|Over 18,000 Global Readers and Growing! September 7, 2011 - Issue 2-7 CloudSpeak|
For many, early September signals the return to work 7X24 and the end of the summer holidays. Well-rested, I return with a focus squarely on the SMB Nation Fall Conference, which is a little more than 3 weeks away at this point. Note that more than two-thirds of our content is now technical, and the early bird discount expires on September 9, 2011. It is truly full-steam ahead, and I’d like to personally invite you to come join us!
This is the CloudSpeak edition of my newsletter series. In this issue, I will discuss my experience installing Office 365 (E3) this past holiday weekend at SMB Nation. Our own Tom Poole weighs in from the “25,000 DreamForce Conference” last week in San Francisco, and we hear from our sponsors too.
So – it’s a short week – make it a good one, and HURRY and join us at the SMB Nation Fall conference.
Also, please join Raj Goel and I tomorrow at 10am-11am PDT on our HIPAA Compliance and Backups webinar. To register, please visit: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/516144041
Early Bird Expires Soon!
More MVPs, More Technical Content , More Advanced Sessions…you told us what you wanted and we delivered! If you’re serious about improving yourself as a technical professional, take the first step and visit our Fall site for more information.
BONUS! Qualify to enter to win a HARLEY! Awarded by OKI Data – this is THE BEST PRIZE EVER and someone’s riding into recovery!
HURRY and register for the SMB Nation Fall conference at fall.smbnation.com
See ya’ there…harrybbbb
P.S.: Ask me about our payment plans!
This just in!
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My MSFT Cloud Essentials Experience…
I am a Microsoft Cloud Essentials partner, and here’s my story. Lured in by the prospect of amazing program benefits (including 250 Office 365 E3 licenses – that includes all of Office 365 + Office 2010 Professional*) and the desire to eat my own dog food, I completed the sign-up steps.
This is a multi-part article. In this installment, I share with you the steps I took to sign-up for the Cloud Essentials program. In the next installment, I will share with you the actual implementation of Office 365. Along the way, I will use figures to show the steps.
Steps to becoming a Cloud Essentials partner:
Step 1. Enroll in the Microsoft Partner Network. As you can see below, it all begins with the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN). I was happily surprised when I saw my friend Jamison West (and long-time SMB Nation tribal member), featured as a marquee partner.
Step 2. In my case, as an existing MPN partner, I merely confirmed my status. This is seen below.
Step 3. Go to www.microsoftcloudpartner.com and click “Sign In Now” on the right. You will be taken to the Enrollment page shown below and verify that Step 1) is marked as complete. Also select option 2(a) to sell Office 365 and/or Intune.
Step 4. “Select the Sign the Microsoft Online Services Agreement” (MOSPA) Sign MOSPA link. You will be taken to the Microsoft Online Services Partner Agreement (shown below). Read this carefully and electronically sign the document by agreeing to the terms and conditions.
Step 5. Select the “Take the Assessment” link under Step 3 in the figure below to take (and hopefully pass) the Microsoft Online Assessment. Kindly note the secondary link that is provided to help you study for the exam (recommended).
Step 6. You will find yourself at the Activity Details screen. Click “Start” to commence the assessment.
Please continue the article below:
Total Managed Print™ Delivers Impressive Results for MSPs
Cloud-based, brand agnostic, modular Managed Print Services solution from OKI is turnkey and ready to implement
Today’s workplace is comprised of both hardware, and an assortment of services and systems. Within the workplace of the future, however, all of these will likely be provided through a single source. As this evolution takes place, the need for analysis, maintenance, support, sales and servicing of these functions will require a comprehensive MPS program in order to ensure complete customer service and satisfaction.
This evolution is already taking place, and the time is now for MSPs to become MPS providers in order to: (1) augment your existing business model, (2) further-penetrate existing accounts for long-term retention, (3) identify new opportunities, (4) realize immediate return on investment, and (5) ensure a long-term recurring revenue stream.
The rationale for becoming an MPS provider is simple: it’s profitable! But in order to enter the MPS arena, you need a billing system, a remote monitoring system, a method for integration into existing business processes, and a national service and support network with the ability to generate automated fulfillment of supplies. Though this may sound like a daunting task to put all of these systems into place and enter the MPS arena, all this is available today through the turnkey Total Managed Print™ (TMP) solution from OKI Data Americas.
TMP is a cloud-based system featuring a comprehensive set of brand-agnostic tools to get you up and running as an MPS provider quickly and with no up-front costs. These tools include: customer data capture, data analysis, a proposal generator, flexible acquisition options, implementation services, remote monitoring and management, national service and supply fulfillment, back office processing and billing, and continuous fleet optimization and reporting.
TMP also features the flexibility to utilize its various modules independently - or in its entirety - as a complete solution. Such features and functionality are critical in meeting the unique business needs of all types and sizes of channel partners.
Finally, TMP works within your existing infrastructure. It is easy to implement, supplements your offerings for small to medium sized businesses, is modular - with the ability to evolve as your needs change, and is supported by both a knowledgeable staff and the expertise of a global leader in printing solutions. For more information, visit http://www.okidata.com/tmp or see OKI at SMB Nation 2011 Fall Conference, September 30-October 2 in Las Vegas, NV.
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Dreamforce - The Cloud is Growing Up!
Reporting Live From San Francisco!
If there was one thing that was clearly evident at Dreamforce this year is the Cloud is growing up. Not to say it is even close being a "grown up", but it has critical mass and the big boys have now stepped up and in. To start, we need to look at the some of the leading sponsors - Deloitte and Accenture. These guys understand business and are keenly aware when an industry is ready for prime-time.
Then take a look at Salesforce itself. Gone are the days that I will think of it as simply a "Cloud CRM". Just as Jeff Bezos and Amazon are now essentially the plumbing of ecommerce, Mark Benioff and his crew appear to be headed the same way with business. With its recent acquisition of Jigsaw (as of this week Data.com) and Radian6, Salesforce is extending its reach in a big kind of way. Those are just a few of their new offerings. I'll get into them individually in subsequent blogs.
What made Dreamforce even more interesting, was the people. I'm not sure what the final count is, but there were literally tens of thousands of people at this event (we will get that final number in a day or two). The folks at the show weren't simply trying to figure out how to configure their CRM or setup email campaigns - they were coming to grips on how to use this platform to rule their industry. We all talk about rapid development environments, but some of the "bolt-ons" for Salesforce have the ability to make your business Ferrari fast.
I always go to these shows eager to see what people have to offer. I've also learned to show up with a certain level of skepticism. The reason for the title of this blog being "The Cloud is Growing Up" is becuase feels different this year. It's not just that there is wind under the wings of the Cloud movement, it is that I can clearly see a transformation in the way people are approaching business. It is almost as though we are going to end up with the "have's" and the "have-not's". Those that embrace the rich and cost effective platforms available for business today are literally going to crush the have-not's that stick with their legacy systems.
Over the next week or so I will continue to drill down on some of the finer points of Dreamforce 2011, the Salesforce platform and where it seems Mark Benoiff is taking the Company. Stay tuned - more to come!
|Cloud email filtering? YES! But not without GREAT technical support!
One of the greatest advantages of cloud services is the fact that they save your IT staff so much time. That’s great. But you still need technical support. Before you sign on with a cloud email provider, make sure they will be there for you when you need them.
Imagine that, due to some email problem, your clients are unable to receive orders or contracts. You’ll want to talk to your cloud email filtering provider and find out if they are blocking these messages. If it turns out that they are, you’ll want to know why and what is going to be done to fix the problem.
What you DON’T want is to talk to some Help Desk clerk from a remote country with a thick accent who will have a hard time understanding your problem, blame it on anything but the service the company is providing or wait 24 hours or more before sending you a vague email reply that leads you nowhere.
Now how about having calls handled by a competent technician who is easy to reach and who will check on a few basics with you while you’re on the phone? Someone who is able to rapidly pinpoint the problem and who shares information in a transparent manner. Someone who will be helpful even if the problem is not related to the antispam service (for instance if it is due to bad syntax in an SPF record, faulty configuration of the sending server or inaccurate DNS synchronisation). Best of all, how about dealing with someone who has the leeway to suggest and implement unique solutions for special problems?
At ZEROSPAM, those are the principles we live by. Superior technical support service is as important to us as it is to you. Put us to the test. Use our free trial period to try the service on your own domain.
Find out more about ZEROSPAM by dialing 1 888- 9990-7726, extension 204 or register for the free trial at http://www.zerospam.ca/trial.
My MSFT Cloud Essentials Experience… Continued:
Step 7. When you complete the 25-question assessment, you’ll be presented with your results. Hopefully it’ll be affirmative with a passing score. When I took it, I found that business intuition would result in you answering half of the questions properly if you did not study. However, the reality is that you need to study the Office 365 and Intune product features and functionality before taking this assessment. Fortunately, I passed, as you can see below.
Step 8. Woo-Hoo! You receive a Certificate of Completion suitable for framing. In my case, I posted this as a photo on my Facebook wall!
Step 9. You will return to your status screen (below) and observe that Step 3 for passing the assessment is complete. Select “Complete” through Quickstart for Microsoft Online services to complete the financial activity associated with becoming a Cloud Essentials partner. In this case, it reflects submitted required tax documents.
Step 10. At this point, I contacted my controller, Harvey, to provide the W-9 form and the bank information to Microsoft. I called Cloud Essentials support and was advised to send the documentation as both an e-mail and fax. The secret was shared so that I could expedite my enrollment into the program.
That concludes my first installment of becoming a Cloud Essentials partner. Future installments will focus on acquiring the internal software license for Office 365 and the completing the migration itself.
*Full benefits include:
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