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Play SBS Show #25

Managed Services
Guest: Erick Simpson

New site, Same message...

Thank you for reading the SBS Show newsletter. Ever since episode #2 you\'ve been asking me to tell you when the new show comes out. The more addicted bunch also kept on emailing to find out when the next SBS Show is coming out. Suffice to say, the delete key on my keyboard has worn off.

But I got a new keyboard and am glad to bring you the SBS Show newsletter. In addition to informing you when the shows are released, the goal for this newsletter is in line with the SBS Show podcast - to give you a summary of whats going on in the SMB community and give you a reason to participate. With so many groups, forums, podcasts, webcasts, screencasts and blogs it\'s hard to stay on top of all the information you need to run your business. This newsletter, along with the new dynamic web site, will hopefully provide you with a digest of the community news, events and discussions as well as a link into your local market.

Hope you like it! And please, please forward to all your friends and associates!

Vlad Mazek, MCSE
CEO, Own Web Now Corp

SBS Show #25 - Erick Simpson on Managed Services (Part 1)

SBS Show #25 guest Erick Simpson discusses Managed Services. Erick recently wrote The Guide to a Successful Managed Services Practice and joined us to talk about his firm, his business, the transition process, marketing, technology, hiring.. basically everything short of dramatic reading.

Download SBS Show #25

Erick runs Intelligent Enterprise and the Managed Services Provider University. You can see and hear him on this Vladfire episode.

UK SMB Syposium

Three venues, 300 SBSC partners, a bunch of senior Microsoft staff, all wrapped up with plenty of enthusiasm and ideas and you have what has been a very successful Microsoft SBSC Symposium.

The first even on the 1st February was held at Microsoft UK (Thames Valley Park) and was introduced and hosted by Robbie Upcroft. Aileen Hannah addressed the audience with an update to the SBSC Partner Programme, and Steve Haddock gave his views on the SMB market from a Microsoft Perspective. Scott Dodds, Karl Noakes, joined Aillen and Steve for an Executive Q&A and made themselves available after the session for some honest and more in-depth discussion.

Susanne Dansey talked about the successes Readycrest and their clients had experienced, whilst Scott McKenzie and Mark Hope did likewise in Edinburgh, and Manchester (respectively).

The afternoon sessions gave the opportunity to listen to some of the leading partners who offered advice and insight into their businesses based on their experiences so far. Topics such as SPLA, marketing your business, building a better business model, Partner Power, and using your local organisations, were all covered and were interactive to allow for questions and ideas to be disussed further by the audience.

Edinburgh was booked out and was well received. Manchester was equally as popular although more partners would have been welcomed to what was a very successful event. Partners such as Vijay Riyait, Gareth Brown, Angus Eddy, Duncan Reid, Vin Jauhal, Alex Stanier, Richard Evans, Steve Wright, Duncan Gray, Bill Wells, and Julian Wilkinson (amongst many others) made significant contributions to the partner-to-partner discussions.

Some of the feedback so far has been immensely positive, at least two businesses have changed their business models since attending and many found that the mix of Microsoft and partner discussions of real business value.

Furthermore, there is talk of a second series of Symposia being made availabe late 2007 and the whole event would not have been made possible without the dedication of Robbie Upcroft, Aileen Hannah, and David Overton as well as the contributions who have made definite waves about the importance of Small Business Specialists within Microsoft.

For more details check out these blog posts: UK SMB Girl, iQubed

This is Agent Squirrel signing off,
Susanne Dansey
Business Development Manager, Readycrest Limited
Microsoft Certified Partner
Small Business Specialist

SBS Group State of The Union

What started as an information drought several years ago has turned into information overload. SBS Group Members admit that they should be reading newsgroups, blogs and watching webcasts and podcasts to keep up, but they’re maxed out and just can't carve out the time. Folks are also having trouble finding qualified techs to handle the growth. And many partners are focusing on their core competencies as reality sets in and the managed services model turns out not to be everyone’s cup of tea.

The future looks equally overbooked. The EVO launch is building momentum for January, yet it remains to be seen if customers will justify the expense or wait for SP1. Financing from Microsoft is definitely helping knock some of the ‘undecided’ off the fence, but SA is still a hard sell in the SMB space. And our keystone product 'Cougar' is shrouded in an NDA and seems a million miles away in ’08. So as the divide between the SBSCs and Joe-SBS-Wannabe spreads ever wider, the real IT Pros continue to network & partner with each other and strengthen their position in the marketplace. There’s an enormous opportunity for future growth, if we can just avoid the burnout.

-Tim Barrett
Microsoft Certified Professional
Microsoft Small Business Specialist

Events: SMBTN SMB Summit 2007

SMBTN is organizing its third annual summit - at the world famous Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. This March, 15-17, and the registration is open - $695 gets you in. Click here for details.

The third annual SMB Summit conference will help you learn the success practices of top SMB partners. It is the one investment you should make in your company to gain strategic business and technical knowledge and build valuable peer relationships with other successful partners and vendors. Partners will get first hand information and knowledge on new products and services that supplement your customers’ solution. The investments and directions you make today will determine your future, validate your direction and insure your continued success.

Events: Swing Migration ITPRO Conference

Jeff Middleton, native of the city and founder of SBSmigration.com, would like to personally invite you to 'think New Orleans' for this very special week. Participate in a weekend or a week devoted to professional development and education with a blend of spectacular fun and a conference experience you will never forget.

The IT PRO Conference is in New Orleans from May 26 - June 2, 2007. The two day conference at the French Quarter followed by the 5 day SBS Cruise Camp. Click here for more details.

Community Chat: Action Pack Rights

Perhaps the biggest community thread for January 2007: What are my action pack rights?

Community members debated the EULA endlessly as it appears that you only have the right to use the latest software included in the action pack and must discontinue the use of previous versions after your Action Pack renewal is done. I say 'appears' not to doubt the fact but to indicate that many Microsoft employees we have spoken to promised that they are working on changing the Action Pack to allow for partners to keep older releases around for support purposes. More on this later.

In the meantime, there are several official comments from Eric Ligman here.

Community Chat: Microsoft Retail Strategy

Earlier this week Rex Bloesser and Eric Ligman held a very frank webcast on the state of Microsoft Retail Strategy: webcast. You can view the recorded webcast here.

The community response to the strategy has been.. too graphic for this newsletter. Suffice to say that the retail strategy brought out new concerns and skepticism as partners drew parallels between the direction and SBSC program. More on this in the next newsletter.

Technical Alerts: DST

To patch or not to patch, that is the question. Not an easy or straight one to answer. Microsoft has a guide available here.

Friends of the Show: Calgary Small Business Show

Stuart Crawford of IT Matters has been singlehandedly keeping the SMB podcast genre alive in the absence of Inside SBS and SBS Show. Hop over to the Calgary Small Business Show and subscribe to the new member of the SMB podcast family.

What's next?

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