Tuesday, July 11, 2006

SBS2003: R2 might not be revolutionary, but it’s relevant

Okay, then… I don’t get it. I’ve read the posts, I’ve looked at the changes in SBS 2003 R2, and I just don’t get what the fuss is all about. So it’s an updated release of SBS 2003 with some new features… some good, maybe some bad… but mostly relevant updates… I’ll do the same thing with R2 as I did with SBS2003.

I’ll start by looking at my customers who have servers that are coming up on hardware warranty expirations in the near future, I’ll explain to them the benefits of being covered under warranty, and how they’ll benefit from lower-cost subscription-based managed services and then I’ll recommend server replacement or OS upgrade where appropriate. Will the conversion rate be huge? I don’t know yet. Will I send out marketing materials about R2? Probably not. But will I talk to my customers about it to “plant a seed”? Absolutely.

It’s important to me that we convert the remaining SBS2000 customers to R2. Just like it was important when we converted those still on SBS4.5/NT4 to SBS2003. There’s always going to be customers that are a generation behind mainstream… and if they’re good customers, I’m not going to send them to competitors just because they’re slow to change (now if they don’t pay, that’s a different story).

I think planting the seed is important, because even if they decide not to upgrade today, they’re going to remember something about it during the next cycle. And as long as you’ve earned a spot as a trusted advisor, they’re going to remember (maybe with some prompting) that upgrade/replacement was talked this during the last cycle, and that they should give some serious consideration this time around.

The SMB market might not be the enterprise, but just because our customers work with smaller budgets, doesn't mean that we don't have a need for reliable service, and supporable hardware.


Terry said...

Nick, I'll not speak for Vlad's motivations, but from my POV I agree that SBS 4.5/2000 installs are perfect candidates for SBS R2. But an existing SBS 2003 SP1 install w/o SA, I don't see a reason to sell them R2, especially since we deploy WSUS already. Still, I don't think R2 is irrelevant, I just think it's a bit premature. Six more months and they could have added WSS v3.0 and Exchange '07 and really made a great release.

Nick said...

Terry, I think we're in general agreement. The exception might be on the six more months until Exchange 2007 integration into SBS - the SBS-sizing seems to take a really long time. So, I would guess (having not looked at any of the projected timelines) that the next version of SBS - assuming no R2 release - would be even further out in the future. And that doesn't stick with Microsoft's plans of accelerating the release cycle of their OS's.

Susan Bradley said...

Exchange 2007 can only go on 64 bit OS.. which needs Longhorn.. it's not "6 more months".

Longhorn won't be that soon folks.

Nick said...

As I've said before, R2 is a good next-step for the SBS platform. When you consider that Longhorn is still a way off, and that the SBS-integration of Longhorn is even further, I think R2 makes sense.

Vlad said...

Aside from the skewed timelines in the comments your article/post is dead on. You're selling a solution to small business that helps them run their business. You are not selling them the box, the nuts and bolts or the associated pieces. To a customer its just a dumb box that facilitates what they do, it is your job to decipher what goes in the box and how it impacts their business.

Will it save them time?
Will it save you time?

If the answer to both is no then you simply do not upgrade, its as simple of an equation as you can possibly get. If you're not more profitable with it and customer is not more profitable with it then there is no reason to pay attention to it. Who does it benefit??