Vijay beat me to it when blogging on this event (he lives closer to Nottingham than me :-p ) but just thought i’d add my thoughts (focusing on the SBSC pre-event)
So it all started at lunch with Vijay Riyat, James Harbidge, Richard Tubb and Susanne Dansey. It was great to spend a little time catching up before the main event and as always was informative and entertaining at the same time!
The SBSC “pre-event” started at 14:30. The turnout was good (someone said afterwards 98% of the people who registered actually attended which is amazing) and the session started with Vijay giving a presentation on his experiences of the SBSC programme, becoming a PAL and how it has helped his business. This was the first time i’ve seen Vijay present and was great to see him share his thoughts, ideas and passion for the SBSC “concept”
Next up was Sonal Gothani from Microsoft who chatted about Microsoft and the SMB area from a business perspective and threw up lots of interesting figures to think about
e.g 1.4 million small businesses in the UK, 91% of small busineses in the EU have 1-9 employees
One the main talking points here was how we can attach services to the SBS sales. CRM is one of the main areas here and hopefully there will be some upcoming resources to complement this
There was a good Q&A session after this.
A question was asked
“of the people who are in the room, who are part of the SBSC programme but not involved in the community (e.g user groups), why are you not getting involved?”
The two main answers were
1) What’s the value?
2) Don’t have the time
I can understand the first answer. As i have found out myself you can’t fully understand how big the benefits to your business can be until you have got involved
The second disappointed me a little though. If i said to you that i would give your business £500 per month for a couple of hours of your time would you go?
Of course you would. Now i’m not saying that attending user group meetings will put cash in your back pocket but the impact it potentially could have on your business may be much higher than that figure. I’ve already posted my thoughts on that idea here
The “main event” was also very interesting with Sven Gruentre (hope i have spelt that right!) showing off some server 2008 and powershell demos
After that Tim Schroder talked about opportunties and plans Microsoft have in FY08 for building your business followed by Matt McSpirit and Sven (again) talking Vista, Office and Deployment options
During and after all this there was plenty of time to chat to people though i think my “networking technique” still needs work!
On the whole the event was very informative.
The idea was to show where Microsoft are at the moment and where they are going in the upcoming future.
A recurring theme was about FEEDBACK.
Microsoft may think they are doing the right things for partners but unless we tell them whats good and what is bad they can’t do anything about it. This is one of the main reasons for having partner area leads so anything you want Microsoft to hear about, let Vijay and Gareth know
Thanks to everyone for a good day. It was well worth the trip and i’m looking forward to the Small Business Forum in November. Susanne has obviously put a lot of work into organising this and she obviously is very excited about it. Make sure your registered!
Excuse the rambling…it’s 2:30am and i really should be asleep!!!