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SMB Partner Community

EDITORIAL

Q3 2009

By Harry Brelsford, CEO

Start Your Engines – It’s Our Fourth Year! I’m always amazed at how fast the year passes. This issue (Issue 4-1) marks the start of our fourth year for publishing this magazine. We’ve learned much about the publishing industry and are excited to drive a continued community conversation in good times and bad. The challenges we have all faced are leading to big rewards – so hang on for the recovery ride! Over the past four years, we sincerely hope that we’ve provided you the community-based content you find valuable. We’ve tried to blend the technical and business conversations under the guise of “GeekSpeak marries BusinessSpeak.” My e-mail and voicemail boxes are always open, so contact me directly with your feedback as we not only survive but continue to thrive.

LAST ISSUE? So you noticed the little call-out on the cover, eh? This isn’t really our last issue. But if you don’t renew your SMB Nation Tribal membership – it’s your last issue! So run over to our Web site at www.smbnation.com and click the Join the Tribe link. We wanna keep you!

It’s been said repeatedly that the labor market is a lagging indicator. Layoffs continue past a recessionary turnaround. I beg to differ. This recession has increased the supply of amazing talent, and we jumped at the opportunity to hire David Valencia as our new Business Development Manager.

Q3 2009 SMB Partner Community

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Harry Brelsford, Publisher Editorial Staff EDITOR Vicki McCown LAYOUT Al Alarakhia COVER ART DIRECTOR Michael Young CONTRIBUTING WRITERS David S. Schafran Aaron Booker

TELEPHONATION.COM Chris Bangs, Webhead

SMB Nation, Inc. 12715 Miller Road NE, Suite 202 Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 USA David Valencia

Speaking of our location – it’s changing again (sort of). With the uptick in the economy, we’re investing in better office space. We have secured a lease on larger space in the same business park on Bainbridge Island. Stop by and visit!

SMB Nation 2009 Fall – See You There! In so many ways, I can say we’re headed in a new direction. Part of our growth is to appropriately expand the SMB Nation conversation to be focused on the SMB economic sector, which we discovered is very large (something you already knew). Social media and VoIP are additions to our traditional GeekSpeak and BusinessSpeak tracks. Conference chairs including Susan Bradley, Wayne Small, Scott Cayoute, and Tcat have worked overtime to lock down the content schedule 100 days from the event. You now know what you’re getting and when you’re getting it when it comes to conference content. This is our 7th annual fall conference and the changes we’re pursuing have freshened up this community confab. Join us October 2-4, 2009, in Las Vegas for SMB Nation Fall 2009!

Twitter Time Time to give a big shout out to everyone in the SMB Nation tribe who have joined the Twitter revolution. Twitter is powerful stuff – much more than the 140-character limit would indicate. Twitter nearly brought down a Middle East regime, and it’s connecting Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com

PUBLISHED BY SMB Nation, Inc. Bainbridge Island, Washington

BUSINESS STAFF Harry Brelsford, CEO Cyndi Moody, Vice President David Valencia, Business Development Manager Patti Passinault, Accounting Manager Jennifer Hall, Events Manager

Here We Grow Again!

David brings a long career in SMB technology business development starting with the well-respected Aderdeen Group in Southern California. Following stints at Pogo Linux and US Micro, we snagged this fellow Bainbridge Island resident who can literally walk to work! Welcome aboard, David!

| Vol. 4 ■ Issue 1

Tel: 206-201-2943 Fax: 360-824-6042 E-mail: sbs@smbnation.com

© Copyright 2009 SMB Nation Inc. All Rights Reserved Please contact us for reprints and reproduction of content. ISSN 1933-8899

PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40064408 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO EXPRESS MESSENGER INTERNATIONAL P.O. BOX 25058 LONDON BRC, ON CANADA N6C 6A8


Part of my fascination with social media is the ability to quickly communicate broadly. I flippantly posted a comment on my Facebook wall as I was writing the editorial for this magazine’s edition. Good friend (friend is a noun and a verb in the Facebook world) and sponsor Virtual Administrator posted a reply on my wall supplementing my growth talk with its own story. It’s the kind of good news we like to report. Rich Forsen from Virtual Administrator commented, “Where’s your editorial on the growth of Virtual Administrator since we went to our first trade show (yours)? We’ll have a booth at WPC, Harry – drop by!” Speaking of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in mid-July 2009 in New Orleans, we’ll be releasing

this edition of the magazine there (or here, if you’re reading this at the conference). Come up and chat with me at WPC – we can talk the old-fashioned way, F2F (face-to-face).

In This Issue Now the good stuff. You’ll find a fantastic “State of the Union Managed Services” article by David Schafran from New York City. This is compounded with Managed Services survey results I believe you’ll find interesting. Aaron Booker from Bellingham, WA, asserts that Microsoft Windows Home Server isn’t just for the home. And I pontificate on SMB VoIP and our sister site, Telephonation. Plus, meet the new Small Business Specialist Community Partner Area Leads (PALs).

SMB Nation Sponsor Visits

Have a great summer everyone…harrybbbb Harry Brelsford CEO, SMB Nation Publisher, SMB PC Founder, Telephonation

Spring 2009

Q3 2009

Facebook Power!

On the cover – Steven Moore from NNT Solutions enjoys racing a NASCAR automobile at the Dale Jarrett Racing School. Steven and his capable crew support this customer with SMB-related technology solutions from Microsoft and other vendors. Steven is a very strong manager running an efficient organization based on his first career as an Army Ranger. NNT Solutions is located just outside Atlanta in Gainesville, GA. Learn more at www.nntsolutions.com.

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SMB Nation tribal members in new ways every day. I’m so jazzed on it that I attended O’Reilly Media’s Twitter Boot Camp in New York City in mid-June. We’ve retained Dan “Mr. Twitter” Hollings as a speaker at our fall conference. And I want you to FOLLOW ME (@harrybrelsford), where I’ll tweet like a bird.

Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com


COVER STORY

by David S. Schafran

Don’t Let the Economy Scare You – It’s a Great Time to Be an MSP

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n the midst of this uncertain economy, I tend to hear the same questions a few times a week: “What are you seeing in the managed services market?”; “How is it out there?”; “How are other MSPs doing?” My answer: “It’s a great time to be an MSP if you’re doing it right.”

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The current economic climate has generally been beneficial to Managed Services Providers (MSPs) as businesses look for ways to control IT costs. However, while I see many MSPs thriving and growing, I also see a number struggling or even imploding. When I look at what separates these two groups, a number of things stand out – and most have nothing to do with the recession.

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Some of these differences are obvious, such as Quality of Services and Commitment to Customer Service. Companies whose services are lacking eventually lose their clients to competitors who provide an exceptional customer experience. In addition, an MSP whose clients are anything short of raving fans is unlikely to get many referrals – and referrals are the MSP’s number one avenue for new business. Be sure your customers are happy. Ask them directly, honestly solicit their feedback, be willing to hear what they have to say and make changes where necessary. I’ve never met a VAR or MSP who doesn’t think they listen to their clients, but I’m surprised how many do not live up to their own expectations in digging deep to understand what is and is not working. Another obvious item, which is linked to the economy, is the financial health of an MSP’s client base. I speak to many MSPs who are suffering as their clients and prospects go out of business or short-sightedly cut back spending beyond what they really need to maintain their IT environment, either because they do not have the money or they have adopted a foxhole mentality. While MSPs can’t financially rehabilitate Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com

their clients, they can take steps to protect themselves. For instance, vertically focused VARs and MSPs must assess the health of their vertical market(s) and, if necessary, diversify into other markets. While more difficult, the same analysis and possible expansion needs to happen regarding geographic markets. Some of the other challenges that prevent MSPs from achieving their revenue and new client acquisition goals are less obvious: Service Definition: Almost every MSP I’ve worked with could strengthen its service definition in one way or another. The service definition is critical to the MSP in several ways: • It clearly defines the various services, explains how they will be delivered, and establishes the Service Level Agreement (SLA). This enables alignment of expectations internally within the MSP (between marketing, sales, operations, administration, and management – even if all these are handled by only three people) and externally with prospects and clients. • A clear service definition allows for more accurate calculation of the cost of delivery, a critical input to service pricing. • The service definition helps the MSP determine its technical and business requirements. This is key to critical decisions such as selecting the remote monitoring & management (RMM) platform and ticket / professional services automation (PSA) system or determining which delivery partners fit best. • A concise service definition helps internal resources understand the service and its value. It is surprising how many people I meet, especially those in client-facing roles, who cannot clearly articulate and convey their services’ value to a customer. In some cases these people do not understand the service. Sometimes

What exactly are Managed Services? Managed Service includes any number of IT services remotely delivered to a client by a Managed Service Provider (MSP) who assumes responsibility for the delivery, monitoring, and/or management of all or certain IT functions, usually for a fixed recurring monthly fee. Services commonly provided by MSPs include: remote monitoring and management of networks, servers, applications, workstations, and security; remote patch distribution; data backup; and help desk services. The managed resources may reside on the customer premises, be hosted by a third party, or be hosted by the MSP. In some cases the MSP may even own the hardware and software, delivering a complete solution for a particular need, e.g., a managed firewall service or hosted virtual file server.

they don’t fully believe in the value statement or even the MSP’s ability to deliver it. Whatever the reason, it is one of the biggest differences between closing the sale and one more meeting with a prospect who is “not right for the service.” Too often I hear MSPs dismiss failed prospects as “unqualified leads” when, in fact, they might have made the sale had they properly communicated the value. The current economic climate truly exacerbates this issue – customers who do not fully connect with the service’s value won’t buy. The service definition must begin with focus on the MSP’s customer base. Who are the clients (size, vertical markets, level of complexity, security needs, etc.) and what services do they want? Do they want fully outsourced IT, an escalation source for an internal IT staff, or to outsource a particular aspect of their IT, such as firewall management? Rarely will all of an MSP’s clients have the same needs, so a tiered approach may work


What’s a Master MSP? A Master MSP is not a managed services provider (MSP) who gives really, really good service. Master MSPs provide services to MSPs that enable them to deliver managed services without having to build and staff a network operations center (NOC) and make a large investment in monitoring and management tools. Startup costs used to be the biggest challenge to firms wanting to enter the managed services space. An MSP had to purchase a remote monitoring and management (RMM) system, build a NOC, build a suitably resilient network for service delivery, and allocate (or hire) sufficient staff to man the NOC during business hours or maybe even 24x7. If the NOC was not staffed 24x7, the MSP had to decide how to handle alarms off hours. Master MSPs free the MSP from these issues, just as an MSP frees its clients from many of the same concerns. Master MSPs take the multi-tenancy aspects of managed services to a second level by serving multiple MSP’s clients directly or indirectly. The MSP leverages the Master MSP’s NOC, RMM, ticket system, and staff to monitor the client’s environment. Alerts can be routed to the MSP’s team, to the Master MSP’s team, or directly to the client, depending upon how the MSP and Master MSP structure their relationship. Some Master MSPs perform an initial level of triage then escalate the issue, while others can retain ownership of an issue through resolution. The MSP gets the benefit of the scale of the Master MSP while typically paying only for the specific number of devices under management at any given time. The list of services Master MSPs offer is as diverse as the number of Master MSPs and may include: • Monitoring & Management of Systems, Networks , Applications, and Workstations • Reporting • Ticket / Professional Services Automation (PSA) Systems • End User Help Desk • Security Monitoring and Software • Patch Distribution • SPAM Filtering • Online Backup & Recovery • Virtualization Services • On-Site Reach into Other Geographies Additionally, because the success of the Master MSP generally aligns with the success of its MSP clients, many Master MSPs also provide non-technical resources, including sales and marketing templates, customer agreements, service definition templates, peer groups, and training. Once an MSP reaches a certain size and scale, it may make financial sense to bring these functions back in house, but that inflection point is different for every firm as the question concerns management time, resources, skill sets, and money.

push-back from prospects on price, I stop them and ask if the issue is competitive pressure (another MSP offering the same service for less) or a lack of perceived value (the customer thinks your service is not worth what you are charging). Nine times out of ten it’s a perceived value issue; the MSP can’t sell the value because they don’t fully understand or believe in it. • Commitment is another big differentiator for firms who successfully transition into managed services. Managed services require a different business model, a different service delivery methodology, and a different sales approach. This transition requires a change in mindset. Those who don’t commit to changing the way they do business will get lousy results. The shift from reactive break/fix services to proactive management is accelerating and those who do not adapt will eventually get left behind. IT services firms that aren’t yet making the transition should ask, “What am I waiting for?” The abundance of RMM systems, Master MSPs (see the sidebar: What’s a Master MSP?), PSA systems, and managed services consulting and coaching firms (like mine) provide a plethora of resources to get it right. The bottom line is that the managed services market continues to grow, and there’s plenty of room for well-run companies with strong customer focus and excellent service delivery to excel and to grow their businesses – even in this difficult economy. Q3 2009

• Those who go on the offense to grow their business will enjoy bigger and better results than those who “play not to lose.” Marketing is a perfect

example. Many companies curtail marketing in a difficult economy. But abundant research shows that companies who maintain or even increase marketing during a downturn outperform their competitors during the recession and into the recovery. It is important, however, to be sure your message works within the economic climate: focus on value, cost savings, and return on investment. • Believe in the value of your services and make others believe in it too. When a client tells me they are getting

5 David S. Schafran is President of Tr a n s f o r m a t i o n S t r a t e g i e s (www.TransStrat.com), a consulting and coaching firm working with MSPs and IT consulting and support companies to integrate or enhance managed services within their offerings, increase revenue, reduce service delivery costs, and position their managed services to scale. David can be reached at David@TransStrat.com. Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com

SMB Partner Community

better than “one size fits all.” Attitude and Beliefs: A person’s attitude and beliefs about their business, their services, the competitive climate, and the economy play a huge role in how effectively they convey their firm and their services to others. That can have a huge impact on the success of the business:


GEEKSPEAK by Aaron Booker

Windows Home Server – Can It Be a Business Solution?

One of the people I interviewed for this article was Steven Leonard, Senior Product Manager for the Windows Home Server group at Microsoft. Steven gave me some great background stories on how WHS came to be, as well as about how Microsoft sees it being used currently. Microsoft definitely views WHS as having a limited role in small business. Steven was careful to state that: “Some small businesses may find the features of Windows Home Server compelling, such as backup of up to 10 computers, centralized file storage, and remote access. Something to consider is that Windows Home Server cannot function as a domain controller or be joined to any Active Directory domain. For more sophisticated small businesses that plan on growing, Windows Small Business Server 2008 adds additional business functionality and scales well beyond 10 users.”

Some other WHS factoids include: • WHS is also available in an OEM version from your distributor. This would be an option for system builders

who build their own boxes. • Because WHS is based on Server 2003, it can do just about anything Server 2003 can. For example we’re using a WHS as a DHCP Server with BootP support for a client who needed BootP for its hosted voice solution. Not only that, but they get backup for their remote office PCs at no extra cost. All the features of Server 2003 are available – you just use the Add/Remove Programs feature after you Remote Desktop to the server to add what you need.

Intrigued? If my article has you intrigued – I’d like to tell you how other SBSers are using WHS in their practices. While writing this article, I used our client base’s experiences (at Hardlines Company), and emailed dozens of Solution Providers/VARs who have WHS installed. My research also included internal Microsoft WHS team interviews and speaking directly with small businesses that use WHS daily. A few things became very clear – starting with the name game. Nobody calls this product “WHS” or “Windows Home Server” when they are positioning it to clients or using it in their business. I’ve heard a lot of creative names from Partners; here are a just few: “Windows Micro Server” (most common), “Windows Workgroup Server” (it supports up to 10 PC clients – a Workgroup), “Windows Backup Server” (the most common use in our SMB consulting space), “HP Media Smart Server” (the most common vendor/product name that partners are selling), or just the use of model numbers, e.g., Hewlett Packard EX485 or EX487. The one consistent theme, though, is the lack of the word “Home” in the marketing and sales from Partners. No real surprise there, but still interesting. What it tells me is that, although Partners love the product, they don’t want to taint its viability by getting that four-letter word “Home” associated with it. As you might guess (and was validated by my research) the most common use of WHS is as a Backup Appliance. Although WHS isn’t a domain controller, it serves as a great appliance in a domain environment. Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com

Q3 2009

What you may not know is that WHS has been a very successful product since its launch just 18 months ago. WHS has been adopted by enthusiasts all over the world, and there is a thriving “add-in” software marketplace with both free and low-cost software applications to get WHS to do just about anything you’d like it to. And best of all is that, underneath a simplified console, WHS is just Server 2003. WHS is solid technology that can do just about anything, once you use Remote Desktop to connect to it. You may be noticing a trend here – if you like Small Business Server (SBS), you’ll probably find WHS a great operating system as well.

A little history: A few years ago, a team at Microsoft was noticing that home users were increasing the number of PCs inside the home. No longer was there just one computer in a home; computers were multiplying – laptops coming home from work, kids with computers, Media Center PCs, kitchen PCs, etc. So the WHS team (much like the Small Business Server Team did when SBS started) looked around at server bits different teams were using and started picking and choosing. The WHS team wanted to build a product that was simple for home users to use, backed up their data automatically, and helped them share data among their home computers. In the end the WHS team built something that looks a lot like SBS – with features such as file sharing both locally and across the Internet (SharePoint “lite” is under the hood) and Remote Web Workplace (really!) for accessing computers from remote locations. These remotely accessed computers have to be Windows XP Pro or Vista Business, in the same way they have to be with Small Business Server. The WHS Team also felt that backup was critical – so they grabbed bits from the Windows Server 2008 image-based backup solution. This built-in backup software allows up to 10 computers to be automatically backed up on a daily basis. The backup functionality is pretty amazing – image-based for fast restores and fast incremental backups. Also this backup solution is “smart” – so if you have five PCs with Vista on your network, you back up all the identical files only once (including common Office 2007 files). I can honestly say that this backup technology is what got our company, Hardlines, fired up about WHS. The second part of our excitement was the price. Acquiring WHS as a hardware appliance that will backup 10 PCs (includes software and is legally licensed) at a starting retail of $599 is pretty amazing! This WHS price point is cheaper than standalone backup software solutions from third-party ISVs.

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s SMB consultants and channel partners with an interest in technology, most of us have heard of Microsoft’s Windows Home Server (WHS). Some of you may even associate the words “home” and “Microsoft” with things like “Bob” or “Windows Me.” And for those of you who heard about the issues when WHS first shipped – where files that were opened directly from the server *could* get corrupted – all of the preceding have led you to avoid WHS. Or you may have just been ignoring it, waiting for it to fade away like some of the products above.


GEEKSPEAK You just install it as usual then install the agent software on up to 10 PCs that you want to back up – and it quietly does that job, in the middle of the night, every twenty-four hours. It has de-duplication technology built in, so the amount of storage space used is very efficient. It doesn’t back up the same files on every machine – just one instance of them. If the files are different in any way, they both get backed up. The restore function is what is really impressive. If a user deletes a file or overwrites a file, the time needed to recover is literally seconds – just open up the agent (in the System Tray) and restore it. If the issue is more serious, like a failed hard drive, you just replace the HD and put the restore CD in the PC and boot from it. You then point at the WHS server you want to restore from (more than one can be installed in larger networks – we have up to three in one domain) and pick the computer and the date you want to restore from. In about an hour, your computer will be imaged and you’ll be back in business. It’s a beautiful thing.

ISV Support

Q3 2009

Level Platforms Incorporated (LPI) is specifically supporting WHS as “the server” for monitoring workgroups – including SBS boxes or whatever is there. This is a really nice MSP platform – and it’s cheap hardware. [Editor: See our MSP cover story to learn more about the MSP area.] Many of us are trying to find ways that small workgroups (3-10 users) can become profitable. By using tools like LPI, you can nicely support that workgroup and charge them a monthly fee for it.

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I interviewed Peter Sandiford, CEO of LPI, about WHS/LPI and the SOHO market. As usual he had a lot of insight in the MSP space – and the following to say about where they’re going with WHS. “Windows Home Server is the perfect first server for the SMB market. In addition to providing full server functionality and very easy native back up, with Managed Workplace installed, WHS is transformed into a full Managed Services gateway offering full asset discovery, remote monitoring of everything, patch management, remote control, script automation, reporting, and everything else MSPs provide to their larger customers. With our recently introduced monitoring of Hosted Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com

Exchange from Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) and GroupSpark, MSPs can also sell hosted managed Exchange providing a complete and very inexpensive fully managed IT environment never before available to this market segment. Literally overnight, Windows Home Server has created a great new untapped market of over 2 million businesses that are now open for business to MSPs and solution providers serving the small end of the market. Every solution provider selling Small Business Server needs to add this product to their bag of tricks.” Another way to monetize WHS is to do it the same way that we used to with SBS – just use RWW or Remote Desktop to remote into the box to maintain and manage it. I have a story about this to make my point. As I was writing this article, one of my techs and I were driving to Seattle to install a WHS for a Microsoft SBS executive. She and her husband wanted a way to back up their work and home PCs – and for their bookkeeper to remote in to do their books. Of course she could use LogMeIn or the Live Mesh beta for that, but she really wanted the automatic backup piece as well. Since she’s 100 miles away from our office, we’re going to use RWW to manage the WHS machine remotely, as well as her home PCs. If she ever gets a Mac at home (competitive research?), the HP Media Smart WHS appliances have “Apple Time Machine” support built in for Mac OS X 10.5 or newer. We like that, as many homes and small offices have heterogeneous networks. WHS is vastly cheaper than SBS, both upfront and ongoing. For the Small Office/Home Office, it’s great that there’s no Exchange Server management annuity fee requirement with WHS. In my opinion, that’s the single biggest difference comparing WHS to SBS 2003 – no Exchange. If you do have a small workgroup that wants Exchange-based email, this is a great opportunity to start using a cloud vendor to provide the Exchange capability. But keep the hybrid approach of having the data backed up locally on the WHS box. There are a number of cloud vendors for Exchange hosting. We personally like GroupSpark/Seismic from Ingram Micro. Of course, Microsoft has BPOS as well, but we won’t sell something that doesn’t

have our brand attached to it… Recommended action: Buy an HP Media Smart 485 or build a WHS with the WHS software from the Action Pack. Back up all the laptops at your office. Save days of recovery time when a tech crashes the HD on his laptop. Restore that HD in an hour when that happens – instead of performing clean installs for “237” programs/tools/utilities and tweaking of same! Aaron Booker is the CEO of Hardlines and Varvid. I lead a technology firm – Hardlines Company – that provides outsourced IT to local businesses in Bellingham, Washington. The business also provides Internet-delivered video to organizations that run the gamut from the Fortune 500 to nonprofits and even down to high school graduations and basketball games. If your clients need help delivering video on the Internet, we love to partner – whether providing live streaming services, streaming video on demand, or creating viral content for sites like YouTube. We specialize in helping clients with events and testimonial video. Watch Varvid.com to see the upcoming events for which we’ll be providing coverage. Aaron Booker aaronb@hardlines.com 360.920.1339

Resources Learn more about WHS • We Got Served: http://www.wegotserved.uk (the center of WHS news). This site has reviews of hundreds of add-ins and content that is constantly updated – new vendors selling WHS appliances, etc. • Windows Home Server Blog (from Microsoft): http://blogs.technet.com/ homeserver/ • Microsoft WHS Home Page: https://www.microsoft.com/windo ws/products/winfamily/windowsh omeserver/default.mspx • WHS manufacturers in the United States • Hewlett Packard – Media Smart Brand: http://www.hp.com/ united-states/campaigns/ mediasmart-server/ • Acer – Aspire EasyStore: http://tinyurl.com/pugm5s


Q3 2009

O’Reilly Twitter Conference

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Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com

June 15, Manhattan, New York


BUSINESSSPEAK by Harry Brelsford

Veni, Vidi, VoIP

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ld school is back in school. Think about it. The oldest most reliable technologies such as power, printing, and telephony are undergoing major upgrades and changes. Power has gone green and is receiving a lot of “green” from the Obama administration in the form of stimulus funding (imagine Detroit retooled for manufacturing wind turbines). Printing is now on-demand digital. And telephony has gone VoIP!

VoIP – Shining Economic Star Telephones go back to the days of snake oil salesmen, so as an SMB technology consultant, you have every right to be skeptical of the VoIP opportunity.

Recognizing that, I’m going to give you a few fast data points to show you some VoIP velocity. OnForce (www.onforce.com) compiles amazing data from its membership and the job tickets it processes. Last fall, in the depths of the world financial market’s free fall, I was seeking any good news. I found it with OnForce’s Service Marketplace Index (3Q) report. Simply stated, the average VoIP order ($522.65) was over two times larger than the average server order ($223.46). Holy shifting supply curves – that job-size gap speaks volumes about the VoIP opportunity. We have our own internal VoIP opportunity evidence that I want to share with you. We started our SMB VoIP, Telephonation, one year ago as a secret skunk works project. (It was in stealth mode until October 2008 and announced at the SMB Nation Fall conference.) Chris Bangs and I spent the summer developing the site on the open source Joomla platform that you can sign up for at www.telephonation.com. Our investment in VoIP has paid off. The SMB VoIP conversation is now four times larger than the traditional SMB Nation data networking conversation – as

measured by Web traffic to our respective sites. We have between five and ten fresh posts daily in our forums but, more importantly, an average of more than 300 guests are online at any given time reading the content. So what is the content of Telephonation? Its roots are in Microsoft Response Point. But in the past few months, we excitedly expanded the conversation to be inclusive of the overall SMB VoIP community. Here are recent conversations driving the SMB VoIP community fast forward! • What is the state of Hosted VoIP? • Astra 6757i – user status • Call Waiting Tone • BlackBerry Greeting VoIP from Agito Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com

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My job at SMB Nation is to spot trends and capitalize on opportunities. Then it’s my job to bring you along for the ride. Just the other day, when asked to describe what we do, I answered that we’ve made a lot of SMB consultants a lot of money with Small Business Server (SBS), and we want to do it again with VoIP and other technologies. We first reported on VoIP in the April 2007 issue of SMB PC magazine and profiled prominent SBSer Marc Harrison in New Jersey. I wrote another VoIP article “Response Point Roars” for the April/May 2008 SMB PC edition (you can read these stories online at www.smbnation.com). We’ve had VoIP vendors participate in our events since 2005, including Avaya, Vonexus/Interactive Intelligence, and Microsoft’s Response Point and Office Communication Server teams. So hopefully I’ve earned your trust and respect as a bona fide member of the SMB VoIP community. With that understanding intact, let’s move forward. The best is yet to come.

Q3 2009

Old-time telephone folks don’t want to hear the following: Telephones are now part of the digital data network and they really “work.” Adding fuel to the fire, VoIP telephony is invading the small and medium business (SMB) space with a ferocious and precocious attitude! The computer guy has added VoIP to his arsenal, but the telephony girl isn’t as quickly reaching out to manage data networks. Round one goes to the SMB technology consultant!


BUSINESSSPEAK following amazing VoIP speeches with more to come.

• Packet8 SIP Service for Response Point Most recently we added a product comparison area on Telephonation by teaming with our friends at ProCompare. The idea is to have you, the SMB channel partner, provide VoIP product reviews for the benefit of all. Polling and surveying is one element of the new social media paradigm to encourage, embrace, and extend community involvement. Needless to say, we’re all in this together and will be only as successful as you make us (PLEASE JOIN TELEPHONATION!).

• T101: Veni Vidi VOIP - How To VoIP! • T302 How To Sell VoIP in SMB • T402: SIP: From hobbits dream to power player in telecom • T401: VoIP Panel.

In our events model, we are delighted to announce the new Telephonation track at SMB Nation Fall 2009. We have the

Update on Microsoft Response Point – June 30th Town Hall Meeting This excellent report from David Bainum, CEO of RiteTech (www.ritetech.net), just about says it all. I agree that there’s hope for the RP platform. While I think a lot of us were hoping for a more firm release timeline (or commitment) for a more major version 2.0, I think the responses were honest, sincere, and understandable, given the current economic climate. I’ve posted below a few other items of what WAS mentioned that I found interesting and/or promising, which I took from my rough notes as well as from some of the Q&A’s asked and/or answered in the town hall meeting: - As Harry B. mentioned, a new Resource Kit is being released in the next 60 days or so. It will assist with mass-configuration of users and phones, as well as non-RP-compatible SIP devices (manually). Those are nice things to look forward to. These also do not sound like the actions of a platform that’s about to be “end of lifed” or in which Microsoft would have zero interest in its succeeding over the longer term.

Q3 2009

- OEMs have also offered some new announcements, including the new D-Link phone, the recently announced Quintum gateways, and an upcoming Syspine program of some sort in July.

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- The existing Microsoft RP organization is funded for Microsoft FY2010, which started July 1. The next Microsoft budget planning cycle starts in December ‘09. They reiterated that the product has not been “end-of-lifed.“ It’s in maintenance mode for the time being and new features will be considered on a case-by-case basis, particularly if some of them can be potentially rolled out as part of a smaller package of some sort, as opposed to a more grandiose set of features as was originally proposed for v2 several months ago. - The RP team is actively looking at how to enhance the RP platform over the longer term, even if that means (possibly) considering “other options” in terms of core codebase ownership (which I’d have to speculate could even mean possibly considering allowing future platform enhancements to be performed by another party, e.g., an OEM or perhaps a consortium of OEMs or perhaps other parties) and/or possibly considering alternate platforms or approaches for the product. That particular topic (possible “alternate owners” of RP or an “alternate universe” where another party owned the RP codebase) always gets my imagination going, because I’m reminded of another platform (the Adobe ColdFusion web scripting

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language) of which many said that it was “supposed to have died by now.“ ColdFusion has changed ownership hands several times (from Allaire to Macromedia then to Adobe), yet the platform continues to thrive (in no small part due to very strong community support) – and some would argue it’s doing even better than it ever did before under its original ownership or creators (Allaire). Other successful platforms or products (e.g., Erwin database modeling software, Numara Software Track-It, etc.) have also successfully survived and/or thrived beyond various changes of ownership. To offer some perspective, prior to the “Microsoft layoff news” of early May, the release information that everyone had to go on was to roughly expect another RP release (which, admittedly, was pretty ambitious in terms of its proposed feature set) maybe in the December time frame, but even that was not 100% certain. So I think what a lot of it boils down to is that if RP is a good fit today with its existing feature set and support, it’s still a good fit, and the OEMs, ITSPs, etc., will continue to support the product and their warranties. Otherwise, stay tuned for future news and/or developments later in the year. Future features and/or release roadmaps are always nebulous. If RP’s current status as announced today “spooks” a potential client or VARs, well, the situation is what it is. Each prospective client and/or VAR will have to make that judgment call in terms of whether they’d rather spend their time and/or effort for a more expensive and/or more complicated system rather than selecting RP based on how it’s available and supported today, given the current “unknown” in terms of a major release schedule. I’d like to take a moment to publicly thank John F., Doug K., Mike Z., the RP OEM team, and everyone else who took time out to help put together today’s town hall and update the community on what’s going on. I think the approach (e.g., willingness to share information) and candor say a lot about the level of integrity, character, and caring about the platform that the various parties involved have for it and for those otherwise involved with working w/ RP. [Editor: There were numerous deals mentioned by Aastra, Syspine, and dLink. You are encouraged to visit Telephonation to find the link to replay this Webinar.]


WinSUG Meeting

Q3 2009

June 4, 2009, North San Diego County, California

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SMB Nation Spring 2009

May 1-3, 2009, Montclair, New Jersey

Biking – Jeff Leventhal (founder, OnForce), Joe Panettieri (MSP Mentor, VAR Guy), Herb Seigel (formerly CA) June 17, 2009, Long Island, New York

Small Business Server 2008 Build Day Q3 2009

May 9, 2009, Las Vegas, NV

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Pacific Software Publishing Golf Tournament

June 30, 2009, Redmond, Washington

Small Business Server 2008 Build Day

Q3 2009

May 30, 2009, Redmond, Washington

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NNT Customer Appreciation Day

Q3 2009

May 15, 2009, Gainsville, Georgia

SMB Partner Community

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PERCEPTIONS by Harry Brelsford

Era Beginning, Middle, or End? Managed Services Survey R Harry’s take: I suspected the market acceptance response would score high, but I am a little surprised that staff training was equally strong. That tells me that the real challenge for ISVs providing MSP support software and services is training the actual SMB consultants to best utilize “managed services.” Lots of headroom for learning more about the MSP paradigm. Note to self: Add more MSP training content at the SMB Nation Fall conference!

Let’s jump right into the data. Q: Are you seeing an opportunity to provide managed services to your clients? If so, which businesses in your market show the most promise? Small businesses under 50 employees 80% Small businesses with 51-250 employees 20% Mid-sized businesses with 251 to 1000 employees 0% Large businesses with over 1001 employees 0% Harryb’s take: According to our data, it’s safe to say that the managed services concept is a small business concept. It’s not getting traction in the mid-market or enterprise space. But here’s the irony. I’m convinced that over 15 years ago, companies like CA were “this close” – as Maxwell Smart would say – to nailing managed services. CA’s Unicenter was providing much of the monitoring and remote management embraced today. And – the irony part – Unicenter was at the enterprise-level. What if CA had brought that thinking to the small business-level? Q: If you’re not offering managed services today, what is your biggest barrier to establishing this offering? (Check all that apply.) Market acceptance 50.0% Current sales staff’s ability to sell and support managed services 40.0% Current technical staff’s ability to support managed services 50.0%

Q: What type of managed services are you offering most today? Remote Management and Monitoring services 84.0% Data Security – data back-up and recovery services 52.0% Business Continuity services and solutions 44.0% Help Desk services 64.0% Print and Document Management 4.0% None 8.0% Harry’s take: Confirming what I believe to be true, remote management and monitoring led the way with managed services and largely define the managed services paradigm. I am surprised that business continuity services scored so low (44%). Why? Because I’m really pushing the “mini-management” concept with the Trusted Business Advisor tagline. I’d like to see the business continuity question score much higher in the next poll – even ahead of the techie stuff like remote management and monitoring. Q: Where do you see the most opportunity to build your managed services portfolio? Remote Management and Monitoring services 54.2% Data Security – data back-up and recovery services 37.5% Business Continuity services and solutions 50.0% Help Desk services 29.2% Print and Document Management 12.5% Harry’s take: This is a forward-looking

question. I am pleased to see that folks have more excitement about business continuity services in the future. There is much less excitement for help desk services and even remote management and monitoring services are downplayed. This response set suggests that the managed services paradigm will be changing shortly. Q: Do you partner with other VARs or MSPs on a regular basis? If so, how many subcontractors do you work with in a month? 1-2 subcontractors per month 40.0% 3-5 subcontractors per month 8.0% 10-15 subcontractors per month 4.0% More than 15 subcontractors per month 0.0% None 48.0% Harry’s take: There is good news and “room for improvement” with this response. The good news is that a simple majority (52%) believe in the power of peer-to-peer partnering. But just under half (48%) haven’t gotten religion yet about partnering. Q: How much revenue have you generated from your managed services business? Under $500,000 68.0% $501,000 to $2 million 20.0% $2.1 million to $5 million 12.0% $5.1 million to $8 million 0.0% $8.1 million to $10 million 0.0% Over $10.1 million 0.0% Harry’s take. In our third annual salary survey (SMB PC 2Q), we asked what percentage of your overall revenue is derived from managed services. The most popular response (statistical mode) was that less than 10% of your revenue came from managed services. The majority of responses (over 50%) reported less than 30% of your revenue came from managed services. So it doesn’t surprise me that the majority response (68%) above was in the smallest revenue category. That’s what I call a direct correlation. Likewise, when I participated in a managed services Webinar with Jim Hamilton (from the MSP Partners trade group), he defined someone as having a managed services business model if over 10% of their Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com

Q3 2009

Investment required to establish managed services offering 30.0% Ability to track, manage, and bill for services offering 30.0%

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ight now the managed services paradigm feels a lot like an economic forecast. Depending on who you ask, managed services is just at the start of its era. Others feel it’s in the middle of its “run.” And a few even think its hype has reached the point signaling its era might be peaking and on its way down. These are casual observations gleaned from numerous conversations. But I wanted to get the facts instead of opinions (which everyone has). So I offered a short managed services survey in the month of June and added past survey data to write up this Perceptions column.


PERCEPTIONS revenue came from managed services. And he commented that he didn’t expect SMB consultants to have more than 50% of revenue from managed services. This suggested hybrid-like business models, not “either/or” mutual exclusivity. Q: Are you using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions to manage your business? If so, which ones do you use and why? Harry’s take: We allowed narrative answers for this and the usual suspects appeared, including Zenith, HoundDog, Autotask, Connectwise, Kaseya, and the most popular response: NO.

Q3 2009

Q: If you are offering managed services, what do you consider the biggest business challenge facing your company? (Check all that apply.) Contracts and Billing Workflow 18.2% Improving Services Workflow 18.2% Increasing Tech Efficiency 31.8% Coordinating Scheduling and Dispatch 4.5% Getting My Business Organized 18.2% Improving Profitability 18.2% Winning New Customers 68.2% Delivering Your Managed

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Services Accurate and Timely Reporting and Business Metrics Accessing All of My Business Data in One Place

18.2% 27.3% 22.7%

Harry’s take: Dog bites man! Isn’t winning new customers always the biggest challenge facing SMB consultants? Hang in there – it’s like the concept of time: it has no start and no end. You will always be engaging in business development your entire career. See my casual correlation next.

Casual Correlations So I left you hanging on that last question. Winning new customers means a lot of business development activity. And that means a lot of lunches that might have direct or indirect biz dev efforts. So on a trip back East in early June to scope out new SMB Nation Spring 2010 venues, I found myself in Lloyd Neck, NY, (Long Island) having lunch with Joe Panettieri from MSP Mentor. While Joe and I do not have direct business between us, we’re stakeholders in the SMB technology community and

its good to get together and compare notes. We both agree that the managed services opportunity is huge, and I can tell you that few outlets have capitalized on it like MSP Mentor. Visit this site (www.mspmentor.com), read Joe’s blog, and tell him harrybbb sent ya!

ShoutOuts! A couple of tweets. • Thanks to Brian at AutoTask for assisting with the design of the managed services survey. • Thanks to Neil Roiter (TechTarget) for his coverage of this topic and for including me in his article titled Managed services a learning process for VARs, customers (http://bit.ly/qtL5L).

Next up: Content Management and SharePoint Survey With the start of the fourth year of publication, it’s a bit odd we’ve never surveyed you in the content management area including SharePoint (e.g., CompanyWeb in SBS). Visit our Web site at www.smbnation.com to complete our content management survey, and I’ll report the results back here). Cheers!


Portland Wizards/KP Enterprise’s Zero Downtime Seminar June 9-10, 2009, Portland. Oregon

Symform Advisory Board Meeting

Q3 2009

June 25, 2009, Seattle, Washington

SMB Partner Community

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Response Point Party

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May 29, 2009, Bainbridge Island, Washington


TECHNOLOGY WATCH NPA names 2009 Professionalism Winners! The Network Professional Association (NPA) named its annual professionalism award winners at Interop. Congratulations to these professional players in our field! Best Networking Professional - Career Achievement Award Steven Potter, Systems Software Engineer, Spottek Systems, Nova Scotia, Canada Professional Excellence and Innovation Award: Corporate Fortune X Kamal Vyas, Senior Network Engineer, NetApp, Sunnyvale, CA Government Richard Boe, Manager, Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Organization IT Directorate Operations Group, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C. Outstanding Mentor Award Regner Sabillon, CIO ICARUS Solutions Inc, Calgary, Alberta

IT

Q3 2009

Top of the Mark - Volunteer Award Kaliyan Selvaraj, Technical Consultant, Dell India Pvt. Ltd, Bangalore, India

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Learn more about the NPA at www.npa.org. Note that there was a small business award category that appeared to go unfilled. Sounds like a great opportunity for a worthy SMB Nation tribal member to be nominated for next year (hint-hint).

Managed Services Survey – Nintendo DS Lite Winner A very happy Wade Smith (CEO, Tamarin Technologies, Plano, TX) has won the one (1) Nintendo DS Lite that we put up for a lucky winner who completed our recent managed services survey. There was nothing random about Wade’s professional strategy. He is wrapping up a “day job” in the defense sector (for a well-known defense firm) and preparing make Tamarin Technoligies his full-time endeavor. This is very exciting news as many of us started as weekend warriors and part-timers before we made the leap into being a full-time SMB consultant. When asked how to use the Nitendo DS Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com

Lite, I suggested try ordering food and drink from your seat at the Texas Rangers MLB baseball game at the Arlington Stadium (true story).

INTEL Visit – IT Director! In early June, I made the three-hour jaunt to Portland Oregon from my Bainbridge Island, WA home office. I visited with an Intel program manager who is driving development for the Intel IT Director solution. Here is the solution description. Intel(r) IT Director is an intuitive, easy to use utility delivering Intel(r) vPro(tm) technology-based benefits to your small business customers. Reduce unexpected IT related costs, help save time, and maximize return on investment of IT purchases. Few small businesses have dedicated IT departments to maintain their computer systems, even though they have many of the same business needs as larger enterprises. Small business owners are concerned about whether their network is secure, if their data is backed up, and if their computers are healthy. Small businesses often do not have the expertise or network infrastructure required to utilize the new technologies to help manage their networks easily and cost effectively. Intel(r) IT Director was specifically designed for small businesses to easily manage their networks and access technology with the latest Intel(r) platforms. With Intel IT Director, a small business owner can easily identify and configure Intel vPro technology-based systems in the network and monitor whether all systems in the network: • Have a firewall enabled • Have anti-virus and anti-spyware programs installed • Have a backup solution enabled • Monitor hard drive space available • Block USB devices The product website is www.intel.com/ go/itdirector and tell them harrybbbb sent ya!

D&H is Cisco Small Business “Distie” of the Year! Ya’ gotta love it – D&H gaining mindshare during the recession!

D&H Distributing announced today that it is the recipient of a Cisco Partner Summit Distributor Award for Small Business Distributor of the Year. Cisco unveiled the winners June 3 at its annual channel partner conference in Boston. The objective of the Distributor Awards is to recognize exemplary distribution partners whose behavior Cisco would like other distributors to model. All winners are selected by Cisco Worldwide Distribution executives. “I have the honor and privilege of recognizing D&H Distributing as a Cisco Partner Summit Distribution Award winner,” said Dave O’Callaghan, vice president of worldwide distribution at Cisco. “The Small Business Distributor of the Year Award recognizes D&H’s performance and accomplishments as a Cisco distribution partner in 2008.” “We’re proud that our work with Cisco has led to their choosing us as the Small Business Distributor of the Year,” said Dan Schwab, co-president at D&H Distributing. “It validates our dedication to driving sales for Cisco’s products in the small business sector, and reflects our expertise in the SMB networking arena in general. We look forward to many more years of success with Cisco in this profitable sales area.” Cisco Partner Summit Distributor Awards reflect a distribution partner’s performance worldwide. Categories include Small Business Distributor of the Year, Top Innovator, Partner Elevation, Market Acceleration, New Distributor of the Year, Cisco Services Innovation, and Worldwide Distributor of the Year.

ESET and the great circle strategy! I recently spoke with Darin Andersen, ESET COO (www.eset.com) about it’s noticeably larger role in the SMB channel. He shared with me the successful ESET strategy that I have seen used in publishing and sailing: the great circle strategy. Here is what I mean. In publishing, it’s a well known strategy to go to Paris as the “Great American Author” to publish you work and return home a hero. In sailing, there is a racing


TECHNOLOGY WATCH strategy where you tack again the fleet. In the case of ESET, it successfully grew its SMB channel partner program and its sales by starting first with the international markets. ESET accomplished this while some of its competitors focused on the domestic US market. Now ESET has renewed its focus on the US market and is ready, able and willing to engage with SMB Nation tribal members.

to execute in a secure virtual world, ESET is able to clearly differentiate between benign files and even the most sophisticated and cleverly-disguised malware.

ESET recently bagged its 56th VB100 award:

– ESET, the leader in proactive threat protection, has been included for the first time in leading analyst firm Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms, 1Q09,” published May 1, 2009 , which addresses security technologies for the protection of corporate network endpoints for the SMB and large enterprise market.

“ESET’s NOD32 has an excellent history in VB100 testing, with excellence in both detection rates and speeds,” said John Hawes, Virus Bulletin. “Detection rates in the expanded polymorphic sets were impeccable, and fairly reasonable in the trojan and RAP sets. With the WildList covered with no difficulties and no false positives or other issues, ESET earns another VB100.” ESET is powered by ThreatSense® technology, an advanced heuristics engine that enables proactive detection of malware not covered by even the most frequently updated signature-based products. Unlike traditional approaches, ESET solutions decode and analyze executable code in real-time, using an emulated environment. By allowing malware

PALs Named by MSFT! According to Gartner, “Malware is increasingly Web-based (that is, it uses the Web as a distribution method and a command-and-control channel) and multistage — meaning there are multiple components that can be installed after the initial infection, depending on the motivation of the attacker and the victim’s profile. In addition, the exploits of socially engineered trojans, which trick end users into downloading and executing malicious files, are on the rise and will continue to cause havoc in 2009 and beyond.” ESET integrates Internet threat protection into its complete line of end-user and gateway security solutions that proactively blocks malware before it can compromise systems or steal data. Powered by ThreatSense® technology, an advanced heuristics engine that enables proactive detection of malware not covered by even the most frequently updated signature-based products, ESET NOD32 Antivirus and ESET Smart Security deliver the fastest malware protection available to combat viruses, spyware and rootkits. Unlike traditional approaches, ESET solutions decode and analyze executable code in real-time, using an emulated environment. By allowing malware to execute in a secure virtual world, ESET is able to clearly differentiate between benign files and even the most sophisticated and cleverly-disguised malware.

Microsoft names Worldwide Partner Area Leads (PALs) for the Small Business Specialist Community for Fiscal Year 2010 (started July 1, 2009). The PALs act as advocates for the partner program and the partner community. Congratulations to all!

Alex Huart

Andy Trish

Q3 2009

Virus Bulletin introduced its first VB100 award in 1998, and conducts several comparatives every year, rotating its platforms between Linux, Windows, Windows servers and Novell Netware. In order to display the VB100 logo, an antivirus product must meet two criteria: (1) Demonstrate it detects all “In-the-Wild” viruses during both on-demand and on-access scanning; and, (2) Generate no false positives when scanning a set of clean files. Since the inception of VB100 awards in 1998, ESET’s antivirus products continue to boast a success rate of over 96 percent - the industry’s highest. Most antivirus vendors have success ratios in the 50 – 75 percent range.

“We consider our inclusion in the quadrant to be validation of our exponential growth and innovation in the anti-malware space,” said Anton Zajac, CEO, ESET LLC. “With 667 percent growth in revenue over the last three years, we’re continuing to take market share and are committed to developing solutions that stay one step ahead of socially engineered threats and Web-based attacks.”

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Ed Henzel

Fabio Cazzaniga

Jeremy Hunt

John Harrop

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SMB Partner Community

ESET, the leader in proactive threat protection, today announced it has captured a record 56th VB100 award from Virus Bulletin, a widely-respected independent comparative testing group. ESET is still the only company with more than 50 VB100 awards and continues to lead the industry with the highest detection rates combined with zero false positives – the winning formula in malware prevention. June’s report focused on the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003 platform.

Equally important, I was briefed on ESET’s partner conference that just concluded in Malta – sounded like fun! Finally, ESET was named to Gartner’s Margic Quadrant!

In addition to offering the most advanced protection from evolving threats, ESET continues to update its product features to support growing customer needs. ESET NOD32 Antivirus and ESET Smart Security Business Editions feature a full-range of management capabilities that include support for high-end databases, fine-grained control of endpoint security, and greater scalability for large and dispersed networks. With many of today’s compliance initiatives requiring robust endpoint security, ESET is a valuable component that offers critical business-class management features, such as external drive access control and scanning, Cisco Network Admission Control (NAC) compatibility, and enhanced logging and reporting functions. ESET Business Editions enable companies to remotely deploy and manage ESET software with ESET’s Remote Administrator, providing a single management console to control an entire network from a single screen. Furthermore, the integrated SysInspector makes it easier for IT administrators to diagnose and resolve problems, allowing businesses to quickly prevent dangerous attacks.


TECHNOLOGY WATCH

Keira McIntosh

Neil Pearlstein

Oliver Kiel

Verizon Launches Small Business Portal!

Oliver Sommer

Rick Bahl

Robert Cioffi

Steve Wright

Dimiceli joins SpamSoap! Leonard Dimiceli has joined Spam Soap this month as the Director of Channel Sales. Leonard comes to Spam Soap with a breadth of channel experience from throughout the country. Adding Leonard to Spam Soap is another example of our commitment to Spam Soap Resellers & Partners. Although Leonard’s responsibilities as director are vast, they really just come down to one thing. “Listening to our Spam Soap Resellers & Partners.” To that end, many of you will be hearing from Leonard in the next few months. Either directly or through webinars and online training. He wants to get to know you and see how you use Spam Soap’s complete line of products to support and grow your business. Visit www.spamsoap.com.

The newly redesigned Verizon Small Business Center Web site – founder here (http://www.business.verizon.net) which now features powerful online collaboration tools, advanced Web-based business software applications and interactive professional networking – is open to serve small businesses across America, at www.business.verizon.net.

“Small businesses need a lot more than e-mail and Internet access to be competitive, especially in today’s challenging economy,” said Monte Beck, Verizon’s vice president for small-business products and services. “We built the Verizon Small Business Center to offer small businesses leading-edge technology tools and business resources to assist them in becoming more agile, productive and efficient – all appropriately scaled for the needs and budget requirements of a small business, and all conveniently integrated on a single Web portal. “What we’ve created with the new Verizon Small Business Center is similar to what an information technology department would build for a large corporation, but at a fraction of the price,” said Beck. The centerpiece of the new business portal is the Verizon Collaboration Center, powered by Cisco WebEx technology, with voice and Web conferencing that enables users to collaborate with peers, clients and vendors in a virtual environment that

“With the Verizon Collaboration Center, small businesses can embrace today’s most innovative collaboration technologies to solve problems collectively, accelerate decisions, increase productivity and create customer value,” said Subrah S. Iyar, chief strategy officer, collaboration software group, Cisco. “Since this is all done online, travel costs are reduced and operating efficiency is increased.” The Verizon Collaboration Center is a hosted service available anytime there is Internet access.. It does not require any hardware or software investment. There is also no need for in-house IT support, which helps small businesses save even more. Since the service is Web-based, all that is required is a computer (PC or Mac), an Internet connection and a Web browser. A Verizon Collaboration Center user pack for one to five employees costs $24.99 per month, with discounted rates when more users are added. “The small-business sector is a very important segment of Verizon’s customer base,” said Beck. “We have, and will continue to develop, more business tools – like the Verizon Small Business Center – for the small-business marketplace.” Small business expert Steve Hilton, vice president at Yankee Group, said, “If you look to the future of small business, you see communications technologies playing an increasingly important role in the day-today operations of an efficient, well-run enterprise. Verizon is making a strong move to arm small businesses with more of the technology tools they need to thrive in a convenient, centralized, online portal.” One-Stop Portal Designed Especially For Small Businesses The Verizon Small Business Center offers an intuitive layout, allowing users to navigate quickly to the business tools and information they need to perform daily tasks. For example, under the “My Applications tab,” e-mails and calendar items are neatly displayed and easy to access and monitor.

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Q3 2009

John Krikke

Scott Cayouette has teamed with another Southern Florida partner to create Tech Trust Partners. This is a consultancy based on the principals of Robin Robins and will religiously utilize her toolkit, step-by-step, from day one! Many readers will know Cayouette in his numerous community roles: SBSC US Advisory Group Member, WW SBS User Group Leads Co-Leader, VP, Tech Trust Partners, Co-Chair, BusinessSpeak Track (SMB Nation 2009).

works like an Intranet. Licensed users can share documents and calendars, discuss ideas, set goals, and manage projects and business operations. With the Verizon Web Meeting add-on, users can meet online – in real time – with co-workers, partners, suppliers and customers.

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Announcing Tech Trust Partners!


TECHNOLOGY WATCH New features such as “Professional Networking” allow registered users who create a profile to exchange ideas with others in their industry, build relationships and improve their online networking presence in this community. The Verizon Solution Recommender, located under the “Marketplace” tab, helps business owners navigate all the business products and services Verizon offers. Verizon’s small- and mediumsized business customers can also enjoy savings on FedEx shipping rates and credit card processing services through the site’s Alliance Discount Program. Verizon continually leverages its buying power to bring these customers useful products at competitive prices. A set of simple questions helps users of the Web site gauge what products and services are needed to start, grow or improve their business. Users can also order value-added services such as the Verizon Internet Security Suite, wireless phones and calling plans, wireline phone plans and high-speed Internet service.

Q3 2009

The expanded “My News & Resources” section highlights business news from The New York Times that is relevant to small businesses, and provides expert advice from AllBusiness.com and influential technology, government, regulatory and small-business bloggers. Users can personalize this page by choosing from among more than a dozen content categories to best suit users’ interests and needs.

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Verizon offers a broad range of products and services for businesses of all sizes. Some businesses may qualify to enroll in the Verizon Business Link Rewards program, which enables companies to earn and redeem points for various items such as gift cards and certificates at leading retailers, meals at top-rated local restaurants, and tickets to professional sporting and entertainment events. Over the next few months, the Verizon Small Business Center will offer free, informative webinars every other week. The first webinar takes place April 21 with Shankar Iyer, senior director of business communities for Cisco Systems, who will discuss how small businesses can maximize the use of new technology to accelerate business processes, which can help to cut costs and lead to more efficiency. Check out our blog at www.smbnation.com

Sample This SMB Nation 2009 Fall Conference Content! Breaking news! Man and woman can live on content alone. Help us prove this at the SMB Nation 2009 Fall Conference (Las Vegas, October 2-4, 2009). Here is a sample of recently added content. BS101: Geekonomics! Your SMB Countercyclical Opportunities Speaker: Harry Brelsford Yes – it is possible to survive and thrive during tough times. The key is to identify specific viable opportunities. Enjoy Harry’s often humorous presentation on top opportunities that are countercyclical in nature. These industries are historically underserved and technology hungry. This fast paced speech starts with Slumdog Millionaire and ends with “sinners.” Presented in a “photo essay” format that is a great break from traditional PowerPoint slide deck presentations. Based on the SMB PC magazine cover story with the same name by Harry (Issue 3-4, 1Q2009). This speech has been updated with new opportunities and includes references from Harry’s forthcoming “Geekonomics” book and SMB in-depth salary survey results! BS201: How To Get SMB Stimulus Funding! Speaker: Harry Brelsford This “how to” speech allows you to take advantage of the coming macro-economic injection of US Federal government economic stimulus funding. Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-life time opportunity. In this session, you will learn specific Federal and State funding programs, how to write a grant to obtain funds, targeting specific economic sectors that will receive funding (e.g. medical) and private sector stimulus funding resources including distributors, ISVs, hardware manufacturers. The emphasis on this lecture is tactile specificity, not broad generalities. BS202: HOW TO CREATE SUCCESSFUL VENDOR RELATIONSHIPS The “Secret” to Working with Vendor Partners Speaker: James Kernan • A 100-day “baby-step” action plan for solidifying key vendor relationships; follow this plan and you’ll have vendors throwing cash at you for marketing. • How to get vendors to “slip” you new accounts and opportunities that other resellers don’t even know about. • Web site linking; how to use your web

site to automatically secure new customers at your vendor’s expense. • How to get vendors to cheerfully pay for AND promote your events and trade shows to their top clients. • A proven “tiered” formula for determining who your top partners are and allocating your time and focus accordingly. • Informative vendor panel to educate you on “best practices” to negotiating and working successfully with vendors. BS401 BusinessSpeak Panel Speakers: Numerous The power of a professional conference is hearing from your peers! The always popular BusinessSpeak Panel is BACK AGAIN and guided by our outstanding speakers. These “Guides” will invoke an unconference format to drive maximum content rich conversation that start with you – the attendee. Attend this session to hear what’s on everyone’s minds. With better times ahead – the conversation is rapidly changing and you need to be part of it. Special emphasis on managed services. Be prepared to critically THINK! GS401: GeekSpeak Panel (GeekSpeak Track) Speakers: Numerous No SMB Nation conference is complete without the infamous and always highly rated GeekSpeak panel. Guided by “MVPs” and other gurus, this panel if your chance to learn from the “founders” of the SMB technology practices we use today. Have you ever seen a famous name up on the technical forum boards and Newsgroup and wanted to meet these people? The GeekSpeak Panel is your chance! T101: Veni Vidi VOIP - How To VoIP! Speaker: Jay Weiss It’s one of those terms that is both a noun and verb: VoIP. Learn the facts about a new epoch in technology – the telephone! But this isn’t your grandparents telephone with liver operator switch boards. This is the new digital-based era of telephony running on your customer’s data networks. Convergence has truly arrived in arrived in SMB and the apex of voice and data is rapidly creating new opportunities for you, the SMB consultant. SMB VoIP author shares his latest research from his forthcoming book of the same title. Follow Jay’s often-humorous presentation as he went from hot shot SBSer to newbie VoIPer and made good!

Article continues at our BLOG at www.smbnation.com


Profile for Chris Bangs

SMB Partner Community Magazine Q3 2009  

When you JOIN THE TRIBE, you will be invited to participate in special opportunities. These opportunities are oriented towards making you su...

SMB Partner Community Magazine Q3 2009  

When you JOIN THE TRIBE, you will be invited to participate in special opportunities. These opportunities are oriented towards making you su...

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