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.  

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  • Microsoft wants to know what you want for the UK SBS 2008 Launch? Time to stop saying you want it better and time to start saying what you actually want and would use!!

    One thing I have never been accused of is holding back my opinion and on the Yahoo Groups recently there has been some discussions around what Microsoft has done for partners. As part of the discussion this blog post from Sonal, the UK Product Manager for SBS 2008 and EBS 2008, came up with a question around what do partners want to see in a UK launch. I thought people who read this blog might like to pop over to Sonal's blog and give a voice to their wants. I've seen suggestions from free beer, which was a Joke I was later told, to license pricing, features and benefits, how to up-sell/cross-sell. The problem with the later items is that they are simply personal to the business doing the selling - why have an upsell to mobile devices if your business can't facilitate it? What do you want to see at the UK SBS 2008 Launch? In May 2006 we had a server event for guys (and gals) who sell server - specifically Small Business Server. We split the event into two - the morning event was for those who were...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Manchester SBS Group (Kick Off Meeting) - 27th March 2008 - be there to see how it all starts again - with Chris Parkes, Ceri Thomas and me

    Ceri Thomas is planning a new group in Manchester and Chris Parkes will be there to host things with him for the 1st meeting. I will also be there slightly later in the evening. Below is the mail sent out by Danny Ovens to SBSC members in the area, but all are welcome. Dear Partner New: Manchester SBS Groups (Kick Off Meeting) What is the purpose of the SBS User Group....? SBS User Groups are partner meetings, run by partner, for partners. They are an independent forum that enable partners to meet one another, share best practice, learn how to better engage with IT Vendors and also hear directly from Microsoft about our products and strategies. · Partner to partner networking – how can collaborating, learning what successes others have had, sharing problems and concerns or working as a group help your business · Connect with Vendors – The group can invite Microsoft and others to attend and present to your agenda...be heard! · Plugged in to Manchester Northwest activities – We’re increasing our engagement with...
  • More ways to engage with customers using the Microsoft advertising campaigns

    [updated 4th March] Many people congratulated Microsoft after the Mr Busy campaigns allowed partners to drive their customers back to them using a MS campaign. Well, this is now being repeated for a number of campaigns. Today I found the click and go site to get them all ( http://www.campaigns.arvato-services.com/ ). You can get 200 post cards or 1,000 e-mails for free and then a low price for additional cards/ e-mails if required. The campaigns covered include: Business Productivity Customer Acquisition and Retention Security and Reliability Small Business PC Mr Busy This method of engaging is not new to the Small Business team and others have covered this before (eg Susanne here ), but it is worth re-highlighting this now as some of the campaigns have been renewed, so go back and visit the site!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Marketing , Campaigns , Business Productivity , Customer Acquisition and Retention , Security and Reliability , Small Business PC , Mr Busy , Partner , SME , Small Business Server...
  • 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...
  • Microsoft Office Live Small Business v2 - have you got it already?

    This happened a couple of weeks ago, but it is always worth sharing the improvements in Office Live. Not only do we have this going on, but we also have the beta of Workspaces progressing. Remember, your customers could benefit from Office Live and if you don't offer it, someone else might just offer them Office Live or something else, blocking you out from that customer as they grow in size. Microsoft Office Live Small Business is the award-winning, easy-to-use suite of Web-based software and services designed to help small businesses affordably take, promote and manage their businesses online. Used by nearly 600,000 customers worldwide, Office Live Small Business is available in the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan. The service also provides an excellent environment within which partners can build industry-specific solutions. Office Live Small Business is now available with : Full Firefox 2.0 support for PC & Mac Easy-to-use Website Designer tool or use html/3rd party design tools Outlook Connector...
  • Announcing the Retirement of the Partner TDT and Release of New Product Demos Resource

    Chris Parkes sent a mail round internally telling us about MORE resources & demos etc available to partners. Chris has written about it on his blog (discovered this after I wrote this - here , there may be some comments on his worth reading, so double check!!) The Demo Showcase has been extended to include Deep Dive/Product virtual environments *which are available to all partners * Only Demo Showcase remains as the Gold/Cert benefit moving forwards... The following are now available for immediate download: 2007 Microsoft Office System 47 Hands-on Labs 25 demonstrations Microsoft Forefront and System Center Demonstration Toolkit Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager Microsoft System Center Operations Manager Intelligent Application Gateway Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server Forefront Client Security Microsoft Business Intelligence Demo (Data warehousing, reporting and analysis, performance management) Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007...
  • Time to Nominate your solutions for the Awards at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference!

    You may remember people who have one awards at the Worldwide Partner Conference before - is it your time now? I saw Steve Morrow (my boss) has put some great information on the UK ISV blog and while he is thinkking about it from a purely ISV point of view, you could apply under any of the categories. Time to Nominate your Applications for the Awards at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference! Time to submit your entry for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference Awards program! This is a great way to get some free PR. As a finalist or winner you’ll receive promotions that identify your company as part of an elite class of Microsoft partners. Logos will also be displayed in Microsoft Solution Finder. The nomination process is open NOW and closes on 4th April 2008 . Finalists for the 2008 awards will be announced on June 9, 2008. Winners will be announced and recognized at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, July 7-10, 2008. Go to Award Submission Tool For a full list of the award categories...
  • What Bill Gates said he will be working on once he stops his full time role - from 2008 Partner Pre-launch event

    I had the pleasure of attending this event today. The last item was Q&A with Bill Gates and there were a number of questions that you will be able to watch and listen too in the future. However, the one that I thought was most interesting was this one: "What will Bill be doing in his part time capacity with Microsoft and what will the Bill and Melinda Foundation focus on?" His reply was roughly (I made a few scribbled notes, so I hopefully have the gist, if not the words): Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie will take care of the "one Microsoft and R&D function" Bill will focus on 3 areas: Search - still have lots to deliver from the various teams - we have just started to see the beginning of this - in both internet and enterprise areas Office - Bill has always had a keen interest in this area and it will continue. Things to be included are Modelling and declarative rules Natural User Interfaces - more voice, touch, gesture and general non-keyboard interaction with technology For the foundation...
  • Samba developers can now see the Windows Protocols, make their products more interoperable with Microsoft Windows and see where Patents are to then choose to avoid or license

    I have never been known to sugar coat my opinion and one that has been forming recently is that much of the EU work on opening the Windows Media player is undesired by the consumers or the industry. This is my opinion, but I've seen no evidence to the contra. However, the licensing of protocols, while I don't wholly agree with the pricing structure, I see it as a good thing. This is a classic example of a de-facto standard working how it should. Today yet another organisation licensed the protocols, this time for the Samba community (with restrictions on redistribution and patent awareness) and this should deliver the reality of "interoperability, not standards" that I personally feel is the true desire of the world. Update: Microsoft to hand over Windows secrets to Samba team | InfoWorld | News | 2007-12-20 | By Robert McMillan, IDG News Service Developers of open-source Samba software will find their work a little easier thanks to an agreement with Microsoft, signed Thursday, that will give...
  • How to buy Microsoft products - for businesses up to 250 PCs

    I saw this ( How to buy Microsoft products ) and thought I should share. Not only does the site have some very simple information on what solution may well be right for each customer and how to choose, but if you are still confused there is a good questionnaire to help you and a link to find your local SBSC partner. Find the right purchasing option for you Volume Licensing Best option for companies that would like to save money on software by buying in bulk. If you are buying more than 5 licences for any mix of Microsoft products, you could save money in comparison to buying boxed software. Learn more Hosted software Best option for businesses that want to outsource IT. You can rent the right to use Microsoft products through an IT provider who offers Software as a Service (SaaS). Learn more Software in a box from a retailer Best option for companies that only need one or two copies of software, or that want the convenience of an instant purchase. You can buy software in a box that contains a licensed software...
  • Download the "How to Sell, Deploy, and Build Business with Microsoft Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 and SBS 2003 R2" now

    I have been asked about this loads of times, but for those of you who want to know more about using WSS v3 and SBS 2003, the guide is finally here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=59acc518-023e-43c3-b8f3-378c5e387461 . How to Sell, Deploy, and Build Business with Microsoft Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 and SBS 2003 R2 Partner tool to create solutions using Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2. File Name: Selling_WSS_and_SBS_Kit.zip Date Published: 11/15/2007 Overview A new partner enablement tool helps you create solutions using Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2. Access the toolkit’s resources—including a process cookbook, technical documentation and marketing materials—to learn how to build your business by selling and deploying customized solutions. ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 R2 , SBSC , WSS v3 , WSS , SharePoint , Windows SharePoint Services
  • Office Accounting Professional 2008 ships in the UK ... download the free Express version, buy or try the Professional version for extra features (Multi user, SQL support, sales order, purchase order etc) and also sign up for online services (Paypal, BACS

    Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2008 It is finally here!! There are 2 major versions - the free version and the paid for version, plus a number of add-on services you might want to buy too. You can get lots of information at http://www.msofficeaccounting.co.uk/default.aspx and if you are an accountant then the Microsoft Professional Accounting Network is for you ( http://accounting.microsoft.com/mpanuk.aspx ). You can download the Express Version here: You can Download Free Trial here It says about itself: Microsoft® Office Accounting Professional is an easy to use, comprehensive accounting package that works with other Office applications you already know. Easy to learn and use Works just like Word, Excel and Outlook Get started in minutes with wizards that import your data Save time managing everyday tasks Share and reuse data across Word, Excel and Outlook Manage customers, suppliers, employees and stock Pay bills, track expenses, send invoices and bank online Get a complete view of your business Run...
  • Microsoft lends a tech hand to U.K. startups

    I feel very close to this team... they sit just down a bit from me :-) All good stuff, plus go to the website if you have something you think could be a candidate. Microsoft lends a tech hand to U.K. startups Microsoft's Startup Accelerator Program will help startups use software technology such as Silverlight and Live Services</WEBTEASER _extended="true"> By Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service Microsoft will assist U.K. startups in using its software technology under a program launched on Monday by CEO Steve Ballmer. The Startup Accelerator Program will include technologies such as Silverlight , Microsoft's multimedia browser plug-in, and Live Services , a group of Web-based applications. Microsoft will also offer assistance in business development, marketing, and sales. Microsoft stands to gain momentum if startup companies are successful in building applications based on its technology. The program could also put Microsoft closer to key startups with technology that Microsoft would rather...
  • SBS rebates for partners - get up to $225 back per installation - and don't complain that we only do these in the USA - this is available in many countries, including the UK too

    I just know when a rebate offer goes up on the Microsoft web site that I will get an e-mail asking if it will be available in the UK. For this one the answer is most definitely YES. To prove that it is not a waste of time, I need you to USE the offer, i.e. sell SBS and claim back you money, CALs or D-Link wireless router. Below are the details from the UK web site, but if you go to http://www.sbsoffers.com you will be able to select your country. Since this is a limited time offer, the more you sell now, the more you make - you can make up to 50 claims under this offer!! Take advantage of these offers when you provide on-site, deployment services for Windows ® Small Business Server 2003 R2! Don’t miss this opportunity! From September 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007, the on-site services you may already provide to customers to deploy Microsoft ® Windows ® Small Business Server 2003 R2 could make you eligible to receive some great rewards. Provide on-site deployment services to your customer between September 1, 2007...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Want TechNet Direct for free - that is all out software for trial and 2 support calls - simply submit two assessments to the Microsoft Business and Technology Assessment Toolkit

    I have always like the Assess and win program along with the Technology Assessment Toolkit, although some say they have little to learn from it. It is one of those things where someone says "I need more stuff from Microsoft, but not anything to help me sell because I am great at that already." A partner who I respected told me that the format of the kit did not work for them, but they took the questions and used them as a checklist, added some of their own and now it works well. They also said that they don't run through the questions one after another, but have a conversation with their customer, and then fill in the blanks at the end. Anyway, the toolkit is a great way to understand more about your customer and their motivations and then plug some generic data into the engine inside Microsoft that tries to build solutions that match your customers needs. Technet Direct gives you DOWNLOAD access to almost all of Microsoft's software AND two free support calls - and you get this for FREE after...
  • bCentral Moved - now the Microsoft Small Business Centre AND a new blog too

    I blogged about this a week or so ago, but the new site is now up and running and looks pretty fabulous. Click the Image to get to the new site. You can see that it is split into two sections, for those starting a business and those growing a business. Have an explore to find out what is there that you or your customers can use. Remember that bCentral was able to draw over 1/4 million UNIQUE visitors in a month, so your customers might well be on the list. The new blog can be found at http://blogs.technet.com/smallbusiness/default.aspx - it already has some excellent entries which I will be referring to soon. ttfn David Technorati Tags: bCentral , Microsoft , Small Business
  • Worldwide Partner Conference - WPC in Denver - what I know so far - Office Live and Windows Live as a platform for partners to build on

    Office Live is already a great success, but today Microsoft announced even more to make it a business for partners to make success for them and their customers. We've released information about partners, solutions and using Windows Live, sample sites and more information on how to make it a business success. Have a look at Microsoft Office Live Launches Partner Program, Helps Partners Reach Small Businesses for more information. Add to this the extra opportunities that Windows Live also brings and the new tools to build on there too ( http://partner.live.com/windowslive/ ) and you really start to get something amazing. The press release Microsoft Office Live Launches Partner Program, Helps Partners Reach Small Businesses includes a reference from Solution Canvas: Solution Canvas is a Glasgow, Scotland-based Microsoft Gold Certified Partner that uses the Microsoft Office Live platform to host justia, a powerful practice management system for small legal firms. justia offers a cost-effective solution that provides...
  • WPC Partner Conference in Denver - what is on and how to follow it even if you can't be there

    The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference is an amazing opportunity to understand what Microsoft is planning on doing for its partners over the next 12 months, what changes will be happening to our products, look Microsoft in the eye and ask your question and to build relationships with other partners and people inside Microsoft to benefit your business. Some of the speakers include UK Small Business partners, such as Susanne Dansey , Gareth Brown and Andy Trish . They represent two areas of the community and their own companies, Westcoast a Microsoft distributor aiming at the small business end of the partner market and thriving, now Gold Certified SBSC partners who two years ago were not on Microsoft's radar and have made being a SBSC partner a real benefit. In terms of what is on that is just for small business partners we had the Symposium yesterday. As to what was expected, here is the small business blog http://blogs.msdn.com/mssmallbiz/archive/2007/07/03/3677168.aspx Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference...
  • Do you want to IM (messenger) someone in the UK Partner team with a question, but not have their address - now you can try the Partner Bot. It is your Instant Messenger 'data digger' retrieving partner-related information and the answers you need

    This is a long intro, but I got the mail this morning from Alex that this is alive and kicking!!! Go have a conversation - it is even clever enough to know that if you ask for me, this is my blog!! I am very pleased to announce that the PartnerBot is now live. Partner Bot is your Instant Messenger 'data digger', which quickly retrieves partner-related information and shows you where you can find the answers you need. Simply type in your question and Bot will bring back an instant response. Add Bot as a buddy in your Windows Live Messenger contacts and it will always be available whenever you're logged in. Use Partner Bot to Help You Get answers quickly, whether you’re in the office or mobile Find partner resources, like blogs and marketing help, more easily How Do I Add Partner Bot to My Contacts? · Log-in to Windows Live Messenger · Click on 'Add a Contact' icon · Add 'partnerbot@hotmail.com' into Instant Messaging Address > Click here to find out more Please be aware that PartnerBot...
  • Susanne Dansey (UK SMB Girl) off to make Westcoast even better as she broadens her horizons

    Congratulations to Susanne on her impending job move. She is the best UK SMB Girl out there :-) She often keeps Microsoft straight with her views and I will always be grateful for her honest conversation and being a good friend. Anyway, as always you can go to her blog, but here is an extract. Note, she is still the UK SMB Girl and not just a Westcoast employee, so remember to treat her as a person and not just a support line for Westcoast. But you can’t take SMB out of the girl! July is going to be a busy time for me, I’m off to the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference to speak at the Small Business Symposium (hope to see you there!) and I’m also off to pastures new in terms of my career. After being with Readycrest for seven years (well really since I was 13 when the sales office was my bedroom!) I’m taking a change in career and will be working with Westcoast Distribution as their Microsoft Channel Development Manager with a specific focus on the SBSC community. I’m not going to talk much more about Westcoast...
  • Starting a business, Susanne always says good things and now has some nice places for information?

    Do you plan to start a business, or know someone who does / is, perhaps even a customer? Well, Susanne Dansey often makes for interesting reading with her views on life in the IT world. She also just posted a link to some areas worth looking at, so click on UK SMB Girl » Starting a business? to find out more. (Obviously the extract has the Microsoft Link in it - there has to be some perks of the job) If you have considered starting a new business and need a little extra push in the right direction, here are a few links for you to check out. The first, is the new Microsoft Startup Centre . It takes you through most aspects that you need to consider when starting up including your sales, finances, marketing, staffing, and branding. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Startup , IT

(c)David Overton 2006-18