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  • Why your reseller for Microsoft 365 matters

    Posted on February 1st, 2021 at 01:20 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
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    MICROSOFT 365

    Why your reseller for Microsoft 365 matters

    By Amy Babinchak

    Many suppliers sell Microsoft 365 plans. Not all are created equal.

    Many people and businesses think that Microsoft is the sole source of Microsoft 365 plans. That is not true; you have a choice of suppliers. Microsoft has partners or resellers who also sell the service. What you need to know is that not all of them offer you the same thing, because Microsoft has different types of relationships with partners. To confuse matters even more, purchasing from Microsoft directly has limitations. Understanding your options before purchasing is essential.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.4.0 (2021-02-01).

  • Attention partners: Microsoft really is coming for your clients this time

    Posted on January 13th, 2021 at 13:34 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft has made the mistake of going around its partners in the past. Isn’t buying direct the way to go? No, not really. When there’s a healthy marketplace of trained professionals supporting and consulting small businesses then they are able to get just the type of support they want and work with someone that understands thier business goals and can help them move the technology in the same direction that their business is going. When the market isn’t attractive to partners, then consumers of the product have less choice and fewer support options. What Microsoft is doing here is alarming and all should be concerned. From end user, partner to distributor.

    Repost from Third Tier: Microsoft really is coming for your clients this time – Ultimate Support for IT Pros – ThirdTier

    There’s been a lot of false claims in the past that Microsoft was coming for your clients. But in this new round of intrusion into the trusted CSP-Client relationship, Microsoft really is coming for your clients. All around forums, user groups and social media the emails are being circulated and they are scary. In one complaint that I read on a private MVP group, the CSP, well let’s just quote them, “We almost lost a 50k/month Azure WVD client as Microsoft offered their implementation for free. We kept the client onboard thankfully, thanks to value-added services”

    I understand that Microsoft has a problem with some resellers not providing depth nor breadth of services to clients and tying those clients up making it difficult for other more active and consultive CSP’s and MSP’s to expand, but Microsoft really needs a way to determine whether a partner is active with the client or whether they have sold, migrated and are done. Those of us working actively with our clients shouldn’t be subject to any competitor coming in and disrupting our business.

    Here are a couple of samples of the email that your clients are getting from Microsoft.

    On Azure:

    I hope this email finds you well! My name is Blake Wheeler,and I am reaching out on behalf of Microsoft’s Azure Team. I spoke to Lisa from (Edit: Client name) and she referred me to reach out to you. I was reaching out to Lisa about the opportunity to participate in a Complimentary Deep Dive Evaluation. This will help you and your team assess any Cyber Security Threats, overutilization and/or underutilization of your network and provide a complete network and hardware scan for (Edit: client name) with reports tailored the way you want them.

    The first step for this evaluation is scheduling a Teams meeting with our Evaluations Specialist where they will go over the process in more detail. Please let me know a good date/time that you had 15-30 minutes of availability next week and I will get everything set up. I have attached a short deck with information on the process as well.

    On 365:

    On 365:

    Happy New Years! My name is [MS-REPNAME] and I work directly for Microsoft to help businesses get the most out of their relationship with Microsoft and I was recently assigned to support you and your company. I assist with device procurement and discounting, end-user training, general IT questions, licensing, etc.

    Do you have time for a brief intro call this week so we can learn how to best advance your IT strategies moving forward?

    Thank you! We look forward to a great partnership!

     

    If those email copies don’t make you angry, as they do this Microsoft fan, then perhaps re-read them. I’m not the alarmist type but this intrusion into the relationship with my client has really taken me aback.

  • Win7 ESU License purchasing now open

    Posted on January 4th, 2021 at 13:49 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    For the second year Harbor Computer Services has agreed to make the Win7 ESU licenses available for small quantity purchasers. What do you know? Microsoft and the distributors both got their act together this year and opened up Windows 7 – Year 2 Extended Servicing Updates license for sale on time. That means it’s available now! The cost of year two licensing is $142.

    To prepare for your license purchase you will need:

    • Your tenant information from last year. Find that email from Ted. It’s in there and you were instructed to keep it in a safe place.
    • Credit card
    • Number of licenses needed
    • email address

    If you have any Windows 7 computers that do not have year 1 applied, then you will also need to purchase year 1 for that computer. There’s a note section to let Ted know that you need one of those too. After you submit the form, Ted will process the information, make the purchase and the send you an email response with the license and instructions for installation. Just like last year. Please be a bit patient as we get ramped up to process these.

    Here ‘s the link to the form

  • It’s unsubscribe season! Clean that inbox

    Posted on December 26th, 2020 at 15:18 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The most wonderful time of the year is here! It’s unsubscribe season! Unsubscribe season is when I de-clutter my mailbox in a deep cleaning kind of way. This year, I couldn’t help myself, my annoyance level was so high that I started unsubscribing in mid-December but usually unsubscribe season happens after Christmas though the second week of January. Why then? Because every newsletter, every corporation, every hopeful salesperson, sends out their season’s greetings and predictions for the new year. This means that every last organization that has your email address will send you an email and by the grace of the can-spam act they are required to include an unsubscribe link. Every time you hit that unsubscribe link, a little bit of joy comes back into your life. Therefore, it’s the most wonderful time of year.

    Does it work?

    Years ago, I used to advise my clients not to click the unsubscribe button because all it did was verify that your email address had a live person attached to it. But the can-spam act changed all of that. It holds businesses responsible for generating mailing lists in a fair way and for making it easy and then honoring unsubscribe requests. So, hit that unsubscribe link and bring bits of joy back into your email life. It works!

  • Windows 7 ESU for 2021

    Posted on December 23rd, 2020 at 10:07 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    UPDATE: Purchasing is now open. https://www.askwoody.com/2020/windows-7-esu-for-2021/

    About 3,000 of you purchased the Windows 7 ESU from Harbor Computer Services last year. We offered to make this available to Woody readers after so many IT firms recklessly said that they wouldn’t. My feeling is that while I’d prefer that no one was running Windows 7 anymore, for those that are they need access to updates to retain some degree of security on those systems. We aren’t here to judge. My firm is also an advocate for healthy IT communities and so we agreed to sell the ESU license to all comers even though there’s no money in it for us to speak of. In our regular business, selling stuff is not our thing. We’re a services business.

    We’ve been getting a lot of email recently asking about the year two ESU license and we’ve been letting everyone know that we didn’t have any information yet from Microsoft or distribution. But just yesterday, we got word from our distributor that the license should be ready for purchase beginning on January 5th 2021. Keep that should in mind because this date is dependent on Microsoft hitting thier deadlines. It appears that the price will be $142 all in. This is less than the predicted $150-$200 so that’s some good news.  Keep in mind that last year Microsoft changed the pricing during the first month creating some chaos, so we’re braced for a sudden price change and will keep you posted.

    The process for making this purchase will be the same as last year. We’ll open a form on which you’ll provide all of the information needed for the purchase to take place. Then you’ll get an email from Ted@harborcomputerservices.net with your ESU license code and instructions for installing it.

    To prepare for your license purchase you will need:

    • Your tenant information from last year. Find that email from Ted. It’s in there and you were instructed to keep it in a safe place.
    • Credit card
    • Number of licenses needed
    • email address

    Keep an eye on this space in January for the URL to the purchase form.

    If you’d like to know more about the behind-the-scenes process. Please see this article from last year. How we automated the Win7 ESU-purchase process @ AskWoody

    – Amy Babinchak, president Harbor Computer Services, Third Tier and Woody contributor

     

  • A new way to manage Exchange’s auto-forwarding rules

    Posted on December 6th, 2020 at 21:05 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    SMALL-BUSINESS COMPUTING

    By Amy Babinchak

    Here’s one never-changing rule for IT pros: Microsoft will always change the way that things get done.

    For example, in September, the company rolled out a new version of the Exchange admin center (EAC). This change and others mean that we’re forever working to keep our system/service settings and configurations up to date.

    A security staple for IT staff is preventing email from auto-forwarding off domains. Recently the transport rule that powered this function stopped working for two of my clients. It’s continued to work for others, but it’s probably just a matter of time before they run into this issue, too. So, my staff is off making changes — proactively.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.48.0 (2020-12-07).