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.  

David Overton's Blog

  • 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...
  • The Windows Intune Client components

    Having installed (and uninstalled) Windows Intune a number of times I just wanted to signpost this blog post here that lists the components that are installed and what they do at Coretech by Brian Fahrenholtz .  The information can be found at Windows Intune Client Agent components .  It explains what each of the following does or provides: Microsoft Easy Assist v2 Microsoft Online Management Policy Agent Microsoft Online Management Update Manager Microsoft Policy Platform System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Agent Windows Firewall Configuration Provider Windows Intune Center Windows Intune Endpoint Protection Windows Intune Endpoint Protection Agent Windows Intune Monitoring Agent   Thanks David Technorati Tags: Windows Intune , Microsoft , Cloud
  • Windows Intune V2 moving from Beta to full product (RTW)

    I went to log into the beta Windows Intune console tonight to discover it was “down”, or more importantly, it was directing me to the Service Status page. We can see from this that a number of sites are undergoing maintenance.  When we hover over the sites undergoing maintenance it states:   (The whole service instance was under maintenance from Oct 14 2011 1:00PM (UTC) to Oct 15 2011 3:00AM(UTC) – Wave 2 Beta to RTW URL patch) Hopefully we will see the full product ASAP. David Technorati Tags: Windows Intune , Cloud , Microsoft
  • New role–Enablement Partner strategy

    I thought I would share some details of my new role at Microsoft, which is still as a Partner Account Manager, but also responsible for the Enablement Partner strategy.  Obviously this is my day job with my author and blogging work still being a personal project for the evenings and weekends. So what are Enablement Partners you may ask?  Well they are partners who provide technology or services that help a customer (or another partner) deploy their chosen Microsoft technology, but do not deliver the project itself.  This may sound complex, so let me give you some examples: AppSense provide a host of technology, but it is around managing the user so they have a great experience no matter which device they log into and their profile flows between these devices, regardless of which version of Windows they are using (XP, Vista, 7, Server, 64-bit, 32-bit).  The direction is forwards and backwards.  They also offer many other benefits such as locking down licenses to specific devices which is...
  • Using Intune with Sysprepped images

    I've just been through this for my book and some people were asking internally, so I thought I would share this little snippet / preview from the book on the process we have to follow to install Windows Intune from a sysprepped image. This means an image that we want to roll out to lots and lots of computers. Here is the information, based on the blog video found at http://blogs.technet.com/b/windowsintune/archive/2011/09/22/adding-the-windows-intune-client-to-an-operating-system-deployment-image.aspx and the help file is located at http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsintune/hh397411.aspx . Image based deployment The latest version of Windows Intune (which is currently in beta, but due to release in less than 2 weeks) brings with it image based deployment where you can place the Windows Intune files on a computer image that will then be loaded onto several computers. There are several steps to this process if you are using the Microsoft deployment tools. 1. Install Windows to the computer 2. Download...
  • Microsoft Windows Intune, Quickstart Administration Book moving to Intune V2

    Hi, Given the closeness of Windows Intune V2, I have decided with the publisher to update the book with the Version 2 updates and images. This will mean a slight delay in the book as I can’t finalise it until V2 is released to market. Today I’ve been going through the beta for Windows Intune V2, updating the images, reports and adding content on the new features. The ones I’ve spent some time on or plan to spend time on are: Installation – Done Image based deployment – Done Administrator management – Done License Management – Done Policy Setting – Not started Software distribution – Captured screen shots, need to insert into book Non-Microsoft update distribution – Captured screen shots, need to insert into book Reporting – Not started Alerts – Not started Right Click menus – updated in sections above that are completed My goal is to get the book completed again before October 17th and then to print ASAP for V2. BTW, for great Windows...
  • When does Windows Intune make sense for a company as the only management solution or hybrid

    I’ve been asked this question several times, so I thought I would share my thoughts. I don’t regularly work with the Windows Intune team at Microsoft as this is not my role, so this is purely my opinion, not in any way endorsed by Microsoft. To start off with, I think Windows Intune makes sense for a company whenever they are considering a cloud based Management strategy. Windows Intune also has the benefit of providing you with Windows and Microsoft anti-Malware software for your computers, so it is a way to get up to date, stay secure and manage the computers. Having said all of this, there are times when Windows Intune makes perfect sense. Smaller organisations have a range of choices to deliver systems management from Microsoft, which they need to pair with security and desktop software updates to deliver a solution the same as Windows Intune. There are also all the options available to larger organisations, but the options tailored for SMEs are functionally rich at a lower price point. These include...
  • Windows Intune Links worth having

    Since I’ve been working on the Windows Intune book I’ve found a few sources of information that I trust regarding the product.  I thought I would share them: Windows Intune V1 (current production environment) Service Status Dashboard - http://status.manage.microsoft.com/Statuspage/servicedashboard.aspx Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/WindowsIntune?sk=wall Mike Resseler’s blog from the Belgium System Center User Group - http://scug.be/blogs/intune/default.aspx Windows Intune Team Blog - http://blogs.technet.com/b/windowsintune/ Windows Intune V2 (beta) Beta fact sheet, documenting the changes between the current V1 product and the V2 beta - http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=26704 Finally, if you want to read my book as it is written - https://www.packtpub.com/microsoft-windows-intune-quickstart-administration-enterprise-through-cloud/book   ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Intune
  • Windows Intune book update

    Well, I’ve finally finished the drafts for all chapters of the soon to be published book called Microsoft Windows Intune, Quickstart Administration . It would have been sooner if my lovely mother had not fallen ill and passed away. I don’t regret the delay in finishing the book, but that we had so little time in the end and that she was not here to see it finish. The book is now awaiting review and editorial updates before it is finally published. Update - 2/10/2010 - Since the launch of Windows Intune V2 is so close, I'm updating to V2 now. This means that you can no longer access the work in progress chapters. I hope to resolve this in a few weeks time. The book has undergone some structural changes while I was writing it. The chapters are now: 1. Overview of Cloud Computing 2. Introduction to PC Management Concepts 3. Overview of Windows Intune Features 4. Signing up for Intune and installing the client software 5. Configuring Windows Intune 6. Configuring management policy 7. Tracking and reporting...
  • Windows Intune Service Status Page

    When using a cloud service, understanding the reliability of the service is vital.  Windows Intune is a management tool and as such, when the service is down it is only management that cannot be performed, rather than the computers going offline themselves, which means the impact is much less to the end users. The Service Status Page provides that information for Windows Intune.  You can see on the image below that you can also scroll back over the last 5 weeks to see what has happened.  The good thing here is that it is a sea of green for the last 5 weeks   Hopefully it will stay that way.  You can also see that there are at least two datacenters for each region, so an outage at one should not stop the service working. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Intune
  • Office 365 for small businesses

    I got this e-mail and thought I would share as I love Office 365.  I'm moving my e-mail there as £4 per user per month is just amazing! Are you ready to embrace the cloud computing revolution? It could cost much less than you think. Microsoft Office 365 gives growing businesses access to Microsoft's most advanced collaboration and communication technology – just the thing if you want to become more productive and competitive. It lets you: • Deal with email, work on documents and stay in touch almost anywhere • Share diaries, contacts and tasks with colleagues • Store company documents in a central, secure online filing cabinet • Communicate via online chat, web conferences and email Big capability, small price Microsoft Office 365 costs from £4 per user per month with no upfront costs or capital expenditure. Just pay as you go. It's a surprisingly small amount of money considering the benefits it offers. Just think of how little you get for the same amount: • A gallon of petrol 1 • A single edition...
  • Exporting hardware information from Windows Intune

    As most of you know I am working on my Windows Intune book and I've just finished the 6th chapter. This covers reporting and I was highly frustrated that there is no export or print function on all the hardware information screens, but you can export some of the hardware information. Here is how to do it: Open the Windows Intune Console by going to http://manage.microsoft.com . Select the Computers workspace and find the computer that whose hardware inventory we want to explore or store. Change the Filters setting from None to Hardware classification . We will now see the information about the hardware manufactures and model. If the machine is a non-OEM system then we will see the motherboard manufacturer and model number. We can export this data using the export logo in the top right of the tool bar next to the printer icon. We are prompted to choose between csv (comma separated values) and html files. Only csv files are useful for importing into custom reports. Select .csv File and then press Export . Once...
  • How to get help from Microsoft - on Office or in general

    I saw in my latest e-mail from Microsoft that there are some additional ways to get help from Microsoft, so I thought I would share them since I was unaware of the twitter route until today. Need some help? Give us a Tweet... If you've got a query give @MicrosoftHelp a Tweet and you'll get a direct response from the team looking after the feed. If you're not already on Twitter, you'll have to join but it's quick and it's free. Start following now . ... or drop into Microsoft Answers The Office forum on Microsoft Answers will give you answers on Word, Excel and PowerPoint topics. Community members help each other out, and Microsoft experts provide their advice free. A problem shared really is a problem halved! Check it out .   ttfn David
  • First official sight of Windows 8

    Recently, Microsoft said it would not deliver something for tablets and slates until it had something to say that was more game changing. How about a mixture between the phone Metro, traditional Windows applications and touch as a primary interface whether using traditional applications or new ones. For the first glimpse, have a look at: You may also want to read the articles here: http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/01/microsoft-unveils-windows-8-tablet-prototypes/ http://allthingsd.com/20110601/exclusive-making-sense-of-what-we-just-learned-about-windows-8/ ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Windows 8
  • Microsoft Case Study: Windows Intune - 70 person IT services company

    Hi all, I thought I would share this Windows Intune case study that has just gone up on Microsoft.com. IT Solutions Provider Offers Simplified PC Management with Cloud-Based Solution “Windows Intune fills the support void that many customers experience for desktop environments. It's the perfect PC management tool.” - Rod Giesbrecht, Chief Executive Officer, Imaginet Business Needs Imaginet offers managed services and custom software development to hundreds of customers worldwide. Many of its customers with dispersed workforces did not have the resources to monitor and manage their client computing environments. Imaginet realized that many of these customers did not have full-time administrators and instead relied on technically astute employees to manage desktops in addition to their regular duties. Without an IT professional to monitor client computers, those computers were often vulnerable to malicious software. Plus, without the technical resources to diligently perform maintenance tasks, when customers...
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(c)David Overton 2006-17