Ofer Shimrat, whom I am excited and honored to be giving a presentation with at www.smbnation.com in October always has such wisdom… here’s his view of the change in support that Microsoft just announced:

Ofer Shimrat – BSIT, MCPS, MCNPS
SOUNDOFF Computing Corporation
TEL: (858) 569-0300
FAX: (858) 569-0303
“We welcome the opportunity to be of service”


Aware of Microsoft’s SBS support announcement “changes” I read with interest Karl’s post, Susan’s incisive thoughts and Vlad’s lavishly worded follow up.


I must say with all due respect that once again I disagree with Karl and whole-heartedly agree with Vlad and Susan – but for differing reasons.


My take – the proliferation of TOO MANY Action Packs, too many MPAN and other “resources” have hit CRITICAL MASS.


There is no more FREE LUNCH.


The amateur’s house of cards is tumbling and along with $ 5.00 per gallon gas (here in Southern California) its panic time.


To the amateur, ANY and ALL situations that require technical prowess to rectify are a potential SERVER DOWN – it’s like crying WOLF.


So Microsoft said NO more. They too have to run a business – and now WITHOUT Bill Gates.


The perception that this profession is SO easy that anyone can do it sprinkled with over-dose marketing that anyone can MANAGE it (as in services) thereby being profitable at it WITHOUT having the technical prowess and expertise is – like $ 5.00 gas – NOT SUSTAINABLE.


To put it a different way – too many SALESMAN and too few EXPERTS.


Allow me to reiterate an observation I made back in May 2007 titled The Symphony of SBS –




“Too often in the field I encounter previous deployments of SBS from people who had NO business even attempting to install it let alone deploy it – bad hardware, enterprise MCSE’s mindset, NO wizards, poor business judgment, just in it for the money, geeky friend-of-a-friend, apprentice-in-training, or SMB charlatans that simply do not take the time to learn and MASTER their trade and do not rise up to their own lack of knowledge.


It’s the $ 399 servers – it’s the lets-not-install-all-the-features syndrome because they won’t use it yet so I-can-make-more-money-later – it’s the hardware/software/networking corners they cut at every juncture to maximize the almighty profit – it’s the ATTITUDE that they are in business JUST to make money and the client be damned – it’s the lack of imagination when confronting a tech support problem that almost ALWAYS has been confronted by someone before and SOLVED, and if not at minimum, addressed already in abundant detail in blogs all over the Internet.”


I view this Microsoft announcement as a good thing – a good thing for the SALESMAN that is part of a technically proficient organization that is attuned to their client best interests – a good thing for the EXPERT to redouble his/her efforts in following Best Practices and building robust scalable solutions for their clientele – all involving SBS that will continue to serve the SMB space well – as long as it PROPERLY implemented by COMPETENT consultants.


In short – GOOD NEWS for the professional and technically proficient consultancy.


4 Responses to The Oferized view of Microsoft Support

  1. Evan says:

    I’m really curious what you mean by “enterprise MCSE’s mindset” (at least, I assume that’s you– this post is a little confusing re: figuring out who wrote what) when talking about poorly-deployed SBS installations.

    If Microsoft’s changes in support policies cause more “ma’ and pa'” shops to die, I’m the happier for it. As a person who derives 100% of his income from an IT consultancy, I’m offended by the “IT consultant on the side” people, and astonished at the naivete of those businesses, no matter their size, who would use such a person.

  2. Matt says:

    Wise? Seems more cynical and sad to me. Does he think he will benefit from these other consultants not having microsoft support? Most IT folks I know try to do the righ thing. He clearly believes the opposite.

    Elitist + cynical does not equial wise.

  3. Ofer Shimrat says:

    Neither elitist nor cynical – simply a reality check. Nobody said anything about NOT having Microsoft support. It is just that Microsoft will NOW, like YOU, charge for it.

    Managed services is a profitable model when everything works well and it’s on Automatic Pilot – but that model breaks down when the proverbial s#@! hits the fan and hours upon hours have to be spent on issues that typically result from faulty design, shoddy hardware or poor implementations – all that work yields diminishing returns and the business is no longer profitable – and worse – the industry gets a bad name.

    Not to say ALL implementations are that way – but certainly enough of them. Enough of them to propel Microsoft to charge for support.

    Most IT folks DO try to do the right thing. And from my experience, those IT folks that are conscientious and do the right thing and follow Best Practices do NOT typically require that much support – and when they do, the relationship with the client is such that the client knows that the particular incident REALLY requires 2nd and 3rd level support – and they pay for it.

    I am not talking about those IT folks that do the right thing – I am talking about the folks that under dubious circumstances sign up for Action Packs, push managed services and sit back and collect monies – and then panic when anything remotely sophisticated happens and then call Server Down support.

    To that Microsoft is saying NO – to the rest of us professionals Microsoft is saying YES.

  4. Rich Lusk says:

    Does this mean there will no longer be “Business Down Critical Support” offered only to Microsoft Partners? They screen the support request to make sure the request is a legit “server down business critical issue”. I’ve only had to use it a small handful of times in seven years and it would be nice if that stays. I will really be upset if this goes away because of those out there that abuse it and don’t have the professionalism to research the issue first or don’t have a community to bounce the issue to.