Archive for August, 2008

Microsoft SMB Forum 2008 Videos

I finally got around to taking off some the video I took on the Camcorder at the Microsoft SMB Forum 2008 in Houston. It includes part of the Keynote by Michael Risse, the Microsoft VP for SMB, Peter Hilary (son of Sir Edmund Hilary – that was a great talk!) and of course Richard Tubb enjoying some beer!!

SMB Nation 2008 fall conference to hold SBS 2008\EBS 2008 Launch Party

Damn a cool Party I’m going to miss but never mind try and enjoy yourselves without me, I know it will be hard :-) I hope everyone has a good time and I’m going to want photos and all the gossip at the very least!

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PRESS RELEASE

SMB Nation 2008 Fall Conference to Hold Launch Party: Small Business Server 2008 and Essential Business Server 2008.

MarketPlace Expo SOLD OUT!

Seattle, WA – August 22, 2008 – Boasting a completely sold out tradeshow hall and host hotel, SMB Nation 2008 will hold a Small Business Server 2008 (SBS) and Essential Business Server (EBS) LAUNCH PARTY on the Saturday night of its October 4-6, 2008 annual conference in Seattle. A 58’ Hatteras yacht will be christened the M.V. SBS 2008 on the pier at the party.

“With the SBS 2008 release-to-manufacturing (RTM) yesterday, we are thrilled to be timed perfectly for the SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 products debut and look forward to toasting its great success,” said Harry Brelsford, founder and CEO of the 20,000 member SMB Nation. “Our conference is uniquely positioned to motivate and educate the small and medium business (SMB) technology consultant, channel partner and computer guy and gal!”

SMB Nation 2008 appears to be outperforming similar technology events with the complete sellout of the MarketPlace Expo tradeshow hall and with attendance figures ahead of last year. “We believe the 600+ attendees will be treated to a unique educational experience and BE THERE for the start for the next generation of SBS and the first release of EBS!” Brelsford added. Over three busy days and nights, attendees will select from three (3) academic tracks including BusinessSpeak, GeekSpeak and “How To” that provide bona fide content without “being sold to.” SMB Nation 2008 has even added a “Speakers Behaving Badly” hotline where attendees can report any speaker from the 40+ content sessions that make commercial statements to insure the most pure attendee experience possible. “We want to avoid the wolf in sheep clothing phenomena,” emphasized Brelsford.

Sponsors and attendees will meet in the spacious Bell Harbor Conference Center. “At a time when similar technology shows are behind plan, we are ahead of plan” said Brelsford. “We believe this underscores the strength of the SMB segment and the optimism our sponsors have about the SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 opportunity.” Intel and Trend Micro are the platinum sponsors leading the event followed by HP and Microsoft. Gold sponsors include Autotask, CMIT  Solutions, Aastra, SonicWall and Labtech. Silver sponsors include D&H, The Planet, Connectwise, Citrix, N-able, Reflexion, Tigerpaw Software, Nero, 19Marketplace, Symantec, StorageCraft, Acronis, Calyptix, MaxSP, Doyenz, EMC Retrospect, Quanta\Syspine, Zenith Infotech, Linked In, Backup Assist,  CRU DataPort and WatchGuard. Bronze sponsors include Netgear, Untangle, CTL Computers, Level Platforms (LPI), MSP Partners, Linksys by Cisco, Comcast, Diskeeper, Expetec, New Global Telecom (NGT), Pronto Marketing, eFolder, CoreConnex, Highly Reliable Systems, SMB Books & Results Software, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Napera Networks, Independent Computer Consultants Association (ICCA) and Integrated mar.com. 

Attendees can expect a high-quality conference with content that has been rigorously scrutinized by esteemed industry conference chairs (Dana Epp, Mikael Nystrom, Curt Hicks and Joe Moore). That has resulted in outstanding speaker selections such as Jeff Middleton, Susan Bradley, Ramon Ray and Amy Babinchak and popular topics such as How to Sell Your SBS\SMB Consulting Practice and Security in SBS 2008.

“So the last question is this. Where will you be October 4-6, 2008?” concluded Brelsford. Attendees can learn more and register at www.smbnation.com.

About SMB Nation

Founded ten years ago by Small Business Server author Harry Brelsford, Bainbridge Island, Washington-based SMB Nation supports small and medium business technology consultants to improve their business and technical skills with publications (books, SMB PC magazine) and events (SMB Nation conferences and workshops). SMB Nation boasts worldwide tribal membership in 30+ countries exceeding 20,000 consultants, resellers, VARs\VAPs and channel partners. Harry Brelsford is a Microsoft Small Business Specialist (SBSC) and holds an MBA from the University of Denver in addition to MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE and CNP certifications.

Contact:

Harry Brelsford

CEO, SMB Nation

206-915-3072

harryb@smbnation.com

Harry Brelsford | CEO | SMB Nation, Inc. | www.smbnation.com

Please attend our SMB Nation 2008 fall conference, October 4-6, 2008

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Read Harry’s SMB Dude Blog here

Download your copy of SMB PC magazine here

SBS Manchester Group Meeting

Yesterday evening I went up to the SBS Manchester Group meeting to talk about some of the discussions that were had at WPC as part of the PALs Meeting. It was a very interesting discussion around a number of topics. For me it was interesting to hear what value people see in the SBSC Programme. It got me thinking and I realised that there are two separate things at play here which are :-

  1. SBSC Certification/Programme Benefits
  2. Community Membership and Peer-to-Peer Networking

I guess you can have the second without having the first and the question is which is the more valuable?

I have no doubt that business growth and personal development comes from the second and for people to see real value in SBSC then the two have to be more closely tied in together. By this I mean if you obtain SBSC then you should be getting into an exclusive for SBSC only Peer-to-Peer Networking Group.

There was a discussion around the SBS/EBS Launch Plans by Gareth Hall, the Microsoft Windows Server Product Manager, and what this might look like. I’m not going to give you the details because you need to get to your local SBS Group and listen to Gareth yourselves on one of his visits to the Groups. Suffice to say I really like his thinking and we certainly need to think out of the box and ultimately it must mean more SBSC Partners go out and talk to more Customers and to sell more (for Microsoft that means more licenses and for us as Partners it means getting more service revenue).

Emily Lambert, the Microsoft SBSC Programme Lead, was there to talk about some of things happening around SBSC and how she is taking feedback onboard and then eventually planning to try and start to address some of the issues.

There is a great bunch of people there at Manchester SBS Group and great that the North West is one the areas that Microsoft is implementing a Regional Approach. There is a new North West Microsoft Small Business website which I think is a fantastic idea and if you can get some Case Studies from local Partner then it will be a great resource.

SBS 2008 Released to Manufacturing

I was at the Manchester SBS Group Meeting this evening when Gareth Hall, the Microsoft Windows Server Product Manager announced that SBS 2008 was now at RTM. Sure enough, I had the following email from the Beta Participation :

We are very excited to announce the RTM of Small Business Server 2008 today! This is a huge milestone for the team here, as well as all of you who have played a pivotal role in providing feedback on this product. We on the product team want to say "THANK YOU!" for the hours you’ve spent installing builds, discussing issues on the newsgroups, and filing all of those bugs we love! The SBS Community CANNOT be topped, and this release is just another example of that!

What’s next?

We’ll be making the Evaluation builds available on the Microsoft CARE site within a month

Complimentary Not for Resale copies of SBS will be awarded to Beta participants, based on participation.details from Kevin Beares coming soon!

RTM product to be available in Retail and Volume Licensing early October, stay tuned to your favorite OEMs for launch plans Please join us in celebrating this important day! We couldn’t have done it without you!

Cassie Hicks and Dean Paron

Windows Small Business Server 2008

Feeling Comfortable With Winning

There was a comment on Nick Bryant’s Australia Blog that the Olympics euphoria won’t last because we British just don’t feel comfortable with winning. Well I can tell you that I feel VERY comfortable with it.

 

olympics  Perhaps the final table won’t look like that (I don’t really care!) but honestly I can’t see Australia or Germany surpassing Team GB now as they are on 11 Golds. Team GB have been amazing and inspiring and makes you feel proud to be British, something we don’t say or show enough of.

The British Library: Expressions of Faith

I recently found out that the British Library in London holds some amazing pieces of Sikh Manuscripts. The most amazing of these is the "Guru Granth Sahib" (The Sikh Holy Book) but what is remarkable is that is the oldest known version outside of India and one the 20 oldest known in existence. It dates from c1660-75 which is the time of the Ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji and his son the Tenth and Final Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It was only in 1699 that the Khalsa was formed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji and he declared that after him the Sikhs should only follow the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. So, it became the living embodiment of our Faith and it is treated with the utmost respect and reverence. I’m not sure if it is a good or bad thing that the British Library owns such a rare part of the Sikh Faith. You could argue that it might have been destroyed if it had remained in India through various upheavals. I understand it has been restored with funds from the Sikh Education Council.

The collection also contains the Prayer Book of Rani Jindan Kaur, the wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who fought two wars with the British before the Punjab was finally annexed. His son Maharaja Duleep Singh was shipped off to England, converted to Christainity (later went back to being a Sikh) and become a favourite of Queen Victoria. This was when the famour Koh-i-Nor diamond was somehow given/taken from Duleep Singh and now is part of the Queen’s Crown Jewels ("To the Victor the Spoils"). Duleep Singh is buried in Elveden Church in Norfolk. How strange that the last Maharaja of the Sikh Nation’s resting place is only 100 miles away from me. There is a Sikh Memorial to him there but I’ve never visited or seen it and to be honest I didn’t know it even existed until quite recently.

It’s amazing to think how intertwined the history of Britain and the Sikhs are and I guess why my parents came to this country back in the 1960s.

Within the collection there is a picture of Guru Nanak Ji, the founder of Sikhism with his two followers one which was a Muslim and one a Hindu. The message from this and from the Sikh Faith is of the equality of Religious belief.

The opening words of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji is "Ek on Kar" meaning "One God"!

HTG UK Group

Following on from my previous post, I thought I would let you know that the HTG Groups are coming to the UK. The facilitator/moderator will be Dave Sobel of Evolvetech who will be jetting in from the US to guide/support the Group with a first meeting planned in for mid October time.

One thing I wanted to say in public is that I won’t be joining the Group and it has nothing to do with not seeing the value of them. Many people I respect are members of them and really value them. I would certainly encourage those SBSC Partners who are looking for growth to consider joining. For me, as I’ve written previously, lots of things are changing and Ashish and I are putting investment into many aspects of our business Ardent iSys and you just have to make your choice somewhere. Also, we’re a Software Business not an Infrastructure Business which is essentially what the other Partners will be.

One thing that is a regret is that we have to rely on our US Colleagues for something like this which I think is a shame but that’s the reality and why reinvent the wheel?

HTG Peer Groups

NEW! Online Peer Group Benefit for Small Business Specialist and Windows Small Business Server Partners

Microsoft announces Online Peer Groups for active Small Business Specialist partners that took the Windows SBS 70-282 exam.

What are the Online Peer Groups?

The online Peer Groups are an opportunity for Microsoft partners to learn, share and complete activities designed to improve their business and professional lives. The content will consist of these six topics over a 12-month period:

1.    Vision, Mission, Values
2.    Business Planning
3.    Sales and Marketing
4.    Budgeting and Finance
5.    HR and Metrics
6.    Vendor Engagement and Wrap-up

The online Peer Groups consist of up to 15 members partners per group.  The meetings are scheduled at uniform times.  Each meeting will focus on practical, useful content and tools that help you improve your business over the upcoming month and beyond. Homework and goal assignments are required and will supplement the learning.  Peer group sharing is also a key part of the best practice exchange and overall learning.

  • Must be an active Small Business Specialist (SBSC)
  • Passed the SBS 70-282 Exam
  • Peer Groups will be conducted in English only (English proficiency required)
  • Commitment to participate includes attending peer group sessions and completion of homework
  • Pay $600 USD for participation

To learn more or to SUBMIT the nomination form, please visit: http://www.htgmembers.com/online_year1.htm. Form needs to be submitted latest by August 31, 2008 for participation in the FY09 Online Peer Groups. Submitting the form does not guarantee selection. Microsoft and Heartland Technology Groups reserve the right to decline a submission. All peer groups will be conducted in English only.

What Peer Group members have to say:

“Life is too short to learn all these things the hard way. Most of us got in to this business because we are technicians and have to learn how to be businessmen and managers. Sessions like this are the closest thing we can get to having a mentor or hiring a professional corporate President to run the company”

“I entered this program with no specific expectations other than to have the opportunity to interact with and learn from and with my peers. The HTG Online Peer Group experience was simply excellent. Our group had a good mix of firms, in terms of geographic location, company size and experience. This was one of the keys to the value I derived from the program. Most importantly, the program afforded me an opportunity to speak with my peers and interact with them in a very open and collaborative manner and I found that it really forced me to take a critical look at my business model. As a result, I will definitely implement changes in my business this year that are the direct result of my participation in this group. It was worthwhile to take time to work through the exercises, meetings and presentations in order to get the full benefit of a thought-provoking program. I highly recommend this program to any firm that works with SMB clients.”

So You Want to Learn SBS 2008?

I’ve heard quite a bit about Partners wanting resources for learning SBS 2008, web casts, training courses, etc. Now, whilst these are all valuable things there is really only one way to learn the product and that is to use it. You can download SBS 2008 RC1 and I have a post on getting a very cheap test server running virtualisation, so you really have no excuses!

Get Ready for the Windows Essential Server Solutions Launch with
Technical Training Series <https://partner.microsoft.com/40075344>
The November 12, 2008 launch for Windows Essential Server Solutions is
fast approaching! Prepare by attending Partner Academy Live technical
training sessions for Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Windows
Essential Business Server 2008 starting on August 15, 9am PDT with “The
Small and Midsize Business Server Platform: Which Is Right for Your
Customer? <https://partner.microsoft.com/40075267>”. Topics include
planning and installation, migration, security, management,
virtualization, and more for both Windows SBS 2008 and Windows EBS 2008

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AMITPRO Meeting

Last night was our AMITPRO Meeting and it was a chance to meet up with Emily Lambert, who has taken on the role of SBSC Lead for Microsoft (although that is not her entire role). I also got a chance to meet with Gareth Hall, the Windows Server Product Manager who has taken on SBS/EBS as well. It makes a lot of sense and more importantly Gareth holds the sign-off on the money especially in this launch year. Emily is a good choice for this role, I just hope we get some continuity now. The good thing is that the persistence by Gareth Brown and myself that Microsoft’s Small Business efforts should be through the SBS Groups is starting to pay off. Those that have kept the Community going month in, month out and evangelised the Programme deserve this support from Microsoft at the very least. It’s nice to see this recognition of our efforts and when I say "our", I mean all those SBSC Group Leads and Members who have kept the faith. It’s easy to keep the faith when you understand the value of Peer to Peer interaction. We discussed a lot of things but overall I feel very positive going forward. I liked Gareth’s approach and his honesty and also his willingness to push the Corporate boundaries. You know I like people who are willing to do that!

We had a very interesting presentation from Brightpoint and Orange who have joined with Microsoft to deliver a channel model for IT Resellers to provide Windows Mobile devices/Tariffs to end customers and provide an ongoing revenue stream. Brightpoint are the sole distributor of unbranded HTC devices in the UK. HTC are doing some great things especially with their new Diamond Touch devices running Windows Mobile 6.1. The offer looked very attractive to me as Brightpoint will basically do all the hard work for you and provide you with first line technical support as well. This offer has come about from feedback from some of the SBS Groups which Emily visited and then fed this information back to develop a Programme which I think potentially answers a lot of our needs around providing mobile services.

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