Microsoft Views: Michael Risse Discusses Evolving SMB Solutions

Small Business Server, Essential Business Server, and hosted vs. local

Small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) have different business models and different resources, so they need solutions specially-tailored to their needs. On the IT side, SMBs must consider whether they will outsource, or use managed services, for all or part of their IT infrastructure. Michael Risse, former vice president of the Worldwide Small and Midmarket Business Group at Microsoft, discusses how SMBs can be more efficient through Microsoft software and services.

Michael Risse: Now we're back together on the topic of Windows IT, I guess IT in general and also the small business perspective. And certainly we've heard from our customers, partners, and press as well, "What's Microsoft's perspective on the economic situation with respect to software, with respect to IT, and with respect to what customers can do and should do?" You have the research from the flash poll that we did in terms of how this economic issue is impacting customers, particularly small-to-midmarket customers. The thing that really defines them is their ability and their need to do so much with so little. They frequently have many of the same challenges or needs as a larger organization, but they just don't have the same resources from an IT perspective in house that a larger organization does. That's why the partner role is so incredibly important, because the trusted advisor role, having people that can help them sort out all of the complexities and technologies and opportunities out there is incredibly important. We've absolutely seen the impact and their need to respond.

Michele Crockett: So I know that you've just launched Essential Business Server and Small Business Server. You are highlighting, especially recently, some of the capabilities and tools that Microsoft has available that can help these companies conserve resources in a tight economy. Some of these things have always been built into Microsoft products or at least they've been in the background. Is there anything different in what Microsoft is highlighting or what is new in these products, or is it more about evangelizing the cost-saving capabilities that Microsoft has talked about for awhile?

Michael Risse: There's definitely the cost savings abilities we've now stated with a new product: Essential Business Server. It's a brand new product; sort of a big brother to Small Business Server. And then there's also an additional set of work in Small Business Server. The first thing it has is the new product, and it's been since we worked on SQL Server since we had all the new versions of our enterprise class server products assembled in Small Business Server/Essential Business Server. So, the new version of SQL Server, new version of Exchange Server, the new version of Windows Server; those are all the new versions for the first time in several years. You get the benefits of those products, from virtualization to new SQL Server capabilities, the new version of Exchange with mobile access, so one it is a new version. Two, it's a new set of integration and ease of use to automate many of the tasks that IT people do routinely in small-to-midmarket businesses, or that partners do on behalf of customers, which is what the remote management capabilities are about. We've absolutely improved those version over version, because one of these key conversations for small-to-midmarket IT shops is "What should I do and what should I outsource?"

Now, when you're a big company you call it outsourcing—when you're a small-to-midmarket company you call it managed services. And managed services is one of the fastest growing parts of the partner market over the last couple years, as more and more these organizations will outsource or set up remote management capabilities for partners to manage their infrastructure on their behalf, which is really a big question for any organization. What's your core competency and what should you have somebody else doing for you? If a company has a great core competency in Exchange and in managing infrastructure and keeping uptime, maybe that's the business they should be in, and allow the lawyers to be lawyers and the farmers to be farmers and the manufacturers to be manufacturers. So the remote management and automation of simple tasks is a big step forward in this version of Small Business Server and Essential Business Server. And the third thing, and this is the fun conversation, is beginning to integrate web-based services and capabilities into Small Business Server and Essential Business Server products. What's interesting is that you mentioned Small Business Server and Essential Business Server a minute ago. What I'd add to that new offering set is what's essentially known as BPOS. And if you like OLAP you'll like BPOS. We're into four letters now. This is basically the business productivity online services. That's Microsoft hosted Exchange, SharePoint, Live Meeting. That would be taking some of the capabilities of Small Business Server, and adding them and putting them in the sky on behalf of the organization. So one of the questions could be, "What do I want locally?"

You and I will, for the rest of our lives, be working on local software. We need local servers for backup, for file-in-print, for storage and sharing capabilities. But we will also increasingly pull services from "the cloud," which we locally use and access. I put BPOS in there as a sort of "Hey, we can put all of this or much of this in the cloud." But even Small Business Server and Essential Business Server today, they include, for example, the ability to set up an Office Live website from your local PC, so what you can do is either bring your own domain name or acquire one in the process, but basically from your desktop, managed through Small Business Server or Essential Business Server, you can access Office Live and create your web presence for your organization. And you can get reporting back on that website, coming back to your employees. You can also set up, as a service, remote email access, so anybody with a browser can access their email across the Internet. What you start to set up is this new way of working or organizing IT functions. It's essentially locally administered, locally managed, rights and authentication, with a local set of capabilities—file-in-print, network sharing, networking, and so forth—and at the same time setting up access to features that are cloud based for your organization—your website, your remote email, your mobile email functionality, and so forth—so that's the third thing that I think is critical about these new products. The steps they take towards a Software + Services world. And the ultimate one possible endpoint would be actually using BPOS as the Software + Services model for your email, your collaboration and your instant messaging functionality. And Office Live remote email are not the only features, we also include other services like security services included in Small Business Server and Essential Business Server, so that's another example of the services model playing into those products.

Michele Crockett: I noticed that one of the top things that businesses were looking for, according to your survey, was making employees more productive. When small-to-medium sized businesses are trying to figure out a technology investment that's going to help them, how do they hone in on something like making employees more productive? What kind of things do they do to evaluate their situation? I bet you guys have some wizards that are available that small-to-medium sized businesses can use to assess their business, but how do they get at what is really holding them back on the IT side?

Michael Risse: That's an interesting question, because they have a sense of productivity. The most expensive resource, unless they're in the diamond business, is their employees. Employee productivity really is the conversation. It's interesting that they're saying that, because if you look at the Forresters, IDCs, Gartners of the world, and if you look at the top IT spend for SMBs, what you'll see is employee productivity is the second largest spend. The first spend is core infrastructure—the security and reliability infrastructure. The second is employee productivity. The other two spends have to do with customers, adding new customers/customer relationships, and basically digitizing their infrastructure, which is the whole accounting, ERP, supply chain management, and so forth. So those are the top four spends, the second is as I said employee productivity. That maps out the spends in this survey we got back. So what do they mean when they say productivity? What they usually mean is mobility, which is access to information everywhere, which is why that mobile access to email and mobile applications matters so much. The second thing it has to do is sharing—both sharing within the organization and sharing with partners. This is something SharePoint Web Services does, or where SharePoint Services in SBS or EBS comes into play. Can people collaborate, can they work together, and can individuals get information to wherever they want it? I don't know that they have good metrics for evaluating the organization, which is why we put the wizards out, providing the questions for people to start thinking about and considering if they are productive. But those would be the top two scenarios that they're referring to.

Michele Crockett: That was one of my questions, as well as what hardware decisions come into this. It does seem to us that there is a lot of activity in times like this, and kind of hunkering down and getting ready for the long haul, trying to make decisions that will take them through the next four or five years.

Michael Risse: So in 2000, we had a great comment on the Small Business Server launch from one of the customers that we had as part of the launch: "In my business, you survive the bad times and thrive in the good times." The word survival was sort of the operative word in terms of tough economic situations you survive, good times you thrive. What is interesting in that hunker down period that you referenced is that relative to other investments, software is still the best. It may be a decreasing bet, but it's still relatively the best. What I mean by that is you've probably seen the news and heard about the GDP, that we've been in a recession for a year, and if you look at the IT spend and the analysts' reports, what they're saying is that IT spend is either going to be slightly up or flat, or maybe a little down. But if you break it down the largest spend is people costs, so anything we can do to increase the efficiency of the employees is super important. The second one is hardware, and hardware spending is not going anywhere. There's a lot of shifts in the hardware market, particularly in servers, and I think there will be more excitement in the market related to blade servers, which are really being designed for small businesses, and we think that's a great thing. And the third thing is software, and software is actually still growing. And over the course of the year from the summer it was 7 percent, now maybe it's 4.6 percent, that might be a little lower or higher depending on geography right now, but software relative to IT spend and relative to business spend and relative to IT is still a bright spot. Software is what can make organizations survive the tough times. It can help you save money, help you make money, and help set you up for future spend. Software can do that. And I think with this hunkering down and the tough time, people are taking a new look at what software can do.

The example I use for that is virtualization. Virtualization has been around for a couple years, but it's kind of like going to the gym. You've been thinking about it for awhile, but you might not have gotten around to it. Well, now might be the right time to go to the gym, given the holidays, and if you're in the IT organization it might be the right time to think about virtualization. Windows Server is included, but it's a way that you can actually lower several costs. You can lower IT costs, in terms of management time because you have one box instead of several. You can lower electricity costs, because you're not running as many servers. You can lower your air conditioning cost, because you don't have to cool the room as much because you're running fewer servers, and a closer look now at what virtualization can do could mean saving money, even though virtualization has been around for a few years. Now is the time where you can really be motivated by the benefits it can provide. Travel was a big expense for organizations, looking hard at travel and saying "What can we do with Live Meeting, what can we do through better communication infrastructure?" You don't have to pay for travel, you don't have to pay for the lost productivity that people have. Let's take a closer look at what does presence mean, what does instant messaging mean, what does collaboration mean from an infrastructure perspective. We definitely see the hunkering down, and we and the analysts see software as still continuing to grow, and being a lever for setting up future success. We think we've got some very compelling technologies both from a technology perspective as well as from a financing perspective that are going to help make these things more accessible, and help save these organizations money.

Michele Crockett: Were there any surprises in the data about the investments SMBs said they were going to make in the next 6 months to help them compete? For you and your team, were there any surprises in this data about what their priorities were?

Michael Risse: No, if you look at the top couple investments. One, simplify infrastructure, energy costs and network admin, boom that's the number one software spend core infrastructure—reliability. If you see the ones around employees and productivity, greater mobility of employees, boom that's the productivity spend that's right there. Employee software to increase sales and customer satisfaction, that's the CRM that's the fourth largest spend. So most of these were very in line with analysts and our research, but what's interesting is they continued to be the same priorities with respect to the more interesting economic environment that made some of those services redundant.

Michele Crockett: These new server releases, EBS and SBS, they offer a lot to help IT pros ease the pain of deploying servers. Is that something that this market thinks about a lot, you know the physical costs of getting these things done and how they might save on that?

Michael Risse: It is not so much that it needs to get set up and once again set up right—I guess that's the key thing is getting it set up for optimized running and optimized implementation. Really after that it's about focusing on the reactive lifestyle of the IT. One of the funny things with language is when you say IT pro I say IT generalist, what I mean is when you look at organizations and penetration rates. Once you have 25 PCs, it's very likely that you have a server—above a 90 percent chance. Just sort of envision this world of many organizations—and there's many in the United States, hundreds of thousands—that have 25 PCs and a server, but they don't have an IT pro, just somebody that likes technology and works on the server a little more. Then you get up to 50 PCs or 75 PCs and you still don't have an IT pro. You maybe have someone who does everything from change light bulbs and does everything, and they have an incredibly reactive workday. It's really a very modern infrastructure coming into play to set it up the right way, so that these reactive paths can be as automated as much as possible and made as simple as possible. Once you get past 100 PCs, maybe 150, then you have an IT generalist, maybe 1 or 2 people. That's when you get an IT professional; granted, I'm slicing shades of gray, but that's where you start getting expertise on a specific function, such as Exchange rather than just a database administrator. But what happens when you don't have a big enough company to have a DB administrator and a messaging/infrastructure specialist?

Michele Crockett: The IT pro ends up doing it.

Michael Risse: Yep. And when they're doing that and they're changing light bulbs, we call them an IT generalist. They're doing everything across the board. It's really about automating as many things as possible, making those tasks go away, so they can spend their time on more productive things.

Michele Crockett: You talked about online services, which I think could be a huge asset for so many businesses. Is there any resistance among businesses, maybe even of a particular type, of having those types of services managed in the cloud?

Michael Risse: That is an incredibly insightful question, and I think everything I've answered I've been asked before, up until the point that you just asked that question. So good question, so now I don't have to answer that question without you having asked it.

Michele Crockett: Good. Penton is an organization with 1,500 people, and I know our IT department is struggling with this.

Michael Risse: I love this question for two reasons. First of all, what you just said—exactly what you just said—the IT organization struggles with this. Well, in the past, when you and I were working on SQL Server for example, the IT organization's primary focus has been side to side, meaning what do I centralize and what do I empower. Who do I give rights to on the database, how do I keep people away from the database that try to do large queries on top of the OLTP database? So there's a question of side-to-side power between centralization and empowerment of users, and that's really been the IT conversation of the last several years. Maybe the last 10 maybe the last 15, since PCs and then mobile devices really took over—to some degree—the computing environment. We really have a lot of conversations for the last several years, maybe 10 maybe 15. We really had a lot of conversations on what are we doing for users, and then on the backend is mostly a function of cost efficiency, maybe high-performance computing and virtualization, and that's been the balance. The future balance is not replacement, it's additive, and it's what do I run locally versus what do I put in the sky, what do I outsource?

That's really the next generation of conversations. Do I want to run my email locally or do I want it in the sky and have it as a service to my employees? CRM—do I want to run it locally or do I want it in the sky? There are a number of applications that are so tied—sort of local data points—like inventory. You probably want the inventory standing next to the inventory goods, doing your standing and your ID and your other systems locally and close. But that conversation for the next decade is going to be "What can I outsource administration to or the running of to someone who knows exactly what they're doing all the time?" versus having it locally. One of the key factors of that is exactly your question—what industries have what kind of constraints that will influence them in terms of what they put in the sky and what they run locally? Let's talk about personally identifiable data. Do we think law firms will be the first to do this? Probably not, until there's a type of security guarantee available, widely available or acknowledged. Some geographies, culturally, are not excited about this. I was in Germany last week. Culturally, they're maybe a bit slower to the services world than a Korea or a Sweden, which has a incredibly high percentage of broadband penetration, and much more enthusiasm for the sort of things that loom larger.

Michele Crockett: That's really interesting—I hadn't thought about the geography aspect.

Michael Risse: Geography/culture/legal, and there's two more. And this is actually a fun conversation, because it's really on the emerging edge. What are the three or four questions you would ask about what should be hosted and what should be local? When I say that I want to make sure I'm super super clear—this is about a specific service or capability. The best way to run things, even when they're in the sky, is in combination with a local management infrastructure, a local sharing infrastructure, a local access infrastructure. You have 1,500 employees in your company—if everyone can go in and manage their own CRM, you have what's called chaos. IT exists to not have chaos. The best way for those 1,500 employees to work is to go through a central management security infrastructure, through which they can all access those services. The benefit is that they have quicker access to those services, because they are available and can be brought in to the organization. But they are brought into the organization through one point or control or access. So even when we talk about these services, the way that they are going to work best is when they come down through a secure, managed, venerated, identity and access control model, that the central IT function will provide. That's the way it will work. Then the question is "What specific service am I interested in running locally, and which am I interested in having in the sky?" What are the questions to differentiate? One is legal—am I legally allowed to do this? Two is cultural—certain organizations are going to be less enthusiastic about this. The third is cost—how do I feel about payment: would I rather buy something once and own it forever, would I rather rent something by user over time? The good news is is that the cost is distributed over time, the bad news is that over five years or x years it might cost more. So which is going to be a better cost benefit analysis between the two models? Just think about that as you can lease a car or buy a car.

Michele Crockett: I think that for a lot companies there is a benefit to being able to buy things and using cap X money to do that, which gets treated differently from an accounting perspective, whereas software services is an ongoing, pervasive expense.

Michael Risse: Absolutely. I'm just laughing because this is a fun conversation to have. The speed at which we move to this model, or when you think about this model, these are some of the key things. The fourth thing you need to think about is really what does the service have to integrate with. If you spend all of your time roundtripping, like ERP systems in the sky, I don't know. Those integrate people systems, cash systems, local access or local information, local data input—that's a lot of roundtripping. And any roundtrip has a cost associated with it from a time perspective or even a financial cost, the things that integrate lots of other systems are probably going to be better off local than remote. And just also because all of the custom work that has to be done to develop the interface between the multiple applications that you're going to be integrating. You don't want someone to show up and say you can do this and that, and you actually need to do all of these things plus five others—need to be able to import this type of data and export that data file, I need to do this. That's the kind of custom work to the organization that's probably going to be done locally.

I'd say those are your four decision criteria for services vs. local. The two other meta-points are one, that is the future conversation of the next generation of IT, what's local and what's remote, and the second one is regardless of what the service is or which one you choose to leverage, the right way to run it is going to be through a local IT infrastructure for management and security, which then fetters the services that are used out to the employees, keeping things under control. That is why our model is Software + Services. Software extended by services is how we see it, and after several years in the industry, how we have confidence the future model is evolving. I've been around long enough to remember thinking that the mainframe was going to go extinct except it didn't, and I remember the Internet was going to kill all the brick and mortar stores, but they didn't. Software-as-a-Service is not going to kill software. Software locally + services augmentation is an evolutionary model, and when all the hype and excitement comes to pass, we will have local software, local servers, and augmentation by services—that will be a more practical and cost-effective way of doing business.

Michele Crockett: I think especially for this market, the key thing is that they will have control over this. There's definitely recommendations. It seems like there's going to be a tipping point, where I remember a time when people didn't trust online banking. I don't know when the last time was that I got a paper statement for anything. At some point we all jumped off the cliff and went with this.

Michael Risse: And in the online banking case, you probably have something local, you probably have some sort of budgeting or information locally that you use in combination with the services from the bank. And largely, that's the model. This is a really interesting conversation; you're in a 1,500 employee business, you have to have an ongoing IT presence to not allow employees to get to chaos. How few employees can you have before you say "No, I can just go with a PC and an Internet access point, and everything will be hosted for me"? What's interesting is it looks like the number—if you and I were sole proprietors we could probably work with that—but what's interesting is how few employees you need before the entanglement starts, trying to go and live and work in a completely cloud-based environment?

Michele Crockett: I do think it's interesting and amusing how typical our company is. We are absolutely a Frankenstein of cobbled-together businesses. Acquisition upon acquisition—I don't think that there is a single office that we have that has more than 100 people, so we're talking about dozens of different sites, and we don't have local IT people in even some of the bigger offices. So, it's kind of an academic discussion, but also a day-to-day work discussion, and I'm fascinated to see how it plays out, because we're absolutely a prototype of a business that could benefit from this, and has a lot of chaos that they need to pull together. They're doing a pretty good job of it.

Michael Risse: Yes, and that's a wonderfully typical example. The one question would be how do we get our services out to make us more productive, but at the same time we do not want the chaos where everyone is doing their own thing in different ways and losing any sense of organization, much less the legality issues of who is putting what information on which customer where. An individual might be OK with online banking, but the organization there's slightly higher standards.

Michele Crockett: Yes, it will be interesting to see how that plays out. I also had a question about data management. I saw that that was a big concern in the survey, and that seems to also be a place where these products can really help. Has there been any particular interest in the data management capabilities in EBS and SBS that you've seen?

Michael Risse: Well, there's two things I should mention. First of all, because you're a SQL head, one important difference in this version of Windows/SQL/Exchange, but in SQL Server in particular, is that it's the standard edition. It's a passive of the workgroup edition, and what matters about that is the standard edition is what all the ISVs certify on. So in the premium edition of both products—Small Business Server and EBS—you get the SQL standard edition, plus a better version of Windows Server to run a line-of-business application on, which means we're a much better base for data analytics or running a line-of-business application, or for providing a comprehensive IT environment. That being one. And then the data management piece, depending on how you define data management, I think the critical part of that is that we have a lot better support for line-of-business apps in the version of SQL that we're shipping, so we expect to have a lot more customers taking advantage of that and moving to a small business server infrastructure, which from a cost perspective is 40 percent less than buying a la carte, so that's a great way to buy and a better infrastructure when you get it. The second thing is from a customer perspective in the poll is simply that using business analytics to really understand the business and figure out where they are selling and where the costs are and how they can be running more efficiently, because part of the hunkering down also does mean that in software there are some other things that are going to be trends or have to be looked at more closely. So this gives them a better platform and toolset to look at that.

Michele Crockett: Do you think that small and medium businesses have much uptake with System Center and are using those tools as well?

Michael Risse: We used part of the System Center product line to support our remote management capabilities, but if you said tell me about management in SMBs, the first order of business would be, in the sense of automating routine tasks from an IT generalist perspective or the remote management capabilities, those would be thing one and two. We definitely leveraged some of that technology to make those things happen, but from a customer-benefit perspective those are the two things we're really focused on achieving.

Michele Crockett: Virtualization as well. I know that businesses are interested in virtualization; they know it can save them money. I think they're a little wary of how they manage these virtual machines that could be everywhere, since they have the physical and the virtual environment. What do you have that can help them navigate through that? I know there are some things in System Center that helps them not only manage the Microsoft technologies, but also reach out to some cross-platform things.

Michael Risse: The question is basically one of scale, in terms of the number of machines. We're seeing the data come back now from more and more users of our virtualization technology in Windows Server. So what we see in the small business market in particular, is single or maybe two virtual instances on a Windows server. So it's something that is manageable by hand, in the context of either Windows Server, Small Business Server, or Essential Business Server. The enterprise edition of Windows Server supports four virtual instances. If you go to data center, then that supports an unlimited number. Once you get to an unlimited number, that's when the System Center management tools become really important, particularly if you're going to be running multiple boxes, with multiple virtual instances per box. That's where, OK, it's time to bring in the artillery. For small businesses and markets where SBS/EBS is positioned, we definitely see virtualization. We see a couple virtualized instances, and on average from our research, when you move beyond that, that's where OK, we have the artillery. If that's something that you're interested in, we can certainly set up a specific conversation on the scaling of our virtualization solutions and management tools because they really go hand in hand. You can start with single instances in Windows Server, then you scale to Windows Server Enterprise Edition with four instances and the toolset, then you go up from there.

Michele Crockett: I think that might be an interesting planning guide, we have pieces in our magazine called essential guides. On the SQL Server side there's a huge interest in virtualization, and that's where things get kind of fuzzy for that audience and they're not sure how to approach that.

Michael Risse: The two things that we talked about today, one being the virtualization, and the other being SQL Server data services in the sky. One of the things about small-to-midmarket businesses, the democratization of technology—this is my bad word for the day—where we'll see more interesting technologies being available to more companies of different sizes. It used to be you can have this because you're big—ERP, instant messaging, business analytics. We're big enough that we can have an IT specialist who does this. What we're seeing now is more service organizations providing, for example, business analytics services to small-to-midmarket businesses, so you can basically just bring your data. You don't have to pay for the server, operating system, data center, expertise, but you can take your data and have it processed for you.

Michele Crockett: I think that's huge because within SQL Server you can make a lifetime career out of understanding everything that reporting services can do. So for an IT generalist, it's like they've gotten the keys to this Ferari, but they're really a bike person.

Michael Risse: That's the part where the partner and the trusted advisor piece comes in. I know you want to see that we can take this data and do the following analysis and provide the following reporting on it. So the services model. From an ISV perspective, here's how I deliver my application on the web. From a BI perspective, here's how BI can become a service. Those are both interesting from SQL perspective, and then I agree with you on virtualization as well. So those two interesting trends, databases themselves—which you can make a career out of data reporting—and if SQL Server databases themselves weren't interesting enough, Software + Services and virtualization technologies—two of the major conversations in the industry—those have gotten businesses themselves based on the database business.

Michele Crockett: I think that will be very interesting.

Michael Risse: And then in both cases we can follow up on the Windows Server side. We've got a very elegant service that starts from you can do it by hand with a single virtual instance, but then as you grow we have both the Windows Server products and the System Center products that will stay with it.

Michele Crockett: Any closing remarks you want to make about helping SMBs through this tight economic time?

Michael Risse: I'll go back to where we started. There are a lot of small-to-midmarket organizations: 12 million organizations worldwide with at least 5 PCs, and many smaller than that, just to give you a sense of the scale. The importance of partners in the partner program and trusted advisors, that's what's going to bridge the gap. We've had conversations to think about Small Business Server and BPOS, Essential Business Server and virtualization. We have technologies that can help customers save money now, that I think customers are going to be interested in. What's going to bridge our portfolio to those customers facing these tough economic situations that want all these things shown in the survey is going to be our partner program. It's very hard for me to talk about the products and customers without recognizing the leveraging effects that our partner program, MSTP, has in getting us from here to there.

Casey (Microsoft representative): I just wanted to mention one more thing. I know you were looking at some of the survey data and how we interpret it. Even listening to this conversation, one of the topics that popped out for us a little bit was how quickly the SMBs responded that they wanted to improve their ability to connect with customers, customer management. That signaled to us in mid-October that a lot of people are looking down the hatches at strictly reducing cost, one of the very early efforts a lot of people are thinking about is how they can use software to improve the customer experience. When you look at everything from databases to cloud services, EBS/SBS, it looks like from that data one of the early areas where the SMBs will be making investments and leveraging software, will be frankly trying to improve that customer experience to compete on that level.

Michele Crockett: Right, so maybe thinking about things like dynamics and CRM?

Casey (Microsoft representative): Exactly. I know you're looking at the data, and as Michael said a lot of it is in line with what we think, but also I think a lot of it is things that people outside of software people wouldn't assume, as people are trying to pack in for a long cold winter, we know SMBs are thinking of ways that they can compete, and this is one of the top areas they looked at.

Michele Crockett: Yes, I think that's really smart, and again we're the guinea pig, at this tough time we just rolled out dynamics to our sales force last week. We're going to experiment with the Loveland office.

Related Reading:

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.