Vista. An abject failure? TOTAL B.S.

Microsoft announced announced revenues for their fiscal year of $60 billion! Yes, $60 billion per annum! Also, in the announcement is something interesting about Vista.


Revenue growth was primarily driven by continued customer demand for all products, including Windows Vista, which has sold over 180 million licenses since launch


Yes, boys an girls, Microsoft has sold 180 million copies of Vista since launch. They must be going onto PC’s somewhere eh? Seems that even though a “lot” of people are bagging Vista and saying they want XP, Vista is still being installed in a lot of places. Does that sorta tell you that a “lot” isn’t really very many at all? Does it also tell you that perhaps the “lot” may have vested interests or are just “whingers”. There can’t be 180 million downgrades to XP either, if that is what you’re thinking. To the “whingers” I say, just get over it. Vista is here to stay, like or not.

If you have Search Server Express 2008

You are recommended by Microsoft to install KB951297, which also part of the general SharePoint infrastructure upgrade.


If you are, as I am, running Windows SharePoint V3 and Microsoft Search Server Express 2008 then Microsoft recommends:


you should install the Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (KB951695) first and the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297) second.”


which is luckily the way that I did it after discovering that there was a separate update for Search Server Express 2008.


Be warned that the update for Search Server Express 2008 is part of the general Infrastructure update for Microsoft Office Servers, so the download is over 200MB (since it contains updates for ALL Office Server products). Also take heed of this from Microsoft:


It is strongly recommended that you install Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Service Pack 1 and Office Servers Service Pack 1 before installing the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297) and the Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (KB951695).


Otherwise the update went smoothly and I haven’t seen any issues after a reboot. Fingers crossed.

SharePoint recommended update

Microsoft has released an infrastructure update for Windows SharePoint 3.0 (KB951695) and says:


It is strongly recommended that you install this update


I have applied this to our internal stand alone Sharepoint server, rebooted and everything seems to be OK. So, unless something major pops up shortly, it is probably a very good idea if you schedule to install the update. Obviously, make sure that you have a good backup and can restore Sharepoint if need be because I have had trouble with previous updates “breaking” my Sharepoint installations. So far, so good however.


I’d also like to take this opportunity to share with you some feedback I received from one of my Windows Sharepoint Server Operations Guide international subscribers:


“We found that using the Windows SharePoint Operations guide has simplified our deployment process for SharePoint WSS 3.0 and has drastically reduced the learning curve for our technical staff. The crew at Saturn alliance understand the product and the needs of small and medium size business. In addition they are always there to help out whenever we have questions” – Andre Vittorio


Thanks Andre, always good to hear that the Guide has helped. I believe the biggest benefit of the Guide is simply the time it saves you getting up to speed with the more technical aspects of Sharepoint. You could spend a plenty of time learning and testing this stuff yourself however, that is why I believe the Guide represents great value, since it has already been done for you.

Also, don’t forget the fact that Guide content is updated monthly, ensuring it remains current.


If you want more information about the Guide check out the web site:


or just contact me. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about the Guide.

iPhone to SBS 2003 success!

As expected, had a referral call today begging to get their iPhone connected up to SBS 2003 to receive emails.


After some fiddling, some updating and little bit of configuration we have it all working! Yeah.


Even though it is working we are doing some further testing to come up with a procedure for all our customers just so we know exactly what needs to be configured. More on those details once we have completed our testing. There appears to be a couple of gotcha’s but we need to verify our facts first.


However, for the time being we have one happy iPhone user. So if you are a reseller I suggest you start gearing up, because sooner or later someone is going to ask you to connect an iPhone to Exchange server (and I saw that the local Optus shop was pretty busy today).

Minimizing expenses

In a previous post I talked about how more focus needed to be placed on generating a business profit. So what’s the first step you can take? Well, if Profit = Income – Expense you can either increase your Income or decrease your Expenses. So which do you think is easier?

If you picked reducing your expenses then you’d  be right. Why? Simply put, expenses are something that you already control. Finding additional income means you have to obtain something that is currently outside your control. So, the easiest step you can probably take to increasing the profitability of your business is to examine your expenses.

As a business grows, like most western human beings, it puts on additional weight and doesn’t do enough exercise. Result? These additional expenses (or kilos) tend to become further ingrained and with each passing year become hard and harder to shift. Like improving your fitness, reducing expenses in your business requires discipline.

You should be regularly examining all your business expenses to determine whether (a.) they are still necessary and (b.) if there are alternate and cheaper options. I once heard a good saying about expenses, if you can’t see how an additional expense is going to generate you more income then you shouldn’t incur that expense. A good example is the recent changes I made to my broadband connections. I sat down and determined that I really didn’t need every connection I had and for those that I did I found the best deal I could. After making the changes I couldn’t be happier and have also saved a packet.

I’m not saying that this process will be easy but it is like improving your fitness, you gotta do the hard yards to reap the benefits. Sure, there may be some pain when you no longer have a treat or go through the process of switching accounts to a cheaper provider but your goal is the longer term improvement of PROFIT. If you aren’t committed to that then don’t fool yourself that you are. That’s why I said in my previous post that you need to be committed to having a business not a hobby. If you want a hobby there are no problems with that, just don’t fool yourself into think it is a business. Much like walking down a road, walk on the left it is safe, walk on the right side it is also safe but walk down the middle and sooner or later you’ll get squished! You gotta choose one side or the other.

As the cliche goes – the first million is always the hardest but each one after that becomes easier. The same is also true about fitness, the fitter you are the easier it is to maintain. Why? The most simple answer is probably that to achieve this stage (a million dollars or being fit) you have already achieved a new mental discipline that makes the whole process easier. As they say, it is all in your mind.

Therefore, if you want to make greater business profits, start first by looking at how you can minimize your expenses. With that done, you can then turn your attention to increasing your income.

Are you ready to sell online services from Microsoft?

Those people who haven’t had their heads buried in the sand recently will know that Microsoft is now offering hosted services. More information has recently been announced but here’s what I see as the salient points.


Microsoft is introducing Exchange Online Deskless Worker and SharePoint Online Deskless Worker. These new offerings are designed to meet the needs of deskless workers, those people who typically spend a small portion of their workday using a computer but still need to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and partners.

A Deskless Worker Suite, including Exchange Online Deskless Worker and SharePoint Online Deskless Worker, will be available for $3 (U.S.) per user, per month. Customers can also subscribe to each service independently. Exchange Online Deskless Worker will provide e-mail, calendars, global address lists, anti-virus and anti-spam filters, as well as Outlook Web Access Light for access to company e-mail. SharePoint Online Deskless Worker will provide easy access to SharePoint portal and team sites and search functionality, giving employees read-only access to important information such as company policies, training and benefits.

For information workers, businesses can provide an online business productivity suite of Microsoft’s enterprise-class communication and collaboration software as a subscription service.

The suite includes the following:

Exchange Online for desktop and mobile e-mail and calendars with Outlook Web Access and full Office Outlook integration

Office SharePoint Online for portals, collaboration, search and customized team sites

Office Communications Online for instant messaging and presence

Office Live Meeting for Web conferencing and videoconferencing

The suite will be available for $15 per user, per month (U.S.). Customers can also subscribe to each service independently.




Partners that sell the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite, Deskless Worker Suite or any of their components receive 12 percent of the first-year contract price and 6 percent of the subscription fee ongoing. This can translate into 18 percent of the subscription value in the first year of the partner’s relationship with the customer.


Now is that easy money? If you already sell hardware and software to clients as a primary part of your business have a think about how much impact this may have. Firstly, there is no more back end hardware to sell (i.e. servers) and also since all a workstation has to do now is run a browser there won’t be the need for upgrades. So as I see it bye, bye hardware commissions. Ok, let’s say you have 20 users who go with the suite option for 12 months (=$3,600) of which a reseller gets 18% (= $648). To me that doesn’t look like much compared to what your are probably already getting now.


Now what about installation services? Well, these certainly appear to be reduced if not eliminated, so again little or no revenue there. What’s left? Just general consulting revenue on the applications but most resellers are not focused on this since their business is primarily selling and installing hardware and software.


Bottom line? The world is changing and the traditional reseller is being cut out of the game with every second that goes by. For better or worse that is just a fact of life these days. If you aren’t looking as a reseller to change your business model and focus on online services, then like your commissions, you are going bye, bye. If you are a customer and you are not considering online services as an option, then you are already paying too much for the IT services you have.


The cloud is coming and it will envelope us all, suppliers and customers alike.

Giving prospects every reason to choose you

We all know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover BUT you are a fool if you don’t understand that people, especially business customers, DO judge a book by its cover. They say that when you meet someone, the first impression you form of them generally is one that stays with you, rightly or wrongly. So it is CRITICAL that when a prospect come’s a knock’n you give them every reason to engage your services.


A good example is something as simple as how you answer incoming calls. How many times have you rung some business you deal with to be greeted by someone at the other end who doesn’t care, is having a bad day and so on? How about when you call a business and all you get is “hello”? Look, as trivial as it sounds, things like this are REALLY, REALLY important because they leave a lasting impression on people and in most cases you only get ONE chance with a potential prospect. If they feel uncomfortable about your business, chances are they’ll move elsewhere. Don’t believe me? Think about how you go looking for new products and services (as opposed to those you have been referred to). If you went through your local Yellow Pages, whom are you most likely to do business with? What process would you use to determine who’ll get you business? It would be nice to conduct a methodical selection process to reduce the risks but in this day and age? C’mon, who has the time for that? End result? Your choice is going to governed by your emotions. Whom do FEEL most comfortable with?


In this increasingly competitive world you need to be looking at every possible way you can to give prospects reasons to engage your business. Take the time to stop, look and learn from good businesses you use and respect. What makes them good? What can you copy and adapt? It really isn’t that hard, all you have to do is STOP, OBSERVE and THINK.


Like any relationship, a good first impression makes all the difference between you getting the nod or getting the flick. Smart people do everything in their power to ensure they have the most chance of getting the nod. What are you doing?