“Redmond, we have a green light on SBS2003 Service Pack 1 Beta”

In scenes reminiscent of the space shuttle launch, the SBS Dev team this morning had their release meeting for the Beta of SBS2003 Service Pack 1.  The managers from the Dev/Test/Program management team and the user education managers Lead program managers were all asked to signify their signoff of the release of this beta as they went around the room responding “Go“ when asked about their specific teams focus areas.

Incorporating Windows 2003 Service Pack 1, Exchange 2003 Service Pack 1, various other hotfixes and security patches, this represents the first major release of code for SBS since it’s launch in October 2003.  Users who have SBS 2003 Premium will also get ISA 2004 and SQL 2000 Service pack 4 as well.  Although this is a beta release and should only be used on non-production systems, it’s a step forward for many of the SBS’ers out there in the fight towards increased security and reliability.

If you’ve been accepted into the beta program for SBS 2003 SP1 then you should be able to download the updates from the MS beta site some time over the weekend.

The input that MS have taken in preparing this beta from partners and the community reflects a commitment to improve the product based on not only their own PSS reports, but those comments from the people at the coalface.  Good work MS – we look forward to the release of the final RTM version of this in the coming months.  Thanks also for allowing the MVPs to be part of this process as an interface to the community.

Honesty with customers counts too!

Yup – honesty counts. I had to talk to a customer last week about a stuff up one of my guys did. SBS2000 server – we could VPN to the server but could not ping anything on the inside of the network, or access resources on the inside of the network. The network appeared to be running.

We could not see the issue. Lodged a case with PSS and after 3 weeks – the guy asked us to stop the “Trend Micro Personal Firewall Service”…. CLANG.  A few months back when my guy upgraded the customer from OfficeScan for SBS2000 to CSM Suite for SMB, he mistakenly downloaded and installed OfficeScan Corporate Edition which includes the personal firewall turned on by default. He installed this on the server also as is normal. We didn’t realise it was the wrong version as they look so similar and once PSS asked us to turn of that service we realised our mistake. The customer was not any less secure with our mistake one way or the other – it’s just that it stopped this VPN function from working properly.

So – what to do. I rang the customer – told him that we’ve made a mistake with his network configuration and that I wanted to send out a guy to resolve this in the next day or two – no charge of course. The customer was silent for a moment and then said “Wayne – Thanks for your honesty… I’ve not had anyone admit their mistake in the past. It’s good to see that your not afraid to admit when you do the wrong thing.”

Basically this was for us a customer building experience. The customer has greater confidence now than ever before in us and that he knows from the last 4 years of dealing with us that we’ve never made an error like that before. He can move on with confidence that we’ll be open and honest if we make a mistake in the future.

Why do I post this – I’m tired of consultants in the industry, certified partners etc that stuff up a system and can not admit that they’ve done the wrong thing by the customer.  It gives us all a bad name and makes the customer less trusting.  Like the stereotypical image of the used car salesman – nobody trusts him at all – always looking for the catch.  If you want your customers to trust you you’ve got to shake that image and ensure that your totally transparent with them.  If your a good reputable company then you’ll already be doing this. 

Care to share your experiences with us?