Author Archives: harrybrelsford

About harrybrelsford

I am the CEO of SMB Nation and love talking too much about everything and anything small and medium business. I also like to yak about Windows Small Business Server 20032008 (SBS) and Response Point. I live on Bainbridge Island, WA USA and have a English Spring Spaniel.

One Year Later – An Update on Cisco’s $100M SMB investment

History will be kind to Cisco for boldly making a whopping $100M investment in the small and medium business sector. It all started a year ago in the heat of the world financial markets “reset” and I fondly remember this was one piece of good news at a time when we needed it.

Yesterday, on the one year anniversary of this Cisco act, I spoke with Mark Monday, a small business vice president at Cisco, and received an update. The update can be split into three categories:

Service and Support. Cisco has announced two new support offerings. One relates to pre-sales and the other relates to a “rapid” replacement service.

Broad Technology Portfolio. Cisco made announcements in the communication and security areas. Four things stood out in the briefing to me. First – VPN capabilities built-in to the 525G IP phone. That means you can take the said telephone in your backpack to your home office and be efficiently and securely connected to your SMB telephone network back at the office. Second – our friends at Trend Micro have teamed with Cisco to provide gateway and endpoint security for the new Cisco SA 500 Series Security Appliance(s). Nice to see our friends playing nicely in the school yard. Third, the access point “clustering” capability in the 541N allows you to easily create a large and robust WiFi network. Finally, the fourth item that caught my eye was the wireless capabilities for the Cisco 500 series unified communications telephones.

Partner Profitability. Two announcements here. The Partner Development Fund (PDF) is a rebate program that puts cash back in the hands of the Cisco partner. Cisco reports this type of incentive is helping to grow the partner’s business volume as much as 42% versus folks who do not participate in the PDF program. And Cisco Capital is providing a zero percent financing option.

So that’s may highlights on this, the first anniversary of the Cisco small business investment announcement. I leave you with two questions followed by the full press release.

First – have you heard the new Cisco radio advertisements?

Second- what’s your take on all this…please comment!

cheers…harrybbbbb

Cisco Celebrates Anniversary of $100 Million Small Business Investment by Helping Partners and Customers Accelerate Their Business

New Small Business Services, Technology and Ongoing Profitability Programs Help Enable Partners’ and Customers’ Success and Boost Economy

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Dec. 1, 2009 – Cisco today announced new partner presales technical support and a new hardware advanced-replacement service specifically designed for partners selling to the small business market. Cisco also announced it is expanding the industry’s broadest portfolio of small business technology with new and enhanced networking, security and collaboration solutions. In addition, Cisco is continuing its partner profitability and financing programs to help partners and small businesses accelerate their business and boost the economy as it recovers.

KEY FACTS / HIGHLIGHTS:

Service and Support: Cisco launched new partner presales technical support and a hardware advanced-replacement service to help partners successfully sell, deliver, install and support Cisco Small Business solutions.

  • Cisco Partner Design Support offers complimentary assistance to partners in the design, installation and configuration stages so they can create and deploy the best solutions to solve their customers’ unique business problems.
    • The new support service provides partners with access to a team of expert engineers focused on Cisco Small Business technology. It is offered via phone or online chat and in nine languages.
  • Cisco Small Business Pro Rapid Replacement Service provides four-hour hardware replacement plus 24-hour technical support and coverage for Cisco Small Business Pro products so partners can quickly resolve their customers’ problems with little downtime.
    • The three-year service also includes software updates, 24-hour phone access to the Cisco Small Business Support Center and access to the Cisco Small Business Support Community.

Broad Technology Portfolio: Cisco has expanded the industry’s broadest portfolio to include more than 600 networking, security and communication products purpose built and priced right for the small business. The expansion includes new and enhanced technologies to help small businesses connect, secure and communicate.

Connect:

  • Cisco AP 541N: The industry’s first 802.11n dual-band clustering access point built for the small business allows partners to quickly set up and expand wireless access to provide small businesses with the freedom to work wirelessly with business-grade performance, reliability and security.

Secure:

  • Cisco MonitorView: New capabilities in the Cisco Configuration Assistant enable the Cisco SPA 525G IP Phone to receive and display live video streaming from Cisco Small Business security cameras, helping small businesses secure their business and run their business more smoothly and productively.
  • Cisco VPN Support for the Cisco SPA 525G IP Phone: New software VPN technology for the Cisco SPA 525G IP Phone allows small businesses the flexibility to have teleworkers easily connect to the business in a highly secure environment over almost any broadband connection from where ever they choose.
  • Cisco SA 500 Series Security Appliances: Enhancements have been made to the all-in-one security solution designed to help protect a small business’s network and critical data while allowing employees to connect to the business network. New enhancements include:
    • Intrusion prevention system (IPS) to help monitor the network for malicious or unwanted activities and automatically block or prevent those activities.
    • Cisco ProtectLink Gateway to block attacks through a hosted service that integrates anti-spam, anti-phishing, content filtering and Web reputation monitoring.
    • Cisco ProtectLink Endpoint to extend protection to Windows PCs and prevent users from accessing the Internet if their security levels are not up-to-date.

Communicate:

  • Cisco Hosted Small Business Communications: This complete, reliable, cost-effective customer premises equipment solution allows service providers to deliver hosted IP telephony services to small businesses. The solution includes the new Cisco SRP 500 Series Services Ready Platforms, Cisco switches and IP phones, which can all work seamlessly together.
    • The Cisco SRP 500 Series Services Ready Platforms is a flexible, affordable customer premises device that enables service providers to easily create, provision and deploy managed data, voice and security services for small businesses.
  • Smart Business Communications System (SBCS) Release 2.0: An enhancement has been made to the complete collaboration and communications system to connect offices, employees and customers anywhere at any time.
    • Release 2.0 includes the ability to support up to 100 users, so partners can easily install a solution that will smoothly and economically grow with the small business.

Partner Profitability: Cisco continues to invest in partner profitability programs and innovative financing offers to help small business partners increase their profits and compete more effectively.

  • The Small Business Partner Development Fund (PDF) program has helped Select partners grow their Cisco business at times as much as 42 percent.
    • The PDF program, which provides quarterly payments to qualifying partners based on their purchases of Cisco Small Business products, is open to various partner types selling into the small business market, including: Cisco Registered Partners, Cisco Specialized Partners, online resale partners and service providers.
  • In the current economy, Cisco CapitalSM provides extended payment terms and an innovative range of financing options including zero-percent financing to qualifying partners and small businesses.
    • In the U.S., Cisco Capital is providing zero-percent financing of Cisco Unified Communications and Small Business Pro Series solutions for small businesses. This offer has been extended through July 2010 with terms of 36 months same-as-cash and the option to take ownership of the equipment at the end of the lease.
    • In Europe, the Cisco EasyLease zero-percent financing program has been extended to include all Cisco products and solutions with a maximum deal size of up to £200,000 or €250,000.
    • Cisco Capital continues to support Cisco channel partners through credit lines and payment terms beyond standard net 30-day terms.
    • Cisco offers end-user financing in over 80 countries, more than any other vendor in the IT industry.

Product Pricing and Availability

  • Cisco AP 541N is listed at US$499 with regional variations and is currently available in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Cisco MonitorView and Cisco VPN Support are firmware upgrades for the Cisco SPA 525G IP Phone for customers with a service contract. The Cisco SPA 525G IP Phone is listed at US$430 with regional variations and is currently available in most countries worldwide, except China and Japan.
  • Cisco SA 500 Series Security Appliances pricing starts at US$550, depending on the model. The security appliances are currently available in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia. The new enhancements are available as licenses: IPS is a US$150 license; Cisco ProtectLink Gateway is US$178 for a five-seat license; Cisco ProtectLink Endpoint is US$185 for a five-seat license. Enabling IPS and Cisco ProtectLink Endpoint functionality requires a firmware update, which is scheduled to be available in late December.
  • Cisco Hosted Small Business Communications prices vary by region, specific configurations and number of users. The solution is currently available in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
  • Cisco SRP 500 Series Services Ready Platforms pricing starts at US$250, depending on the model. It is currently available in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
  • Cisco SBCS Release 2.0 pricing can be as low as US$164 per user, but varies by region, number of users, business needs and specific configurations. Cisco SBCS Release 2.0 is currently available in most countries worldwide.
  • All products are available to small businesses via Cisco Partners and Resellers.

Supporting Quotes

  • Gia McNutt, president and CEO, Special Order Systems:

“Over the past year, Cisco has demonstrated that it is 100-percent committed to the small business market. Most enterprise-focused companies have produced mini-versions of products for small businesses, but not in this case. Cisco has built solutions specifically for the small business market, which has helped partners like me solve my customers’ business issues. Cisco has also created services and incentives to help me be successful and more profitable in the small business market.”

  • Adrian Biesecker, owner and CEO, BBC Biochemical:

“We needed to connect two sister companies that share office space to cut costs and share company information to help us both perform better, while keeping our sensitive patient information separate and private. We looked at several companies but none of them could provide all the solutions that Cisco could, including everything from the network to mobility to financing. Cisco was the only one that came to the table with everything we needed and the results have been flawless.”

  • Ian Pennell, co-chair, Small Business Council, Cisco:

“We’re proud of our accomplishments this past year and are extremely focused on continuing to build and deliver the right technologies, services and support and profitability programs to help our partners and small business customers accelerate their business as the economy recovers.”

  • Andrew Sage, vice president, Worldwide Small Business Sales, Cisco:

“With the Cisco Small Business Advantage, our partners have all the essential tools necessary to help them be successful and profitable in the small business market.”

Supporting Resources

Videos/Images

  • Ian Pennell, co-chair, Small Business Council, Cisco: Cisco Small Business Anniversary

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIPeJi2al3k

  • Andrew Sage, vice president, Worldwide Small Business Sales, Cisco: New Additions to the Cisco Small Business Advantage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0v1-iTZXMoo

  • Rick Moran, vice president, Small Business Solutions Marketing, Cisco: New Cisco Technology Helps Small Businesses Drive Business Forward

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Llj_4AGQaAE

Technorati Tags: Cisco Small Business, small business technology, Cisco Small Business Technology Group, Cisco Small Business Series, small business networking, small business security, small business communications, small business collaboration, small business services, network security, VoIP, Cisco Smart Business Communications System, IP telephony, Cisco SBCS, small business phone system, Cisco Registered Partners, Cisco Specialized Partners, Cisco Select Partners, partner profitability, Cisco Capital, small business financing

About Cisco Systems

Cisco, (NASDAQ: CSCO), is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.

1 Comment

Filed under SMB PC Magazine

Washington Husky Football, IBM Lotus Foundation Start and newz…

This past weekend myself, family and out-of-town guests had the honor of attending the 102nd Apple Cup between University of Washington (Go Huskies!) and Washington State University. On the water taxi to the game, one of the attendees and I spoke. He had recently retired from a career at IBM in it’s Global Services area. I spoke about my friendship with the IBM’s open source Lotus Foundations group. We both remarked how IBM stands as an example of a large Fortune One technology company reinventing itself to become relevent and exciting again.

So when today’s news crossed the wire that the Lotus Foundation Start solution is now protected by Engate’s proactive botnet, phish, virus and e-mail security solutions, I stopped what I was doing and read the press release with great interest. You may recall that many of the attendees at the SMB Nation Fall 2009 conference in Las Vegas truly enjoyed the engaging conversations with the Lotus Foundations representatives. For many, it was the first time to not only see an open-source SMB server solution BUT to take this solution under serious advisement and consideration.

For your reading benefit, I have reported the entire press release so you can learn more about the Engate and Lotus Foundations security partnership.

(PS – I will have a technical review of the Lotus Foundations Start product very soon!)

Engate and IBM Deliver Proactive Botnet, Phish, Virus and Email Security for IBM Lotus Foundations Start

Best-in-Class IP Reputation Solution Empowers Small and Medium Size Businesses with Ease of Management, Improved Productivity and Reduced Costs

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Engate Technology Corporation, leaders in next generation reputation network profiling technology and proactive botnet, phish, virus and email security solutions, today announced integration of Engate’s security software suite with IBM® Lotus® Foundations Start line of software appliances for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB).

Lotus Foundations Start ‘plug and play’ appliances help companies with little or no in-house technical resources to focus on running their business rather than managing their computer systems. This Linux-based IBM solution provides staple collaboration tools such as email, file sharing, and remote access and affords peace of mind through automated network security features, data protection, backup and recovery. With Engate, Lotus Foundations Start will offer an industry-leading security suite that proactively protects SMBs from a diversity of email-borne threats.

“Email remains one of the most widely-used attack vectors against small and medium size business users, making email security essential to IBM Lotus Foundations Start,” said Caleb Barlow, Integration Executive for Lotus Foundations, IBM Corporation. “Together with Engate, IBM Lotus Foundations Start offers SMB customers an easy-to-use, best-in-class security solution that protects from the growing number of email-borne botnet, phish, spam and virus threats.”

“Engate provides organizations with proactive protection against the growing threat of phish, spam and botnet attacks,” said Wil Cochran, CEO, Engate. “Working together, we are combining our connection-level protection with Lotus Foundations Start to deliver a solution that helps SMBs mitigate resource-intensive email security administration by stopping malicious threats outside their network before they compromise their privacy, productivity and resources.”

“Botnet-based email attacks are the most prominent malicious security threat to my business customers today. My clients were dissatisfied with their conventional security products as they struggled to keep up with the high volume of sophisticated attacks that were secretly bypassing their filters, spreading new infections and stealing sensitive data,” said John Gray, Partner, Bentor Technologies. “I’m excited to be working with Engate and IBM Lotus Foundations Start as their integrated functionality offers my business customers the innovation, flexibility and reliability necessary in stopping these dangerous attacks at the edge of the network before they have a chance to damage resources and disrupt business productivity.”

Award-winning IP Reputation Solution Empowers SMBs to Focus on Growth

Botnets are one of the most dangerous online security threats today, where an estimated 40% of the 800 million computers on the Internet unsuspectingly distribute spam, steal private data, launch dangerous attacks, and spread new infections. In particular, SMBs face unique security and IT resource challenges that leave them vulnerable to email-borne attacks and botnet threats that can disrupt business productivity.

As email-borne threats continue to double annually, Engate’s advanced botnet, phish, virus and email security protects companies with a powerful solution that proactively protects networks from illicit hosts that are distributing threats. Engate’s innovative security suite employs patented reputation network profiling, source verification, and anti-forgery techniques to identify and block email-borne botnet attacks at the connection level, before they have a chance to compromise IT resources, invade privacy, degrade network performance, and waste user productivity.

Next Generation Reputation Network Profiling Technology for OEM Partners

With more than seven years of operational experience collecting and analyzing data on global networks, Engate’s reputation network profiling technology empowers strategic OEM partners to take advantage of the reputation of over 400 million ‘good and bad’ IP’s in Engate’s 17,000 rules database – known as GlobalRules™. By profiling entire networks beyond infected hosts, Engate has built a repository of intelligence on potential and unknown hosts that may become infected. This unique intelligence on unknown threats is a critical component to enhancing an OEM partner’s security portfolio today – as well as in the future – particularly as unknown threats continue to rise due to the growth of botnets. Engate delivers incremental value to security software, appliance, secure web gateway, unified threat management, intrusion prevention, firewall, and router partners in the following ways:

(1) Enhance 3rd party threat scoring systems with an extra layer of threat intelligence proven to achieve an additional 10-15% unique catches on top of existing content scanning, Real-time Blacklists (RBL) and reputation technologies.

(2) Improve connection-level security and the efficiency of 3rd party email security filters by radically reducing the large volume of unwanted traffic and malicious payloads from reaching the gateway.

(3) Augment multi-layer security strategy with proactive protection from known and unknown threats. Engate’s unique network profiling functionality gives OEM partners preemptive defense against botnet-based attacks, phish, spam, viruses and blended web/email threats.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life Happens

Recession Dividend: MSFT report: Majority of Recession-Bred Entrepreneurs – 70 Percent – Left Full-Time Positions to Start Own Business

I’ve been searching for both the words and evidence for something I know to be true: many successful companies are started in a recession. I wrote a cover story a couple of magazine issues ago on this topic – see Issue 4-2 on SMB STARTUPS!

I recently had a conversation with Jeff Connally at CMIT (leading computer franchise organization) who communicated that this recession is a prime recruitment time for his selling of franchise territories to former Fortune 1000 employees who have left their jobs and are seeking to start a business. Other anecdotal evidence exists.

But late last week, Microsoft released one of the best studies on this topic that I have seen in sometime. Headlined Majority of Recession-Bred Entrepreneurs – 70 Percent – Left Full-Time Positions to Start Own Business”

this study really offers an optimistic view I found refreshing.

According to a recent survey conducted by Microsoft Corp., the majority of entrepreneurs who started their business during the recession were employed. Roughly 70 percent of recession-bred entrepreneurs left their jobs to start their own business.

Despite their relative fearlessness to strike out on their own in a rocky economy, nearly one in three new entrepreneurs credit technology as a key catalyst in driving their entrepreneurial spirit.

“Technology is critical to a business owner’s success. It helps increase cost savings, supports innovation and, ultimately, contributes to growth,” said Christoph Wilfert, general manager of SMB solutions for Microsoft. “Many newer technologies, such as the cloud-based offerings of Microsoft’s productivity applications, promise great value but still have limited awareness among SMBs.”

According to the research findings, entrepreneurs picked technology as one of the top three considerations when starting their business, along with marketing, advertising and public relations, and capital funding. Furthermore, affordability (71 percent), security (37 percent) and overall technological capability (35 percent) were identified as the top three most important factors when evaluating technology purchases for their business.

Microsoft offers free or low-cost options for entrepreneurs who are just getting started. For example, Microsoft Office Live Small Business is a set of Internet-based tools that provides everything needed to take a business online, including a free Web site and services to market and manage a small business.

Evaluating and incorporating newer subscription-based technologies, often referred to as software as a service (SaaS), is a low-cost or free option for small and midsize businesses seeking to simplify and alleviate workloads so they can focus on growing their business. For instance, the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite is an integrated set of messaging and collaboration solutions hosted by Microsoft. It consists of Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Office Live Meeting and Microsoft Office Communications Online. These online services give businesses streamlined communications with high availability and comprehensive security without the cost or hassle of managing onsite hardware and software.

Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 7, also addresses the business needs of SMBs with its new and enhanced features, including the following:

  --  HomeGroup enables small businesses without a server to build a basic
      network and easily share documents, printers and devices across
      multiple PCs.
  --  Advanced Backup schedules a periodic backup to save data or an entire
      system image to a network location or a local drive.
  --  Encrypting File System is a powerful encryption technology that
      encrypts files and folders and helps protect a business's confidential
      information, such as credit card numbers or employee information.
  --  Windows Aero enhancements (such as Aero Snap, Aero Peek and Aero
      Shake) help intuitively navigate, arrange and work with multiple open
      windows on the desktop.
  --  Windows Mobility Center makes mobile computing easier with access to
      all mobile settings in one place.
  --  Location-Aware Printing intuitively identifies and sends documents to
      the correct available network printer when working between home and
      office.

“Throughout the development of Windows 7, we asked small- and midsize-business owners what they regarded as their greatest technology considerations,” Wilfert said. “Overwhelmingly, we heard speed, reliability and security. Windows 7 delivers all those and much more. We are excited to say that we have responded to the needs of entrepreneurs and have taken the fear out of starting a business, regardless of the economic climate.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Life Happens

Dell misses and HP backlogged. Which would you rather be?

There was a famous advertisement a few years ago about Dewar’s scotch and a broken bottle of the same on the ground. The tag line was “want to see an old man cry?” and implied the gentleman dropped the bottle and lost its contents.

There are only a few things that make me cry as the CEO of a bubbling, thriving small business. I report directly to the shareholders and if I miss on earnings, I can assure you I’ll have a private tear-filled moment in my Bainbridge Island office. Needless to say, with 6-weeks left in the 4thQ of 2009, I’m working overtime (like today, Saturday).

So it must have been raining tears the week in Austin when Dell reported a “miss” on its earnings. You can read about it here. Meanwhile, down the road in Houston and Palo Alto, HP is reporting success. And I have anecdotal evidence supporting HP’s strength.

I recently ordered a HP 301 “Netbook” to support my “guy on the go” pace. I wanted a small form-factor laptop with long battery life so I can work anytime, anywhere flat-out. I ordered this netbook over Halloween weekend. I was told it would ship “no later than” November 16th. That still seemed like a long time to wait but I’m an adult now and must learn patience. Imagine my surprise when I received a “backlog” notice that HP was delaying my shipment another two weeks. That signals a production backlog symptomatic of high demand. It’s a nice problem to have (in general) but the MBA in me knows you typically like to avoid “stock outs” and possible lost sales.

Here is the notification from HP:  Dear Harry Brelsford,

Due to production delays we will be unable to ship your order on the original estimated ship date. The revised estimated ship date for your order is 11/30/2009 or no later than 7 business days from the original estimated ship date. If you prefer not to wait you may cancel your order and receive a prompt refund by either replying to this email message with your order number or calling our toll-free customer service number at 866-288-1610 between 7:00 A.M. – 2:00 A.M. (ET) Monday through Friday or on Saturday between 10:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. (ET).

If we do not hear from you before we ship your order, we will assume you have agreed to this shipment delay and still want your custom PC order. We apologize for any inconvenience this delay may have caused and thank you for your patience. Following this email you will receive a HP Home & Home Office Store $50 coupon due to the delay of your order.

Did you catch the last point about the $50 coupon. My research shows PCs and laptops have a less than 1% profit margin (Wall Street journal, November 20th) and that $50 coupon on my $999 USD order just wiped out HP’s profit on my order. That is another unfortunate sign of a stock-out: concessions (just ask Boeing on its oft-delayed 787).

I end with a question for you. Would you rather be Dell and miss on earnings or HP with a backlog?

Lemme know….harrybbbbb

4 Comments

Filed under Book

Here comes India – LPI is rockin’ the house

Each and every day is different in my world, as I sure it is with you. I often can’t wait to open my Inbox in the morning to see what has arrived overnight; what new news awaits the world? Today was one of those days when I received a press release that had already been issued in India (GMT +5.5) hours prior. I am in Seattle at GMT -8 so you Indian citizens had already know for over half-a-day that Level Platforms (LPI) had entered India to provide it remote monitor and management software tools and services.

[BTW - as an aside - you can view my interview with LPI executive Dan Wemsley talk about "TOP GUN!" here]

So here is the real story. LPI Level Platforms Inc., the global leader in remote monitoring
and management software to support managed services, today announced the full availability of its
award winning managed services platform to solution providers based in India.
Solution providers based in India will now benefit from enhanced pricing, training, technical and incountry
business support through its advanced MSP program, available as both an On Premise and
Software‐as‐a‐Service (SaaS) option. The thousands of solution providers, VARs and IT consultants that
service the IT infrastructure of small and mid sized businesses (SMBs) in India will now have the benefit
of Level Platforms award winning agentless software, training and local sales, partner development and
support to accelerate their profitable transition to managed services.
Level Platforms program enhancements for the region include deployment of the technology as a SaaS
model with local technical support, region‐specific pricing in Rupees and the introduction of local
Partner Development Managers based in India, delivering content specific to the region.
“Based on early successes in our trial phase we learned that solutions providers in India and their end
customers have their own unique requirements,” said Greg Henderson, Director International
Operations with Level Platforms. “Offering both On Premise and SaaS options, combined with sales and
support specific to India delivered by local resources, is the key to success in a market as large and
unique as India”
Managed Workplace 2009 provides powerful features that help automate and streamline how a solution
provider cares for a remote network, including:
– The industry’s widest range of technology support with best‐practices monitoring and management
for over 90 vendor technologies, including industry leading support for the full range of Microsoft,
Cisco and Intel technologies.
– Agent‐less architecture, with a single installation per customer site including both software and
appliance deployments.
– Support for the entire customer’s network, including monitoring of virtual environments and cloudbased
applications.
– Extensive API support, with strong two‐way integration into regional leaders in the PSA space.
– On Premise or Hosted models, to optimize cost of start‐up, ease of deployment and control.
Managed services has been sweeping the global solution provider community. AMI published a recent
report confirming 28% compound growth rate in North America. In a report earlier this year, TechIsle
had forecasted that the fastest global adoption rate is to be in Asian markets focusing on India. By
adopting remote monitoring and management technology, solution providers can achieve significantly
reduced service costs, improve customer response, increase product sales and high margin, long term
recurring revenues. Level Platforms has led that transition, growing from its first sale in 2004 to become
the global leader with well over 3000 solution provider Partners in 30 countries today. Level Platforms
has been ranked by Deloitte and Touche as the third fastest growth technology company in Canada.
“Many IT vendors simply attempt to sell directly into the region without consideration of the unique
requirements that deliver success.” states Prakash Chaudhari, Level Platforms’ new Director for the
region, based in Mumbai. “This may result in limited short term sales, but the true path to success is
delivering solutions in an easy to consume, easy to purchase manner, supported by local resources that
know the market and these local solution providers, which is what Level Platforms has now delivered. I
look forward to representing Level Platforms and making partners in India truly successful.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Events

Celebrating Cloudy Weather In Seattle – NetSuite WINS a major SMB award!

An hour doesn’t pass in the busy days here at Bainbridge Island-based SMB Nation that I do not face south and praise NetSuite. What started as an exercise to improve our accounting system has grown and grown into a full-blown amazing ERP implementation where we now use sales force management/CRM as much as the accounting module. We use the e-commerce module as well and I see this having more relevance in 2010.

So it is with profound pleasure that I can share this following good news with you. NetSuite, a leading vendor of cloud computing business management software suites, today announced that NetSuite has received IDC’s SMB Excellence Award in the Software as a Service and Cloud Computing category for providing innovative solutions to the small and medium-sized business markets (SMB)(1). NetSuite was the only Software as a Service (SaaS) business software suite vendor to receive the award. The global industry research leader made its selections based on suitability to the needs of SMB companies, milestone accomplishments, and the competitive disruption caused by the company’s innovative on-demand technology for on-premise, legacy vendors such as Microsoft and SAP. For more information about NetSuite’s industry recognition, visit http://www.netsuite.com/awards.

IDC recognizes NetSuite alongside household and industry-standard names such as Cisco, EMC, Verizon, AT&T, and IBM. “NetSuite continues to be a tremendous ally of the SMB market, providing top-shelf functionality to business owners with a modern business model which avoids the up-front costs that made it difficult for SMBs to implement traditional on-premise ERP systems,” said Michael Fauscette, Group VP, Software Business Solutions at IDC. “NetSuite’s innovative cloud computing-based ERP has paved the way for thousands of small and medium-sized companies to transform their operations while minimizing infrastructure investments.”

Since launching in 1998, NetSuite has continually redefined the enterprise computing space. Its latest triumph, NetSuite OneWorld, is the first and only on-demand solution delivering real-time global business management and financial consolidation to SMBs with multinational and multi-subsidiary operations. The SuiteCloud platform enables third-party developers to quickly and easily develop robust add-ons to NetSuite functionality, and permits easy integration with legacy enterprise accounting platforms for subsidiaries or major trading partners.

The IDC SMB Excellence Award is NetSuite’s latest accomplishment in a year full of accolades. This summer, Gartner Dataquest released figures showing that NetSuite has joined the ranks of North America’s top ten ERP vendors by revenue. Strategic advisory service ISM Inc. recognized NetSuite and NetSuite CRM with a Top 15 CRM Small & Medium Business Software Award for 2009. Customer Interaction Solutions magazine named NetSuite CRM as a recipient of a 2009 CRM Excellence Award. Most recently, British businesses named NetSuite the top Enterprise Accounting Software vendor in Sift Media’s Software Satisfaction Awards 2009. These awards validate and reinforce NetSuite’s mounting importance to companies of all sizes looking for a powerful, integrated enterprise management solution.

Leave a comment

Filed under SMB PC Magazine

Going Rogue with VoIP!

A VoIP-ism a day keeps the H1N1 flu away in my eyes! Seriously – some news from our friends at Junction networks regarding rural exchanges and traffic pumping caught my eyes!!! Read on.

Junction Networks Offers Alternative to Blocking Numbers in Response to “Traffic Pumping” Practices

“Free” conference calling, adult chat lines and similar services “pump” traffic to rural exchanges to split the high fees rural telcos get for delivering calls. Most carriers on the sending side prefer blocking those numbers to overpaying at the pump. Junction Networks will let customers choose.

// <![CDATA[
numquotes=5;
quote_index = 0;
quote_naptime = 1000 * 4;
quote_timeout = 0;

function sequentialQuotes()
{
var i;
for( i = 0; i = numquotes ) { quote_index=0; }
//alert( quote_index );
document.getElementById( “quote_”+quote_index ).style.display = “inline”;
if( enable_random )
{
quote_timeout = setTimeout( “randomQuotes()”, quote_naptime );
}
}
function randomQuotes()
{
var randQuotId;
var i;
for( i = 0; i

New York, NY (PRWEB) November 17, 2009 — Free conference calling services, adult chat lines and other “traffic pumping” services are often reached through the telephone exchanges of very small, rural operators. In a legal but questionable arbitrage scheme, these calling services choose these rural exchanges precisely for their high termination charges — the fees that sending carriers pay them to complete (terminate) the calls. Charging as much as twenty times the typical domestic termination rate, the rural telco then splits the profits with the service. While carriers have responded by blocking calls to those numbers, Junction Networks has taken another tack, announcing that it will begin charging a higher fee for outbound calls to those exchanges.

The move allows Junction Networks’ customers to continue using these services at their discretion. They have the option to control access to any call costing more than 2.9 cents per minute by simply completing an online extended dialing form.

“Free conference calling and other ‘traffic pumping’ services exist because the current carrier compensation system allows rural carriers to pass extremely high fees on to other carriers, who often cannot come close to recovering the cost of calls,” said Rob Wolpov, president, Junction Networks. “As a result, we have been left with an overwhelming increase in fees for calls to a number of rural locations where these services operate.”

“In order to maintain our low-cost business VoIP options and at the same time, allow our customers to call any number they choose, we have decided to charge the market rate for calls to the designated areas used by these services.”

“We’ve all heard the saying, ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ Well, Junction Networks has chosen to take the approach of providing access, but also has chosen not to lose money by providing it,” said Andy Abramson, author of VoIPWatch (http://andyabramson.blogs.com/), a widely read industry site that covers all things IP communications. “Each side gets what it wants, and as the carrier, Junction Networks eliminates the subsidization that had been at play. I think it’s a model more access providers will embrace, and it means no one gets hurt. It also levels the playing field, as the user knows exactly what they are paying, end to end.”

Junction Networks Offers Alternative to Blocking Numbers in Response to “Traffic Pumping” Practices

“Free” conference calling, adult chat lines and similar services “pump” traffic to rural exchanges to split the high fees rural telcos get for delivering calls. Most carriers on the sending side prefer blocking those numbers to overpaying at the pump. Junction Networks will let customers choose.

// <![CDATA[
numquotes=5;
quote_index = 0;
quote_naptime = 1000 * 4;
quote_timeout = 0;

function sequentialQuotes()
{
var i;
for( i = 0; i = numquotes ) { quote_index=0; }
//alert( quote_index );
document.getElementById( “quote_”+quote_index ).style.display = “inline”;
if( enable_random )
{
quote_timeout = setTimeout( “randomQuotes()”, quote_naptime );
}
}
function randomQuotes()
{
var randQuotId;
var i;
for( i = 0; i

New York, NY (PRWEB) November 17, 2009 — Free conference calling services, adult chat lines and other “traffic pumping” services are often reached through the telephone exchanges of very small, rural operators. In a legal but questionable arbitrage scheme, these calling services choose these rural exchanges precisely for their high termination charges — the fees that sending carriers pay them to complete (terminate) the calls. Charging as much as twenty times the typical domestic termination rate, the rural telco then splits the profits with the service. While carriers have responded by blocking calls to those numbers, Junction Networks has taken another tack, announcing that it will begin charging a higher fee for outbound calls to those exchanges.

The move allows Junction Networks’ customers to continue using these services at their discretion. They have the option to control access to any call costing more than 2.9 cents per minute by simply completing an online extended dialing form.

“Free conference calling and other ‘traffic pumping’ services exist because the current carrier compensation system allows rural carriers to pass extremely high fees on to other carriers, who often cannot come close to recovering the cost of calls,” said Rob Wolpov, president, Junction Networks. “As a result, we have been left with an overwhelming increase in fees for calls to a number of rural locations where these services operate.”

“In order to maintain our low-cost business VoIP options and at the same time, allow our customers to call any number they choose, we have decided to charge the market rate for calls to the designated areas used by these services.”

“We’ve all heard the saying, ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ Well, Junction Networks has chosen to take the approach of providing access, but also has chosen not to lose money by providing it,” said Andy Abramson, author of VoIPWatch (http://andyabramson.blogs.com/), a widely read industry site that covers all things IP communications. “Each side gets what it wants, and as the carrier, Junction Networks eliminates the subsidization that had been at play. I think it’s a model more access providers will embrace, and it means no one gets hurt. It also levels the playing field, as the user knows exactly what they are paying, end to end.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Life Happens

Seattle Mayor Boots Microsoft for Macintosh – Sign my RECALL PETITION!

Minutes before my Monday night yoga class started on Bainbridge Island (across from Seattle itself), my iPhone rang. It was a colleague shockingly informing me that Seattle Mayor-elect was part of a radio story playing on the air. The topic? Mayor McGinn’s is pulling the PCs out of City Hall and converting over to Macintosh. The significance? This isn’t some liberal town anywhere. This is uber-liberal Seattle and home to, you guessed it, Microsoft. The mayor’s first act – before he has assumed office – is just wrong!

And don’t get me wrong. I am the first to poke at Redmond when it’s warranted. But Seattle is a company town. We fly on Boeing jets, drink Starbucks coffee, read Amazon books and run Windows 7!

You can learn more about the Mayor’s decision from this other news outlets.

Seattle PI

Stranger

And here is where the weird get strange. The City of Seattle will also replace BlackBerry devices with iPhones. I love my iPhone *but* the BlackBerry is a fantastic and capable business-class mobile device. Somehow doing a “rip and replace” seems so ’90s in the era of big IT budgets but somehow out of line with recession thinking.

If you’re not aware, the Seattle Mayor election was very close. Rest assured that McGinn’s narrow victory would have been a large defeat if he had disclosed his IT intentions prior to election day in Microsoft’s home town.

So add an agreeable comment as your signature to my “electronic recall petition” and I’ll lead the charge out here on the “left coast!”

cheers…harrybbbbb

3 Comments

Filed under Life Happens

That’s just cool – airline travel itinerary scanner from TSA reads your mobile phone screen!

It’s Friday after a long and busy week. I was curios about what topic I would write about today. Then the topic jumped out at me. I was clearing TSA security last night at the Las Vegas airport after the Windows Connections conference and heading back to Seattle. At the checkpoint, there was a scanner device and I asked what was it for. This device scans the screen of your mobile telephone where you are displaying your boarding pass. So you can clear security and board your flight without a printer boarding pass!

I actually had an old fashioned printed boarding pass on this occasion, so I didn’t use this new gizmo techno.ogy but I will try it next time!

You can read more about this ticket scanner HERE.

TGIF!

cheers….harrybbbbb

1 Comment

Filed under Life Happens

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Windows Connections – how I escaped monsoon!

Writing is a muscle that must be exercised. The other day, my son reported strong performance in mathematics but weaker results in his writing in 8th grade on Bainbridge Island, WA. This is especially concerning because (a) Bainbridge Island is home to many famous authors including the “Snow Falling on Cedars” dude and (b) I built my company SMB Nation on the written word. I shared a story with my son from long ago when I was younger and writing some of my first technical tomes and articles. One such endeavor was for a 1999-circa Small Business Server newsletter produced by Duke Publishing in Loveland, CO (best known for Windows NT Magazine). I wrote about the SBS 4.0 original release and passionately proclaimed this product would save the world (it did as we are all still here!). I can trace my early training in developing my writing muscle to this journal.

Fast forward a decade and I recently received an invitation from Penton (which acquired Duke) to attend it’s Windows Connections conference this week at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Having spent last week in Florida at the ConnectWise Summit, I saw this as an opportunity to continue to avoid the monsoon season in the Seattle area. I’m glad I attended this robust show with 2,500 attendees and outstanding, deep technical content. In the end, it wasn’t about avoiding rain but visiting with a few old friends from my early days and making heaps of new friends.

Here are my top takeaways from Windows Connections.

  • All together now. This event is actually several events in one with Windows, Exchange, SharePoint, ASP, SQL and Don Net Nuke (DNN) included. That gave attendees (IT Pros, Architects, Developers, Enterprise folks, et al) a chance to sample a full technical buffet.
  • Cross-cultural experiences. Chatting with folks at lunch, I realized that everyone in our beloved SMB channel partner space started somewhere. Many folks are from the “big leagues” of enterprise in-house IT and either (a) hit 49-years old earning a buck fifty in IT and got laid off at a Fortune One company or (2) wanted to run a SMB technology consulting practice/be a business owner. I repeatedly saw this storyline play out. I really valued these conversations.
  • Robust, capable, filling. This conference is a WIN in 2009!
  • Shadowing Roy. One of our leading SBSers, Roy Mendoza from SoCal (who attended SMB Nation Fall 2009), was at the Windows Connections event. Each evening Roy and I got together to recap the day and analyze the results. Roy was very keen on the Exchange Server 2010 track and repeatedly shared that the IT needs of a small business are exactly the same as the IT needs of an enterprise. That is, we have more in common than pulls us apart with our big brothers.
  • Is the future Fortune One or SMB? As I sit here writing my blog summary, I am grateful the general economy is rallying into recovery. But I believe, as do many attendees I spoke with at Windows Connections, that the future will be very different from the past. Will the greatest IT job creation be at the Fortune One level or in the small and medium business sector? Will you work for someone else or work for yourself. I’ll meditate when I return to Bainbridge Island and continue this conversation with you.

You can view my on-site Flip vid summary HERE from Windows Connections in Las Vegas.

You fellow Geek and gonzo journalist – cheers…harrybbbb

Leave a comment

Filed under Events