Service Provider Cloud visibility at Microsoft WPC 2012

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)

A big concern for hosting and service provider partners over the past few years has been how Microsoft are positioning their direct to market offerings (Office 365, Azure) and how these will impact their businesses.  Put bluntly are Microsoft going to put them out of business.

The GREAT news from WPC in Toronto is that there are clear indicators on a number of fronts that Microsoft want service provider clouds to be seen as an important part of their overall cloud strategy.


azureservicesforserverMicrosoft are very careful about messaging so the use of Service Provider on many slides is not an accident.  That the use of Service Provider is in the headline and NOT as a footnote is very positive.





SPLA (Service Provider License Agreement) despite being a significant revenue generator for Microsoft is poorly understood, even within Microsoft.  The SPLA acronym is rarely seen and even less talked about. So good to see SPLA turning up on slides during keynotes.

Feature Share from Azure to Windows Server 2012:

Microsoft have been driving a lot of their “scale” innovation for Windows through the Azure platform.  Concern has been expressed that this was providing an unfair advantage to Microsoft’s own platform at the expense of service providers.  The good news is that many of these Azure capabilities are being made available to the service provider world:

“We’re striving to have consistency across three key areas: Customer datacenters, service providers’ datacenters and our datacenters,” said Ian Carlson, Director of Product Marketing

(Mary Jo Foley has a summary

Microsoft Staff Scorecards:

Microsoft’s scorecard system is a key determinant for staff behaviour (“never be surprised when people do exactly what the commission plans says”).  Although SPLA is a large revenue stream and THE licensing program for service providers it is small compared to other Microsoft volume license programs.  Traditionally this has meant that very few Microsoft staff were motivated to understand much less push SPLA.

However from personal experience of FY13 planning discussions with Microsoft staff and Kevin Turners clear statement (during his Wednesday keynote) that staff will not be able to achieve accelerators unless they hit their “cloud” targets I am expecting a fundamental shift of interest in SPLA during FY13.


Microsoft’s own online assets (Office 365, Azure, CRM Online etc) will clearly play a major part in this “mainstreaming” of the cloud within Microsoft.  However they will not be able to reach their targets through these alone and as indicated above the service provider cloud has been clearly signposted as a critical part of the Microsoft FY13 plans.

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Telstra – extend time before call goes to voicemail

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)

Had that feeling as you run to catch a call on your mobile that it will roll over to voicemail just as you pick up the phone?

If you are on Telstra then make a call to the following number and this will extend the wait until voicemail kicks in to 30 seconds:


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Yahoo mail, iPhone, Outlook and IMAP syncing together

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)

Bottom line = yes you can have imap support with the free Yahoo mail service and sync across your devices

Like others I have many email accounts across various providers and accessed from multiple devices.  One of the challenges is keeping them all in sync irrespective of where I access them and from what device.  For the MS Exchange based accounts this is easy – it just works.  However for my Yahoo based accounts this has been a pain.  If I delete emails using my smart phone, then I have to delete them again when I go into Outlook and vice versa.  I had tried to address this some time ago but gave up and have just accepted that because Yahoo uses POP based mailboxes it is a pain and has to be lived with.

However recently my wife changed over from a feature phone to a smart phone (iPhone) and she has been asking lots of “How?” and “Why?” questions.  One of these was “Why do I have to delete emails twice, both on my iPhone and in Outlook? Do I need to turn on iCloud or something, this should just work and you are the techie in the house? Why?”

After my initial reasoned response (OK we all know I gave blustering and frustrated reasons explaining that Yahoo uses POP and therefore….) I got to thinking that she was right (hold the front pages!!!) it should just work.

Search Results and the Answer

Surely Yahoo now supports Imap, this is 2012 after all.  Lots of searches suggested that:

  • There was some sort of imap support
  • It may or may not be officially supported
  • It may or may not only be available to premium accounts

But what the hell, if I can make it work then there have to be some “good boy” credits to be earned so I pulled together the various bits of info and tested on my account and

It works

Configure your iPhone:

  • Just use the “Settings/”Mail, Contacts, Calendars”, “Add account”
  • Select the pre configured/standard Yahoo option
  • Complete the 4 options
  • The default protocol for this Yahoo account is imap
  • Step 1 DONE

Configure Outlook:

  • Unfortunately it does not appear possible to change an existing account in Outlook that was setup using POP to use imap. So you will need to setup a new account and have some sort of transition plan to ensure that any data that has been stored locally and not syncd to Yahoo is not lost.
  • (I created a new profile, used the following steps to add an imap account for Yahoo mail, then attached the data file for the POP pst file, copied/drag/drop address book entries, draft emails etc, then removed the POP pst data file)
  • See “Outstanding Issues” below before you go mad trying to add or remove certain things……
  • I have Outlook 2010 so some of the following may vary slightly depending on your version.
  • Click the “File” tab (top left), Click “Add Account”, Select “Manually configure….”, Select “Internet e-mail”
  • Configure the following screens as below.  Obviously pick IMAP, ensure you use the address for the incoming server, and use your full email address (for POP you don’t include the part)
  • image 
  • Next click “More Settings” and configure the “outgoing server” and “advanced” tabs
  • image
  • image
  • Click OK and then next.  This will by default test your connection options and hopefully you will get 2 “completed”
  • Step 2 Done

Hopefully this will work for you.

Outstanding issues:

  • Cannot sync the address book across all devices
  • Cannot sync the calendars across all devices
  • Have to have a stub “Outlook data file” within Outlook even if only account is the Yahoo imap one (apparently this is because there needs to be somewhere within outlook to store contacts and calendar entries and Yahoo imap data files cannot support these)
Posted in Cloud Infrastructure | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

NewLease Roadshow – Find your clouds silver lining

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)

It’s that time of year and NewLease are running their annual Hosting roadshow over the next 3 weeks in:

  • Brisbane (Tues 15th May)
  • Perth (Thurs 17th May)
  • Melbourne (Tues 22nd May)
  • Sydney (Thurs 24th May)
  • Auckland (Tues 19th May)
  • Wellington (Thurs 31st May)

Who Should Attend – If you are a service provider then whether you are already in the cloud or are considered adding the cloud to your portfolio then these events are for you.


The ‘cloud phenomenon’ has matured to the point where organisations of all sizes are looking seriously at what the long-term ramifications could be. It is the time NOW to evaluate the various options on the table and make an informed decision on how best to approach the market.

Don’t let your business be left behind

Join NewLease and its presenting partners to find out how you can embrace the cloud and set up your business for future success.

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Collection of Cloud Related Links #6

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)

As part of the ongoing NewLease mission to share our passion and understanding for the Cloud, please find another collection of articles that relate to the Cloud Service Provider market:


My comments

When is it too early to hire a dedicated salesperson and when is the right time? Some clear and simple ideas to guide your decision making

The growth in interest and forecasts for SaaS based ERP systems suggests we are breaking away from tactical use of the Cloud into strategic.

An interesting overview of the perceptions, misconceptions and reality of the impact of data centre downtime.

Dave Girouard, Google’s head of Enterprise Apps was in Sydney earlier this year.  The Sydney Morning Herald provides a summary.

Six secrets to positioning with a point of view

1. Different, not better

2. Disrupt or create a massive category

3. Market your POV, not your company or product

4. Turn your positioning into a POV

5. The POV is the product

6. Your POV sets your market cap (valuation)

Pricing for cloud services from the major vendors is tending towards effective zero.  This makes the need to offer value added services around the core technology service critical to profitability.

IDC report on growth in smart devices connected to the internet.  By 2016 PCs will represent only 25%.  Connecting and Managing non-PC devices looks like a great service opportunity

I have forgotten how much I like Hugh MacLeod and This one gives you a flavour of his style.

Enterprise use of SaaS is driving both acceptance of the model and also quality of the offerings.  Interesting how “social CRM” is still small but growing at 50%.

This is not directly about selling IT, however for me it highlights that a) we need to think creatively about engaging our customers b) we should look outside of the IT industry for ideas

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VMware–subscription licensing focus with VSPP

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)

NewLease have been successfully managing software subscription licensing programs from some of the industry leaders for some time now.  Despite this success it is no secret that in generally terms subscription licensing has been the “poor cousin” of the traditional on-premises programs.

However recently this trend is showing a clear shift.  Although in overall revenue terms on-premises software is still 90+% of the total, what is changing is the focus that the major software vendors are starting to place on their subscription programs.

This was highlighted at the recent VMware PEX partner event in Sydney (4th April 2012) where:

  • Every keynote speaker made clear references to service providers and subscription licensing
  • There was a whole track of sessions (1 of 4) dedicated to the VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP).

A few of the key comments (IMO) made during the keynotes were:

  • Andrew Dutton (General Manager, VMware, APJ) asserted that 100% of IT will be delivered by service providers
  • Recent disasters across the whole of Asia, Pacific and Japan has made business continuity a “must do” focus for company boards. Honda was used as an example, with their R&D facility being affected by the tsunami and their data centre not being backup up. They now a fully virtualised with failover capabilities to China and Korea [AD]
  • China current 5 year plan has the Cloud as the #1 IT priority [AD]
  • Parag Patel (VMware VP Alliances) described how automation will be essential to manage the VM explosion to 80 million by 2014 (IDC)
  • We are moving from a document centric to a collaboration centric model [PP]
  • CIO’s are moving from being the owners of an internal service monopoly to being service brokers [PP] (interesting that this was a move that Exxon was making in the 1990’s)
  • Duncan Bennet (VMware, VP &MD ANZ) shared a recent personal example of a tradesman who used an iPad to show customer references, create a quote, email a copy and ultimately close the business.  This really is enterprise capability at commodity prices – the Cloud is here.
  • There is a 32% grow in VM deployments globally [DB]
  • ANZ is leading this at 37% [DB]
  • 78% of businesses will have some form of private cloud by 2014 (Gartner) [DB]
  • VMware are being clear that vSphere is a key offering, but their “hyper” growth will be in the growing portfolio of adjacent products. [DB]
  • VMware are positioning their offerings across 3 layers [DB]
    • End User
    • Application
    • Infrastructure (the traditional VM space)
  • John Donavon (VMware, Director, Channel Sales ANZ) explained that when VMware compare revenue from partners and correlate this to whether the partner has a competency, they see a 3.5 x multiplier where there is a competency
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Office 2010 Search Commands add-in

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)

Ever wondered where the function you used in versions of Office before the ribbon has moved to?  Although Microsoft research has shown the ribbon to be a productivity enhancement for most users there are still those frustrating moments where you just cannot find that command.  And in some cases that is because the command has not been included in the ribbon but is still available if you know the right short cut.

Search Commands from the Microsoft people at to the rescue.  This is a simple free add-in for Office 2007 & 2010 that adds a “Search” tab to the ribbon and is available at:

A search of “insert” in Microsoft Word reveals the following; note that “Insert Break” is not directly visible from the ribbon, but how to use it is explained:


A search for “Watermark” in Powerpoint shows there are no direct commands to do this.  However the commands that are related to this are shown.  Again note the “Change Background” command is not directly accessible from the ribbon, but is still shown.


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Collection of Cloud Related Links #5

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)

My list of interesting articles is growing quicker than I can pass them on so this should in theory provide greater choice. Hopefully I have selected the more interesting ones.

As always there is no particular order to these articles and the short explanation of why I think they have interest is still there. And remember that whilst these are not specifically Microsoft focused, I have not gone out of my way to find negative articles!


My comments…;photopaging#photopaging

There are so many “I didn’t know you could do that” things in Windows.  Here are 10 of them.

Simple message – Get security right and the Cloud trend will turn into a torrent.  What reallt caught my eye is that in “2013 1/3 of the world population will be mobile workers”

The amount of data flowing in, out and within data centres is truly mindboggling.  What happened to Giga bytes? We are now having to use Zetabytes (10^21 bytes!!!);content

In case you missed it, Microsoft have taken the axe to Office 365 pricing with approx. 20% reductions.

A simple story that customer needs should come first rather than feature lists and technical wizardry.

Why do some people always end up from the negotiating table with the better deal?  Maybe these 5 pieces of advice will improve your results.

Another view on the Simon Sinek idea that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”

Research suggesting that Enterprise CIOs need their cloud suppliers to step up to deliver the difficult tasks rather than offering lite versions of products.  This not about simply replicating what existing software can do, but also about making the cost prohibitive, affordable OR the impossible, possible by using the clouds attributes of scale, elasticity, access anywhere, consumption based billing etc

Amazon is a seriously BIG business.

Backup is pointless if you cannot recover.  A Canadian company focused on business recovery rather than business backup.

A checklist to ensure that your cloud applications are ready to go live. Demonstrating these are all addressed will provide comfort to your customers and potentially speed the sales cycle.

Finally the major players look like they are working together to target SPAM.  Will be interesting to see if we as end users see a drop off as 2012 progresses.

Rackspace share their view on why Cloud computing is good for small businesses.

UK hosting company ukfast shares it’s research on why small businesses are adopting the cloud

Change is difficult and the fear of change is a major inhibitor.  Adoption of the Cloud will result in change for most businesses.  These 5 pieces of advice may help.

And to finish a few quotes about change e.g. “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robin to Pooh–A.A. Milne

Posted in Cloud | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Collection of Cloud Related Links #4

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)

My ongoing quest for interesting (IMHO) cloud related articles continues.  Having started in January I cannot believe that we are already in March – I’m not sure I have kept a New Year promise this long for many years!!

As always there is no particular order to these articles and the short explanation of why I think they have interest is still there. And remember that whilst these are not specifically Microsoft focused, I have not gone out of my way to find negative articles!


My comments

A detailed and honest “route cause analysis” of the reasons for the recent Azure outage by Bill Laing.  It seems remarkable that Azure suffered a date related issue in this supposedly advanced IT world. This will raise concerns for those already worried about the Cloud.  However the open and honest nature of this review is refreshing and promising for the future.

A simple graphical guide to what jurisdictions are involved with your data.  I wonder where Ninefold are based!!;content

The omission of Windows desktop from SPLA and restrictions on Office desktop within SPLA are an ongoing frustration for service providers.  It will be interesting to see where this one lands.

Nearly 3 months into 2012.  How are the predictions from these 12 “experts” standing up (or not!!)

Windows phone is getting great critical reviews even if sales volumes have yet to match this promise.  A core part of this positive feedback has been the Metro interface design and we will see much more of this in Windows 8.  This article provides some insight and background to the thinking behind Metro

Gartner 2011 Top priorities for CIOs in India.  Top few business and technical are fairly predictable so doubt if there will be much change in 2012.  Does this reflect what you are seeing?

The Azure VM Role is getting closer to general availability.  But has Microsoft really got so “open” that they will allow Linux to be used within the VMs – looks like it.

Some simply guidance on how to improve your presentations.

Ray Ozzie joins in with the “post PC era” chorus.  But let’s be honest he has been been talking to anybody who will listen about this for years and has certainly been a huge influence on Microsoft’s current Cloud direction.

Potentially over simplistic but the argument presented here is that the changes the internet and Cloud are driving will mean that in the future there will only be 3 types of jobs in IT: Consultant, Project Managers and Developers.  Rather broad ranging job titles/buckets so most of us could probably find a fit, but makes you think.

Unless we need specialist clothing to do our job we are expected to provide appropriate clothing ourselves.  Has your  “computing device” reached the same device? Basic PC/tablet/phone, bring it yourself.

A mildly humorous flow chart guiding you to a conclusion about whether it would be a good idea to let your staff work from home.

This is just one persons view and there will be other takes on many of the areas covered.  However there is no doubt that Sinofsky has had a profound impact on Microsoft in recent years, being central to 2/3rds of Microsoft revenue.

As you will probably know by now, I like TED.  This is a great and funny presentation on the statistics (honestly) about delivering a successful TED talk.

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Heresy: in the cloud era ongoing value is as important as margin to reseller profitability

(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)


Margin is a key business metric, however in the cloud era the following 3 KPI’s challenge it for the throne:

  • Customers perception of Time to value
  • Delivering additional services at marginal cost
  • Optimising the number of parties using the service


Do not misunderstand me I am not advocating a return to the .com model of grabbing eye balls and worrying about monetising it later. Also I am not suggesting that margin is not important, for long term viability it is a business basic.

What I am saying is that in the annuity world the speed with which value is realised and the ongoing value of a service (time to value) will determine the customers propensity to keep using and hence paying for the service.  This is at least as important as the margin on the component parts of the service.

There is a (simplistic but true) statement that Profit = Revenue – Costs.

However there is a missing and equally simple extension to this:

Revenue = (periodic revenue) x (number of periods).

For most of the IT world over the past 10+ years this has in most situations been an unnecessary extension as the number of periods (transactions) was either 1 or the number of periods (transactions) was guaranteed in contract.  Therefore the focus is on credit risk management to make sure that once the contract was signed the correct payment plan was in place thus ensuring that the customer paid the full amount (in advance, on invoice, payment plan, outsourced finance etc.). Put simply this is a Buyer Beware transaction.  If the service does not live up to the buyers expectation then it is their responsibility to try and recover the money that is already in the sellers pocket.

In the cloud era the commitment from the buyer is to pay for what they actually use with pricing based on the assumption that there will be multiple periodic payments.  Therefore the Revenue required to cover costs is not guaranteed at the point of the sales transaction.  If the service does not deliver the value that the buyer is expecting, in a timely fashion (time to value) then they can leave and stop payments.  The focus is now on churn management and ensuring sufficient value is delivered quickly enough to ensure the buyer stays with the service and keeps paying.  We are now in a Seller Beware world. If a buyer leaves the service it is now the responsibility of the seller to try and recover any outstanding fees, the money has stayed in the buyers pocket.

I will not cover the additional dimensions to the Profit = Revenue – Costs equation further as they simple re-enforce my point.  However in summary:

  • The (costs) of adding additional services to the same customer should be non-linear if the infrastructure is provisioned effectively
  • (number of periods) is not only a function of time, but also the number of parties involved in the Revenue recovery

Put Simply:

As a business owner which would you prefer:

  • A high margin service that sells quickly but also has a high churn rate, leading to poor reputation and diminishing sales
  • A lower margin service that sells as quickly, but has quick time to value and long term usage, with a growing customer base and marginal costs to offer additional high value services?
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