Category Archives: Life Happens

Just everyday living!

Sources report “End of Life” for MSFT Office Accounting

Sources close to the top have reported Microsoft has “end of lifed” the Office Accounting (OA) product aimed at the small business customer effective november 16, 2009. It is also closing its Microsoft Professional Accounting Network (MPAN) community program. I fondly remember OA and MPAN being big players in our 4th annual SMB Nation fall conference at the Microsoft Redmond campus, giving out amazing Eddie Bauer jackets (like $200 each) and holding an MPAN conference right before our event in order to “leverage up” the SMB channel partner community. For that, I am saddened.

Here is what was shared with me minutes ago:

Dear valued MPAN member:


We are writing to let you know that Microsoft® Office Accounting will no longer be distributed by Microsoft after November 16, 2009. As such, MPAN membership will also be closed to new members effective November 16, 2009 and the complimentary download of Office Accounting Professional 2009 and the Office Accounting Customization will be discontinued November 16, 2009. Some existing MPAN benefits, such as online on demand training, will remain.


We would like to thank the many dedicated users and partners who have been enthusiastic supporters of Microsoft Office Accounting and MPAN over the years.


As a registered Office Accounting user, you may continue to use Office Accounting after November 16, 2009 and Microsoft will continue to offer product support for Office Accounting in accordance with the terms of the support policy. Your current MPAN membership entitles you to unlimited phone support through January 15, 2011.


To learn more about other Microsoft offerings that can be useful to your business, please visit the following:

–   Microsoft’s Small Business site is a great resource for small businesses.

–   Microsoft Office is a great tool for small businesses, especially when used with our easy-to-use templates.

–   Microsoft Dynamics products offer adaptable business management solutions, and we invite you to visit the Microsoft Dynamics Community Web site, which offers role-based content, including a Finance sub-community, product forums and networking functionality.


Please refer to MPAN FAQs for more information on MPAN benefits going forward.


If you have further questions about Office Accounting changes, including changes to add-on services, additional information can be found on the Office Accounting FAQ page.


Again, we thank you for your support of MPAN and Office Accounting.






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From the world of telephony and VoIP: Telephonation 2.0

Many readers know that we’re on a journey here at SMB Nation to reach out and extend our conversations to include VoIP.

So let me introduce our “sister site” Telephonation ( where we have a robust SMB VoIP conversation occurring daily. In fact – you’d be pleased to know that the web traffic at Telephonation now exceeds the core traffic at SMB Nation. Led by many Cisco, Fonality, and Response Point fans, the Telephonation site is all about supporting what I call (A) to (B). That is, SMB data networking consultants (read SBSers) who want to embrace VoIP-related sales and services into their consulting practices. Please join me NOW at the Telephonation site and post away – it’s fast and furious – so hold on!

BTW – we have just updated the back-end software at this site and Telephonation also has a new logo, look and feel (logo below).

Join us at Telephonation!

Join us at Telephonation!

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Don’t be a SMB “twit” get off your duff and TWEET!

Folks – I have just left a MSFT Redmond meeting on BPOS and one of the topics at lunch was the need for consistentcy in blogging/Tweeting/Facebook, etc. I couldn’t agree more and I try to “do all the above” each day. When the following story crossed the wires that only 9 percent of SMB folks Tweet caught my eye – I had to blog it.

I think you’ll find the following information to be both interesting and motivational. Read on and go TWEET!


9% of SMBs Currently Use Twitter to Market Their Businesses, According to BIA/Kelsey

Latest wave of BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor study reveals 32 percent of small-business advertisers plan to include social media in their marketing mix in the next 12 months

CHANTILLY, Va., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ — According to the latest wave of BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor study, 9 percent of small and medium-sized businesses currently use Twitter to market their businesses. In addition, 32 percent of SMBs indicated they plan to include social media in their marketing mix in the next 12 months by using a page on a social site such as Facebook, LinkedIn or MySpace. Furthermore, 39 percent of SMBs plan to include customer ratings or reviews on their own Web sites, and 31 percent plan to include links or ads placed on social sites or blogs.

“Social media is clearly gaining traction among SMB advertisers,” said Steve Marshall, director of research and consulting, BIA/Kelsey. “As local consumers increasingly gravitate to social networks, local businesses understand they need to be part of the conversation. This opens up a market opportunity for local media companies that offer products and services that enable local advertisers to easily integrate social media into their marketing efforts.”

The study revealed adoption of social media by SMBs is more prevalent among younger businesses. The percentage of SMBs by age of business currently using Twitter for promotion is as follows:

  --  16 percent of SMBs in business three years or less
  --  11 percent of SMBs in business four to six years
  --  6 percent of SMBs in business seven to 10 years

  --  2 percent of SMBs in business 11-plus years

The use of social media by SMBs will be examined at BIA/Kelsey’s upcoming conference, Interactive Local Media 2009 (ILM:09), Dec. 9-11 in Los Angeles, California. A session titled “Local/Social: Better Engagement Than Search?” featuring Tim Kendall, director of monetization, Facebook, and Kara Nortman, senior vice president of publishing, Citysearch, will explore the role of social media relative to local search advertising, and how social media can translate into effective leads for local businesses.

ILM:09 is BIA/Kelsey’s annual conference devoted to digital media with a local focus. The theme for this year’s event is “Monetizing the Local Opportunity,” and the agenda will cover a range of important topics, including local social media, local search and mobile search. Conference sponsors include 3L System Group, Acxiom, AgendiZe, Exalead,, Local Matters, Localeze, Marchex and MatchCraft. Association partners include International Classified Media Association (ICMA) and Yellow Pages Association (YPA). Media partners include AIM Group, and YP Talk. For more information, visit

About Local Commerce Monitor

Local Commerce Monitor is BIA/Kelsey’s annual tracking survey of small and medium-sized businesses, conducted with research partner ConStat since 1999. The survey measures where SMBs are spending their advertising and promotional budgets and how their media usage and spending habits are evolving. Local Commerce Monitor draws its sample of business respondents from a mix of nationally scoped MSAs, which include first- and second-tier markets. Local Commerce Monitor Wave XIII was conducted in August 2009 via an online survey of 1,092 SMBs, comprising a core sample of 302 SMBs, plus SMBs from three “super vertical” categories — home/trade services, professional services and financial services.

About BIA/Kelsey

BIA/Kelsey advises companies in the local media space through Consulting and Valuation Services, Research, Continuous Advisory Services and Conferences. Since 1983 BIA/Kelsey has been a resource to the media, mobile advertising, telecommunications, Yellow Pages and electronic directories markets, as well as to government agencies, law firms and investment companies looking to understand trends and revenue drivers. BIA/Kelsey’s annual conferences draw executives from across industries seeking expert guidance on how companies are finding innovative ways to grow. Additional information is available at and The company’s blogs are located at and, and it can be found on Twitter through

Source: BIA/Kelsey

CONTACT: Eileen Pacheco for BIA/Kelsey, +1-781-556-1026,, or MacKenzie Lovings of BIA Financial Network,

Web Site:

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All together now – Jennifer and Carl team with WatchGuard on case study

I like it when friends play nice. Such is the case with Jennifer and Carl Mazzanti teamed with our mutual friends at WatchGuard to produce a computer security case study. This cooperation really embodies the spirit of James Kernan’s speech at SMB Nation Fall 2009 on how to work with vendors. It reflects a certain maturity and change in the industry I’ve personally seen over the past few years where the vendor is an ally, not an enemy.  Read the details here!

BTW – the video shown HERE [] was produced in conjunction with Varvid and the relationship Carl and Aaron developed at SMB Nation Spring 2009.


Hoboken, NJ (PRWEB) October 20, 2009 — Computer security is on the minds of most businesses these days and it’s no different for schools and administrators. Andover Regional Schools needed a better security solution for its network and eMazzanti Technologies, Hoboken, New Jersey, provided the right answer. The solution included several WatchGuard product solutions–a story unique enough to garner both a written and video case study opportunity for the school under the direction of WatchGuard.

News Image

WatchGuard selected eMazzanti and Andover for this special case study treatment because of the great implementation of our technology that solved several critical network problems at the same time,” said Linda Schnell, senior field marketing manager, WatchGuard.

For Andover Regional Schools, there were four network priorities it wanted to address as it looked to improve its computer network according to Bill McNeir, director of technology. “We needed to protect students from bad web content, improve internet performance and setup policy-based routing which virtually doubled the internet capacity.”

The fourth area of concern for Andover was budgetary restrictions. eMazzanti Technologies had a powerful solution for that issue as well. “eMazzanti’s eCare service provided 24×7 managed support for a predictable, fixed-price. This approach worked perfectly with Andover’s three-year budgeting cycle,” said Jennifer Mazzanti, president, eMazzanti Technologies.

Andover Regional Schools were able to solve both its network and fiscal issues with a powerful WatchGuard security solution designed and implemented by eMazzanti Technologies.

About WatchGuard:
Since 1996, WatchGuard® Technologies, Inc. has been the advanced technology leader of network security solutions, providing mission-critical security to hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide. The WatchGuard family of wired and wireless unified threat management appliances and WatchGuard SSL VPN remote access solutions provide extensible network security, unparalleled network visibility, management and control. WatchGuard products are backed by WatchGuard LiveSecurity® Service, an innovative support, maintenance, and education program. WatchGuard is headquartered in Seattle and has offices serving North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America.

About eMazzanti Technologies:
eMazzanti Technologies works with businesses to provide strategies for growth through the use of intelligent technology tools. From business process analysis to network design, security planning to preventative maintenance, the firm’s services all aim to reduce costs, mitigate risk and drive revenue for its clients. eMazzanti also offers an extensive portfolio of network products from the leading technology manufacturers such as Microsoft with Windows 7 operating system and Watchguard Technologies. The best advocates for eMazzanti Technologies are its clients. The firm services businesses throughout the New York Metropolitan area and in three countries worldwide ranging from home office environments to multinational corporations with mission-critical needs. These organizations rely on eMazzanti as their technology management partner. As clients grow and needs change, eMazzanti’s flexible, scalable customer engagement model adapts to meet the aspirations of each business. eMazzanti forms long-term relationships with clients that value stability and reliability in their IT partners. An innovative and comprehensive approach to technology services has earned eMazzanti the trust of a rapidly growing client base and recognition by many of the industry’s foremost publications. For more information or to download a free copy of the complete case study, please visit


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Work hard/Play Hard – that’s the SMB Nation Way!

My good friend and neighbor is a M&A guy with a lot of self-confidence that I admire. He’s a “bring it on” kinda guy! So whereas I think the seven day work week should be full of rigorous and righteous effort, your down time should be equally entergetic. So today I have one of my first FLIP videos to share with you of my 16-mile ride on Bainbridge Island. It’s a fantastic fall Sunday with heaps of colors out there.

It feels great to be biking again. And a little secret between us – the power was out on the south end of Bainbridge Island, so what else was I gonna do. Bike on!

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Must run in the family: SBS Mobile vs Party Van

Like many of my readers, I am aging (hey – today’s 40’s is the new 30’s!).

So over morning coffee I sometimes look in the rear view mirror and reflect (literally) on the good old times. The first photo is exactly that. It is the original SBS Mobile we created on Saturday night at the FIRST SMB Nation in Indy (September 2003). Note the welded BBQ on top. The interior was stuffed with HP servers (rack mounted), software and PCs. It was all donated to GeekCorps. So imagine my complete surprise when a loyal SBSer, Javier Abrue O’Neill (Costa Rica-based and attendee at SMB Nation Fall 2008) sent the second photo to me. It is the PARTY VAN in NYC from my nephew Jimin Brelsford who is attending his first year of college at New York University. Must run in the family – this party van thing. Rock on my nephew!

SBS 2003 - SBS Mobile at SMB Nation Fall 2003 - the original!

SBS 2003 - SBS Mobile at SMB Nation Fall 2003 - the original!

The Party Van from my nephew Jimin Brelsford

The Party Van from my nephew Jimin Brelsford

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I am just a hack – the blog I should have written earlier this week

Alright – I am just shifting gears and getting back up to speed after the BIG FALL CONFERENCE last weekend in VEGAS! Here is a blog I shouda’ written on Monday 🙂

News Press Release
New Study Says IT Sector to Help Drive Global Economic Recovery

Research from 52 countries forecasts the creation of 5.8 million new IT jobs worldwide and 75,000 new businesses over the next four years.
REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 4, 2009 — Global IT research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) and Microsoft Corp. today released the results of global research, finding that the information technology (IT) industry will create 5.8 million new jobs and more than 75,000 new businesses over the next four years.

The expected growth rate for IT employment of 3 percent a year is more than three times the rate of growth of total employment and a strong indicator that investing in IT will contribute to economic recovery and growth.

“In this fundamental economic reset, innovative technologies will play a vital role in driving productivity gains and enabling the creation of new local businesses and highly skilled jobs that fuel economic recovery and support sustainable economic growth,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “Countries that foster innovation and invest in infrastructure, education and skills development for their citizens will have a major competitive advantage in the global marketplace.”

The IDC study, commissioned by Microsoft, investigates the contribution of IT to gross domestic product (GDP), job creation in the IT industry, employment in the software sector, formation of new companies, local IT spending, and tax revenues in 52 countries, representing 98 percent of total worldwide IT spending. The research found that Microsoft and its ecosystem of local partners, vendors and service providers are a major catalyst of local economic growth and opportunity, during both the current economic difficulties and recovery.

Summary of Key Findings About the IT Industry

IT spending is expected to grow at triple the rate of GDP growth in the 52 countries. Although forecasted growth of IT spending is muted since the advent of the global recession, it is pegged at 3.3 percent per year between now and the end of 2013.
The Microsoft ecosystem, defined as local companies that develop and/or sell products that run with or on Microsoft software, or that service and distribute Microsoft software, is a critical economic catalyst in every country where Microsoft operates. For every unit of local revenue that Microsoft will earn in 2009, other companies will earn an average of 8.70.
In 2009, the companies in the Microsoft ecosystem will generate more than $535 billion in revenues for themselves. These revenues will remain in local economies.
Global spending on IT will create 5.8 million new jobs between the end of 2009 and the end of 2013. The expected growth rate of 3 percent a year is more than three times as fast as the growth of total employment.
Software drives IT growth. Spending on software is growing faster than spending on IT overall — 4.8 percent a year between 2008 and 2013, compared with 3.3 percent for all IT spending. During 2009, total IT employment in the 52 countries dropped a fraction of a percentage point, yet software-related employment grew 4 percent.
The IT market will create more than 75,000 new businesses over the next four years. Most of the new companies will be small and locally owned organizations.

“Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen transformative power in how investments in IT innovations foster economic growth,” said Robert D. Atkinson, Ph.D., founder and president of the Washington, D.C.-based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. “Continued innovation and investment in information technology will help jump-start recovery from the current recession and will significantly contribute to the growth of employment and new businesses.”

Because of its extensive partner network, the Microsoft ecosystem creates economic opportunities for companies selling products that run with or on Microsoft software, or that service and distribute Microsoft software.

“Being part of the Microsoft ecosystem is creating opportunities not only for our company, but also for other companies and individuals that we partner with to provide our service,” said Dan Merritts, vice president of marketing for Eduify. “It’s ignited a ripple effect that extends value and growth to local communities around the world.”

Additional Findings About the Software Industry

The emerging countries on the list of 52 — all countries excluding the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Western Europe — will account for only 21 percent of IT spending in 2009 and 39 percent of IT-related employment. But, over the next four years, they will account for more than 50 percent of net new IT spending and 70 percent of new IT-related jobs.
IDC estimates that cloud services could add $800 billion in net new business revenues between the end of 2009 and the end of 2013.
Companies in the Microsoft ecosystem employ 6.1 million people. IT-using organizations employ another 8.8 million IT professionals who work with Microsoft software or the products and services based on it. Together, those 14.9 million people account for 42 percent of the people working in the IT industry or as IT professionals in the 52 countries.
IT spending provides revenues for more than 1.2 million companies selling or distributing hardware, software and services. Those companies, in turn, employ more than 13 million people. Another 22-plus million IT professionals work in IT-using organizations.
Software accounts for a modest slice of overall IT spending but has a disproportionately positive impact on local economies. Software drives activity in the services and distribution sectors, as well as in organizations using IT, so although worldwide spending on packaged software will be only 21 percent of total IT spending in 2009, 51 percent of employment in IT will be software-related.
The employees and companies in these 52 countries will pay nearly $1.2 trillion in taxes in 2009. In the next four years, there will be nearly $366 billion in net new tax revenues.

Full results of the study can be found at

About IDC Methodology

This study applies IDC’s Economic Impact Model, which assesses the IT industry’s impact on job creation, company formation, local IT spending and tax revenues in addition to assessing Microsoft’s partner ecosystem. The study’s spending figures accounted for hardware, software, services and data networking expenditures by consumers, businesses, governments and educational institutions within each country. Tax revenue figures were based on potential VAT or sales tax revenues from the sale of hardware, software or services, as well as business and personal income taxes and social taxes. IT employment included the number of people employed (full-time equivalent) in hardware, software, services or channel firms, and those individuals managing IT resources in an IT-using organization (e.g., programmers, help desk, IT managers). All data was cross-checked against published information and census data available from government sources and validated by local government officials. A report on IDC’s methodology is available at

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at


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