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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  • Understand the language and process Microsoft uses when selling - Microsoft Solution Selling Process Better Together

    Every company has it’s own process of understanding where a piece of business in their sales process.  In the past I’ve used SCOTMAN or BANT amongst others to do this, but at Microsoft it has a process that incorporates the elements of these, but uses language specific to Microsoft. If you want to be able to understand, share and use this information, even if it is to examine your own processes, watch the video on the Microsoft Partner Learning Centre at http://bit.ly/vSNa7y . I would highly recommend it.   ttfn David
  • Windows Intune Case Study - Ontario Systems, helping to prove Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard certification PC update reporting

    Ontario Systems is a larger Windows Intune reference with 350 employee PC’s to manage. They needed a better way to manage mobile computers and Windows Intune was the answer to their problems as it enabled them to manage these computers providing they were connected to the Internet and verify this management to enable PCI certification. The two most notable benefits (besides saving money) were: More control, better insight. With the ability to monitor PCs, distribute software and updates, and perform remote tasks from a single console, Ontario Systems has more control and better insight into its PC environment. The IT department will save up to an hour each time it delivers the software updates that employees need to work productively and securely. “Being able to use Windows Intune to issue a security update or remotely initiate a malware scan without interrupting our employees’ workday saves time for the IT staff and helps avoid hours of PC down time,” says Hughes. Better security compliance. By using Windows...
  • Windows Intune Case Study - Sora Technologies

    Another case study of an IT partner using Windows Intune to manage themselves and their customers.  I liked this comment: If we had started with Windows Intune, we would have saved approximately $80,000,” says Adams. “Going forward, we expect to save 10% in labour costs because we don’t have to manage servers or write code, which would take one full-time equivalent. We can take care of our customers using fewer resources, which increases our profit margins.” You can find out more at Microsoft Case Study: Windows Intune - Sora Technologies . Other notable benefits include: I mproved endpoint protection. When Sora deployed Windows Intune, it saw an immediate improvement in endpoint protection. “Windows Intune beat all the endpoint security tools we’ve used, hands down,” says Adams. “We saw an increase of 50 percent in the number of viruses that the service caught, compared to our previous solution.” Better customer service. Sora provides its customers with monthly reporting and updates on hardware life cycles...
  • Steve Clayton, Microsoft Chief Story Teller at Imagine 2011 on the future as he sees it

    Steve presented at this Microsoft Advertising event in late November, but I wanted to share it because it enables us to get a small insight into Microsoft’s goals.  Interesting quotes include “our goal is to make the technology invisible” and “we probably have over 100 computers in our lives”.  He talks about these trends: The cloud Explosion of devices Displays Everywhere Explosion of data Explosion of social computing Connectivity everywhere Natural interfaces Steve also said he would study as a “data scientist” if he went back to university today as it is and will be the most interesting area to examine! It was nice to see Steve using the voice interface on Xbox before launch and the US version failing to recognise his accent as well as his daughter already expecting all devices to work this way   I have this at home, it is on all Xboxes now, and it is great plus my kids love it and use it all the time.  It is funny listening to Molly talking to the Xbox – she won’t control it any other...
  • Comparing a Word document on Office Web Apps on SkyDrive or Office 365 to Google Apps

    Hi, I’ve been asked this before, so I thought I would share this today.  I don’t use Google Apps, so I don’t have personal experience of the services, however I work with companies who employee’s choose to use the services – often because they can’t access the corporate environment from home or have file size limits that stop them.  Anyway, I do use Word, Excel and PowerPoint and I use quite a lot of the features in my documents (e.g. the book and reports in Word, my personal finance spread sheet in Excel and numerous presentations in PowerPoint).  I’m fussy, I like my documents to render the same, no matter what device I’m accessing them from and especially when I’m presenting.  I’ve always seen the differences when they are shared with products other than Office and have been known to spend a couple of hours fixing them up once they come out of the “other” services.  People ask me why I stick to Microsoft, this is one of the reasons. Today I saw this - http://bit.ly/tSedOC – it has a...
  • How to wake a computer to perform a antimalware scan, particularly useful for Windows Intune

    While having the book reviewed one feature that was asked for, but is not possible with Windows Intune, was the ability to make Windows Intune wake a computer at night and carry out an anti-virus scan. This blog post is referred to in the book when setting the Anti-Malware policy. To solve this, there are two issues to tackle: Wake up the computer Start a scan The answer appears to be that to wake the computer we need to use a task in Task Scheduler and then we need to start a scan. One very important thought here is that we need to ensure the power settings on the computer will put it back to sleep though! The command line required is “ %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Security Client\Antimalware>MpCmdRun.exe -scan -scantype 0 ” While working on this, I also wanted something that could be deployed by Windows Intune. In the end I have written a small piece of software that can create a task that wakes the computer and will start a scan. If you do not want a scan to start, change the program to execute to...
  • Got the notice that my Windows Intune account will be upgraded to V2

    Hi, even though the Windows Intune V2 service has been out for a little while, my existing V1 accounts have not yet been upgraded.  Today I got this e-mail telling me that it was now scheduled to happen in 4 days time. When I clicked on the link, I was taken to the alert that looks like this in the console: It talks about the “Account Details page” to find out more information.  I know Windows Intune quite well and I was not sure what the Account Details page was.  However, if we go to the Administration workspace and look at the Administration Overview then at the top of the page we see… “Planned account migration date: 12/16/2011” – OK, so it is in US date format, but at least it is coming this week!! I just wanted to share that the updates are coming and where to get the date from.   Thanks David
  • How to Address Internet Explorer 6 Incompatibility Issues with Windows 7

    I’ve seen several people try to resolve Windows 7 and IE6 compatibility issues through methods that are not only not supported, but also against the Microsoft IP licensing rules (e.g. removing it from Windows XP and forcing onto Windows 7).  Using a Windows Server 2003 Terminal Server and Citrix or Quest it is possible to put in place a low cost solution where IE is remoted (so you only see the IE 6 browser window, not the whole desktop) on a Windows 7 system.  The pages that require IE6 are shown this way, while other pages are shown locally with IE8/9. You can learn about the Citrix solution here or here for a solution from Quest.  A good write up on the options can be found here - http://www.virtualizationpractice.com/blog/?p=13493 . ttfn David
  • Microsoft Cloud Services Get Major Service Updates, New Customers: New features in Microsoft Office 365 and updates to sharing in Microsoft SkyDrive make it easier for people to work together.

    I saw this and just had to blog it.. The graphic on the left has amazing information – 41 of Interband Top 100 run on Microsoft’s cloud productivity services. 90% of Office 365 customers (not the seats, but the customer count) are SMEs with less than 50 employees.  You can guess the big customers from the stats. The PR can be found at Microsoft Cloud Services Get Major Service Updates, New Customers: New features in Microsoft Office 365 and updates to sharing in Microsoft SkyDrive make it easier for people to work together. One last thing I like, since I’ve been hearing people say “SharePoint is hard for file sharing” – SkyDrive works with Office 365 too.  This is simple, drag and drop and works natively with Office! Snippets from the PR statement: Small Businesses and Big Brands Bet on Office 365 More and more large global companies are choosing Office 365 to enable their employees and customers to work together in the cloud. In fact, more than 40 per cent of the global Interbrand list of the 100 top...
  • Blinging Down the House

    I’ve just tweeted on this, but decided to blog on it as well.  The blurb … “During the summer of 2011, the Windows team here in the UK put out the call to all students with tired technology and faded furniture to enter Blinging Down the House. All they needed to do was to ask for help in the form of a simple video entry. The winning entry would then get their technology makeover with the definitive home entertainment setup. “ The winning student was Jack Rose.  He went from this: I like the comments of “and I’ve got man boobs, so the Xbox Kinect would come in handy to exercise” and the line about spreading out the vodka shows thoughtfulness! After all was done he had this: Perfect in time for Christmas – Xbox, 3D TV, tablet and touch screen PC!   ttfn David
  • Microsoft Case Study: Windows Intune - SkyWire

    I saw this case study and wanted to share as it has some fantastic good news in it, highlighting how Windows Intune is helping this customer.  The highlights for me were: Reduced IT Costs SkyWire Media avoided the cost of third-party products that it would need to perform desktop management tasks by using Windows Intune. “I looked at antivirus and malware [malicious software] servers for [U.S.]$8,000 each,” says Malloy. “When you add $2,000 for the software and another $70,000 for a full-time administrator, we were looking at $80,000. Windows Intune saved us from those expenses.” With Windows Intune, SkyWire can retire on-premises solutions. “The software distribution feature now available in Windows Intune will save us an estimated $10,000 in software costs because we can retire the third-party tools that we were using for this purpose,” says Castleberry. Simplified PC Management Now that SkyWire Media has standardized the desktops on Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows Intune has delivered all required updates...
  • Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and XenApp 6.x Desktop Virtualization Optimization Guide for Windows Server 2008 R2

    Hi, I know that I have mentioned before that Citrix is one of the partners I work with.  Citrix add a huge amount of value to Microsoft Server 2008 R2 Remote Desktop Services and have done so for Windows since before the NT4 days of Terminal Server Edition. They have just released their latest document on optimisations that can be found at CTX131577 - XenApp 6.x Desktop Virtualization - Optimization Guide - Citrix Knowledge Center .   Enjoy! David
  • Return on Investment (ROI) calculator for Windows Intune

    I’ve just come across this tool for Windows Intune.  As with any “benefits” calculator, the results simply reflect the quality of the data you put in – garbage in, garbage out. Since my computers managed by Windows Intune are already on Windows 7, have anti-malware loaded and other benefits, the results came out lower compared to those on Windows XP.  If you don’t have Windows 7, for example, the benefits are much higher. The calculator can be found at http://windowsintuneroi.valueprism.com/ and the excel version can be found at here .  The Excel version suggested that if I had 100 Windows XP computers the benefits would be as follows:   I hope this is useful   David
  • Windows Cloud Essentials Pack–Microsoft Partners can get Windows Intune internal use for free (and Office 365)

    I’m really proud to have passed an exam towards my The Cloud Accelerate program as you can see from my certificate on the left. I have started with the Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack and I’m now moving up towards cloud accelerate! One of the reasons I like the Essentials Pack is the benefits it provides in terms of software, marketing and simple business tools and there is no fee or sales requirement in the first year! From the web site above, the benefits are: Software Benefits Microsoft Technology License Grant Microsoft Office 365 250 licenses Windows Intune Subscription for 25 PCs Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 250 licenses Windows Azure platform 750 hours of extra-small-compute instance, 25 hours of small-compute instance, 20 gigabytes of storage, and 250,000 storage transactions Microsoft SQL Azure Web Edition database: 1 gigabyte Windows Azure AppFabric: 100,000 access control transactions and 2 service bus connections Data transfer: 25 gigabytes in and 25 gigabytes out Marketing Benefits Listing...
  • Windows Intune IDC report–A Blueprint for Success for Microsoft Partners–the ups and downs

    I’ve found another document from the March timeframe from IDC (sponsored by Microsoft) about Windows Intune.  This one talks about how to be successful with Windows Intune.  It can be found here . One area worth exploring in the document is the section entitled “Opportunity Areas for Existing PC Management Practices”. One partner is quoted as saying "I think we could cover more customers than we could today. I don't think we have realized how big the potential is. It could help us win new deals and bigger deals." It does not pull punches either and discusses some areas that partners have been talking to me about.. New Budget Line Item for the Customer The largest change is that for the most part, other third-party, on-premise PC management tools are purchased by partners, and the partners must cover the expense of the tools with their PC management revenue. In contrast, with Windows Intune, the customer signs up for the service with Microsoft, and Microsoft bills the customer directly....
  • How Windows Intune can lower costs and raise productivity

    Hi, Just a quick post to share this document from IDC (sponsored by Microsoft) on Windows Intune from March 2011.  It can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/cloud/docs/IntuneWP.pdf . It shows how companies can benefit from savings of $702 per year through IT staff savings, user productivity and removal of other tools. ttfn David
  • Using Windows Intune with Autotask and ConnectWise

    Having spoken to several partners yesterday at the SMB MVT Tour I mentioned MS CRM’s integration with Windows Intune, but I thought it was worth sharing information on integration with Autotask and ConnectWise. Training and whitepapers can be found here: ConnectWise Windows Intune and Professional Services Automation: ConnectWise Learn about the integration between Windows Intune and business operation system ConnectWise, which offers customer relationship management, service request tracking, sales force automation, and more. (Online, 1 hour) Whitepaper - https://partner.microsoft.com/40165832 Autotask Windows Intune PSA Tools: Autotask This professional services automation (PSA) presentation showcases how to connect Windows Intune and Autotask to help manage customer relationships in a single system. Covers customer relationship management, service requests, contracts, billing management, and reporting. (Online, 1 hour) Whitepaper - https://partner.microsoft.com/40165830 Thanks David
  • Free internal use Windows Intune, Office 365, Dynamics CRM Online licenses for Microsoft Partners through Cloud Essentials and Cloud Accelerate

    While asking at Microsoft of any information they wanted me to share about Windows Intune Olivia asked me to share this.  I think this is so key, I will share this on the blog too.  Something to remember is that you can join Windows Intune ticketing up to Dynamics CRM Online for a more joined up helpdesk experience. Cloud Essentials is a free programme for all MOSPA-registered partners, without sales or reference obligations. Partners just need to sign up at www.microsoftcloudpartner.com and they can then sign in at this portal to receive the following benefits: Internal user rights for: • 250 licences of Office 365 • 25 subscriptions for Windows Intune • 250 licences for Dynamics CRM Online • Marketing resources • Demo showcase • Profitability Modeller • Online technical communities for Cloud • Listing as Cloud Essentials partner on Microsoft PinPoint online marketplace For partners who are actively selling Cloud, they could become Cloud Accelerate partners after completing three deals (with 150 aggregated...
  • Manage customers with #Windows #Intune and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online (Updated)

    As a Microsoft partner (or customer), you can connect Windows Intune to MS-CRM to enable management ticketing from MS-CRM for client computers managed through Windows Intune. The details of how to configure this can be found at https://partner.microsoft.com/india/40169122 and it states “This document shows how Managed Services Providers (MSPs) can use Windows Intune™ in conjunction with Microsoft Dynamics® CRM Online to create and manage customer contracts, establish and automate internal business processes, and create cases based on email messages sent by alerts that track against a customer’s contract.” It also states that: As organizations build their Windows Intune MSP capabilities, they can use Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to: Track customer accounts. Create and manage contracts and service-level agreements (SLAs) with customers. Create and track cases against customer SLAs. Assign customer cases to Windows Intune technicians. Create workflows and dialogs that enforce standardized...
  • Log files on each PC with Windows Intune

    Windows Intune is a cloud based management service with alerts and information stored in the Microsoft cloud, however sometimes it is very useful to see what is going on, on the actual PC. There are various log files that can be found on the client PC should you wish to explore. These are found at %ProgramFiles%\microsoft\onlinemanagement\logs . We can see several files in here, of which the following are particularly interesting if we want to go diving into the product: Enrollment – This file details the process of a computer enroling with Windows Intune. If the computer fails to appear in the Windows Intune list of computers, this is the log to watch. If enrollment to Windows Intune for the computer was successful we should see the following in the log file: 2011-10-05 09:00:46:615 12260 2d7c Enroll ********* 2011-10-05 09:00:46:615 12260 2d7c Enroll ** END ** Enroll: StartUpdateAgentService: Online Management Updates Service started, or already running 2011-10-05 09:00:46:615 12260 2d7c Enroll ******...
  • How to find out about service disruption for Office 365, BPOS, Windows Azure and Windows Intune

    Hi, I got this e-mail from Microsoft, but wanted to share with all should you ever need to get this information.  The key elements are:       1. Today: Educate Yourself 2. During the Event: Stay Informed 3. After the Event: Understand the Situation 1. View service status via the Service Health Dashboards BPOS: Americas: https://health.noam.microsoftonline.com Europe: https://health.emea.microsoftonline.com Asia/Pacific: https://health.apac.microsoftonline.com Windows Azure Service Health Dashboard Windows Intune Service Service Status 2. Office 365 Within the Dashboard, Click on "Service Health" in the left column of the Admin Overview under Support 3. Sign up for Windows Azure and BPOS-S RSS Feeds via the Service Health Dashboards 1. Track customer updates on the service dashboards 2. Subscribe to Twitter Handles: @MSOnline @Office365 @Windows Intune @Windows Azure The Microsoft Online Services Team will convey the latest updates via the above Twitter Accounts. 1. Request the Post...
  • Important Notice from Windows Intune about upgrades–you need to uninstall the beta!

    Hi, I just got this alert from Windows Intune which tells me that the beta service will end soon and that I need to uninstall the beta software and if I have a full account, install the new software (or old software to then be upgraded) Important Notice Account:  David Overton Associates Source:    Path:        Type:  Important Notice Description We are pleased to announce that the new features and enhancements that were offered in the Windows Intune July 2011 beta are now commercially available! If you have a paid Windows Intune subscription, your service will be upgraded over the next few weeks, so that you can take advantage of these new features. You do not need to take any action. Your subscription and deployed Windows Intune clients will be automatically upgraded. Two weeks prior to your upgrade date, you will see an alert displayed in the Windows Intune administrator console that indicates the exact date and time when your subscription will be upgraded. If you participated...
  • Office 365 integration module beta for Windows SBS 2011 Essentials

    Hi, I just saw this on the wires and wanted to share it, although please note that this build is for evaluation purposes only. You should not install this in a production environment. Microsoft does not license you for, nor support installing in these environments. You can download the preview package from by navigating to it in the download section of the connect site or by using this link . Please refer to Release Documentation for installation and uninstallation instructions. Feedback is very important to Microsoft. In order for Microsoft to gather feedback on any issues encountered while using this build, please submit all bug reports for this release using the bug reporting form on MS Connect , via the http://connect.microsoft.com/SBS web site. It goes without saying that in order to participate in the Beta Program you need to be signed up on the connect site. Thanks David Technorati Tags: SBS 2011 , Office 365 , Cloud , Microsoft , SBSC
  • How does a SBS partner win / lose with Windows Intune–discuss

    Hi, I don’t run my own business offering support to customers, but I thought I would put out a suggestion, since some partners have asked me “how do I make money from the cloud?” Before I start I really do have to stress that this is NOT MY DAY JOB and that my opinions here are MINE and not those of Microsoft.  They may align, they may not, but I have been thinking about this and wanted to share MY thoughts and then see what others had to say about it. There are so many answers and depending on the customer, the answer may well be “you can’t, not yet.”  However, I’ve tried to draw 3 comparison graphs on how I see things changing.  I mean, the number of times I’ve heard SBSC partners say “I want the management functionality of SBS, but I don’t want Exchange”, well, we have that with SBS Essentials now.  There are other times when customers don’t visit the office often enough and while Direct Access can solve some problems, only if the customer has the infrastructure for it. If not, unless a...
  • Windows Intune V2 Released–it may take a little time to update existing customers

    So I’ve got a bit Windows Intune batty at the moment.  The book is now finished and in review and today I got this lovely e-mail from Microsoft about my own subscription (yes, I do use it myself) What’s new in the October release? • Software Distribution. Centrally deploy most software to managed PCs from the Windows Intune administration console. • Remote Tasks Right-click the name of a computer to perform actions—run a malware scan, update malware definitions, or force a restart. • Extended License Management In addition to many Microsoft ® volume licenses, manage most of your Microsoft retail licenses, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) licenses for Microsoft software, and most third-party software licenses. * • Enhanced Reporting and Filters Create detailed reports on your hardware inventory with new filters, including Manufacturer, Chassis type, Available disk space, Memory installed, and CPU speed. • Read-only Administrator Access When adding service administrators to your Windows Intune account...

(c)David Overton 2006-18