SMB Nation Blog

Small business IT and technology news for the SMB channel VAR, MSP, and IT professional.

Recent blog posts

Weekly Webinar Series: December 3, 2015 10:00am pdt

One word sums up the communications landscape – challenging. Choosing the right business communications solutions for your business is no longer simply a case of choosing which type of phone system and brand you want.  The mind-boggling array of options today means that the importance of making the correct choice has never been more critical. 

Communication behaviour is also changing. Today’s users are moving from formal meetings, booking resources and geographic limitations towards real-time collaboration, using diverse communication methods and devices, and regardless of location.

This transformation can be seen in seven key trends:

Technology is now an enabler

The rise of communications protocols such as SIP and options such as cloud is opening up a new world of applications and solutions. Today’s IP phone systems are gateways to this new world.

SMB IT staff are increasingly cloud and applications managers

The role of ICT staff is evolving to become more pro-active and strategic with a reduced emphasis on support and break/fix.

Spending growth for a mobile world

IT and telecoms budgets are increasingly focussed around the smartphone, applications and on delivering a more flexible work experience.

Re-imagining work

A new approach is required to an increasingly mobile world of work from teleworking to businesses without offices. 

Premium on protection

Many business are re-focussing on protection in areas from network security and remote working to applications and business continuity plans.

Incremental, integrated solutions approach

Without the resources to buy and install everything at once many SMBs are adopting an incremental purchasing strategy and a phased approach to implementing applications and communications.

Reshaping the customer experience

The way customers buy products and services is transitioning towards online. All businesses need to consider how this new form of customer engagement will impact on the technology they need.   

To explore these issues further the teams at SMB Nation and global telecommunications company Mitel have prepared an informative webinar to:

  • Explore important trends in business communications
  • Cover the pros and cons of cloud and traditional communications
  • Explain some of the business communications options available today
  • Outline the communications features you should consider
  • Demystify the terms used by telecoms vendors

349 X 115 MOD REG RND2

SMB’s First Unicorn

Posted by on in Harry's Corner

Story by Harry Brelsford, CEO, SMB Nation

To my surprise, this week Datto closed a Series B round that put its total valuation over $1B making it the first native unicorn from our SMB community. In bestowing that title, I’m eliminating long-time enterprise firms that entered that SMB space such as Symantec, etc. I’ve also eliminated publically traded companies (which really aren’t “one of us”) and community frienemies who wouldn’t report their financials even if I kissed the ring. 


Real Business

First of all, founder and CEO Austin McChord, has built a real business. Too many ISVs in the SMB community have either been acquired in downrounds or gone out of business because they were (a) in a race to the bottom or (b) lifestyle businesses. To McChord’s credit, he is winning in a competition where I’d offer only one of 12 start-ups truly makes it. As a point of reference, you should watch the CNBC video where McChord publically speaks of turning down a $100M buyout offer ( To be honest, if I had known of McChords future successes to come, I would have kissed his ass more when we spoke occasionally at the start of the recession. Lesson learned.


By the numbers, Datto has raised $100M in two funding rounds:
• Nov. 2015 $75M/Series B (Technology Crossover Ventures)
• Sept. 2013 $25M/Series A (General Catalyst Partners)
A 10:1 multiplier has been placed on this activity valuing the company at $1B. There is a must read in the November 18th Wall Street Journal about the “Billion Dollar Startup Club” that has listed Datto in light of the Series B funding (

datto2 1024

Fast Forward the Movie

Enough regret talk. Looking forward, this unicorn has probably solved one problem and created two. Problem solved is having a beyond healthy balance sheet. Problems created include putting that money to work. With that kind of funding, you have to generate significant returns. And I predict it won’t be in the MSP segment that is peaking with a “one-click” cloud world rolling over the horizon devastating MSPs, Distis and other intermediaries. It’s going to be hard to invest backwards but I trust McChord will seek out other growth segments such as IoT or Big Data to put that money to work. Depositing $100M in a credit union saving account does not a rich man (or happy VCs) make.

Second concern is that Datto will be a target and McChord’s life will be more complicated than he imagined. Frivolous lawsuits ahead like the way BitTitan unsuccessfully sued SkyKick (after it closed $18M in funding) for patent infringement. If you can’t beat them on the playing field…

I’ll be tracking McChord’s journey moving forward including seeking to understand what his exit strategy is. When you raise that kind of  money, you have to not only return it to the investors but with a significant return. Why? Because you can’t take it with you!

Lenovo ‘moving forward' from $714m loss

Posted by on in News

Industry developments will help Lenovo demand, channel chief tells Channelnomics

By Scharon Harding

Lenovo is over Q2's $714 million net loss on sales reported last week and is addressing potential complexity for its channel, Sammy Kinlaw, North American channel chief at Lenovo, has told Channelnomics.

In the quarter ending 30 September, the vendor's sales increased 16 percent annually to $12.2 billion, but saw a $714 million net loss. Kinlaw attributed this to Lenovo managing two major acquisitions in a year, Motorola and IBM's System x server group.  Moving Forward

"Within that there's duplication, and there are efficiencies that have to be created and there is cost associated with restructuring," he told Channelnomics. "We recognized those costs in our last quarter's earnings, and at this point we're moving forward."

He added that Lenovo's history of turning a profit for "multiple years" should not be forgotten, noting the vendor grew faster than the market for a number of consecutive quarters, including Q2, and has been number one in PC for two-and-a-half years.

"Those things combined would tell you that we're a smart company, we had a restructure, we're moving forward and we anticipate growth and profitability in the future," Kinlaw said to channel partners who may be concerned.

Furthermore, Kinlaw foresees opportunity in hardware sales, despite the PC Group - which includes Windows tablets - dropping 17 percent year over year in Q2. The channel chief claimed industry happenings may drive demand, and pointed to Intel Skylake and Microsoft Windows 10, especially among the mid-market and SMBs, as examples of offerings that can help grow interest in Lenovo.

On the server side, Lenovo stands to benefit from the movement towards ISVs, according to Kinlaw.


Tue, Nov 24, 2015 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PST

Presented by:  Harry Brelsford CEO of SMB Nation and Bob Nitrio CEO of Ranvest Associates

Mobile apps have become a dominant factor in today’s computing environment but there are three huge barriers to entry in this field.


Learn how you can get in the mobile app business, become a thought leader with your clients and do so with absolutely no barriers to entry. Discover how you can provide mobile apps profitably from your very first sale. See how an innovative approach to mobile app delivery can move you into a blue ocean of profitability through recurring sales or on an MSP basis.

349 X 115 MOD REG RND2

NetApp: 'Channel' days are gone

Posted by on in News

NetApp UK boss says the word 'channel' belongs in the past

By Hannah Breeze

The word 'channel' is no longer relevant, according to NetApp's UK boss Elliot Howard, who said the phrase does not reflect the changing role of the way the vendor works with partners. 

Speaking to Channelnomics sister title CRN UK at NetApp's Insight event in Berlin this week, Howard said NetApp works with an increasingly diverse set of partners, meaning the word "channel" no longer fits the bill.  Say Goodby

"I don't even like the word 'channel' anymore because I think it's a phrase of the past," he said. "Our partners have always been key to our strategy. [But] I think the [word] channel, for me, conjures up a picture of a pipeline - you've got [a vendor] on the one end and the customer on the other and the channel is something you move a product through. I think those days are gone.

"The customer is left, right and center to everything we do and our partners wrap themselves around the customer. Our job is to be able to reference and clearly articulate our value through our distributors and partners."

He said that NetApp is increasingly looking to work with other partners that are not traditional resellers, which is another reason 'channel' is not the right word any more.

"I'm also starting to think of it in terms of relationships now - it is not just about our traditional [reseller] partners, it might be a software vendor that is transitioning to an as-a-service model," he said "Rob Salmon [NetApp president] pointed out that 28 percent of IT budgets are going to be managed by line of business by line of business. We need to build relationships with people we know we can have a relevant conversation with [in order to sell] into the line of business."

Bill Lispin, NetApp's VP for worldwide channel sales, agreed that the profile of its partners is changing.

Read More

Tagged in: Channel NetApp Partners

Datto Raises $75 Million in Series B Funding

Posted by on in News

Series B funding round brings Datto's total financing to over $100 million.

Dan Kobialka

Datto has secured $75 million in a Series B funding round led by Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), bringing its total financing to over $100 million.  Austin McChord

The Norwalk, Connecticut-based backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution provider said it will use the Series B funding to "continue to invest in its global expansion and to accelerate product innovation to support its thousands of partners worldwide."

"Datto isn't raising capital to fund operations, but instead, to enter new markets and build new products and technology," said Datto CEO Austin McChord in a prepared statement.

So what should managed service providers (MSPs) expect from Datto moving forward?

McChord noted that Datto will "be pushing ahead to build new technology and improve the experience for [its] MSPs and end users around the world."

Datto adds to its board of directors

Datto has added three members to its board of directors, including:

  •     Civitas Solutions Board Director Patrick Gray
  •     Xerox (XRX) CEO Ursula Burns
  •     TCV General Partner Ted Coons

Datto currently manages more than 160 petabytes of data and more than 1 million backups a week for its customers and continues to grow.

Read More

In Windows 10, when an app is trying to get your attention, a rectangle message slides into view at the lower right of the screen. These are sometimes called toast notifications and they generally disappear automatically after a few seconds. If you need to get work done on your PC, it can be distracting when a pop-up alert appears, informing you of newly arrived emails, Facebook messages, upcoming appointments and birthdays, and more. Do not disturb

Quiet hours is a feature in Windows 10 that disables showing all app notifications. Any notifications you get while quiet hours is turned on will still appear in the Action Center to review later. In this article, we’ll show you how to configure do not disturb mode in Windows 10.

Important Note for Windows 10

When the Quiet Hours feature first debuted in Windows 8, you could configure it to turn on and off automatically at specific times. For example – you could set your quiet hours to be from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. so you wouldn’t be disturbed by notifications during work or sleep. At the time of this writing, the Quiet Hours options have been reduced to On and Off. We’re hopeful that the timing aspect of this feature will be restored in later releases of Windows 10.

Turn On or Off Quiet Hours from the Action Center

Right click or press and hold on the “Action Center icon” on the taskbar notification area. An option menu will appear with an on/off control for Quiet Hours.

Turn on Quite hours





Alternatively, click the “Action Center” and turn on/off the “Quiet Hours” title. (If you don’t see it, click “Expand” at the right edge.) When this feature is turned on, your computer doesn’t show alert bubbles, wake up your screen when call comes in, or make any noises that might disturb you.

Quite Hours















Silence the Notification Alerts

There are times when you might prefer not to be interrupted or distracted by the appearance (banners) and sound of notification bubbles popping up. May be you’re about to give presentation and don’t want pop-up alerts showing up. To disable notification bubbles that appear on Lock screen:

Open “Settings > System > Notifications and actions” and turn off “Show notifications on the lock screen”. Also consider turning off “Show alarms, reminders and incoming VOIP calls on the lock screen”. When you turn off these settings those messages will no longer appear when the Lock screen is up.

Read More

Business owners have sacrificed love, family and fun for their dream business ideas

ATLANTA (November 19, 2015) – The world’s small and medium business owners have contributed $8.3 trillion to the global economy by working beyond the standard industry hours for their businesses, according to a new global survey by Sage. U.S. small and medium businesses have contributed $1.9 trillion of that $8.3 trillion.

But these contributions come at a price. Nearly half (46 percent) of all global business owners work over 40 hours a week. German entrepreneurs are working particularly hard, with 57 percent working more than 40 hours every week. U.S. entrepreneurs are working more than the average, with 47 percent working 40+ hours per week. Australian business owners are achieving a better work-life balance, with 31 percent saying they are working more than 40 hours a week.

This survey by Sage, the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, highlights the true sacrifices made by entrepreneurs around the world.
Tweet This: #SmallBiz owners have contributed $8.3T to global economy by working overtime, says new Sage survey @SageNAmerica

Over a third (36 percent) of those surveyed say they have sacrificed family time for their businesses. That figure was particularly high in South Africa, where 44 percent of business owners have had to make the difficult decision to choose work over family.

Globally, 44 percent of business owners say that their dedication to their job has affected their relationships. Equally, 44 percent of U.S. business owners say their relationships have been affected by their dedication to their companies.

Perhaps as a result of their long work weeks, over half (52 percent) of German small business owners have canceled a date because of work. This is particularly high compared with the global average of 27 percent and U.S. average of 30 percent.

The survey highlights the sacrifices made by small and medium business owners to power the global economy. Over half of business owners globally (66 percent) and in the U.S. (68 percent) say the extra hours are worth it.

More than a third globally (41 percent) and in the U.S. (34 percent) are driven by the love of what they do, while 38 percent globally and 44 percent in the U.S. say they are motivated by the sense of achievement. Particularly motivated are entrepreneurs in South Africa, where 51 percent say they are motivated by the love of their business, with 59 percent motivated by the sense of achievement.

Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage comments: “We know it takes hard work and sacrifice to turn a dream business idea into a way of life. This survey highlights the extent of that commitment. It is the entrepreneurial spirit that makes the difference all over the world and the contribution ofthese businesses that powers theglobal economy. We should do all we can to support these heroes and recognize all those hours of hard work they are putting in after the rest of the world has gone home.”

Connie Certusi, executive vice president at Sage North America, adds: “Like us, Sage customers are driven by a love of what they do and the sense of achievement they get from seeing their businesses succeed. We cherish our responsibility to businesses and the role we play in putting control back in the hands of the world’s entrepreneurs. As a small and medium business champion and provider of innovative technology, we help businesses forget about the trivial and focus on the meaningful.”

This research has been launched as part of a broader campaign by Sage to recognize and celebrate the contribution small business owners make to the global economy. As part of this campaign, Sage is calling for small business owners to share why they do what they do through a short video submission. For further details, please visit: Stephen Kelly’s blog

Sage will also be running a series of online advice sessions, from November 30-December 4. Each will involve a number of Sage spokespeople, including CEO Stephen Kelly, and will address the key challenges of running a small business — as identified by the research. To find out more about these sessions, please visit: Stephen Kelly’s blog

Research methodology

The survey was conducted among 2,621 business decision makers in companies with under 100 employees in 11 countries. The interviews were conducted online by Redshift Research in November 2015 using an email invitation and an online survey.

Connect with Sage
•          Sage City
•          LinkedIn
•          Twitter (@SageNAmerica)
•          YouTube
•          Facebook
•          Google+
•          Instagram

About Sage

Sage energizes the success of businesses and their communities around the world through the use of smart technology and the imagination of our people. Sage has reimagined business and brings energy, experience and technology to inspire our customers to fulfil their dreams. We work with a thriving communityof entrepreneurs, business owners, tradespeople, accountants, partners and developers who drive the global economy. Sage is a FTSE 100 company with 14,000 employees in 24 countries. For more information,

©2015 Sage Software, Inc. All rights reserved. Sage, the Sage logos, and the Sage product and service names mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Sage Software, Inc. or its affiliated entities. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

SMB Nation Weekly Webinar Series: December 3rd, 2015 10:00am pst to 11:00 am pst

Speed, efficiency and productivity are vital characteristics found in some of the most successful growing businesses. And when it comes to choosing business communications to help your business grow, it goes beyond just the phone. The range of options available today means that it’s important to be informed and educated about technologies and solutions that make you work smarter, faster and better.  

In this webinar you will gain valuable insights such as:

• The reasons why 92% of SMBs are now using at least one cloud solution 
• The pros and cons of cloud and traditional communications
• Why 60% of SMBs say that mobile solutions are critical to improving customer service and availability 
• How 86% of SMBs are using mobile apps to maximize flexibility
• Navigate the options available today and the communications features you should consider 

Let us help navigate the myriad of choices available to you and map a strategy that enables your business to grow more rapidly and efficiently than ever before. 

349 X 115 MOD REG RND2


There's a lot to see and a lot to dig up in this update.

By Andy Patrizio

Windows 10 has seen a serious amount of patching, but this newly released November Update is more than a patch, it's a significant upgrade almost on par with a Service Pack. That's rather unusual, as Microsoft tends to wait several months before issuing hefty updates.  Windows

Up to now, Microsoft has been doing bug fixes. This update, build 10586, also brings new changes to the UI, adds some enterprise features, and updates Cortana and the Edge browser. So companies that still wait for Service Pack 1, here it is, even if it isn't labeled as such.

So let's break down Threshold 2, or the November Update, or Service Pack 1, whatever you want to call it. Microsoft posted a list of new features for your perusal, or you can just read about it here.

Big Changes

The Start menu has been given an overhaul with four columns instead of three, and the ability to resize the tiles. Also, the Start menu's capacity for items – apps, documents, whatever – has been increased from 512 to 2,048.

On the downside, the Start menu now has ads, in the form of "Suggested apps." Suggested apps are applications that Windows will occasionally, but not always, recommend to you. However, this can be turned off in Settings -> Personalization -> Start and switching "Occasionally show suggestions in Start" to Off.

Read More

The one-car model

Posted by on in News

Smog Blog

Microsoft Looks to Transform Security into a Service

Posted by on in News
Mike Vizard |   IT Unmasked   |   Posted 18 Nov, 2015

Looking to address what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella describes as the most pressing issue of our time, Microsoft this week launched a flurry of security offerings intended to turn security into a set of continuously delivered services.  Microsoft

Speaking at a Microsoft Government Cloud Forum, Nadella says that in much the same way that Microsoft now manages Windows 10 as a service, everything from behavioral analytics of attacks to remediation will soon become a set of common services spanning the desktop, server and Microsoft cloud offerings.

To that end, Microsoft announced the formation of a Microsoft Enterprise Cybersecurity Group made up of security professionals that will work with a new Cyber Defense Operations Center that Microsoft is setting up to detect threats in real time using what Nadella describes as an intelligent fabric that Microsoft will continue to expand and invest in over time.

In addition, Microsoft is extending the capabilities of its Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) support for Windows, Apple iOS and Google Android applications and devices without requiring organizations to enroll those devices and applications, while at the same time giving organizations more control over access to their data stored in Office 365 and Equivio Analytics for eDiscovery.

Read More

Thu, Nov 19, 2015 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PST

Presented by: & Harry Brelsford CEO of SMB Nation and Grant Thompson Founding Partner MG Technology Group

Join us for Part III of our three-part webinar series focused on Windows 10.

In this installment, we direct our expertise to discussing Office 365 integrations with Windows 10 plus a host of special topics that have accumulated over the first two webinars.  Windows 10

Topics include:

  • Windows 10 with Office 365 is the Azure AD Join
  • Any special reason why you are still using Office 2013 instead of Ofiice 2016? 
  • What’s the current state of OneDrive storage with Windows 10 and Office 365? 
  • Can you have both a personal and business OneDrive? 
  • What is the difference Windows Home and Windows Business SKUs? 
  • Windows Media Center was removed form Windows 10. Does Microsoft plan to make it available in any way or is there a workaround to regain that functionality? 
  • Is there a Windows 10 Certification exam available yet?
  • What about the Microsoft "snooping" in Windows 10 and other security concerns?
  • Through Virtualization - can I control two simultaneous outgoing audio streams (two disparate audio jacks/cards) 
  • And MUCH MORE…

Also remember since your customers are attending, you can register this event with Microsoft Community Connections and receive giveaway software and materials

349 X 115 MOD REG RND2

Wiser Minds in IoT (Part II of II)

Posted by on in Harry's Corner

Story by Harry Brelsford, CEO. SMB Nation - 

Last week I painted the IoT picture and enjoyed fantastic feedback. This week I share insights from wiser minds about IoT that I met at the recent AllSeen ( conference in Seattle.

I walked away from the annual gathering impressed with the momentum of IoT and wanted to learn more. Ergo my conversation with these two gentlemen below.

Greg Whelan is the principal of the Greywale Insights ( consultancy. What immediately struck me was how he wanted to pivot the conversation. It was like having an intellectual conversation with Jeff Middleton ( back in the old Small Business Server days when he’d proclaim “let’s turn that argument on its head.” Whelan proposed we refine service providers as “outcome providers.” That’s how he sees the role of the MSP/computer guy in an IoT world. “Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) want OUTCOMES from a provider. IoT is a whole bucket of tools and services for the outcome provider to “provide” to SMBs.

“The outcome provider will have a role in helping IoT standardization. Currently it’s a DIY market without a set of standards. For example, you can’t utter “Good Night” today and have everything in the smart house respond such as lights, heat, and security.” Whelan shared. “The main point with today’s status is silos. The DIY can buy bits and pieces at Home Depot, Best Buy et al.”harrybiot edited

Whelan’s forward looking statements continued with thoughts concerning standardization. It’ll take web companies who can scale and the outcome provider will deliver agnostic services, not just a Google House or an Apple House.

Which leads to my second conversation about scaling. I spoke with Eric Bozich (Vice President – Product and Marketing CenturyLink). CenturyLink is a sponsor of AllSeen. Bozich’s interest is to provide elements of the IoT value chain that go beyond telecom. “One thing we’re asking ourselves is how our customers are going to consume IoT. IoT will be about solving business problems and consuming services. Bozich stated. “CenturyLink will add value by proactively participating in the development of IoT solutions.”

You heard it here first.

BTW – in my resources below, you can watch a video of Whelan and Bozic. ;0)

I’ll end my two-part series with this thought. If only Radio Shack could have held on! It was IoT before there was IoT. Readers will recall the demise of Radio Shack ( It could have been the IoT Store!

AllSeen Resources

Service Provider Panel Video, featuring Greg & Eric
AllSeen Alliance Events List
AllSeen Alliance Membership Tiers & Companies Participating
Full list of keynote presentations, slides and photos from the AllSeen Summit 2015

Old Lyme, Conn., November 9, 2015 – Sennheiser, a leading provider of premium headsets and speakerphone solutions, announces the launch of its new wired deployment headset Culture Plus. The new headset series is designed to facilitate office workers’ adoption of Unified Communications (UC) solutions and help activate their full potential.

Culture Plus headset  Seinhauser

Transitioning to UC environments means changing habits and communication cultures – within the organization as well as for the individual employee. As a direct communication interface between people, headsets play a significant role when implementing UC and positive communication experiences are crucial for higher adoption rates and hence a positive Return on Investment (ROI).

Sennheiser’s new Culture Plus wired series has been specifically designed for UC environments and swift user acceptance. The new, comfortable headset combines Sennheiser’s outstanding sound quality, 'instant comfort' features and an attractive design. Certified for Skype for Business and compatible with all major UC and softphone brands, the Culture Plus series is ideally suited for enterprises and offices that are adopting a new UC work-culture.

Culture Plus features Sennheiser’s sound quality, benefiting caller and listener alike. Sennheiser Voice Clarity, which is based on wideband sound, provides a warm, more natural listening experience while the noise-cancelling microphone ensures optimum speech intelligibility by filtering out ambient noise, delivering an optimal communication experience even in the noisiest environments. In addition, sound enhancement profiles automatically adjust audio settings to optimize either the voice quality of calls or the user’s multimedia experience. Culture Plus also features Sennheiser’s advanced ActiveGard™ technology developed to safeguard users from acoustic shock and sudden sound bursts.

The new headsets’ sleek look and quality design help ensure rapid user adoption. The stylish, contemporary appearance has been crafted with the user in mind, ensuring a good look whether used at the office desk or during video calls. The flexible, lightweight headband features leatherette padding that adjusts for a personalized fit, while large, acoustic foam ear pads with soft, removable leatherette covers ensure flexibility and wearing comfort throughout the day. The bendable boom arm allows the microphone to be placed in perfect position to ensure optimal microphone performance.

A functional in-line control unit ensures calls can be managed intuitively and seamlessly with the touch of a finger. In addition, the unit controls the switchable Noise at Work limiter compliant with EU’s Noise at Work Directive¤¤. When not in use, the headset can be stored and transported in a practical carry pouch.

“Headsets are an important consideration in any UC deployment”, says Lars Riis Rasmussen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, EMEA, at Sennheiser Communications. "Culture Plus is an ideal solution for organizations that want their office workers to rapidly adopt headsets in a UC environment. It combines Sennheiser sound quality and instant wearing comfort in a communications experience that will make it easier to enjoy the benefits and activate the full potential of UC solutions.”

The addition of the Culture Plus wired series complements Sennheiser CC&O’s broad product portfolio of headset and speakerphone solutions for contact centers, office and UC environments, which capitalizes on Sennheiser’s 70 years of sound leadership, research and development.

About Sennheiser
Audio specialist Sennheiser is one of the world's leading manufacturers of headphones, microphones and wireless transmission systems. Based in Wedemark near Hanover, Germany, Sennheiser operates its own production facilities in Germany, Ireland and the USA and is active in more than 50 countries. With 18 sales subsidiaries and long-established trading partners, the company supplies innovative products and cutting-edge audio solutions that are optimally tailored to its customers' needs. Sennheiser is a family owned company that was founded in 1945 and which today has 2,700 employees around the world that share a passion for audio technology. Since 2013, Sennheiser has been managed by Daniel Sennheiser and Dr. Andreas Sennheiser, the third generation of the family to run the company. As part of the Sennheiser Group, the joint venture Sennheiser Communications A/S specializes in wireless and wired headsets and speakerphones for contact centers, offices and Unified Communications environments as well as headsets for gaming and mobile devices. In 2014, the Sennheiser Group had sales totalling €635 million.

For more information on our professional headset solutions, please visit

by Mark Cox • November 11, 2015

SAP announces a new infrastructure-as-a-service option for Business One Cloud which has been available in Canada since last Thursday, and in the U.S. for several weeks before that.

NEW YORK CITY – On Tuesday SAP entered the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) business around its SAP Business One Cloud solution. It provides SAP partners with more choices for deployment. Run in data centres operated by SAP, this new services offering will come with a range of complementary services like backup and restore, disaster recovery and platform maintenance. It is available now in North America, with expansion to Europe and Asia scheduled around mid-year 2016.   Luis Murguia

“Three years ago, we started a journey to make Business One a player in the cloud,” said Luis Murguia, senior vice president and general manager, SAP Business One. “Our strategy was very simple – give the Business One customer a great customer experience in a 100 per cent partner-centric model, with subscription licensing available. Then two years ago, we introduced our multi-tenanted SAP Business One Cloud Control Centre that let partners host it, and have up to 25 customers running on the same copy of Business One.”

Murguia said that this July, SAP expanded the offering again with the introduction of browser access, allowing Business One to be run on a browser.

“Still, what was missing was infrastructure,” Murguia said. “Partners typically used AWS to host. The problem is that the ones which were small businesses can’t get good pricing from AWS. So we decided to get into the infrastructure-as-a-service business, and will offer the hosting ourselves to partners, so they can offer a full cloud experience for less.”

The offering was actually made available in the U.S., several weeks ago. In Canada, it has been available only since last Thursday

Read More

Presented by: Harry Brelsford CEO of SMB Nation & Grant Thompson Founding Partner of MG Technology Group

Want to learn more about Windows 10? Wondering where to find the information? Sign up here! 

Join us next Thursday for an educational webinar on Deploying Windows 10. - windows 10 logo

This webinar will take you through Windows10 deployment from an outside-looking-in independent expert viewpoint. Needless to say, there are new and updated ways to deploy Windows 10. In this session, we review new recommendations for upgrading existing devices using a simple in-place upgrade process, provisioning tools for transforming new devices into ones ready for enterprise use, as well as updates to traditional deployment tools and techniques (ADK and beyond). We also talk about application compatibility, hardware requirements, and other common deployment questions.

Bottom Line: You’ll learn about the new release cycle, Azure AD, upgrade paths and scenarios, dynamic provisioning, and more. And can you really run Windows 10 on a stick?
Be sure to invite your customers to show them how the Windows 10 solutions can help them operate more efficiently and empower them to grow their business.

Also remember since your customers are attending, you can register this event with Microsoft Community Connections and receive giveaway software and materials.

349 X 115 MOD REG RND2

Why one man’s new gig could be your next big opportunity

By: T.C. Doyle| MSPmentor

Dan Wensley joins Passportal as President. More than a “sell-to” product that MSPs can use to help run their businesses more efficiently, Passportal’s technology is an identity and password management system designed and packaged to be sold by MSPs to end customers for an affordable price.

When does someone’s new job spell opportunity for you? When that individual puts himself in a position to help grow your business. This is precisely what Dan Wensley, a familiar name in the MSP community, has done since signing on to become Passportal’s president and de facto partner strategist. Before getting to the “whys,” here are a few “whats.”  Dan Wensley

For more than a decade, Wensley has been a familiar name and face in both the MSP community and partner ecosystem at large. A founder of MSP Partners, he spent seven years as vice president of sales and marketing for Level Platforms Inc. (LPI) before it was acquired by AVG. More recently, Wensley oversaw Plan27, a lead generation company that worked closely with MSP companies. In addition to his full-time duties, Wensley worked closely with CompTIA, where he served a three-year term on the trade association’s board of directors.

Here’s where the story gets interesting.

In October 2011, Wensley met and then became fast friends with Colin Knox, the CEO of Passportal. (You can see a photo of the two in an early meeting, which is making the rounds on Twitter here.) Passportal’s mission is to make secure password management for IT professionals simple. Its motto: “The End of Sticky Note Security.”

For the uninitiated, Passportal has developed a “fully managed, cloud-based software solution that automates password protection and makes storing, managing and retrieving passwords quick and easy from virtually any connected device.” That’s according to the company.

Knox, of course, could have chosen any number of go-to-market strategies to make his company successful. He could have gone direct to business customers or straight to consumers to build momentum for his brand. Instead, Knox decided to sell his technology exclusively through channel companies, MSPs primarily. “We are the only password management solution that is designed by an MSP for MSPs like yours,” the company says. “We are your channel provider that is integrated with all the tools you love including Active Directory, Connectwise, and Autotask.”

This is where Wensley comes in.

After years of helping to give the MSP market shape and definition, Wensley signed on with Passportal a year ago to help oversee its partner sales and management efforts. Wensley says he saw in an instant a nexus forming around security, RMM technology and password management innovation. Funny thing about Wensley, though: before joining Passportal, he was a self-described password slob. At one point, he says, he had as many as 32 different sticky notes stuck to his office wall with various passwords. Try as he might, he concedes he could never keep track of them. When he heard of a solution that could, he became intrigued—doubly so after learning that it was sold exclusively through the channel.

“I got involved [with the company] some time ago and have been taking it sorta slowly and methodically,” says Wensley. “After discussing where we wanted to go for the next few years, it became apparent there was a mutually good fit here.”

So here’s the “why” and “what it means” for you.

Passportal is now offering a passport management solution that is no doubt better than the one you likely offer customers, which is likely one-step better than an Excel spreadsheet and the safeguards that have been incorporated in PSA and RMM solutions but likely short of the few, comprehensive enterprise-class solutions offered from some very expensive companies.

Read More

By: Werner Reinartz and Rajkumar Venkatesan

Traditionally, marketers calculate the ROI of a marketing investment by measuring how much sales increased in its aftermath. This is a blunt metric: maybe the consumer had a different interaction with the brand that influenced them. Or maybe they had an intrinsic preference for the brand and would have made a purchase anyway. blog

Today the situation has changed. Marketers have access to data that allows them to track individuals’ various interactions with a brand before their purchase, and better understand what role each interaction — and individual preferences — played in the eventual sale.

This approach, called “attribution modeling,” allows companies to attribute appropriate credit to each online and offline contact and touch point in a customer’s purchase cycle, and understand its role in the revenues that ultimately result. A good attribution model should show, for example, precisely which ads or search keywords are most associated with actual purchases.

Developing an attribution model is a gradual process. You can’t get there all at once. There are four key stages in the journey:

Stage 1: Prepare your data

You can’t have any kind of attribution model without data around touch points and outcomes. Many companies collect this data but often store it in different databases and in ways that make comparison difficult. Once companies can access and analyze data around touch points and purchases, they can detect patterns and are ready to apply simple attribution models. These involve applying rules of thumb, such as “give all credit to the last point of interaction” or “give equal credit to all points of interaction with the customer before a purchase is made.”

They may sound simplistic, but even simple rules-based models can deliver immediate results. This was the case at one company we recently advised. Only after considerable efforts to get data for each touch point aligned in one repository could the company begin to figure out sensible rules of thumb to guide marketing investments. It began by simply allocating resources to each touch point as a direct function of its marginal ROI. Even this rather rough and ready approach sharply improved the company’s overall marketing ROI.

Stage 2: Experiment

As managers get more comfortable with a rules-based model they can begin to conduct experiments to fine-tune the attribution rules. Most importantly, you can start to assess the degree to which a given touch point depends on other touch points; you could, for example, test a search tool’s role in a customer’s cycle by turning display advertising on or off. This allows managers to identify clusters of touch points that might individually look less powerful but that collectively pack more punch than simply focusing on those that look individually strongest.

An insurance company we interviewed conducted several regional experiments to evaluate the synergy of television, organic search, and display advertisements. The company varied the exposure of its consumers to TV ads across the different regions they served. They found that organic visits to the website and display advertisement click-through all increased disproportionally in a region when consumers there were also exposed to TV ads. This experiment motivated the firm to start better coordinating their marketing campaigns across media channels.

Stage 3: Apply statistical models

  Read More

By Shannon Mayer, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Continuum Managed IT Services

The seventh installment of a monthly blog series offering tips and best practices on various ways MSPs can help their SMB clients work through the most challenging daily business issues.

In the last installment of, “Better Call an MSP,” we offered tips on staying ahead of the game when it comes to malware and virus attacks. Let’s switch gears and discuss the recent M&A activity that’s occurring on the enterprise and SMB levels. This type of activity is becoming more prevalent with both vendors and MSPs as they grow with the market. For instance, just recently, Dell acquired EMC, Barracuda purchased Intronis, and Solar Winds was acquired by two private equity firms. The same goes for the various MSPs that have been acquired or have joined forces to merge into one larger company to better serve clients.

What does all this mean for MSPs? First and foremost, transformation, now more than ever, is a necessity, rather than a proactive measure because as the market consolidates, competition increases. As an IT solutions provider, it is critical to deep dive into your business, looking at where you can add opportunities to set yourself apart from your competitors; this includes everything from offerings and services, customer service and value proposition. Let’s examine this closer.

1.) Increase Services/Increase Value Proposition: This is a good starting point, especially since there are specific focuses currently on certain services. For instance, security is currently at the forefront, and there are many opportunities in this area, such as password management, managed print and telecom. One way consolidation can be a positive for MSPs is by partnering with another firm that has the expertise and resources you want to add. For instance, if you want to add managed print, but don’t currently have a solution, seek out one of your peers who might have this area solidified. I have heard of several MSPs (including Continuum partners) who have partnered to add telecom and vice-versa; all of which have led to positive results.

When it comes to value proposition, separate yourself from your competitors to stay current and unique. This is especially important as you don’t want your services to sound too much like everyone else’s. How can you overcome this hurdle? One way is to perfect your “elevator pitch.” Can you honestly tell a potential customer what your value proposition is in 30 seconds or less? If not, then think about how you can be clear, concise and to the point without any added jargon or “filler” material.

2.) Build Customer Service: Regarding commodization of the MSP space, customer service is critical to your success. Did you know that it costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one? Think about the financial aspect of this, not to mention the time it takes to obtain and then onboard a new customer.

We’ve also spoken about pricing in this blog series, specifically when it comes to competitors trying to undercut each other. However, if your customer service goes above and beyond expectations, then you are more likely to retain your current customers (and also add new ones at the same time). In fact, according to global management consulting firm Bain & Company, “A customer is four times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service related rather than price or product related.”

3.) Cultivate Relationships: Aside from always ensuring your customers are well taken care of, also show your appreciation for their business—not just when they have a problem that needs to be addressed. The key is to be proactive rather than reactive if you want to be unique in your business model. Don’t wait for a customer to call you when they are at the point of their system shutting down. Set up monthly check-ins to see how things are running; get to know them and what their needs are for both the long and short term.

Another way to do this is by “showing” rather than “telling” them, possibly on a quarterly basis. Lay out on paper what you as the MSP have done to support their IT efforts; numbers speak louder than words, and if there are specific instances of ROI that you can share, then make sure to highlight those components. This way, they can visibly see where their money is going and how it’s being utilized toward their business. If you need guidance in mapping out a strategy for these types of reports, look to your vendor partners for guidance and tools that can help. Many MSPs often are not aware that their vendors are always there to help and educate them, as well as providing products and services.

Letting your customers know you appreciate them doesn’t always have to be all about business. You could also let them know they are important by holding a local “meet and greet” type of event where you can socialize and they can get to know you and your staff in a casual setting. Other gestures like a special gift during the holidays or other company milestones can go a long way as well. You could also establish a loyalty program in which customers earn points that they could use toward services and product discounts.

Whether you start with implementing one of these components, or all three, remember that the key is to think of areas where you can position yourself as a unique market leader, ensuring you stay competitive, while providing the highest level of customer service to both current and new clients.

Shannon Mayer is Continuum's Senior Product Marketing Manager and is directly responsible for platform go-to-market strategy and messaging as well as business intelligence. She manages the Continuum Peer Groups program and content for Navigate 2016, Continuum’s annual partner conference. Shannon was named a 2013 Channel Chief by CRN and has also been named to the MSPmentor 250, CRN’s ‘Top 100 People You Don’t Know, But Should’, and CRN’s ‘Women of the Channel: Power 100’ lists. Follow her on Twitter: @shannonjmayer.

The Evolution of The Way We Work

Posted by on in Featured

Story by Mitel -

Changes in the interplay between technology, location, culture and business are transforming where, when and how we work.

Workers are taking control of their work / life balance with traditional ‘nine to five’ commuting patterns changing. Employees are also seeking more control over the communications devices and applications they use.Big Mitel

There is also an interesting sub-trend involving the development of portfolio based careers.

These trends are confirmed by evidence from SMB Group about the changing use of business communication technologies with 92% of SMBs using at least one cloud solution, 60% saying that mobile solutions are critical and 86% using mobile applications.

Rob Charlton, CEO of Space Group said “As a company we are moving towards keeping and managing everything in the cloud…Whatever we need, whenever we need it, accessible from whichever device is most suitable and available at the time.”

Small and medium sized business today face the challenge of providing workers with flexibility while at the same time maximizing their productivity, controlling costs and ensuring that teams retain good interaction.

Stephen Tanner, Founder of OfficePOD Ltd commented “An organization cannot promote the idea of flexible working and merely cover the provision of a desk and a chair in a spare room. Employers have a duty to provide staff with the tools they need to work effectively and productively; this should include a suitable working environment, wherever that happens to be.”

To explore these issues further the team at global business communications vendor Mitel asked business users, leaders in innovation, architects, psychologists and human resource experts for their perspectives in four key areas:

• How technology trends are setting the agenda
• Next generation workplaces
• The impact of a global market
• Cultural changes and the impact on work.

To discover more insights download the full guide at

Story by Harry Brelsford, CEO, SMB Nation - 

So where did I stray? I started my geek life as a young ham radio operator in Alaska. Yep – had to pass the test having memorized Morse code (kids won’t get that!). Then it was a software lifestyle and all that brought including a 15-year run with Small Business Server (SBS). All good.allseen seattle edited 1024

But lately, since the demise of SBS, myself and other SBSers have been lost in the wilderness, asking huge questions about the meaning of life and why are we here? We’ve lost a few brothers and systems along the way. But I’m here to say that I’ve been saved by the Internet of Things and you can too!

What led to my being saved by IoT? It was a simple email from Tcat. Many readers recall Tcat is a frequent SMB Nation speaker and author over the past ten years (“New Success Secrets” and “Success Teams”). But there’s more to the story. Tcat was on the original SBS development team in the mid/late-1990s at Microsoft Redmond and owned the early Internet Connection Wizard (ICW) that allowed you to select approved local ISPs for your (ekks) modem-based Internet connection. We become fast friends and have stayed in touch ever since. Tcat always seems to land on his feet whether he is living in Egypt, Mexico or Georgia (true stories).

Tcat’s email was simple. He was in Seattle at an IoT conference called AllSeen (hosted by the AllSeen Alliance). It was a next generation geekfest just a few blocks away and AllSeen had selected Seattle this year for its big show. So I strolled over at Tcat’s recommendation and obtained a press pass so I could attend and report back to my loyal readers.


Here is what I found.

• IoT is the next great thing with silly numbers ($19 trillion) in future economic impact.
• IoT is just starting. You can see it for yourself with disparate home electronics “parts” at HomeDepot that don’t talk to each other over a common standard.
• The show was, in my opinion, more enterprise players such as OEMs and service providers (e.g. large telecoms) trying to figure it all out.
• The IoT paradigm is being defined right now, so there is a spoils go to the early bird mentality (sign me up – early is good).
• We’re creating the IoT community as I write this. Think of this as 1998 in SBS-land when folks like Grey Lancaster started a SBS BBS (yikes…modem-based) inside a local school he served in South Carolina). This is your chance to say you were there at the start and I’d encourage you to look into the IoT-friendly trade association Electronics Technicians Association- International (ETA) [] which has served as an above reproach accredited vendor-neutral entity since 1978. (More on ETA in a future blog). Seen in the pic below is Joe Maher from the ETA (center) and Tcat (right).

eta and tcat 1024

                                                        Enjoying networking after the Seattle AllSeen conference.

Community Correlations

So what’s it all mean for the stereotypical tired old male SBSer, who won’t sell anything (according to old school SMB vendors LOL)? It’s a second chance. Most SMB Nation readers were born as geeks and will be buried as geeks. This is your chance to be born again, return to your roots, get your geek on and tinker and toil on the next great thing. Welcome home!

PS – That cool chick in the cover pic? That’s Tenaya Hurst @LininoWoman at the Seattle AllSeen conference. She’s one of us!

How to know who visited your Facebook Profile

Posted by on in News

Story by Evans - 

Facebook is the largest social platform on the internet with over one billion users with more than 1/4 of its users active daily. It is very important to know who has been visiting your profile. Everyone would want to know who visited their profile but there isn’t such a feature on facebook that shows who visited your facebook profile.Viewed Facebook

I have find out an easy way to find out who visited your facebook profile to make you track those that have been visiting your profile and your stalkers. It’s very easy as it involves only a few steps. Please be informed that I am teaching this for people to know who mostly visit their profile and I’m not intending to promote any bad thing or product.

How to find out who visited my Faceboook Profile.

Let’s get started

1 Log into your Facebook account and visit your profile
2.Right click on your timeline and select open view page source. You will be taken to a new page
3. Here, Press CTLR+F and a new dailogue box will open on the right corner of your screen
4. Search for the word “Initialchatfriendslist”. without quotation marks
5. You will now see numerous ids which are nothing but only profile ids of those who visited your facebook profile
Identification numbers of those who visited your Facebook profile are the figures right before the “-0”, “-1”, “-2”, or “-3”. For example, “100003206416069-2” 100003206416069 <-This is the identification number of the person that visited my facebook profile.

Click Here To Read More

AVG Restructuring SMB Business, Laying Off 35

Posted by on in News

avg antivirus logo 3216Story by Scott Bekker - 

AVG Technologies is restructuring its managed service provider-centric SMB business division and laying off 35 employees as the unit struggles to meet the company's overall growth goals.

"As we discussed in the last earnings call, our expectation of the uptake of our cloud-based services was not where we wanted it to be as a result of our existing customers' commitment to our traditional on-premise product," said Gary Kovacs, CEO and managing director, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of AVG's third-quarter earnings call Wednesday.
"To fix this, we have taken specific actions to improve our go-to-market strategy, including a significant restructuring and streamlining of the business and further simplification of our products to make it even easier for our resellers to go out with our products to serve their end customers' needs. These restructuring and leadership changes, we believe, will put us in the right position to capitalize on a large and growing opportunity," he said.

CFO John Little explained the restructuring would include "releasing approximately 35 employees," outsourcing a portion of the help desk and restructuring the management of the division. Little said the moves would save about $3 million over the next 12 months.

Click Here To Read More

In this East Coast vs. West Coast battle, it looks like the West Coast is winning.

Story by Molly Brown - 

According to a review of data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bloomberg found that the tech boom is shifting the richest cities in America to the West Coast. Three out of the top five land here with San Jose topping the charts.Seattle

Bridgeport, Conn., an ultra-wealthy suburb outside New York City where many in finance live, comes in No. 2, but San Francisco and Seattle follow, with Boston rounding out the top five.

Bloomberg looked at the nation’s 100 largest metro areas to crunch the numbers to see which city had the “highest output per resident” in 2014.

Apparently, tech is the new gold rush, with the gross metropolitan product, or GMP per capita in Silicon Valley at $105,482 — which Bloomberg cites is “more than double the national average.”

Seattle’s GMP came in at $75,874, but our neighbor to the south, Portland, is also seeing a large jump.

Click Here To Read More