SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Affordable Dial-In Conferencing Solutions as Simple as One Click

Conference calls make doing business easier. Unfortunately, traditional conference call services can be cost-prohibitive and difficult to use for many SMBs. That’s why AppRiver recently rolled out dial-in conferencing as a part of its Office 365 service.

Customers using the service can host conference calls for audiences small or large on their computers, cell phones or landlines – often for about half the cost of other appriver septemberpremium services, and managed right from familiar tools like the Outlook desktop and Web clients. For AppRiver’s resellers, it’s a convenient way to incorporate another critical business function into their practices, saving their customers money and growing their topline revenue at the same time.

AppRiver offers several Office 365 and hosted Exchange plans designed to match the needs of businesses of all sizes. Now, customers can add unlimited dial-in conferencing to Skype for Business at a budget price, just for the users who need it. For most organizations, this price point could mean a dramatic cost savings compared to standalone services currently on the market.

Dial-in Conferencing adds valuable new capabilities to Skype for Business service plans, which already include secure instant messaging, screen, file, and application sharing capabilities for meeting organizers and attendees. For attendees who need or prefer a benchmark dial-in audio connection, the new PSTN conferencing option is the ideal solution.

AppRiver is a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP), and helped Microsoft develop the Indirect model that powers the growth of the CSP program today. As a result, AppRiver’s channel sales advisors, support team and billing staff have years of experience helping partners price, sell, bill and support Office 365 for their customers. This experience can be invaluable for resellers who are new to Office 365 or who can’t or choose not to participate in the CSP program on their own.

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Dan the Man: What Cloud Partner Program is Best?!

Long-time SMB Nation member Daniel Williams (Xpedeus) from Tampa, FL asked a very relevant question this past week. I wanted to crowd source the answer.

Dan asked: What MS “certs” or MS programs can our Xpedeus consultants gain for becoming “MS Cloud” consultants and transitioning Xpedeus to become an MS Cloud consultancy? In the old SBS days it was easy, just become Small Business Specialist. What is the equivalent in the cloud? It seems MS has so many programs for becoming a “cloud guy” I am not sure which applies best to Xpedeus customer base of 5-250 knowledge-worker companies.

danwilliams


Harry here. I’d offer the short answer is that Dan jump into the Microsoft Cloud Services Provider (CSP) program with both feet. There are a few resources for Dan to learn more. One is Microsoft itself. https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-solution-provider The other concerns third-party Office 365 ecosystem partners such as AppRiver, long-time supporter of SMB Nation. https://www.appriver.com/partners/resell-office-365

But most importantly, I want to hear from YOU the reader in answering Dan’s important question. Please leave a comment on this blog which I’ll approve and also use in a follow-up contribution next week. Thanks in advance.

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Start-Over: Rethinking Where You Work

Start-Over: Rethinking Where You Work

One year ago, SMB Nation reached the end of a five year commercial lease for office space. And it felt great. Still does. Why? Because in the mid-2000s, when SMB Nation grew out of the garage and dramatically increased its head count, the original office space we leased made sense from a prestige, ego and functional point of view. Much of our computing was still client-server based with Small Business Server 2003 (the gold standard in my opinion). Fast forward the move and two office moves later, letting our lease expire and having everyone work from home starting March 2015 felt like a natural act. We were “starting over” with respect to how we worked. And folks loved it: no commute, no make-up and more time to complete work that matters. We didn’t experience the loneliness highihglighted in the following New York Times article “Telecommuting Can Make the Office a Lonely Place, a Study Says” which start out: Ever since telecommuting became a viable option for a broad spectrum of workers, some companies have offered it as a tempting perk. Why not make workers happier by allowing them to spend more time with their families, avoid long commutes and exert more control over their schedules?

Read more here

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Super Monday – Roadshow in NYC Feb 29th and BEYOND!

This is the all of those starting up – attending our roadshow workshops is a great first step!

Until I sat down to write this update on our Office 365/ Windows 10 Roadshow, I hadn’t truly thought about us behaving similarly to a political campaign in the Spring primary season, but there are some parallels. We launched last Tuesday in our own state (favorite son) in Redmond. The capable audience enjoyed the expert content delivery from our own Grant Thompson was not only well-received but the launch feedback has allowed us to update the curriculum. That’s a common training function – improve the content for each city moving forward.

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Attendees enjoying PIZZA UP at our Redmond workshop - February 23rd! 

Another parallel is that we’re road warriors on a roadshow. We’re going from state-to-state over the next few months. The full schedule is here. There is still time to sign-up for New York as it’s Monday, February 28, 2016. So click over and sign-up for the following future dates:


• New York City, February 29th
• Atlanta, March 9th
• Chicago, March 11th
• Washington DC, April 12th
• Charlotte, April 14th
• Phoenix, May 10th 
• Los Angles, May 31st
• San Francisco, June 2nd

So we focus on the technical aspects of Office 365 and Windows 10 in our roadshow workshops. Perhaps the most popular speech was the Office 365 Security speech. Timely, spot on and ready for consumption. 
Join us – the event is complimentary. Discover more and sign up here: http://2016roadshow.smbnation.com/

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SMB Salary Survey for 2016 is OPEN!

 

Wonder how you measure up? Here is your chance to both provide community data and then discover the results in a future blog. Think of it as training data for a BIG DATA experiment in SMB. You can participate confidentially and contribute to the data set. The more participants we have, the greater the value of the data. Again, we’ll happily share the results with you.

Thank you in advance and participate in the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/salary2016

We appreciate the generous support of Atera (www.atera.com) in underwriting this community survey.

salary survey artowrk

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Ingram Micro announces expanded availability of MSFT Advisor to CSP service plan

Channel partners are empowered to take control of Office 365 subscriptions through the Microsoft Advisor to Microsoft Channel Solution Provider service plan, which Ingram Micro announced today is now available in 13 countries worldwide. 

The program allows channel partners to convert O365 Advisor subscriptions to the CSP program through Ingram Micro’s Cloud Marketplace, transferring control from the end-user to the channel partner. ingrammicro

“Ingram Micro remains fully aligned with Microsoft to drive channel sales for Microsoft Cloud Solutions,” said Nimesh Dave, executive vice president, global cloud, Ingram Micro. “As the first tier-2 partner to automate the conversion of Microsoft Office 365 Advisor subscriptions to CSP through a single portal, we are excited to deliver a service plan that accelerates the transition and the adoption of CSP.”

Channel partner control of O365 pricing, billing and support will lead to greater profits and retention for the partner, while providing simplicity and stability to the client, according to Ingram Micro.

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Rebit Announces Debut of Mobius Solution for MSPs and CSPs

Rebit Mobius Overview smallRebit today announced availability for the Rebit Mobius solution designed specifically for MSPs and CSPs. The Mobius solution combines sync, share, and backup capabilities into simple software. Mobius marks the Rebit’s first big step into the business solutions market.

I was recently able to speak with Paul Guerin, CEO, Rebit and Courtney Macchia, VP Marketing, Rebit to discuss the new Mobius solution, and they explained that Mobius can be deployed one of three ways: as an on-premise only solution, as a cloud only solution, or as a hybrid option. In addition, MSPs and CSPs can brand the Mobius solution with their own logo, and integrate it into their current ecommerce systems, to keep control over client relationships. Rebit is also planning a “dynamic branding” feature for Mobius 2.0, which will allow MSPs to brand the solution with their customers’ logos, but as of today’s release, branding can take between 1-2 days to complete. Guerin explained to me that Rebit has a long history of white label and OEM partnerships, and that the company strives to keep control in their customers’ hands.

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