Technology, Infrastructure and Cloud Focused.

Father of 3 lovely children, geek, infrastructure expert, technical architect and all round technologist.

What does it take to be a good sales person?

So the other day I got invited out to a great evening with some new acquaintances, although the people in question were suppliers to us the evening was fantastic and entertaining, conversation enlightening and we picked up some great advise which I wanted to share.  Of course the evening started talking shop and technical chit chat and lead into some leading questions I asked around “what does success mean to you”? and “what techniques have you used when selling a solution or product”?.

I am not going to name the people but what I thought was the best advise and something I will take on-board for the future was the following:

  1. Briefly explain your solution / product and then focus on turning the conversation around to the client’s challenges and issues – find out the pain points, what keeps them awake at night, why they worry about, this is handy for then leveraging your products benefits.
  2. Regardless of rank or job title if you have any negative people within the room or people that are supporters of competitors products then take the time to listen to them, find our why they think their products are better.
  3. Be honest – yes I know this could be hard for some people but if your product cannot provide the benefits to fix the clients issues or your solution is not as good as another – tell them that, but tell them in such a way that you then explain why or what you could do!  On the other hand if your product / solution offers more functionality or even does the same thing in a different mannor then again tell the client, explain why it is the same or different – this will go along way.
Over the years I have met a lot of salesman and what I found with the above points was how these people not only focused on the stakeholder but also the staff (lower down) because they valued everyone, every challenge and wanted to ensure the whole audience left the presentation feeling that their product / solution could be fit for purpose and fix the issues.
For me a good lesson learnt was my focus would have always been the stakeholders, of course identifying the business challenges and issues but not really against focusing on negativity.

Alpaca Farm Game – Win a free iPad

Alpaca Farm Game

So what can I really say about this, yes I know that I do not really blog about games, but a very close friend of ours has just released this game.  Now I had reservations on this when I first heard about the project but this game is AMAZING.  We have 3 children and the minute I got this game in front of them to say “look what daddy’s friend created” – well thats it I have lost my iPhone and iPad.

This game is aimed at 9 – 16 year old but I must admit I have stopped playing Angry Bird and CSR racing – wow so addictive and the music really winds me up.

The best side is the game is free for a limited time.

So take a look and see what you think, links below and of course the bonus is winning an iPad.

Download the FREE game –http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/alpaca-farm/id543947056?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2

YouTube Trailer – http://youtu.be/HZjTIycqI_U

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/AlpacaFarmGame 

CloudShare who? Blog Series Part 1

Welcome back everyone, as promised I am starting to populate this blog more and more and therefore onto the next installments.  CloudShare is one of those fantastic companies that comes along every once in a while, you take a look sign up for a trial and then cannot put it down.

If you are looking for a virtual environment that is cloud based and do not want the hassle of building virtual machines, mounting software etc then these guys are perfect for you.  Hopefully when I get their permission I will blog on how to setup your environments, give access to additional team members of guests and so the easy of the interface – even working on the iPad..!

The purpose of us using these environments are two fold; first to start building our SharePoint Development platform instead of using Office365 then next to build an Exchange 2010, Lync, Win 7, Linux and AD environment – this way we can remove the hardware in our lab and consolidate onto using the CloudShare.

Now you may think there is a catch for such a great product – there is but only small, your servers are not powered on all the time (there is an upgrade option for this), after so many mins / hours (I can not remember off the top of my head)  your VM’s will spin down, but is this such a problem – no way just look at the benefits:-

  • Pre-built servers, built and powered on within minutes.
  • Share environments with team members, clients and demo’s.
  • Web based and RDP based access.
  • Integration with your internal platform.
  • Ability to create snap shots.

No here is the perfect offer – all this for only $499 a year for 24GB RAM allocation (at present), see the below for details:

CloudShare ProPlus is now available with up to 24 GB of RAM.  And You Can Save $390!

Click here for details

Blog Series – My experience with the first Mimecast implementation part 1

I wanted to build up a series of blog posts around my first experience with implementing the Mimecast solution.  These posts will be part of an on-going series, as we progress throughout the project so please check back our look at our twitter feed for more details.  Before diving into the detail I want to give an overview (in my opinion) of what the Mimecast Solution has to offer and then the reason(s) for selecting this product for the company I am working for at present.

Mimecast offer a complete cloud based unified messaging platform that offers the following services.  It is worth noting that Mimecast are currently the best of breed within the industry and look at the Bloor report for Best Practice Email Archiving comes top:-

1. Email Security, Anti Virus and Anti Spam filtering.

2. Email continuity – if you Exchange (internal or cloud hosted, such as Office 365 / BPOS) server goes offline then the Mimecast client (additional module) will redirect the traffic to the Mimecast cloud.

3. Email archiving – the default is 10 years but you have the option of unlimited storage, yes that’s right UNLIMITED..!  Microsoft Office plug-in to search the archive – just like a PST file.

4. eDiscovery and Litigation – the ability to securely search for mails or mailboxes under investigation.  You can define a very tight sign off and auditing procedure for this.

5. Email Migration – One of the biggest selling points of the continuity elements are the benefits to aiding Exchange migration to 2007 / 2010 or even off premise.

6. Blackberry continuity – those Blackberry outages last year are a thing of the past with Mimecast’s solution.  The ability to invoke Blackberry DR and route all your RIM email traffic through the Mimecast cloud.

7. Email Branding – the ability to multi-brand emails based on users, Active Directory groups, email addresses etc and have some limited reporting on how many recipients click back.

8. Secure attachment portal – remove the attachment and email the recipient a link to retrieve the document from a secure portal.

9. Convert attachments – convert attachments based on a rule-set to PDF.

10. Online based portal – Web based admin portal and Blackberry / iPhone based application to search the archive.

11.  100% Uptime and SLA – yes I said it Mimecast claim to offer 100% – I will report back on this.

12.  Data Sovereignty – yes, this is a massive benefit for me and one that I think will make cloud providers stand out – UK based data, securely encrypted within the UK (the data is written to a number of data centres at once).

 

As you can see with all the above features there is no wonder why this has become a truly “best of breed” technology.  Now the reasons for purchasing in this example is to replace an on-site email archiving, consolidate the current email security devices, dramatically reduce the onsite email storage, improve email continuity and provide a lower TCO.

So where am I now?

The process of implementing and on-boarding the Mimecast service is one of the best I have ever seen so far.  Very positive, organised and informational at each of the 3 phases:

1. Configure Outbound Routing.

2. Configure Inbound Routing.

3. Data Ingestion – Configure Exchange servers, export the data and roll out the Outlook client / plug-in.

Mimecast have a very good knowledge base system and provide free online training.  You get assigned dedicated engineers to assist at each phase with information provided via email, PDF and direct contact with the engineer.

The next post will going into the phase 1 Outbound configuration testing.

New EC Law – Businesses to report data breaches within the EU within 24hrs

I have been meaning to post this information up for the last 2 weeks.  Recently I came across an interesting article from the SC Magazine regarding a new EU Law that will apply to the 27 counties within the EU.  Viviane Reding, vice-president of the European Commission in charge of justice, fundamental rights and citizenship mentioned that companies will need to report breaches within 24hrs.

The article goes on to explain the need and role of a data protection officer.  For more details please see the following link.

http://www.scmagazineuk.com/businesses-will-have-to-report-major-data-breaches-within-24-hours-under-new-ec-law/article/224624/