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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  • 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...
  • ISVs can learn about Microsoft’s strategy and products and how they fit into selling solutions – come to the events in TVP and Manchester on the 10th and 24th April

    One of the biggest criticisms of Microsoft by our ISV partners is that they don’t know where we are going… well this even should help solve that – see you there perhaps: Introduction 09.30 - 10.00 Registration & coffee 10.00 – 10.15 Welcome & Introduction Deliver Innovative Solutions 10.15 – 10.45 Microsoft strategy direction 10.45 – 11.30 Microsoft technology roadmap 11.30 – 11.50 Coffee break Increase your opportunities 11.50 – 12.15 Marketing & sales initiatives Close more sales 12.15 – 12.30 Services & licensing for sales acceleration Support your Customers 12.30 – 12.45 Technical support resources 12.45 – 13.00 Wrap up with Q&A 13.00 – 14.00 Lunch & networking 10 th Apr, Chicago 1, TVP Registration url: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032373283&Culture=en-GB 24 th Apr, The Lowry, Manchester Registration url: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032373286&Culture=en-GB Enjoy the event! ttfn David Technorati Tags: ISV , Microsoft , Strategy , Roadmap , event
  • 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...
  • Lots of Partner training (new url) - Licensing 101, Sales 101, Office PerformancePoint, Office Business Applications (OBA), Enterprise Search, SharePoint Services and Server 2007, Office Communications Server 2007, Infrastructure Optimisation (IO) ...

    [updated with a working URL] Partner Licensing 101 – The next one is being held on the 4 th December 2007 This session will equip sales people with a top level knowledge that will enable them to talk to new and existing customers about Microsoft licensing. Target Audience: This session is aimed primarily at sales people from all Partner types, although it is appropriate for all Partner roles whether in Sales, Purchasing or Technical. The course is ideal for new starters looking for a good introduction to Microsoft licensing or just a great as a refresher for those who have taken a break from Microsoft licensing. This session is suitable for people who present technology solutions to customers from a non-technical perspective and need to demonstrate the correct way for customers to purchase. Click Here to register For further information please contact Carla Symonds. Partner Sales 101 - The next one is being held on the 5 th December 2007 - Aim: This session will equip sales people with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to talk to new and existing customers about the business benefits of Microsoft technologies, and associated areas such as licensing. -Target Audience: This session is aimed at sales people. People within a partner organisation who present technology solutions to customers from a non-technical or business point of view and people who are not technical experts and do not demonstrate software, but talk about the possible solution outcome. -Objectives: For the sales person to gain an understanding of all key Microsoft technologies, with additional focus on infrastructure, and the Portals and Business Intelligence solutions, Windows Vista, Office 2007,the Microsoft Dynamics products and the fundamentals of Microsoft licensing. Click Here to register for the 5 th December 2007. For further information please contact Carla Symonds. Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 Technical training. This four day instructor-led workshop provides students with the knowledge and skills to architect...
  • Want Office 2007 with a 50% discount? You have until Christmas to upgrade and get a 50% discount with Open Value Subscription

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

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

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

    This little tool is something worth downloading and reading to help answer some of those licensing queries and to learn more about selling Volume Licensing and the rules and benefits of other licensing types. Get it from here It walk through: Basic licence types How to become a reseller How to sell these licence's (key messaging and operational info) Product Specific licensing ‘need to knows’ ttfn David Technorati Tags: Licensing , Tools
  • Do you sell Microsoft product and went something to make it easier to understand our licensing and products? Something that will help you up-sell and cross-sell to your customers? If so, then the Gear Up book is for you

    In a recent mail it announced: The Microsoft Sales Toolkit is your source for driving sales. It is the licensing and sales 'product handbook' that will help you generate up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, giving you and your Partners information on the full portfolio of Microsoft products and services. You can find information on what the product is, how to sell it, relevant SKU numbers and FAQs. The toolkit is produced twice a year and is available as a hardcopy, to keep on your desk, or to download as a pdf, to take out with you to meet customers. Visit www.microsoft.com/uk/gearup for more details or to download the pdf version. Go get it, it might just answer one or two of those questions you have!! ttfn David Technorati tags: Gear Up , licensing , sales , Microsoft
  • Buying Vista and then installing an old version of Office - what are you allowed to do

    I have already discussed on this blog what is and is not support for Office on Vista (any version from 2000 on) here . However there is always the question of licensing what is actually allowed and what would be piracy. I am going to try to make it very simple here. · If you have the Home and Student (was the Student and Teacher) Edition then this can be installed on 3 computers in the same household · If you have a previous “Full Packaged Product” – the pretty box you bought at a retailers – version of the product then this can be removed from one computer and installed on a new computer. It can only be installed on one computer at any time · If your software is provided as part of a volume license agreement then you can install on a new computer or other computers, but if you change the number of computers that it is installed on you may have to pay more for the extra usage. · If you have neither of these then you have an OEM copy – this is provided and supported by the people who supplied your computer and part of the license provision is that it belongs to that computer only and can not be transferred anywhere else. I hope that makes it clear. As always, leave a comment for any questions. Ttfn David
  • SBS 2003 R2 & CALsare now on the Academic Price list so you can sell SBS to schools again :-)

    Hi guys, I've just picked this up from one of our internats web chats and thought I would share it. SBS will be on the Academic Price List and available in all languages (SBS Standard, Premium + 5 CAL packs) through Volume Licensing as of April 1st. For FPP, retailers will be able to get the product as of May 4th. This is great news and I have had it confirmed that it is on Wescoasts price list, plus some other distributors. ttfn David
  • Help to make the Office 2007 document type a standard (Open XML) - click the link

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

(c)David Overton 2006-13