Microsoft Australia has decided to extend the availability of reseller training courses for its Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 due to high demand. The hands-on lab sessions were due to close this month but will now run until May due to over-subscription.
SBS guru, Harry Brelsford, will also visit these shores during the last week of the month to run workshops designed to help resellers make the most of opportunities.
Brelsford has written a book on how to consult to small businesses.
Microsoft Australia SMB server product manager, David Allinson, said reseller response to the SBS 2003 since its November launch had been startling.
“We’ve told the reseller community there’s a massive opportunity here,” Allinson said. “There are hundreds of thousands of small businesses out there that don’t have a server or are ready to migrate to a new platform and even some of the big resellers are looking to get involved because they see it as a volume game.”
While this was not the first time Microsoft had tried to convince small business owners to take the plunge into a server environment, Allinson said improved integration, a drastically reduced entry-level price point and an improved set of management tools would make Windows SBS 2003 an easier sell for dealers.
He also highlighted repeat sale opportunities as customers expanded their operations.
“It’s a nice little file, print and email server out of the box that gives a foundation for growth,” he said. “After the initial sale, resellers can go back to offer performance and usage reports or Mobile Information Server for access from PDAs or smart phones. With the Premium Edition they could start developing SQL applications or integration with CRM.”
“Some companies will get to grips with it and implement features themselves but a lot don’t want to do that. This is a way for them to do it [create a server environment] cost effectively without having to manage it and represents a significant opportunity for resellers.”
A Microsoft rebate program currently offers resellers $500 for every three copies they sell, up to a maximum of $10,000, with more than 200 Australian dealers registered. The program closes on March 31 but resellers can still register online.
For more on this story, see next week's issue of ARN.