I’ve been a bit silent over the last couple of weeks as I’ve been flat out working on a few different things. One of my major clients has bought a new company and I’m looking at how we integrated 220 users into an existing 350 user network which is a great challenge and a load of fun.
I’m also preparing to present at both TechEd Australia and TechEd New Zealand as well as doing a fair bit of travel around Australia with Windows 7 presentations. Add to that the background work I’m doing on the new SBSfaq.com website and you start to get the picture.
So good things come – but I’ve been a little delayed in the launch of the new site. Fingers crossed for a launch this weekend!
July 1st marks the end of one age and the start of a new era in the SBSC space in Australia. Hilton Travis has ended his term as SBSC Pal for Australia and passed the baton to Keira McIntosh for the coming 12 months. The SBSC PALs role is to act as a channel to communicate to Microsoft on issues affecting the SBSC community.
Keira started a blog a few months back and you can get to it here http://smbmanifesto.blogspot.com/
Congrats Keira, you’ve bitten of more than you can chew, but I’m sure you can handle it
Many in Australia are concerned that Microsoft are not understanding the needs of resellers in the SMB space. Some have made brash claims that MS simply don’t care. I can tell you from the meetings I’ve had inside Microsoft that those comments are extremely misguided. Most of the work I do inside Microsoft is covered under NDA and I can’t talk too much about it, however this is one thing that I specifically wanted to get out to the community so I sought permission to report it here.
On June 26th when most business were busy focusing on closing out sales, Microsoft Australia took over 30 people out of the office and invited key distributors to spend the day meeting with 6 partners in the smaller end of the SMB space. The aim was to get a better understanding of what the registered partners needed from Microsoft and how Microsoft could help better in the future. Holding an event like this is not a minor undertaking either in terms of cost or organisation. I applaud Microsoft for taking the bull by the horns and seeking to address the concerns that the community has expressed.
If you think that Microsoft don’t get us and our needs, then I’d like to say that you will be proven wrong over the coming 12 months. Sure they can’t change the world overnight, but the commitment from the team and the way they hope to make life better for the smaller SMB resellers is key.
The photo below gives you an idea of how the partners (sitting in the front row) were outnumbered by the Microsoft team You might recognise a few familiar faces and some not so familiar, which is one of the key things that Microsoft wanted from this – the desire to talk to resellers that they had not talked to before.
If you have some specific point you want to raise with Microsoft Australia in the SMB space then feel free to email me and I’ll link you up with the relevant contacts inside.
Have you ever had suspicions that your Active Directory environment was not right? Well Microsoft have taken today released another tool that can be used to scan your environment and help diagnose the issues you might have. It’s called the IT Environment Health Scanner and comes from the Essential Business Server team who originally designed it to ensure that EBS could easily install into an existing network. I’ve been using it as part of my pre-flight check on my SBS 2008 migrations and it’s great at finding out things that you don’t know.
Go download it now from here http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=dd7a00df-1a5b-4fb6-a8a6-657a7968bd11&displaylang=en
For more detailed info on the tool http://blogs.technet.com/essentialbusinessserver/archive/2009/06/29/microsoft-it-health-scanner-released.aspx
I was onsite today with a client and they still use Scorpion Softwares Firewall Dashboard product to monitor their ISA 2004 server. The morning report came in and it showed that from some time yesterday there had been a massive increase in the attacks on their server. I dug a little deeper and found that the attacks were all destined for port 48195. I did some digging and found nothing out there at the moment, so I pinged a few security people I know (Susan Bradley and Dana Epp) – they too knew nothing.
From what I can see – the source IP’s are all different Aussie ISPs – it makes me suspect that there is some Malware out there on infected machines that is trying to attack various hosts. Watch out for more on this as I find out.
Microsoft need your help…. In FY10 they are adopting a social media strategy that includes not only their own assets such as blogs, forums and newsgroups, but also third party social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. In part due to the high adoption of IT pros of both Twitter and Facebook, and the low cost awareness these types of assets can create.
Facebook recently announced a vanity url program, but in order to qualify as a page we need to have 100 fans. From today we need to get to 100 fans as quickly as possible. Our goal is to meet this requirement before WPC in two weeks. Here is where I need your help;
Can you please become a fan by going here http://www.facebook.com/pages/Windows-Small-Business-Server/88799484644 so we can push towards the magic 100.
Secondly, they’re soft launching our official SBS twitter feed in the next few days. please begin following as we’ll be announcing different items here as we ramp over the next few days and begin driving other awareness at WPC.
Robert Crane – a local Sydney SharePoint Guru has released a free guide that gives a brief walkthrough on just what Companyweb is and what you can do with it. Robert is a wealth of knowledge on SharePoint particularly in the SBS / SMB space and his experience shows through in this guide.
SBS 2008 has built within it a very deep collaboration system based around Windows SharePoint Services which is a little brother to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. WSS can do some amazing things for your business in terms of it’s ability to centrally store and manage massive amounts of disparate information.
You can get a free copy of his guide here
You can also subscribe to his in-depth all questions answered Windows SharePoint Services Operations Guide here
Today marks the start of the new Financial year here in Australia. As part of the new financial I’ve been giving due consideration to business planning and in particular what I will do different this year vs last year. The world economy by all accounts is at it’s lowest in many tens of years. Here in Australia, the impact does not seem to be as hard as elsewhere in the rest of the world. Will it last? Will we be hit harder? Will it take a totally different tack? All in all I think that no one can really tell. The solution however is not in the future, but in the past. Look at what you did last year and question- how can you do better? What will you change? What do your customers want and how will you service them in what looks to be an ever competitive marketplace.
This is where a solid business plan comes in to help you establish your goals and focus on the path ahead. So the question to you all is how many HAVE a business plan? How have you compared your performance this last year to that business plan?
I’ll bet money that fewer than 10% of SMB IT Professionals out there actually have a business plan. Of those 10% I’ll bet that a smaller number still have taken the time to review their performance and compare it to that plan.
I once worked for a lady called Susie Welch – she was my sales manager at AST Research back in the early 90’s. She kept drumming into my head one thing… “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail”. Those thoughts stick with me to this very day.