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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  • Server line-up for small businesses (and home) is increasing in options (or complexity for some) - SBS 2008, Home, Foundation, Windows Standard Server or BPOS - how do you choose?

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

    Business Productivity Online Suite Launch Join us in Birmingham and Manchester The UK software market is evolving, and customers are looking to embrace the change. Forecasted growth for subscription software is expected to achieve an annual growth rate of +30% during the next three years - considerably outpacing traditional market growth and providing a tremendous resale and service opportunity for Microsoft partners. In a tough economy, subscription services are more digestible to cash strapped customers. Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), provides a new IT solution for their needs, delivering enterprise-class software as a subscription service, hosted by Microsoft and sold by you. Costing £10.04 for the entire suite, per user per month, BPOS includes: > Microsoft Exchange Online > Microsoft SharePoint Online > Microsoft Office Live Meeting > Microsoft Office Communications Online > Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services For Microsoft Partners BPOS provides an annuity revenue opportunity with incremental implementation, integration, customisation, and managed services opportunities. Join us at this event to gain further insight, and to understand the sales and implementation opportunities for your business. Please confirm your attendance by registering for; 20/05/09: Manchester – Click here Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus Keckwick Lane Daresbury, WA4 4FS 21/05/09: Birmingham – Click here Coventry TechnoCentre, CUE Ltd Coventry University Technology Park Puma Way Coventry, CV1 2TT To further understand this opportunity watch the Quick Start training video here . Yours sincerely, Simon Gautrey Software-plus-Services Lead Small and Mid- Market Solutions & Partners, UK Date/Venue: 20/05/09: Manchester – Click here Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus Keckwick Lane Daresbury, WA4 4FS 21/05/09: Birmingham – Click here Coventry TechnoCentre, CUE Ltd Coventry University Technology Park Puma Way Coventry, CV1 2TT Agenda: 09.30 – Registration...
  • Want MIX08 in the UK? Then come to ReMix08 in Brighton on 18th and 19th September and save if you book an early bird place now

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

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

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

    I know the table above is really, really simple, but I wanted to start the ball rolling – I have been thinking about this for ages!! Let me explain the diagram. The horizontal axis signifies how much of a solution is hosted. An example of this might be Office Live or Hotmail, where almost all of the solution is hosted. We then have the “on premise” or on-site IT going vertically. For most people, this is solutions like SBS 2003. A typical S+S solution might be MS CRM Online which has online components, but also enables you to go off-web and use Outlook or one of the mobile clients when on the road. While many thought on-line would be the next best thing even the king of on-line, Google, have recently admitted that it would not always be the answer in the posting they made on April 1st. Steve Clayton did the leg work and checked this was not form of April fool too!! Even the NY Times is talking about it, which to me says it really is going mainstream - http://www.nytimes.com/idg/IDG_002570DE00740E180025742400363509.html . Ok, so that is the picture out the way, now lets talk about the question. Which question you ask… well, this one: Will any of your customers be running in the “S+S or hosted” marketplace in 5+ years time? Now while that is a good question, I expect most of you will say … some, definitely not all, but some. How many customers can you afford to lose to a S+S provider? Now this leads to an even bigger question …. What will you have done to ensure they are still your customers, as opposed to someone who is skilled in S+S? Personally I find this question much more concerning as many people can’t articulate any plans they have to capture these customers!! So what do I suggest … If you are a services partner I recommend you start to look at SaaS services like Office Live that are slowly moving towards S+S or S+S services like CRM online and start to plan how you could add value to them and make money in the future. If you are an ISV, then now is the time to start to look at services like the Sync Framework...
  • Office Live Workspace is now available (in beta) for all - aka Windows SharePoint Services for all small businesses

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

    What is it? I know Vlad is not going to like this, but even he will admit that this has been on the cards for a while. Software plus services is coming to town in a bigger and bigger way. At the moment there is a limited beta in the US and (just like Google), it has the beta tag on it . So what have we seen today, well we have seen Microsoft stand up and be counted in it's commitment to the software-plus-services strategy. We have seen existing "on premise" solutions of Exchange and SharePoint be offered as a S+S (software-plus-services) alternative for those customers who don't wish to run these themselves. There is no "must switch" or "dropping" of the existing, very successful products, just more options for people. As a customer you would consider whether you get better value running these in-house yourself, or with a partner delivering them for you in-house, or completely outsources to another partner or Microsoft. As a partner you have to consider how you deliver in all worlds. While today you probably add value to "on premise" solutions you need to understand how and if you add value should your customer opt for the new services. If you want to deliver theses types of services yourself, look at SPLA agreements and the information at The Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) . If you want to build solutions on top of those announced today then look at http://www.microsoft.com/online/partner/learn-more.mspx . Either way you can learn more at http://www.microsoft.com/online/default.mspx . Other's reactions As you can imagine, there have been a few prople covering this, from bloggers to journalists. Below are just some of the items I've seen so far: Press Microsoft to Expand Microsoft Online Services for Businesses of All Sizes (press release) http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Enterprise-Apps/Microsoft-Expands-its-Online-Services/ Microsoft moves further into the cloud.. cautiously http://www.ebizq.net/blogs/saasweek/2008/03/microsoft_expands_ondemand_ser...
  • Small Business Server 2008 (formally known as Cougar) announcement

    Today is the start of the Server 2008 PR ramp up. I can today tell you a bit more about Cougar, as was, or SBS 2008 as it will be, the new "family" that SBS is part of and a bit more on Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (aka Centro). Hopefully there will be a couple of surprises and also confirmation of some of the rumours around there. I've sliced the press release made today into 3 sections. This blog entry is based on the SBS 2008 section of which there is an extract below of some key points. The whole press release can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/feb08/02-20EBFamilyPR.mspx . Windows Small Business Server 2008 Multiplies Business Growth Windows Small Business Server 2008,previously known by the code name “Cougar,” is ideal for organizations with up to 50 PCs, helping them protect business data, expand business productivity and present a professional image to customers. The new version adds a range of features and capabilities to the current, award-winning Small Business Server 2003 R2 product, and is also an example of Microsoft’s “software plus services” vision. For small-business owners and employees, Small Business Server 2008 provides increased security and protection with one-year trial subscriptions to Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server Small Business Edition and the new Windows Live OneCare for Server, and with dramatically simplified server and PC backup technologies. Small Business Server 2008 also integrates with Microsoft Office Live Small Business to simplify setup and management of professional Web sites and private online work spaces. Enhancements to Remote Web Workplace, integration of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, and support for the latest Windows Mobile devices will help employees work remotely and collaborate effectively. For IT managers and technology consultants, Small Business Server 2008 deployment, setup and administration is greatly simplified and improved. A powerful administration console, new monitoring across servers...
  • Windows Essential Business Server announcement

    Today is the start of the Server 2008 PR ramp up. I can today tell you a bit more about Cougar, as was, or SBS 2008 as it will be, the new "family" that SBS is part of and a bit more on Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (aka Centro). Hopefully there will be a couple of surprises and also confirmation of some of the rumours around there. I've sliced the press release made today into 3 sections. This blog entry is based on the Essential Business Server 2008 section of which there is an extract below of some key points. The whole press release can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/feb08/02-20EBFamilyPR.mspx . <snipped> Windows Essential Business Server 2008 for Midsize Companies Windows Essential Business Server 2008 is designed for the needs of midsize organizations with up to 250 desktops, helping IT professionals take control of their systems, reduce time spent “fighting fires” and focus more on strategic efforts to drive business growth. The solution includes built-in IT best practices and provides a unified console for management of key workloads and product licensing, which makes IT budgeting and purchase simpler and more predictable. Windows Essential Business Server combines the technologies of Windows Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, Forefront Security for Exchange Server, System Center Essentials 2007, the next version of Internet Security and Acceleration Server and, in the Premium Edition, SQL Server 2008 technology. The product will be demonstrated on IBM BladeCenter S and HP BladeSystem c-Class c3000 hardware at the “Heroes Happen Here” launch on Feb. 27 in Los Angeles, and is slated for availability in the second half of 2008. <snipped> More information about Windows Essential Server Solutions is available at http://www.microsoft.com/essential and http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/serversolutions . Now much of this is a repeat of what we already know, but I felt I should share it: Based on x64 technology Capable from 25-250 users, so does...
  • "Windows Essential Server Solutions family of products" announcement

    Today is the start of the Server 2008 PR ramp up. I can today tell you a bit more about Cougar, as was, or SBS 2008 as it will be, the new "family" that SBS is part of and a bit more on Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (aka Centro). Hopefully there will be a couple of surprises and also confirmation of some of the rumours around there. I've sliced the press release made today into 3 sections. This blog entry is based on the "family" section of which there is an extract below of some key points. The whole press release can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/feb08/02-20EBFamilyPR.mspx . To help small and midsize organizations improve business efficiency, increase productivity and drive growth, Microsoft Corp. introduced the Windows Essential Server Solutions family of products, built on Windows Server 2008 and the newest Microsoft server technologies and services. The company also unveiled details about the newly named Windows Small Business Server 2008. The Windows Essential Server Solutions family includes Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Windows Essential Business Server 2008 for midsize companies. Microsoft conducted extensive research and gathered in-depth feedback worldwide to design the solutions, in order to meet the unique needs of small and midsize customers and partners. The products integrate the technologies of Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and other Microsoft products and services into all-in-one solutions that are reliable, easy to manage and able to grow with customers. “There are 31.9 million small businesses and 1.2 million midsize companies worldwide in need of powerful IT solutions, * and they typically have very small IT staffs, or none at all,” said Bob Kelly, corporate vice president at Microsoft. “Windows Essential Server Solutions make the benefits of enterprise-class IT accessible, affordable and simpler for smaller organizations and their technology advisors.” Windows Small Business Server 2008 Multiplies Business...
  • New way to see information on Windows Mobile - regular updates and good detail

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

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

    I just saw this (as I have just updated my live suite). Anyway, if you look at the recommended " Nicole’s post " then you quickly discover that for Messenger it is all about the look, experience and quality. However, while this is true, we then have some amazingly cool new features that sit around it, such as Web based IM for people to contact you via a site and adding a "IM me" button to your site. Below are 3 blog entries that tell the whole story. Announcing Windows Live Messenger 8.5! After months of work, and two beta releases the Windows Live Messenger team is proud to release Windows Live Messenger 8.5! We’ve listened to the feedback from our beta users and made this one of the best versions of Messenger ever! If you were a beta user not much has changed for you. We worked hard to improve the overall quality of Messenger though, and we owe a big ‘Thanks!!’ to all of the beta testers that sent us feedback. If you haven’t been a beta tester you can read Nicole’s post about the new features in 8.5. Windows Live Messenger isn’t the only program getting released today. In fact a lot of Windows Live products are celebrating a new launch today. Be sure and check out the blogs of Mail , Photo Gallery , and Writer for all of the new features, then go Get Windows Live ! Let your friends IM you from anywhere!! I am very excited! Now you can create your OWN IM button to put on your blog or in your email signature. Just go to www.messengerbuttons.com and create your own button, it has a lot of cool ways to personalize your button. This makes it even easier for your friends to find you on IM. Once you have created your button, it is also easy to add it to your Windows Live Space, Outlook, Hotmail or Windows Live Mail! Here is a button I created. Who wants IMs from the web? I do! I do! <snipped> The Windows Live™ Messenger IM Control lets people on the Web reach you in Messenger by showing your Messenger status on your web site, blog, or social networking profile. The Windows Live™ Messenger IM Control...
  • Linked Live IDs - how to join multiple Hotmail / MSN / Live accounts and change between them

    I have lots of e-mail accounts I use - @msn.com, @hotmail.co.uk, and @live.co.uk and Windows Live Mail enables me to read them all, however now when I am in e-mail I can access my linked e-mail accounts. I simply go to https://account.live.com/ and then add accounts to my linked accounts and then I can change accounts by a simple drop down in the windows live mail site ( http://mail.live.com ). More information can be found at Link Your Live IDs Together! or at http://www.liveside.net/blogs/main/archive/2007/10/18/update-to-windows-live-account-enables-linked-ids.aspx Ok, linking is done - but what would you link the IDs for? When you have linked IDs together you will only need to sign in to Windows Live once and can then switch easily between the accounts. If you are on Windows Live Hotmail for example you can check your email on one account and then simply click the dropdown arrow next to your login in the upper right corner and choose one of your linked IDs that are listed their. Without the need to enter a password again you will get to access that accounts emails. Pretty convenient. Unfortunately this only works on the new Wave 2 products, so you are out of luck on WL Favorites, Gallery or the personalized homepage for now - we guess that at least some these properties will be updated to Wave 2 soon though. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Live IDs , Linked Live IDs , Software plus Service
  • Steve Clayton: Geek In Disguise - his new gig - no longer being my boss and now a servant!!

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

    I thought I had documented this, but it appears I did not, so here we are - there are a number of pieces to the Live Services camp now, many have released versions, but the betas are always more interesting. It is also worth noting that these products are all in the Software plus Services camp - Desktop solutions that work with hosted services. It's easy to get these and other Windows Live services all at once. See how . Windows Live Writer Beta Publish rich content to your Windows Live Space and other blogs. It's easy to add photos, maps, tags, and more to your posts. And you can see exactly what your post will look like before you publish it. Windows Live Mail Beta A faster, easier, and safer way to manage your e-mail accounts. Windows Live Messenger Beta Connect, share, and make every conversation count Windows Live Photo Gallery Beta Easily manage and share your photos and videos. Windows Live Family Safety Beta Safer browsing, with rules you personalize. Windows Live SkyDrive Beta Password-protected online file storage and sharing. Windows Live Betas ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Live Services , Betas , Software plus Service
  • Windows Live SkyDrive Updates - 1GB of storage, RSS feeds when someone makes an update and easier sharing of files

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

    Software as a Service, Software plus Services etc, etc is a hot topic, but the reality for most of us is that for today we need to deliver traditional software while planning for the future. Steve Ballmer discusses this and more at the Gartner ITxpo 2007 event. I have snipped a few words that I thought were interesting, but please read the rest of the article for more info. For a video of Steve on Microsoft in the online world, have a look at Steve's blog at Steve Ballmer video - The Online Opportunity Ballmer addressed what appeared to be recurring questions among attendees: What is Microsoft's strategy around SAAS (software as a service), and what is Microsoft's answer to Google? Ballmer made it clear during the session that seeing any similarities between Microsoft and Google would be a mistake. "We don't look alike at all," he said. There is a "world of search and advertising, where Google is the leader; we're number three, working to be number two and then working to be number one." Microsoft has been able to differentiate itself in certain verticals such as shopping and through its user interface, Ballmer said. He then said that in productivity and business computing, Google's offerings are "not as good as 'me-too.' We haven't seen a lot from the other guys." Moreover, Ballmer said he sees the on-demand, cloud-computing world evolving differently in the short term than over the long term. He focused on Microsoft's four major business models: the PC, the Web, the enterprise market, and devices and entertainment. "We need to bring them together, and as we bring them together, the cloud will get more important," Ballmer said. "But we're not going to move to a world where everything is on thin client. We aspire to bring the rest of all of these models together." <snipped> And SAAS is one of the facets of Microsoft's Web strategy. Still, Ballmer said, users will never be able to do as good a job with a services...
  • Microsoft unveils more online services and additional features for Office Live

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

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

    In the IT market the term "change is the only constant" has been around for years (well, certainly since I left ICL where change was not constant, but that was due to the contract that dictated that everything did not change, so fell behind). Note, this post is purely the ramblings from my mind, not a statement from Microsoft in an Official or Unofficial capacity We've seen big iron, then smaller systems, the rise of SMP, the reduction in IT hardware and software costs for solutions, the rise of Microsoft servers, client server, 3-tier, clustered computing, multi-core and now internet enabled computing. There is much more, of course, to come, but how we deliver IT to customers has changed too. Of course, this is all generalised and some people have always been at one end or the other, but general acceptance is always shifting - remember the ASP business model of the late 90's - dead, yet here it is again with Software as / plus service. The pricing of some services even appears to be £0, yet you pay by clicking on adverts or by others buying adverts for you to see. Business Models Google and salesforce.com have once again shown that non-distributed computing means that a central failure grinds everything to a halt, just as Terminal based computing did before SAS was being considered. While you can architect to reduce these impacts, when they happen, hundreds to millions of people are impacted and if that is your business, it can be fatal. Once upon a time it was building PCs, then custom PCs, then servers, then core infrastructure, now ICT. However this is all the technical "stuff". We now deliver solutions more than just boxes (I know some always did) and the need to move beyond core infrastructure is a business necessity if you have not already moved this way. Excitement about a new "gizmo" (OS, application, gadget etc) is now tempered with "So what can it do to improve my business and is it worth it." One of the conversations I have had repeatedly with partners over...
  • How to connect to and import data from an XML Web Service into Excel 2007

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

    Steve Ballmer has stated his case for Software PLUS Service. This should not be news for anyone who has been watching the world, but what is great to see if how Microsoft is trying to get it's existing partner leveraged model to work in the new web 2.0/3.0 world. Of course this will not suit everyone, but if done well, everyone can move forward is a happy little dance as things get re-jigged. Ballmer Outlines Microsoft's Software-As-A-Service Plans - Software - IT Channel News by CRN and VARBusiness noted Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer believes the evolution of the "computational model" and new user interfaces are going to create a flood of opportunities for the vendor's channel partners. In a Tuesday keynote speech to more than 12,000 attendees at Microsoft's worldwide partner conference in Denver, Ballmer provided insight into the Windows Live platform and how new technologies like Silverlight mark the beginning of the transformation to a new user interface model. Ballmer peppered his keynote with demos and testimonials about upcoming technologies, focusing on Microsoft's Google-like Windows Live services and on Silverlight, Microsoft's fledgling Adobe Flash rival. Silverlight demos have been in the spotlight at all of Microsoft's recent conferences, including Mix07 and TechEd. Ballmer's keynote showcased an MLB.com application created by Microsoft partner Frog Design, illustrating the power of the platform Microsoft hopes will bring rich Windows functionality to mobile devices and Web browsers. One big question partners have had about the future of Windows Live is what will happen on the back end with servers, which used to be on customers' premises, but increasingly are hosted and on the Internet, Ballmer noted. The emergence of server farms, and the ability to adjust capacity on demand has enabled the focus to move from back end servers to shared computation handled on customer premises, he added. "This is a long term migration to bring the best of the web and best...
  • Worldwide Partner Conference - WPC in Denver - what I know so far - Dynamics CRM Live

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

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

(c)David Overton 2006-13