Thursday, July 22, 2010

Talking Shop with LiveOffice

Cloud computing was the theme of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference this week. I’m not sure if that was the official theme but the cloud seemed to be on everyone’s lips, however tangentially their company’s offering supported the concept.

LiveOffice, the largest hosted email archiving provider with 10,000+ clients, seems well positioned to take advantage of the business world’s move to the cloud. I got to sit down with Amy Dugdale, their Director of Marketing, and talk shop about LiveOffice and its offering to the market.

Here is a snapshot of our discussion:

Tell us a little about yourself

I got my start in marketing working for global public relations agencies like Hill and Knowlton and Weber Shandwick. The Internet boom of the late 1990’s was a great time to be learning about and developing a deep love for the technology world. I was hired seven years ago by the founders of LiveOffice. Now I’m part of the team charged with developing and executing marketing strategies to attract clients in a variety of verticals that are in need of an archiving solution.

What’s the deal with LiveOffice?

LiveOffice was founded in 1998, is currently located in southern California and has 150 employees. We are experts in archiving solutions for companies of all sizes. We can archive several data types including email, IM, Reuters, Sharepoint, mobile device communications and social networking website content. From the beginning, we have had a completely cloud-based offering (no hardware or software required and no lengthy implementation times). Our current offering includes LiveOffice Personal Archive, LiveOffice Discovery Archive, LiveOffice AdvisorMail, LiveOffice Email Continuity, LiveOffice SharePoint Archive and LiveOffice Social Archive. For all of our solutions we offer an unlimited storage package for a flat fee per user per month. Our clients range from 25 person professional services firms to 25,000 mailbox financial behemoths. The widespread adoption of LiveOffice archiving solutions is related to three strong market drivers: regulatory compliance, legal discovery and mailbox management.

How long has LiveOffice been a Microsoft Partner?

LiveOffice has been a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner since 2000. With the growing adoption of Microsoft BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), we recently developed a connector that integrates LiveOffice archiving with Exchange Online (one component of BPOS). This As a result, in the last year we have developed a very close relationship with Microsoft’s Online Services team.

What are your goals for WPC 2010?

Our main goal is to raise awareness of LiveOffice’s capabilities for Exchange online archiving with Microsoft partners and integrators. This is our first year exhibiting at WPC and we’ve had an absolute blast! We have been meeting with our existing contacts at Microsoft and finding many more new ones. It’s a real eye opener to see the amazing Microsoft partner ecosystem and all the different companies developing exciting solutions in the cloud. We’ll definitely be back next year…

FYI- LiveOffice’s CEO Nick Mehta was featured in Redmond Channel Partner magazine this month. Here is a blurb from the article, “Get Comfortable with the Cloud”

As CEO of LiveOffice LLC, Nick Mehta is in the thick of cloud computing. He also has a lengthy IT resume including vice president stints in software at Veritas Software Corp. and Symantec Corp., time as a venture capitalist and experience as an executive at a storage software startup acquired by Microsoft (XDegrees). We asked Mehta where he sees some of the best opportunities for Microsoft partners to add value in the cloud:

  1. Single sign-on (SSO). “SSO is going to be better when BPOS upgrades with the current product wave. Even then, two-factor authentication is an area where I’ve seen a lot of partners add a lot of value.”
  2. Migration. “There’s commodity-level migration, then more-subtle projects, such as calendar and tasks. E-mail has gotten easier; Microsoft has good tools. Every partner will do it, but some will do it better than others.”
  3. Integration with internal systems. Prime candidates include other e-mail systems, custom systems, fax systems and unified messaging systems. “Some partners have done connectors,” he says.
  4. SharePoint. “It’s a platform rather than a product,” Mehta notes. Several partners we spoke with for this article anticipate vast functionality improvements in SharePoint Online shortly.
  5. Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS). “I don’t think people have scratched the surface on OCS, at all. Most partners, like us, are focused on e-mail,” Mehta says.
  6. Integrating the Microsoft cloud with other cloud apps. “Integrating between BPOS and, is an example. I think that’s a great opportunity there. Most of these clouds have nice APIs so it’s actually doable.”
  7. Putting IT at ease. “This is a little more fuzzy. A lot of partners are talking to people who are running Exchange internally, or maybe Lotus or GroupWise. The partner can help the IT person define what their responsibilities will be now. A partner can come in and say, ‘Look, here’s what our customers have done, here’s how their jobs have changed.’ My experience in the cloud is that the job doesn’t go away. It changes, but it’s still very important. You still need this interface between the cloud and the users.

If you’re a partner, you can win some good-will with the customer by broaching that up front.”

This was originally posted on

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

High Energy at WPC10 with Dan King of New West Technologies

The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference here in DC amazed me with its high energy and the enthusiasm of its attendees. Everyone I talked to was excited about the news, gossip and stories they were hearing from around the Microsoft partner ecosystem. One guy talked with was Dan King, CEO of New West Technologies, and he almost single handedly could have been an alternative energy source for the show.

Here are some quick snippets of our conversation:

Who is New West?

New West Technologies is a company I founded back in 1992 that sells systems to people with money. Ha! No, seriously, we are based out of Portland, Oregon and we are an organization of geeks who love playing with gadgets, electronics and computers. We been fortunate to turn our passion into a business than solves problems for our customers.

Over the past few years, we have focused our energies on successfully integrating POS systems with mobile technologies and helping our retail industry clients save money. As a company that a OEM builder, an ISV, a VAR and a consulting practice, we bring to the table a variety of capabilities- a strength that led to us being named the 2010 Microsoft Partner of the Year.

Who are some of the clients you’ve worked with?

Our clients are mostly small businesses with retail space, like apparel stores, liquor stores- hard goods type shops. It is amazing the impact a well thought out technology solutions can have. One client is a parking lot. Yes, a parking lot. They increased revenue 15% by installing a mobile POS system that allows people to buy car washes while their car was sitting in the lot. 15% to the owner of a parking lot is a huge increase.

Another client is the Portland Children’s Museum. We worked with them to install a POS system that made it easier for customers to buy tickets and saved the museum $47,000 in one year. You can see the whole story in our YouTube video:

Originally posted on

Friday, July 16, 2010

Conversation with Sean Harris of PassLogix

I was eager to meet up Sean Harris of PassLogix at the Worldwide Partner Conference. Security and identity management have been issues that have continuously plagued the IT world…seemingly forever. Sean is the Vice President of Sales for PassLogix and is on the front lines of working with enterprises to solve the most vexing security issue: password management.

Here is a quick recap of our conversation:

What is PassLogix?

PassLogix has developed software that takes away the need for users to manage their own usernames and passwords. Aside from the fact that remembering twelve passwords is an enormous hassle, most people tend to create a security vulnerability for their company by using one simple word as their password, and then never changing it. PassLogix helps clients to ensure that their enterprise level password strength is strong, lower help desk calls (by eliminating the need for users to remember any passwords) and even integrating password management with card readers at the desktop level.

PassLogix was started in 1996 and has 23 million users. Their software can be implemented by companies of any size from small businesses to large enterprises like Kaiser Permanente, HSBC and the US Post Office. Being size agnostic and complete scalable, PassLogix is seeing increasing demand as companies are embracing the cloud and using a combination of local applications as well as those served over the Internet.

How long have you been a Microsoft Partner?

PassLogix is a long time Microsoft Partner. However, in the past year and a half, that relationship has grown markedly stronger. PassLogix has developed strategic relationships with most identity management software vendors. Microsoft recently rolled out Microsoft Forefront, a identity management solution that provided us a opportunity to seamlessly integrate our product with theirs.

What do you think of WPC 2010?

While we were here last year, this is the first time we have been in a booth. It is a fantastic opportunity to network with our Microsoft contacts- some of whom we’d only spoken to on the phone! It is great for relationship building to put faces to people’s names. We are also excited to meet and learn about other Microsoft partners. For example, we have had numerous conversations around how to integrate identity management into the Unified Access Gateway environment. We’ll be working with Microsoft’s other UAG partners to ensure that as companies continue to embrace the cloud they won’t expose themselves to security vulnerabilities.

(This post originally appeared on Microsoft Partner News)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Interview with Kristin Bockius, Microsoft’s State and Local Government Relationship Manager

Originally posted on

The Worldwide Partner Conference is hopping down here at the Washington Convention Center. The energy level is high as 14,000 attendees network with each other and learn about the latest Microsoft software and services. One attendee I had a conversation with was Kristin Bockius. She works in the Public Sector group at Microsoft and leads their efforts to build relationships with state and local government clients and partners that service them. She is is an thought leader in how to utilize social media marketing techniques. Here is a few snippets of our conversation:

Why are you here at WPC?

I’m here mainly to connect with partners that sell to state and local governments or have an interest in tapping into this huge marketplace. I’m particularly keen on showing how they can use effective social media marketing campaigns to grow sales and strengthen client relationships. For example, if a partner isn’t using any social media tools now, they can still work with us to leverage the social media properties Microsoft has already built, like, and, and

Can you share some examples?

Sure. Infostrat is an IT consulting company and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. I recently sat down with them for a social media consult. They were very interested on how to leverage social media in a business to business (B2B) and a business to government (B2G) situation. I shared a set of best practices that we’ve developed at Microsoft and now they are going to be launching a new marketing initiative with social media at its core.

Another company is SpeakTECH. They already have embraced the benefits of social media marketing as cost effective way to reach to prospects and customers. The challenge is here is how do we at Microsoft co-mingle our social media marketing activies with theirs in a way that effectively but appropriately drives new sales.

Lastly, I’m also going to be talking with Zones about how they can expand their already successful business into the sometimes hard to penetrate state and local government marketplace.

This is your first time at WPC. What do you think so far?

I’m psyched to be here. For one, I love DC! Plus, compared to other trade shows, everyone here is really engaged and enthusiastic.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Facebook Worth $23 Billion? and Other Questions

Is Facebook worth $23 billion or $12? Whatever Facebook is worth in the end- those are some really big numbers...

Twitter Places is targeting Foursquare and Gowalla (again). I haven't seen the benefit of location based social media. Although I do have a Foursquare account, I haven't used it much. Do you use it regularly? What do you get out of it?

Worried about a large asteroid hitting the earth and wiping out life as we know it? Don't worry, the Russians have our back.

My agency was just selected by TerraGo Technologies to provide integrated public relations and social media services with the goal of increasing awareness for TerraGo's software solutions among decision-makers at government agencies and industrial organizations. TerraGo is a really cool geospatial data company that delivers software applications that extend the access and application of maps and images for non-GIS users and customers. I'm psyched we get to work with them.

Lastly, take a moment to vote for Ryan Zimmerman for the All-Star Game this Monday. Not convinced? Click below to see the video of him hitting a walk off home run last night...

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Braun Jones of WWC Capital Group, latest on Straight to the Point Podcast

For as long as I've been recording podcasts for the Straight to the Point series, I've been focused on how marketing executives have been addressing larger business problems from a marketing perspective. I've been really lucky to sit down with some outstanding professionals from Microsoft, British Telecom, Socialware, BearingPoint and others.

Last week, however, I shifted gears a little bit and interviewed Braun Jones. Braun is a principal at WWC Capital Group, which is an investment banking and private equity firm dedicated to serving middle market companies in need of capital or seeking advisory services to complete a sale or an acquisition. I wanted to sit down and pick his brain about economic and market trends that affect the environment that marketers have to operate in.

What did we cover?
  • What does the economic outlook look like right now? Five years down the road?
  • How does he make transaction decisions?
  • What kinds of start ups are getting investments now? What technology trends are "hot"?
  • Is the government contracting market ready for another round of mergers?

Listen to the show on BlogTalkRadio...

or just click play...

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