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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.

Skype for Business Book from Two O365 Nation Alums!

Skype for Business Book from Two O365 Nation Alums!

For those of you looking to start-over with Office 365, there is good news. Two independent Microsoft consultants from opposite ends of the planet came together to write the most comprehensive end user guide on Skype for Business.

Robert Crane and Greg Plum collaborated on the document, which morphed into over 200 pages of screen shots and step-by-step commentary, aimed at the segment of the market who needed it the most… the end user! They have announced the release of Getting Started with Skype for Business Online.

Robert is the principal of CIAOPS, located in Australia. He is a recognized author, speaker, and Office 365 expert. Greg is the principal of PlumUC, a unified communications practice in Newark, DE, with a focus on collaboration services and voice options for Skype for Business.

Robert and Greg first met in 2014 at Harry’s first O365 Nation Conference at the Microsoft campus in Redmond. Fast-forward 12 months and add the rebranding of Lync to Skype for Business, creating the impetus for this project.

‘We are excited to offer a complete recipe for success for Skype for Business, one of the industry’s hottest communication services,” explains Greg Plum. “Robert is a tenured author, who provided the guidance needed for my freshman writing endeavor.”

Greg and Robert have already enjoyed some early success with book sales. In addition to direct sales, Velis4, a Pennsylvania-based UC company providing PSTN voice-enablement of Office 365 and Skype for Business, gives a hardcopy of Getting Started for Skype for Business Online to every new Skype for Business customer.

Get your own copy of Getting Started with Skype for Business:


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Microsoft Office 365 most-used Web business app, report says

Okta, a San Francisco company that helps businesses manage employee logins to devices connected to the Internet, comes out with its rankings for most used Web-based business apps.

By Matt Day

Seattle Times technology reporter

Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity suite remains the most used Web-based business application, according to a report from Okta, a San Francisco startup.Office365

Okta builds software that allows companies to manage employees’ logins to multiple Internet-accessed services. That give Okta a set of data representing how companies — or at least those that have embraced cloud-computing services — use software.

Microsoft’s Office 365 became the most-used app among Okta customers in the middle of last year, and held onto that title at the end of 2015. was second, followed by cloud-storage company Box and Google Apps. Amazon Web Services rounded out the top five, rising from eighth place a year ago. Concur, the Bellevue expense-reporting company sold in 2014 to German software giant SAP, was sixth.

The report comes a day before the kickoff of Microsoft’s annual Build developer show in San Francisco. The company is expected to tout the value of its cloud-computing network, as well as Office and Windows, as building blocks for developers.

Microsoft is among the companies trying to realign its existing software business to the cloud, where it has run into fierce competition from Web natives like Salesforce and Google.

Okta’s report highlighted the state of competition in the market for email and productivity apps.

Office held a near monopoly in the realm of out-of-the-box workplace-productivity software, but Google and others have challenged it in Web-based tools.

Microsoft, according to Okta’s data, maintains a strong grip on companies in the financial, biotech, construction, health-care, and information-technology sectors.

Google’s strongest showings are among Internet companies, marketing and advertising, education and software.


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AppRiver Reaches 100,000 Active Users

AppRiver, LLC, announced today the number of active Office 365 users surpassed 100,000, with April 2015 as the best month year-to-date for license activations since the launch of the service in 2011.Appriver

"Office 365 is a great platform," says Scott Paul, strategic accounts executive, AppRiver. "AppRiver makes it a great service as well. That's because we live in an age of offshore call centers, indifferent customer service and increasingly complicated solutions. AppRiver gives its customers choice, peace of mind and adds a personal touch to technology – qualities that have become rare in the Digital Age."

According to AppRiver, its 93-percent customer retention rate and steady increase in partners engaged to sell O365 is due to above-and-beyond dedication and flexibility as it serves its customers.

AppRiver also offers the ability to wrap additional security services around O365, including SecureTide Spam and Virus Protection, CipherPost Pro Email Encryption and SecureSurf Web Protection.

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Parallels Releases SmartStart for Microsoft Office 365

Parallels logoParallels this week announced that it is the first company to support the new Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider Program, which was recently announced at WPC. In the wake of this new program, Parallels has developed SmartStart for Office 365, a program that helps Microsoft-approved resellers quickly get traction.

So what is it? Parallels SmartStart for Office 365 is a fixed-rate, low-cost implementation of the company’s Parallels Automation service with the addition of user training and certification, as well as the ability for partners to create a custom “storefront” or add any of the 500 current services available on the Parallels Automation platform. Any size of partner, from enterprise to SMB, is able to quickly deploy the full range of Microsoft cloud solutions. To date, Parallels partners have completed over 1.5 million Office 365 and Microsoft Exchange business class seats, with that number expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.

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To Fight or Not To Fight Office 365: That Is Not the Question

As the airplane from Seattle landed at the Tokyo Airport, Alan couldn’t help but smile at the thought of how much fun he would have with his son’s family in Matsumoto, a town three hours west of Tokyo. He had not seen his grandchildren for three years, and it was all Alan could do to contain his excitement when he received a text message—complete with a photo of his three beautiful grandkids—from his son saying they were eagerly waiting for him at the baggage claim area. When the flight attendant finally announced that the doors were open, Alan had to resist the urge to squeeze past the elderly gentleman ahead of him who was taking too long to dislodge his carry-on bag from the overhead compartment.

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Toronto-Based MSP, MBC, Becomes a Microsoft Reseller

MBCLogoToday, Toronto, ON-based MBC Managed IT Services, announced that they have become a VAR for the next generation of Microsoft’s Office 365 solution. Under this new agreement with Microsoft, MBC will work to both deploy and provide support for their existing managed services customers.

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CloudSpeak Part 2: How to Sell and Position Cloud Services

By Grant Thompson, Managing Partner/Solutions Architect MG Technology Group

Part Two of a Four-Part Series offering guidance, hope and solutions for MSPs and VARs who are struggling to make money in the cloud.

In the first part of this series (go to: to download the Q1 2013 issue), I covered core cloud services and discussed some of the more profitable services. In this issue I will be covering successful positioning of services.  

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