Microsoft Rolls Out Smaller Biz Solutions to Partners - InformationWeek

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7/7/2008
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Microsoft Rolls Out Smaller Biz Solutions to Partners

Like its brethren also firmly established in the enterprise market, Microsoft has been putting more and more effort into developing "solutions" ostensibly designed for the time and resource constraints of small and midsize businesses.

Like its brethren also firmly established in the enterprise market, Microsoft has been putting more and more effort into developing "solutions" ostensibly designed for the time and resource constraints of small and midsize businesses.At the its Worldwide Partner Conference, kicking off today in Houston, Microsoft made several partner-centric announcements about Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Windows Essential Business Server 2008; both are now in RC1 and available for download at the Essential Server Solutions site.

Non-partners can hold their breath in anticipation until November (the 12th), the official launch date for both products. After dispensing with the partner news, Steven VanRoekel, director of the Windows Server Solution Group talked about how Microsoft views smaller companies and what

stevenvanroekel Steven VanRoekel

In keeping the with the partner conference announcement, VanRoekel emphasized the importance of partners to smaller businesses, noting that 85-90% of the software giant's midmarket customers rely on partners. He also pointed to the traditional bugaboos dogging smaller companies: limited resources, tight budgets, and dearth a deep IT expertise, contending that these chronic conditions result is slow adoption of new technologies that have the potential to address exactly those conditions.

Though cost is a key consideration for midsize businesses, he stressed the importance of time to making IT more productive, citing as example a visit some years ago to a customer, Watson Furniture, with a overwhelmed two-person IT staff. "Windows server 2003 was out and available, but they had old Windows NT server, Exchange 5.5, no firewall, and every client was hard coded," said VanRoekel. "What that meant, was that they spent all day rebooting servers, patching, and updating - he was trapped in a quagmire of reactiveness without time to think about how to move IT forward. We replaced his infrastructure with three servers and the change was incredible. They got back 70-80% of their time; no more patching desktops all day. That made them better IT professionals"

According to VanRoekel, the emphasis on shaving minutes out of every IT process continues. "EBS is about how we package best practices out of the box so they're easy and can be run on three servers as if you had Microsoft engineers looking over your shoulder. That gives the IT staff the confidence that they did it right, so they don't spend hours checking event logs and checking them again to make sure. Without those best practices, they'll won't have the confidence to know they did it right. In that sense, EBS is a best practice analyzer."

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