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.

Harrybbb featured in New Book

It’s become fashionable for authors to crowdsource their books and I’m proud to have contributed to the newly released “Tips to Protect Your Business from Cybercrime” effort by Anita Campbell, the CEO of Small Business Trends.

First – you can download the eBook complimentary from this site andyou’ll find my dark-side contribution on page 31 where I speak about the lurking dangers of social engineering, which is both a security and technical topic. Catch my references to the central figure, Frank Abagnale, Jr. best known for his life story in the movie “Catch Me If You Can!” I saw Frank speak in the early 1990s in Seattle before he became famous and he’s not without controversy. Here is a former con artist profiting off his prior misdeeds. But it is a very important topic nonetheless.

Second – I consider this book a -Start Over- topic at SMB Nation. As we continue our 2016 editorial themes of either start-up or starting over, I see this book as your -cookbook- to reinvent yourself as a technology security sleuth. Its ben said a good consultant doesn’t know everything about an area, she just knows where to get the information. This book fills that void many of us have in security as we pivot to profitability as partners.

hb security tip book

Third – crowdsourced books such as this are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is a cheap trick for authors to outsource the heavy lifting and for contributors to get a low friction love tap. I have even seen such books where they print a unique cover for each contributor implying that each contributor wrote the entire book. This is really peeved Vlad Masek at Own Web Now in his Vladville blog where he really goes after self-published MSPs. However, crowdsourced books have an upside. In the case of Campbell’s effort herein, it provides diversity and richer content. More importantly, she has engaged many people I’ve never heard of so I feel like she has broken way beyond the “same old, same old” SMB partner crowd.

Download here.

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Microsoft Angst

Microsoft Angst

Some weeks it feels like it’s always something. With the end of the Microsoft fiscal year upon us, there are, at least for SMB Nation, renewal deadlines upon us. For example we have to renew our Office 365 E3 partner plan as part of the Action Pack membership level. Understood.


But what I didn’t understand was how my pivot from Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to the hosted version would trigger a one-month payment penalty. Let me explain.

During the life of SMB Nation, we’ve gone from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 1.2 to NetSuite to Salesforce and back to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online (v7.x) and now to Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises hosted. Why? In the first couple of conversions, life happened. But the most recent Microsoft Dynamics CRM pivot from online to hosted on-prem was driven by a few factors.

Hidden costs. There is a dirty little secret to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online: storage costs. After you exceed 5GB of storage (not hard with email tracking), you have to buy additional 1GB increments at $10/month (or $120 per year). Not only does it add up but it’s typically of CRM and ERP vendors (as you can ascertain, we know ‘em all above) cost creep. And it pisses me off. The pivot to on-prem instance gives me 25GB storage right from the start. Thank you!

Partner-2-Partner power. For whatever reason, I just wasn’t falling in love with “Her,” the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online edition. As a point of reference, if you missed the subtle joke, I’m trying to create an analogy to the popular 2013 movie “Her”  starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson and directed by Spike Jonze. So we hired one of our own, well-known Microsoft partner Grant Thompson (MG Technology Group). Essentially I’d rather give my money to a SMB Nation member and friend of the family then Redmond to host my CRM. I’m not necessarily saving money but I receive a hellva lot of value adds from having a real partner attached to my Microsoft Dynamics CRM instance. For example, Grant (who has a heart of gold) implicitly provides free wisdom as a natural trainer. He is working with Jenny at SMB Nation to create an event registration form that flows right into our CMR instance instead of us using a commercial event management program at $5 per registration and creating a split database.

Many readers will recognize Grant as he is our long-time expert trainer on the Office 365 roadshow. As an aside, there is a chance for YOU to talk to Grant about what you’d like to see in the next nine (9) workshop cities here.  

So why am I angry at Microsoft? 
For the first part of this tale, I’ll take ownership. We migrated around Memorial Day weekend in late May 2016 and ran both CRMs in parallel for a few weeks (just in case we had to rollback). Apparently, with the end of the Microsoft fiscal year and some renewal deadlines that impact SMB Nation, our Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online service “automatically renewed” on June 23, 2016. My bad as I wasn’t attentive to the fact we had auto-renew turned on. I discovered this on the June 25th and promptly terminated my service. I was greeted with a one-month service charge as a termination fee as seen in the pic (actually the pic shows the same condition for my termination of the Office 365 E1 SKU, but it’s the same point). Really? Seriously Microsoft? Shame on you! I felt I’d been oracled in my orifice by MSFT when this Article 50-like clause was invoked on my Brexit from Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

o365cancellation

When I’m back in the saddle early this week, I intend to look into this with Microsoft starting with some internal connections. I want my termination fee back!

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