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...
  • Microsoft announces Home Server - ever want something like SBS, but targeted at home users with home user functionality (i.e. no Exchange, but wizards and tools around storage and media, sharing etc)

    Finally Microsoft will deliver you a server that sits at home, is ideally suited for everyone in the house to use. It could even find itself into really small businesses in combination with Offie Live (backup and central monitoring provided by Home Server and e-mail, calendar, domain etc provided by Live). So what is it, well, think SBS, remove Exchange, SQL and ISA, update the wizards and remote access to be applicable for data sharing and a home network (but still keep them), then add some cool features like adding new disks the existing sharing volumes so exapansion is simply slotting in a new disk. This is Quattro, or Q or Home Server and the beta is coming soon too!! As is always, several people already blogged on it and gave some great links, but go check out the following: The Press Release Susan bradley's tour de force and more Official SBS, Centro & Home Server Blog 2nd Blog Susanne's hardware find and link to the marketing site and finally, even Vlad wanted one !! Now there are a few people who say they don't want a server at home, in any form, which is just fine - don't worry about the product - just because it is there does not mean you have to buy it. For those who do, this is cool... now how can I get on the beta ;-) ttfn David
  • Office Live beta in the UK and how it works & competes with SBS 2003

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

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

(c)David Overton 2006-13