Category Archives: Events

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.”

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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

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All together now – SonicWall’s Web API hooks popular PSA program

Last week I covered a major industry event in Orlando, the ConnectWise Summit. SonicWall was there and I had the chance to chat with Jan Sijp, a systems engineer. I really appreciated his private briefing – down to a rich technical level – about this Web-based API connector that hooks ConnectWise’s PSA product.

See my interview HERE when I chatted with Jan.

You can also read the details in the SonicWall press release below.

cheers…harrybbbb

SonicWALL and ConnectWise Raise Bar With Enhanced Integration

Management ecosystem upgrade delivers significant breakthroughs in ease-of-use and process automation, enabling tighter integration between SonicWALL and ConnectWise management applications

SAN JOSE, Calif., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — SonicWALL, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNWL) , a leading secure network infrastructure company, today announced the company is working closely with ConnectWise towards deeper integration between the SonicWALL Global Management System (GMS) and ConnectWise Professional Services Automation (PSA) Software.

ConnectWise PSA will leverage the Web Services Application Programming Interface (API) which is part of the upcoming 6.0 release of SonicWALL GMS. GMS 6.0 is tentatively scheduled for release later in the fourth quarter of 2009. The required update to the ConnectWise PSA product is tentatively scheduled to be available sometime in the first half of 2010 at which time customers will be able to benefit from the enhanced integration options.

Via the Web Services API, SonicWALL GMS will serve up additional periodically scheduled SonicWALL-specific XML reports to ConnectWise PSA, which will associate the reports to specific customers, bundle SonicWALL reports with reports from other sources, thus – delivering key insight into network usage behavior to the customer.

In addition, SonicWALL GMS will provide detailed company and device information to the Customer Relationship Management portion of ConnectWise PSA allowing the IT solution provider customer to easily tie SonicWALL devices to company accounts. IT administrators will also be able to automate the retrieval of service contract levels and expiration dates from GMS for use in the warranty/ service renewal parts of ConnectWise PSA.

Thirdly, it will be possible for SonicWALL GMS alerts to trigger the automatic creation of trouble ticket in the Service Board part of ConnectWise PSA. GMS can generate many different types of alerts. For example, the administrator can create alerts for devices going offline or VPN tunnels going down.

“SonicWALL understands that customers do not use the Global Management System in a vacuum. In fact, many customers use a wide variety of software consoles to manage, report on, and monitor their IT infrastructure for either themselves or, in the case of Managed Service Providers, their customers. Customers also typically use a number of enterprise applications. Managed service providers and other IT solution providers use Professional Services Automation tools, such as ConnectWise PSA, to improve efficiencies in the operations of their business,” said Jan Sijp, Director of policy and management for SonicWALL. “It is important that SonicWALL GMS interoperates with these other applications and this is why we developed the new Web Services API. We are confident that the upcoming tighter integration between SonicWALL GMS and ConnectWise PSA will benefit many of our IT solution provider partners who deploy SonicWALL equipment and use both SonicWALL GMS and ConnectWise PSA.”

Expanded Multi-appliance Management and Reporting

The Web Services API is one of many new features available in the upcoming SonicWALL GMS 6.0 release. With GMS 6.0, SonicWALL extends appliance management beyond Network Security and Secure Remote Access to encompass Email Security and Continuous Data Protection, thereby enabling enterprises and MSPs to centrally manage an entire distributed SonicWALL security infrastructure. Features added in GMS 6.0 may include but are not limited to:

  --  With GMS 6.0, GMS administrators can define and push policies for
      Continuous Data Protection (CDP) and Email Security appliances at the
      device, device group, or global level. Expanding granular management
      coverage to the CDP and Email Security product lines greatly enlarges
      the applicability of GMS
  --  Application Firewall reporting for greater visibility into the impact
      and effectiveness of application firewall policies and thus increase
      employee productivity and efficiency of network usage
  --  Ability to run custom reports for secure remote access devices that
      allow administrators to use the raw logs collected from Aventail and
      SMB SSL VPN devices under management
  --  Support for SonicOS 5.5 extends GMS capabilities to a wider range of
      UTM appliance features, making the GMS administrator more productive

  --  An enhanced Web services API to facilitate integration between GMS and
      other management consoles and enterprise applications, greatly
      increases the productivity of the internal IT staff


  For more information please visit: http://www.sonicwall.com/.

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It’s a tough job – but someone has to do it: Windows Connections (Vegas) here I come!

As I write this, I am traveling to Windows Connections (which also has sub-conferences for Exchange, SharePoint, et al). Year’s ago when the underlying magazine suporting this conferrence was known as Windows NT Magazine from Duke Publishing in Loveland, Colorado, I assisted this group by participating in a Small Business Server (SBS) newsletter> It published two issues in 1998/1999 and was arguably way ahead of its time. Today the flagship publication is better know as Windows IT Pro magazine.

Windows Connections is a mega-conference that is deeply technical. In fact, there is little BusinessSpeak or “managed services” conversations occuring. But it has a strong draw for the Geeks who are employed in-house at larger orgnaizations. It brings in long-time superstars like Tony Redmond and Mark Mansia.

You can learn more about the connections events HERE and I will be reporting for the next few days from this event. Time for me to go geek out for a few days.

cheers…harrybbbbb

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MarketWatch reporting more MSFT layoffs…

As the economy continues to recover, folks like you and me and business firms are gaining a clearer picture of what the future looks like. Banks in the financial sector speak of consumer deleveraging. Technology firms have had to adjust cost structures to face a new market place (read this Ballmer-related blog in May 2009). And some firms are now ramping up to grow and go. Each situation is different.

What I’ve seen is that some technology companies that adjusted quickly at the start of the recession are now hiriing again. Others are still laying off. MarketWatch has just reported a smaller layoff at Microsoft HERE. So read for yourself and decide what it all means.

cheers…harrybbbb

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My two favorite things – skiing and technology

Something I learned early on in my writing career was this. It is easier to write about something you care about. Don’t believe me. Then try this on for size. At the tender age of 12, I wrote a 10,000 word article for the Kids’ National Geographic magazine on a new sled dog race called the Iditarod in my home state of Alaska. I followed that up with a price analysis on chocolate easter bunny prices at Anchorage stores that was picked up by the evening paper. You get the point – passion!

Harryb's home ski resort - Girdwood Alaska!

This is my home ski resort - Girdwood Alaska - Ski To Fly!

So when today’s press release flew by where Rossignol and Dynastar ski manufacturers had experienced a big jump in online sales, I had my “passion moment” and had to write this up as one of my must do articles for the day. The sales increase was a whopping 55% and that is a real number folks – good for the skiers, good for the online merchant, good for the vendors and good for the economy. Let’s just say we’re going to ski our way out of this recession!

Cheers…harrybbbb

Rossignol and Dynastar Do Pro Sales Right

Retailers Fulfill Pro Orders in a Program that Benefits the Pros, Retailers and the Brands

San Luis Obispo, CA (Vocus/PRWEB ) November 4, 2009 — In late 2008, as part of their effort to drive additional customers and sales to specialty retailers, Rossignol and Dynastar unveiled a unique, progressive pro sales program. Working with Shopatron, the leading provider of retailer-integrated eCommerce solutions, Rossignol and Dynastar crafted an online pro sales platform that directs pro purchases from their own branded websites to participating retailers for fulfillment.
News Image
These pro sales increase the retailer’s sales directly, and often lead to the formation of a relationship between the pro and the specialty retailer. This newfound relationship frequently leads to ongoing sales as well as increased retailer promotions within a key market segment.

For the 2009 season to-date, Rossignol and Dynastar’s pro website sales have increased 55% over sales for the same time last year. Due to the program’s growing success, the company continues to add participating “Pro Specialist” dealers to their pro sales group. This is a “win-win” for everyone as it provides an opportunity for both the brand and retailers to build relationships with the most influential people on the slopes.

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for( i = 0; i “We started this program to promote both our products and our specialty retailers to the pro community at the same time. One of our primary goals was to prove that you can include specialty retailers in a successful pro sales process,” said Tait Wardlaw, Vice President of Marketing for the company. “As we enter the second season, even in a tighter economy, sales and participation have increased. The results to-date show that this is a successful program for the pros, the retailers and our brands.”

Shopatron’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Mark Grondin, concurs. “This pro sales model has been so successful for both the brands and the retailers involved that we have several clients launching this type of program. Just because pro sales are discounted, doesn’t mean the brand has to compete with their retailers. Rather it provides another opportunity for brands to send sales to their dealers.”

“As more manufacturers recognize the importance of integrating their retailers into the pro sales cycle,” Grondin states, “we expect the Shopatron-based, dealer fulfillment pro sales concept to become an industry standard.”

The positive response from participating retailers further validates the success of the program.

“This program has made my life so much easier for servicing the industry professionals,” said Michael Hermann of Interstate Mountain Company. “This has become an important income layer in my business.”

Joel Anderson of Sturtevant’s Sports fulfills pro orders for both the Rossignol and Dynastar brands. “I have 20 years in the pro sports business and this is the best platform by far,” stated Anderson. “I wish all the hard-good sports manufacturers would get on board. This program puts more margin in the dealers pockets and has definitely created customers for us that we may never have had in the past.”

About Shopatron
Shopatron, Inc., the leading provider of global eCommerce solutions for consumer goods industries, allows its merchants to engage consumers with a fantastic experience, from shopping through fulfillment. Orders placed on Shopatron merchant websites are filled by a managed, distributed network of fulfillment partners, typically local retailers. Local fulfillment speeds delivery, motivates fulfillment partners to stock more inventory, and facilitates In-Store Pickup, a convenience valued by a majority of online shoppers.

Headquartered in San Luis Obispo, CA, Shopatron operates Coex Freedom, an order exchange with more than 600 merchants and 10,000 fulfillment partners across 35 consumer products industries. Some of Shopatron’s merchant clients include Berkley Fishing, Brooks Running, Callaway Golf, D’Addario, Johnson Outdoors, Mammut, MK Diamond, Nordica, Panasonic, Spy Optic, Stearns, and Thule. For more information and a full client list, visit ecommerce.shopatron.com.

About Rossignol and Dynastar
The Rossignol Group, the parent company of the Rossignol, Dynastar, Lange and Look brands, is the world’s leader in ski and snowboard equipment. The Rossignol Group also holds a 27 percent market share of the in-line ski retail market in the U.S. Rossignol, Dynastar and Lange have taken a leadership role in re-defining how on-hill pros, retailers and suppliers work together to place vector products with influencers on the slopes across North America.

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Rossignol and Dynastar

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Blackberry wants to talk SMB with you!

Folks – we’re teaming with BlackBerry on an interesting SMB webinar next week!

Discover BlackBerry® Professional Software Designed for Small and Medium Businesses

Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Time: 11:00 AM EDT

Join us for a in-depth look at  BlackBerry Professional Software.

BlackBerry Professional Software is priced for small and medium-sized businesses and designed to be easy to set up and manage. In this webcast we’ll give an overview of the top reasons your clients will want BlackBerry Professional Software.  Join us and leverage demos, best practices, technical and sales tips.

Sign up here: http://webcast.streamlogics.com/audience/index.asp?eventid=43235414

blackberrySteve Chapman hosting the BlackBerry lounge at the IT Expo Alaska show!

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Six months out – we’re open for business for SMB Nation Spring!

Folks – it’s exactly six months until the SMB Nation Spring show and we are open for business!

I can tell you this – we’ve never been so well organized and ahead of the game for this, the 5th annual spring conference. I have a couple of updates for you. First – the show has rededicated itself to being your primary technical resource. We are delighted that Andy Goodman and Dana Epp have joined us to assist in selecting technical content. Second, the team of David Schafran and Robert Coiffi have already selected the first several speeches listed here:

Selling IT Services; How not to suck at it! (Stuart)
Breaking through Business Plateaus! (Gary P)
Confessions of a Successful Partner: Guerrilla Marketing Strategies (Robert C)
How to choose a partner (Master MSP / RMM) (David S)
Presentation on The Top 7 Referral Systems of 2009 (Todd C)
Setting up business systems (George S.)

So what are your next steps?

Save the date: April 30-May 2, 2010

Study the show site: www.smbnation.com

Make note that your admission fee includes hotel accommodations. This is mandatory and we feel really good about it. The idea is that you’ll participate in SMB Nation Spring during the day and night! Who can resist a couple of nights in wonderful East Brunswick NJ.

cheers…harrybbbb

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Reporting Live from IT Expo Alaska – GPS funding and more

Sharon Peterson is a long-time MSFT friend who called me over the summer with a wild idea. The idea was to get WILD ABOUT ANCHORAGE and attend Steve Gonzalez’s IT Expo Alaska. Steve is a man after my own heart – trying to advance the technology level of Alaska. Something you might not have known is that I grew up in Alaska (lived in Anchorage for 20-years as a kid). I have intimate knowledge about the wealthy Alaskan economy, based on tremendous natural resource reserves such as oil, gas and minerals.

WATCH MY VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH SHARON AND STEVE HERE!

Alaska is surprisingly technically advanced using its oil wealth to invest in the latest and greatest technology. Alaska’s journey is analogous to the way that El Salvador was rebuilt after its civil war. In this case, El Salvador went straight to wireless telephones as it built out its telcom infrastructure. Alaska has made similar generational leap frogs and I plan to visit my home state much more often, scoping out techie bits where I can find ‘em!

Robert McDowell and Harrybbbb

Robert McDowell and Harrybbbb

It was an honor and a pleasure to be on the same speaker roster as the infamous Robert McDowell from Microsoft at the IT Expo Alaska event. McDowell is Microsoft’s global ambassador.

At IT Expo Alaska – there was legitimate news. Governor Sean Parnell announced the Governor’s Performance Scholarship (GPS) wherein Alaska high school students with excellent grade point averages (GPAs) will have all or part of their college tuition paid. For example, a student with a GPA at 3.5 or higher will have 100% of her college tuition paid for by the State of Alaska. This is akin to how many students from the Middle East attend US universities. WOW! Learn more about GPS here: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/archive.php?id=5095&type=1

Some loyal SBSers and SMB Nation friends where in the house at IT Expo Alaska including Cisco, Microsoft and Blackberry.

IT Alaska Show Floor

On the IT Expo Alaska show floor

Cisco in the house in the brand new Dena’ia Civic Center, venue for the IT Expo Alaska!

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Reporting live fron Anchorage Alaska and the IT Expo

Local boy made good and returns home to talk technology. That’s my story. I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska and enjoyed a childhood of fishing and skiing in a state flush with oil wealth. I moved to Seattle 20+ years ago to chart a new course and started teaching computers at a local Seattle university and working for Microsoft as a “perma-temp” on the Microsoft Excel 3.0 product when it was locked in battle with Lotus 123.

Fast forward and I have arrived in Anchorage a few hours ago to give a keynote speech at the IT Expo Alaska event tomorrow. I’ll be joined by the Governor of Alaska and Microsoft’s Robert McDowell – it’s an honor to say the least. I will report during the day so you can track this event. Believe it or not – with its oil wealth – Alaska is surprisingly technical!

BTW – a funny one for you. My mom has traveled to Anchorage for this event and to visit friends. She was watching KTUU (NBC, Channel 2) late last night in Anchorage and there was a news article on IT Expo Alaska. She looked up, saw my name and the SMB Nation brand and couldn’t believe it. During the day today, she received several calls from Anchoragites asking if that was her son, is she in Anchorage, etc. It’s good to be back home in a small town!

Here are the details on the IT Expo event: http://www.itexpoalaska.com/

IT Expo 2009
Thursday October 29, 2009
Anchorage’s Dena’Ina Convention Center.

Presented by: GCI Communications and Sponsored by: Microsoft, Cisco, Right Systems, Applied Microsystems and Tekmate.

IT Expo Alaska is Alaska’s premier annual information technology trade show. Produced by Gonzalez Marketing LLC, IT Expo Alaska provides educational and networking opportunities for IT decision makers and IT professionals.

Gain knowledge, interact with experts, see systems in action, and make direct contact with service and product suppliers at IT Expo Alaska.

Morning sessions- 7:30am – 1:00pm
Morning session launches with a welcome by Governor Sean Parnell and a keynote address at 8:00am by Robert McDowell, Senior Vice President of Information Worker Business Value at Microsoft. Nine additional presentations are scheduled on four stages by GCS IT/VMware, GCI/Agito Networks, Cisco Systems/B2 Networks, and Microsoft/Statera.

Our noon luncheon, hosted by Cisco Systems, features a presentation by Cisco Operations Director Jeff Sharritts.

Afternoon sessions- 1:00pm to 5:00pm
Afternoon session will focus on security, storage, software and technology geared to small to medium size organizations and include presentations by GCI/Blackberry, Applied Microsystems, TekMate, Right Systems, Leverage, CompuCom, Neudesic, Intel, Sockeye Business Solutions and ACS.

Our closing feature presentation is “Geekonomics” by SMB Nation president Harry Brelsford.Attendance is limited to CEO/CIO/CFO level decision makers, IT systems administrators, IT professionals, AITP members, and staff and guests of sponsors.

Register to attend today…

For more information, please contact
Gonzalez Marketing at 907-562-8640.

Steve Gonzalez
Gonzalez Marketing
4450 Cordova Street, Suite 110
Anchorage, AK 99503
steveg@gonzalezmarketing.com
ph: (907) 562-8640
fax: (907) 562-8641

 

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