Welcome to the first of our guest blogs from Hilton Travis, the Australian Small Business Specialist Partner Area lead.

Enjoy. :-)



HiltonWith the release of SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 just around the corner, now is the time to start looking at what these two new products have to offer if you’ve not had the chance to look already.  SBS 2008 has already been released to manufacturing with the worldwide launch being slated for November 12, 2008 and EBS went RTM today – both products are available for download/CD shipment as Release Candidates and if you ask Robbie Upcroft nicely, maybe he still has a few copies left he can send out.

There have been a number of members of the local User Groups that have been looking into various aspects of these new products and who are more than willing to share their experiences with their respective User Groups.  As we get nearer the launch date and for quite some time after, your local User Groups will be presenting material on SBS and EBS and along with the collective areas of experience that these User Group members have, this will ensure that we all get a good chance to look at and learn quickly about these new products.  At this point in time, there is an unfortunate lack of real technical information released by Microsoft about these two new products, however with the upcoming SBS and EBS training that the Australian MVPs will be going to the USA to receive, along with the experience of the user group members, there’s no doubt that we’ll be able to bring ourselves quickly up to speed.

I therefore encourage all Australian SBSCs to join their local User Group (see http://www.sbsgroups.com.au/default.aspx for a complete list) so they can participate in the Community (the “C” part of the SBSC designation) and give their own input as well as receive help and support from other User Group members.  The Perth User Group is just starting off and has had one meeting already – they don’t have a web presence as yet, but as the group grows this will follow, so feel free to contact Robbie (rupcroft@microsoft.com) or myself (Hilton@sbscpal.com) about the Perth User Group.  As well as your local User Group, there are two Yahoo! Groups for all Australian and New Zealand SMB IT specialists – the ANZ-SMB-ITS list is for anyone working as an SMB IT specialist to discuss general SMB IT issues that are not specific to a local area, and the ANZ-SBSC group which is specifically for SBSC-related discussions.