New Small Business Specialist Partner (SBSC) Area Lead (PAL) for Australia – Hilton Travis


Now I really don’t think Microsoft know what they are in for with this announcement.  Late last night, Robbie Upcroft – the Microsoft Australia dude covering the SBSC program and the SBS/EBS product range, made the following announcement to the local SBSC yahoogroup.  I’ve known Hilton for some years now and he’s pretty much a nice guy.  Sure there are times when I wish he would just shut up, but I believe that all in all, his heart is in the right place.  Hilton is replacing Dean Calvert here in Australia as the SBSC PAL, and to be honest, I think he will do a stellar job at it (no offense to Dean).  The problem is though, that I don’t think Microsoft know what they are doing by appointing Hilton.  They do not know the true tireless bombardment they are about to go under as he does not care what gets in his way when he tries to promote the cause of the SBSC.  One of them will break – either Hilton will realise that Microsoft can’t move that fast to change and stop, or Microsoft will ultimately give in and change to our way of thinking faster.  I certainly hope it is the latter.  The SBSC program is nothing more than a badge right now.  A badge that anyone can get if they bother to try.  It needs to be far more than that.  It needs to be recognised by the business owner and held in the same level of respect as the CPA program for Chartered Accountants.  It needs to become a house hold name for it to have any real value to the SMB community.

Hilton – I wish you all the best mate.  You are going to need it.  If you need something then let us know.  Your time starts…!


Hi folks,

Just a quick heads-up that we have appointed a new Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) for Australia. The wider announcement will be made in the upcoming newsletter & blog however given the passionate nature of this forum, we wanted to let you know first.

Commencing July 1st & lasting for 12 months, Hilton Travis of Quark IT in Brisbane will follow Dean Calvert’s tenure as our nominated PAL. I’d like to take this time to wholeheartedly thank Dean for his drive & efforts in working on the first instalment of the PAL program & at the same time, welcome Hilton to the role. An active member of the Brisbane SBS Users group & vocal contributor to the global SBS forums, Hilton was selected for his passion, knowledge of Microsoft SMB solutions & blistering honesty when it comes to providing feedback.

I understand that some of you may not have heard of the SBSC PAL program before & so an overview is located here: In summary though, it is:

· A Microsoft Corporate program designed to foster better relationships between SBSCs & the wider Microsoft SMB / Partner teams

· A way for SBSCs to channel feedback through to Microsoft, and for us in turn to hear a rolled-up summary of issues

· A 12 month appointment with the PAL being nominated by Microsoft.

Although Hilton will undoubtedly respond to this post & let you know how to get in contact with him in his own inimitable way, I would expect him to be a rather passionate, vocal representative of the community on all things SBSC – the good, the bad & the ugly. Amongst other things he will be involved in quarterly conference calls, meet the local Microsoft partner executive team & participate in feedback sessions with the MS Corp owners of the SBSC program at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston in July.

As per the recent series of SBSC roundtables & increased focus on activities (such as the “We’ve got a guy” campaign & better newsletter coverage), we’re looking to ramp-up our efforts in this space & the appointment of a new PAL is just one in a long line of shake-ups coming to the Australian version.

A quick background on Hilton in his words is below.

Thanks & please let me know if you have any questions,

Robbie Upcroft | Product Manager – SMB Servers | Microsoft Australia




Name: Hilton Travis

Company: Quark IT (Quark Group Pty Ltd)

Location: Brisbane, Sunny Queensland

Years in business: 19

Describe your business in 25 words or less:                         

Quark IT: Specializing in the SMB market, providing networking and general technology support to allow our clients to better run the business side their business.

Quark Group: Automation, Audio Visual and IT integrator specializing in commercial and high end residential projects helping to integrate technology so it is unobtrusive yet functional.

What are you passionate about in business?:                    

Being at the leading edge of the current “integration” technology allowing us to be able to  make people’s lives easier by the careful selection and implementation of technology in their homes and workplaces.  Also, being able to design this so that we can be as environmentally and socially responsible as possible without reducing the functionality and effectiveness of the solutions to our clients’ requirements.

How long have you been in IT?: 26 long years

How long have you been working with Microsoft products?:

Since the days of MS DOS being supplied on 360 KB floppy diskettes.  Around 1984, if my failing memory serves me correctly.  I do have a copy of Microsoft OS/2 Version 1.21 on 5.25” disks somewhere.

If Microsoft could do one thing to help your business thrive, what would it be?:

Look back at the good old days when they were good at releasing killer desktop OSes and great Office applications – and start running the business once again like that.  If Microsoft could focus on its strengths instead of trying to borg the entire IT world, they could once again release great products that would really help our clients run their businesses better.

What’s the best thing about the SBSC program?:

At this point, aahhh, well…  Its potential.  (See, I *can* be politically correct!)

What’s the worst thing?:

Nobody knows what it is.  None of our clients.  No-one outside an SBSC.  It is the program you have when you don’t have a program!  That is, however, starting to change a little and I want to encourage that change.

What are you looking forward to most over the next 12 months as the new Aussie SBSC PAL?:

Firstly, working out what a PAL actually does, and then doing it!

I’m hoping to be able to encourage Microsoft to promote the SBSC program in Australia to the point where it is recognized by people outside the SBSC members.  This will involve input not only from Microsoft, but from the SBSCs ourselves.  Yet another paper certification is something we don’t need and we definitely shouldn’t want – having this certification actually mean something in the industry and to our clients is what I’d like to see happen by June 2009.

I’d like to be able to let Microsoft know, in my own silky smooth way, what I see wrong with the way they are going in areas that actually matter.  I’d really, really like to be able to help sort out their Licensing when it comes to the SMB marketplace and I’d like to try and understand why we’re so poorly treated when it comes to the pricing of Microsoft software and programs in Australia.

Category: People I meet
Published: 19/05/2008 5:18 AM

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