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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  • UK SMB Girl » DemoShowcase goes SBSC

    This is old news, but in-case you have not seen it, here we go. The Demo Showcase is an extremely valuable sales and learning tool, but it is also a benefit of the being a Certified Partner. Most SBSC partners are not Certified partners though, so this is a great win. DemoShowcase goes SBSC October 25th, 2007 Great news! Microsoft Corp. have finally allowed one of the greatest tools that bridges the gap between the techies and the sales teams. Vijay announced it on his blog after the much anticipated Worldwide SBSC PALs meeting. Thank you to Nigel Postings and Chris Parkes for taking the feedback the Community has been generating over the last few months regarding this and helping to make a difference with the big guns. Keep an eye out for it in your Action Packs (I assume?) UK SMB Girl » DemoShowcase goes SBSC ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBSC , Demo Showcase
  • 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...
  • Be there or be square - Westcoast Small Business Forum - 29th November, Reading

    What can I say - an amazing line up of presenters, plus a chance to throw pies at me as I do a song and dance for 1 hour. Seriously though, look at the agenda and wonder how you survived without it!! Westcoast Small Business Forum Get yourself booked onto our Small Business Forum which takes place on November 29th at Microsoft’s Thames Valley Campus. Spaces are limited (unless you’re happy to sit on laps?!) so get yourself booked on now. First come, first served. Full details are available by clicking here . We’ll be updating it with a few more events that are coming up this year in the UK that we think you’ll be interested in. Look forward to seeing you there! Oh, and guess who’s also found another site to blog on… UK SMB Girl » Westcoast Small Business Forum ttfn David Technorati Tags: If you only read one post today , Small Business , SBSC , Community , Westcoast , Event
  • What's In A 'Small-Business' Label? - Forbes.com

    I saw this and thought I would share it. As small business partners we need to decide what the "Small Business" means and tell our partners and customers. It is not about sticking a label on something that fits everything, but actually customising it for the real small business customer. And I don't mean the less than 1,000 person business, but the sub 100, sub 50 and even sub 10. It is worth reading the rest of the article to see what is said about brand and laptops. What's In A 'Small-Business' Label? Lisa LaMotta , 09.12.07, 6:00 AM ET It's one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book: Make the same product, but sell it to a new audience. That's what large retailers and manufactures have been doing lately to tap the lucrative small-to-medium-sized business (SMB) segment. Last month, for example, Best Buy (nyse: BBY - news - people ) added a Professional Series label, which signifies products putatively geared for small businesses, though many have mass appeal as well. Dell...
  • BT launches free business tools | CNET News.com

    If you like the look of Microsoft Office Live for Small Business and Office Live Workspaces, then you might also like this from BT. It looks even more like understanding how to build a business on the back of Windows SharePoint Services is going to be vital in the small business space! BT launches free business tools U.K. telecom company offers BT Business Builder, which bundles free management applications for small businesses. By David Meyer Special to CNET News.com Published: September 11, 2007, 8:34 AM PDT U.K. telecom company BT Group has added a set of business-management tools to its portfolio of free hosted applications for small businesses. BT Business Builder incorporates bookkeeping, invoicing, sales, planning, payroll, human resources, and health and safety tools, together with a news-alert service covering new business legislation. <snipped - go to site to see more >BT, which is gradually shifting its image from telecommunications incumbent to global IT services giant , has already launched...
  • The UK SBS Back to Basics Tour

    This will be the 1st one of these tours that I have not attended for four years. Sad times, however that doesn't mean that Mark, Sven and everyone else will not do an amazing job (in fact, to suggest otherwise would be incredibly arrogant of me). So come and see how they can help you sell more and solve more problems over the next 9 months before the end of "FY08" inside Microsoft. "FY09" is of course when SBS Cougar is due to ship, but more on that later on in "FY08"!!! SBS 'Back to Basics' New to selling Microsoft Small Business Server? Or looking for interesting ways to approach selling a Small Business Server solution to your customers? Our 'Back to Basics' seminars cover common configurations, building servers with SBS, and looking at Windows SharePoint Server as a great solution-based approach to SBS for your customers. Small Business Server OEM Pre-Installation Kit: 9am, 30 October Common Configurations with Small Business Server: 4pm, 30 October Windows...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • SBSC and small business partners get a chance to find out more about the market they sell into and Microsoft technology that is here and coming

    Want to talk to Microsoft and hear where we see the market, opportunities and key technologies? Then get to one of these (there are even more dates on the web site) :-) We are taking to the road to see you, our partners! Jump in the driver's seat and join us to find out how we plan to get your business motoring. A top Microsoft technology and business team will map out the latest developments in the server and desktop markets and take you on the journey from market opportunity to technical 'how to' demonstrations. We'll get under the hood of Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system, along with the Office Ready PC, giving you detailed insights to get your business moving. And of course, we'll be outlining the route ahead for the new Windows Server 2008, with its built-in web and virtualisation technologies for increasing the reliability and flexibility of your customers' server infrastructure. Additionally we will be running exclusive SBSC pre-sessions at four of the locations...
  • 1st SBS webcast from series of 3 - SBS & the OEM Pre-installation Kit (OPK) by Sven

    I should have posted this information a few days ago, but I am making up for it now. Anyway, Sven's presentation can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/files/folders/events/entry4621.aspx and he has also gracefully provided a number of scripts to make the install even simpler which can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/files/folders/events/entry4622.aspx . Enjoy David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 R2 , OPK
  • Windows Live Hotmail will soon bring you more of your requests, better performance, huge amounts of storage, de-dupe of contacts, message forwarding, Out of Office and much more

    You can tell from the title the favourite things I have found testing the latest version of Hotmail - well it is now public - we start rolling these features and more out over the Hotmail clusters. For more information look at the Ellie Powers-Boyle blog post Your mail is here, come and get it!: August: Hotmail will soon bring you more of your requests, better.performance . Obviously if you are a Office Live customer then you will also see these changes coming to you. For the international of us, I have called "Vacation Replies" Out of Office - you know what I mean then :-) 13 August August: Hotmail will soon bring you more of your requests, better performance We went out of beta in May, and we’re already releasing something new. Today, these new features will begin to roll our gradually to all our customers over the next few weeks, so if you don’t immediately see them, be patient, they’re coming! It’s a fun time to be working on Hotmail. We already did a ton of work to get the basics ready to get out...
  • SBS Technet Chat Transcript published

    Hi folks, this is a really simple one - I had the pleasure of answering some questions at a TechNet chat a few weeks back - that chat has now had a polished transcript published on the web at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/community/chats/trans/sbs/07_0713_tn_sbs.mspx . thanks David Technorati Tags: SBS , SBS 2003 , SBS 2003 R2 , Technet , Chat
  • 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...
  • Why should a small business use Office 2007

    Once again I thought I would put pen to e-paper on the top reasons I give people to move to Office 2007. I don't think there are many businesses out there that use a PC and don't use some form of office productivity suite and while most use Microsoft Office XX (where XX could be 97, 2000, XP or 2003), some use other products that in my opinion just don't compare for a business that wants to look great and work efficiently. With Office offering a massive choice of products and features, these are the headlines I use when talking to people. For those with a version of Microsoft Office, but not 2007 More Professional and Impressive documents and materials Use Microsoft Publisher 2007 to build sales and marketing materials that look agency made, but are actually in-house work The updated Microsoft Word 2007 has many features to ensure your documents have a professional, consistent look and feel throughout the whole document conforming to your brand goals (no matter how big or small they might be). The...
  • Why should a business get Windows Small Business Server 2003 (SBS) to help their business

    I have been asked this many times and had promised to put these things down on paper (well e-paper), so now I am. This is my thoughts on why someone should buy SBS and also how I would sell it if I was selling it. Obviously there is much more that can be said and tailoring a solution to a customers needs is vital, but if presenting at an event or describing it on the radio, this is what I would say. Windows Small Business Server 2003 (SBS) is priced lower than other Microsoft servers to enable a small business to get the benefits of servers without any functionality compromise. We have even enhanced the product to put MORE in there than a standard Windows Server. To enable this price benefit Microsoft has put some limits (see below) on how SBS can be used which basically stops big businesses from using it, however you can cash in your investment in SBS and buy an Enterprise server should you ever need to and use the "cashed" in value to make the Enterprise server easier to afford too. Having said all...
  • How to find and use an Accounting template to use with Office Excel 2007 and then change it from US to UK currency, change the formatting of dates and drag lists (or Excel Tips and Tricks 1) - all in a Video presented with Silverlight

    The Video I have delivered a number of Vista and Office demos over my time, so I decided to record a number of them for others to borrow, use, learn from or anything else they choose. This video covers the following subjects in enough detail for people to hopefully understand what they need to know on how to use these features in Excel 2007 and apply them to all of the Office 2007 applications: Find a template and use it - I use an accounting template as it is based on Office 2003 and US based Change the currency cells from dollars to pounds using find and replace for formatting Change the date formatting from US to UK Dragging a list across a range of cells to give column a different month To see the Excel 2007 Video played using Silverlight (just try it) click here *. If you want to download it as a WMV file then head over to the new bCentral - the UK Small Business Center on MS.com - It is on this page as an Excel Accounting sample: * it will take a few moments to open if you have Silverlight installed and...
  • 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
  • How to copy files to a DVD / CD, Use the recycle bin, Use previous versions for files and Use the built in Vista backup tools - all in a Video presented with Silverlight

    The Video I have delivered a number of Vista and Office demos over my time, so I decided to record a number of them for others to borrow, use, learn from or anything else they choose. This video covers the following subjects in enough detail for people to hopefully understand what they need to know on how to use these tools: Use of the recycle bin Use of shadow copies to undo changes to a document Use of the DVD writing tools to copy and update files on a DVD Use of the built in Vista Backup tools To see the Backup Video played using Silverlight (just try it) click here *. If you want to download it as a WMV file then head over to the new bCentral - the UK Small Business Center on MS.com - It should appear on this page soon. * it will take a few moments to open if you have Silverlight installed and require you to download Silverlight if you don't, but it is a 1MB download How I made it I simply ran through part of my normal demo talking as I went. When presenting to an audience it is easy to correct anything...
  • How to add a trade-in line item (i.e. give cash back to discount a deal) to BCM 2007

    Someone asked me how to do this and I discovered that you can't have a negative discount percentage, negative quantity or negative price. So this makes it impossible to do... well, no, but it is not quite as easy as we would like. To make it work you need to create a Product and Service csv file to import to make it work. Here are the step by step instructions on installing it and using it. Installing the trade-in items Go to the BCM menu and select the Product and Services menu item Press the import button at the bottom of the dialog to get the screen shown on the left Create a csv file on your desktop called tradein.csv (start / run "notepad %homepath%\tradein.csv") Copy and paste the text below into the text file and save Trade In (10000), Trade in, -10000 Trade In (1000), Trade in, -1000 Trade In (100), Trade in, -100 Trade In (10), Trade in, -10 Trade In (1), Trade in, -1 browse the csv file on your desktop and press import Job done Using the trade-in items in an opportunity Now we have these...
  • 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...
  • Worldwide Partner Conference - WPC in Denver - Small Business Symposium and more

    I'm not there, so can't tell you what they said, but I can point to others who have and point you to their blogs: WWPC PreDay Recap MAPS Training Requirement for MAPS WWPC Cougar WWPC Small Business Symposium WPC Small Biz Symposium Kicks Booty At the Small Business Symposium http://www.iqubed.biz/blog/2007/07/04/countdown-to-microsoft-wwpc-07/ ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBSC , WPC , Partner Conference
  • 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...
  • David Overton moving on to pastures new

    With a tear in my eye the time has come for me to move my stick hut somewhere new. I have loved working in and with the small business community and with a set of awesome partners who can complain and nag, but normally with good cause and that are more willing to say thank-you and "good job" when the time is right. To you all I take my hat off for making me feel so welcome. As a legacy we now have SBSC up and running, partner groups that support themselves, a voice into Microsoft from the smaller end of the partner community and a better understanding of the motivations of both Microsoft and our partners. We also have a new level of engagement with customers. I wish I could take credit for all of this, but I am just a figurehead for a great team of people inside Microsoft. A nice chap called Mark in the OEM team will be helping to drive Cougar knowledge through the community when the time comes (no, this is not the time yet, trust me), SBSC has been supported by Jen as many of you would have seen from...
  • New Microsoft UK Small Business Blog and bye bye bCentral

    Well, we are in a new financial year and the small business team has undergone several changes. While internally things are being shaken around a bit (as every year - there should be more news soon on this), the web site bCentral is being moved and there is a new pretty cool blog to go visit. Much more business than my blog today. The new website should be up in a day or two and the blog is http://blogs.technet.com/smallbusiness/ . I will be contributing to it every so often, so expect some more here. ttfn David Technorati Tags: if you only read one post today , bCentral , Small Business
  • Vlad Mazek - "What is service management" and "how to avoid being hit by a truck when it is most inconvenient"

    I love Vlad's straight talking. If you get a chance read the whole of the blog entry Vlad Mazek - Vladville Blog » Blog Archive » Windows Server 2003 SP2 EEULA & CYA because as far as I am concerned he is preaching to the converted. I will stand by my view that Service Packs are tested as much as possible, but you need to do your own validation (see Who should test software and service packs - I think vendors,customers and partners - others thi ) to ensure that your application vendor is also happy to support their products on that service pack. If you only have MS products, check the release notes AND SUPPORT.MICROSOFT.COM as both may well have important information. I've extracted part of Vlads process to avoid a bloody head - read his post for more as people like Susan Bradley wishes she had :-) However, a part of me wonders just how heavy the rock was. You know, the one that he was under since Microsoft started releasing service packs. As painful as the above is to read, and as painful as this...

(c)David Overton 2006-20