and they deserve a blog entry on their own to share. As for Office and Vista - it is getting close and I hope to post next week on all the information that is out there for these...
  • More people blogging on the site - SBS Partner Group leaders

    Hello guys, I have invited the UK Partner Group leaders to blog if they desire on this site. For those who do, you can see all the leader blogs by going to http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/default.aspx?GroupID=4 or all the MS folks by going to http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/default.aspx?GroupID=14 , or all blogs together by going to http://uksbsguy.com/blogs . Susanne Dansey, the Kent leader has already made her 1st post, which can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/susanne_dansey/default.aspx , while Time Long who runs the South Wales group has blogs at http://community.tigranetworks.co.uk/blogs/default.aspx Obviously these can all be found on RSS feeds too: Everyone's - http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/MainFeed.aspx SBS Leads - http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/MainFeed.aspx?GroupID=4 MS People - http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/MainFeed.aspx?GroupID=14 Susanne's - http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/susanne_dansey/rss.aspx Mine (OK, so the RSS link is long, so you can use the re-direct one too) http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/david_overtons_blog_more_technical/rss.aspx http://uksbsguy.com/r.ashx?3 that was it - I hope to have more people sending us their thoughts soon. Thanks to Susanne for starting things off. One last thing, remember that this site is not here for representing MS views, but those who work with MS software!! I have no control over the Leads (or anyone else for that matter), so the posts are their views, not mine or MS's. Take care David
  • FSB presentation on security (online, credit card, phishing, backups etc)

    Hi guys - I managed to fill the fringe meeting room and then some today with this discussion. The workshop seemed to be a success and discussed the several forms of security peope need to worry about, from remembering to test backups to getting a quality partner to work with. The slides are available in PDF format (one of the output formats from 2007 Microsoft Office system) :-) http://uksbsguy.com/files/12/fsb_event/entry190.aspx to download the file. ttfn David
  • FSB want to work with SBSC & Partner Group Partners

    I have just posted a forum entry to http://uksbsguy.com/forums/183/ShowThread.aspx#183 as several members of the FSB have asked me about working together with SBSC members to present to their groups. The FSB has over 192,000 members, so a large opportunity and they are all small businesses. Interest is rising in the use of technology to solve business problems with key topics today being SBS, professional mail, remote working, sharing data, customer / contact management and general upgrade questions. I can put people in touch with the regional officers for the FSB if desired. They think they can provide a bas or 70+ people to joint events!! ttfn David
  • I have added more RSS feeds into the "Roller"

    Howdy folks, I have added a number of RSS feeds into the roller if you want to see what I think is interesting. This covers SBS sites, technology sites and the Partner (User) Group sites. Pop along to http://uksbsguy.com/roller/default.aspx to see them in action ttfn David
  • Vista and Office roadmap changes

    Hi, many of you may have seen me present Vista and Office at recent events and I thought it was only fair that I updated you on the changes that have been annoucned over the past few days. Two press releases have been made, both confirming the ship and launch plans for the products, which now falls before and after January. http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2006/mar06/03-24OfficeTimingPR.mspx covers the Office plan and annoucnes that the product with RTM in October and a release to Software Assurance customers will happen pre-Christmas and an aligned launch with Vista will happend in January. http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2006/mar06/03-21WindowsVistaDeliveryPR.mspx states pretty much the same, with Software Assurance customers getting access pre-Christmas and the launch (obviously as it is joint), in January. This is being described in the press releases as a business and consumer launch, but since many small business customers do not have Software Assurance, they will be in the January group, which is not just consumers. As always, more information on Vista can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista and http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview ttfn David
  • Get a view of the UK Technical PTSs (people like me) and UK Partner Programme blogs

    http://blogs.technet.com/msppuk/ I could leave it simply like that, but this is a great blog by Alex to help tell you about all the good things going on in the partner land. It also has a link to mine & my colleages blogs, so if you want to find someone who can answer your question on RTC or E12 or What is People Ready Business, this is the place to visit. ttfn David
  • ISA & SBS is Secure

    Talking about SBS is never the easist thing to do, people ask about security, what can it do for them and people are also sometimes put off by the Enterprise focus on much of the SBS information out there. This is no longer true, if you go to http://isainsbs.blogspot.com/ , which is a fabulious blog by Amy you will see ISA information that is relivant for SBS 2003 & ISA 2004. I have also put some basic ideas on what ISA can do for you in the forum - http://uksbsguy.com/forums/thread/145.aspx as always, feedback is welcome ttfn David
  • Don't forget you can ask me questions and get answers today online - Live - 4:30pm

    I have a web conference today that you are welcome to join. I will be answering questions about ISA 2004, Windows mobile and branch office deployments. You can register by going to http://msevents-eu.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=118770024&EventCategory=4&culture=en-GB&CountryCode=GB and you will get the web links. See you there ttfn David
  • Site up and down - the moral of the story is to not do config when you are tired

    Sometimes it is possible to do some really, really stupid things. I thought I would share it with you all as 1) you may have noticed a little less availability to the site and 2) this is just to prove that I am human too What did I do, well, I was playing with ISA 2004 on the SBS system that this site runs on and changing the rules. It was late at night and my timetable has been busy to say the least recently, so I decided to fiddle with http headers in SBS. The problem was that I changed the headers to be blocked, rather than the headers to use, so the site was passing all content for uksbsguy.com through, but blocking any headers from that site .. major badness ANyway, this is fixed, when looking at it in the cold light of day, and you should see the site be 100% available again. Oh, now where did I put my halo..... ttfn David
  • Want to know a litttle bit about our other products - watch it here

    The team I am part of is a fun little group and we made a roup of videos which discuss our technology. Each video is just a few minutes long, but might give you the overview you need before or after the meetings. The videos we have are: http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo01-gettingemailanywhere.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo03-realtimecommunications.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo04-datavisualisation.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo05-portals.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo06-electronicforms.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo08a-businesssolutions.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo08b-businesssolutions.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo08c-businesssolutions.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo11-crm.wvx http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/blog/demo13-enterpriseprojectmanagement.wvx I am sure you can figure out which is which. ttfn David
  • 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
  • Training to help Accelerate Sales & Profitability in the Small Business Channel

    I was asked last night to start telling people about training and courses. This course needs more people in London & Manchester for us to be happy (7th & 10th April) - more details in the forum - http://uksbsguy.com/forums/thread/116.aspx ttfn David
  • Freezing in Bristol

    Yesterday I spent a couple of hours with the Bristol Partner Group (a Partner Group is a User Group, expect all it's members are partners). It was a great time listening to peoples needs and offering information from Microsoft. I have posted a note to the forum http://uksbsguy.com/forums/thread/102.aspx with all the details. It has also raised some great questions along the way that have been posted to the SBS and training areas. I have created a training forum found at http://uksbsguy.com/forums/21/ShowForum.aspx where you can choose to get e-mails when anything changes and I will post training information as I find it for you. ttfn David P.S. Why freezing in Bristol... well the reception was very warming, but once i left I found myself spending 90 minutes on a freezing cold platform waiting for a train heading Reading way.
  • Not sure about the value of partner - here is a good list of reasons

    I was asked to record a little video as to why people should join the partner programme, especially with regard to selling to small businesses. It is worth looking at the video if you are not sure of the value around the levels. However, one nice thing about the site is the list of benefits you get - are you making use of all of them yet? http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/programme/registered/default.aspx?page=overview These include: Hands-On Labs Online Classroom training Quarterly not-for-distribution software* Partner Marketing Centre access Project Guides Business-critical phone support Microsoft Managed Newsgroups Partner Solution Profiler Then, if you join the SBSC programme you also get: http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/sbsc/ A Small Business Specialist badge so you can differentiate yourself in a busy market Connection with customers looking for IT suppliers in your area Access to our pilot of free pre-sales technical support Customisable sales and marketing collateral aligned with Microsoft marketing campaigns Access to offerings to support small business customers: MS Financing, Technology Adoption and Beta Programmes, and Small Business Product Previews Finally, if you join SBSC Premium you also get access to the following: Special invites around software Computer Associates software offer Invite to apply for access Small Business Accounting Alpha+/betas in the UK Sales Resources Communication This guide focuses on improving communication in the workplace and answering concerns that customers might have about solutions based on Small Business Server 2003. Team working This guide stresses the importance of effective team working in a small business. It will help you to give your customers good reasons why Small Business Server 2003 can improve team building and productivity. Mobility This guide answers some common concerns that customers might have about flexible time and staff working from home. It explains how Small Business Server mobile computing systems can improve processes and productivity while...
  • Getting Windows Mobile V5.0 working with SBS 2003

    OK, so I did not realise we had actually written this up, but at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=62797 is the document you need to help you do this. One quick point to make, with Windows Mobile 5.0 you can no longer turn off Certificate Checking, so you will need to buy a certificate that matches one of the roots on the phone - and this list can be changed by each carrier, so do your homework!! Windows Mobile V5 also has the always-up-to-date functionality that people often ask for, so this is just another reason to sell these solutions. Just to add a bit more spice, I also run ALK's Co-Pilot GPS routing tool on my phone - something the "other" devices are not really good at :-) ttfn David
  • eCommerce in Wales

    Hi, I will be presenting at an event in Wales on the 4th April to a number of eCommerce advisors. Is there any special message you would want me to give? The Opportunity Wales programme has delivered over 9,000 eCommerce Review meetings with SMEs in Wales. Outline Programme Schedule 9:00 * 9:30 Registration and Refreshments 9:30 -9:35 Welcome and Introduction 9:35 * 10:40 Session 1 (Includes 10-15 minutes for Q&A interaction in presentation) Microsoft Strategic Update How software will be delivered as a service and the impact this will have on computer hardware, software, devices, upgrades, bandwidth requirements, customisation and configuration, eCommerce integration and the consumer and business user. 10:40 -11:00 Break and Refreshments 11:00 * 12:15 Session 2 (Includes 10-15 minutes for Q&A interaction) Windows Live and Office Live What are these services and offerings and how will these offerings help your business clients. Security and privacy issues and solutions. 5-10 clever things you should know about these products. 12:15 - 1:15 Buffet Lunch 1:15 - 2:15 Session 3 (Includes 15 minutes for Q&A interaction) Microsoft CRM 3.0 and its integration with Microsoft Office and other applications to have a single customer record for all applications. On-Demand or On-Premise solutions and pricing. How easy is CRM 3.0 to customise or configure? What about operating system and appliction updates and packs on CRM3.0? 5-10 clever things you should know about these products. 2:15 - 2:35 Break and Refreshments 2:35 - 3:45 Session 4 (Includes 15 minutes for Q&A interaction) Future e-benefits using Microsoft Windows Vista & Office 2007 What's different and how these products will help businesses to change their working practices to be more efficient using on-line solutions. 5-10 clever things you should know about these products. 3:45 * 4:00 Q & A and (Close) I will let you know more as I know more. 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
  • I hate doing things that you ask for, but then ignore, while the successes are very sweet indeed

    Hello, time for a bit of a rant. I really enjoy trying to please this community and doing the things you ask for. People often spend more time telling me what we should be doing rather than what is good or great about what I/we do already. So, a couple of things have come up recently, and while we are trying to make them happen, the take-up has been low and it makes we wonder if perhaps we should stop. Brave talk, but perhaps we need to ask the question "are you really, really, really sure you want this?" a bit more before we try to please . Here are a few of the requests that when we try to do things I don't see movement on - I would love to hear if they are plain wrong, delivered in the wrong way, missing a crucial element etc: Technical chat - we have a live meeting booked where I will answer a bunch of "why don't you", or "how can I" type questions. Information can be found at http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=4622546 - if you want me to discuss certain technology areas, please sign-up and send the question area and I can move this forward. I don't want a handful of questions, I want lots, so start to push them in by mailing them or leaving on the forums on this site! Please put on more training nearer my location... where the location can be anywhere from London to Aberdeen. We do more of this - the ignite tour touches 17 cities, a major boost from our sometimes lower number, however some of these are struggling to get 5 people signed up - so perhaps those locations should be dropped, or the content is wrong - let me know!! Training to help me sell better and make my life easier - at the moment this is in 4 or 5 locations around hte UK, but again I just don't see enough people wanting it - have a look at http://www.microsoft.co.uk/events/net/EventDetail.aspx?eventid=8357 if you are interested in this - it is also part of becoming a Premium SBSC partner which then provides more info on even more areas. Then there are the courses around the 70-282 exam - we provide them, so come along - see http://www.microsoft.com...
  • New Ultra-mobile PC also know as Project Origami

    Hi, this is not necessarily a small business only tool, but it is a computing device that has me excited at a personal level. It is a small PC, about the size of a book. It looks cool, runs Windows and Vista in the future and uses input devices such as your finger. For more information you can go to: http://www.origamiproject.com http://www.microsoft.com/umpc http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2006/mar06/03-09Mobile.mspx http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=169962 http://www.intel.com/design/mobile/platform/umpc.htm ttfn - as soon as these actually ship I will be buying one with my own money - a big commitment frome me & my wife I can tell you. Oh, did I mention the price point - $599 - $999.. sweeeet ttfn David
  • Why become a SBSC Premium partner and how to do it.

    So, you have heard of SBSC, you have probably joined the programme and now you are beginning to hear about the Premium partners. Why do SBSC members become premium partners, especially since there is not always the external recognition around this? 1st off, ask the members of your user group who are premium why they do it. The 1st thing I notice is that many small business partners ask for help in the sales and marketing area. SBSC definately delivers here - the one day course can be an eye opener for opportunities on improving profitability or opening up new service areas. This increases as additional content is made available to you through the process to help with CRM and other areas and the list will continue. Then there is marketing support and telephone pre-sales technical support (T-PTS) - all designed to get other people running doing things you don't have time for, Want someone to hunt down the answer to a technical question - get the T-PTS to do it for you. Want some campaing help or assistance, look at Campaign Builder or the marketing bureau. Then of course, when we need to ask a small number of people to look at future solutions, while we prefer to start with the whole of the SBSC, sometimes we need to restrict the numbers further - this is where the Premium group come in. And this is all just what is available today - the future looks even brighter. If you want to attend the training, they can be booked on the following URL - it is probably one of the most valuable cash sums you have spent with Microsoft, after your action pack subscription - it does cost £99+Vat. http://www.microsoft.co.uk/events/net/EventDetail.aspx?eventid=8357 Locations currently available: Spaces available 07-Apr London, Tabernacle Street Register online 10-Apr Manchester Register online 28-Apr Reading Register online 24-May Glasgow Register online ttfn David
  • Help me shape the site by telling me what you want

    Hi folks, while I can build this site by my self, I want at least the desire for what if should hold to be by the people for the people. To this end, I have posted a question in the SBSC forum asking for feedback and asking for people to vote in a poll. To get direction to the poll, please go to http://uksbsguy.com/forums/47/ShowThread.aspx and vote (and post) suggestions. The current plan is to try to deliver: Pointers to technology information Pointers to small business information Pointers to user groups A forum for discussion Answers to questions Information about interesting things that are happening that I feel might be of use tit-bits of information that I find interesting, but might be a little off-topic thanks 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
  • Do you sell SBS to UK charities - we can help

    I LOVE working with charities in the UK, so much so that I am the treasurer for one in the UK – if anyone wants to give funds or assistance to the Farnborough and District Samaritans (you know, the people you call when you are feeling very low or suicidal) let me know. Anyway, we would love to help other charities, so here is how we can work together. Here is the deal – if you: Send me details on the charity, including their charity number Tell me why they want the SBS server (a paragraph, not war and peace) Promise that we can talk to them within 6 months of it being put in to see how it has helped Then I will try to do you a deal – this has been very successful in the past. Mail me at doverton@microsoft.com
  • 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...
  • IDC and Toolkit links now in the SBSC forum section

    I did promise to post the IDC whitepapers URL and find the Toolkit URL. They are both currently in the global SBS site, but will be moving to the UK SBSC site soon. I have posted the links in tge SBSC forum so people can share experiences on them. ttfn David
  • David Overton's technical presentations now in the "My Files" section

    So the Harry B event for me was another great time to chat to people and update everyone on the direction Microsoft was headed. The core elements for me were: 1) Microsoft understands that you have a growing and capable business model today 2) We believe that using our new technologies over the next 18 months there is even more opportunities for partners and customers alike 3) We also believe that making use of the technologies already deployed in customers is a great way to expand your business. This includes Windows Sharepoint Services and the 30 templates available for these – I will post more on these on Monday – MS CRM, Office on the desktop and so on 4) You need to understand our roadmap to choose when to jump on and why The technologies covered in the presentations were: SBS 2003 R2 MS CRM V3 Windows Vista Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003 Microsoft Small Business Accounting SBS Longhorn – note this is x64 only, but many servers are already running x64 chips, even though they are running 32-bit SBS 2003. location of files - http://uksbsguy.com/files/default.aspx Ttfn David
  • Presentations and "other stuff" coming later

    At the two Community roadshows I promised content on this site - it is coming. I have been disconnected for a little while, but will spend this afternoon updating information. If there is anything in particular you want to discussed, either join and add to the forums, or put in a comment ttfn David
  • Harry Brelsford Visit

    Wow That was a fast and furious two days. Harry B, world famous SBSser has been over presenting information on the secrets of his success and talking about how to get the 70-282 exam under your belt. I have been interspersing his presentations with technology road maps. It has been fun and the feedback has been clear. Keep the technology information coming, but also keep the business info flowing along with all the SBSC benefits. For those who need to know, SBSC can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/sbsc Ttfn David uk sbs

(c)David Overton 2006-13