Small Businesses 'Connect' with Microsoft

By SmallBusinessComputing.com Staff | Posted June 11, 2003

More and more big businesses are investing in new ways to reach out to smaller businesses. "Connect with Microsoft" is a program consisting of more that 2,500 free educational seminars produced annually and updated quarterly for small- and mid-sized businesses. Microsoft and its technology partners, IT professionals and developers have hit the road to make it easy for business owners to connect with Microsoft's experts in cities across the country.

A team of 60 presenters works to educate local businesses, technology providers and partners on the latest technologies that could help them better service their customers. The Connect with Microsoft Seminars consist of six different topics — odds are good that a presentation is going on somewhere near you very soon.

The Microsoft TouchPoint Series is part of a larger Microsoft effort to offer free support and education to small businesses. This series gives small businesses the opportunity to share challenges and ideas, while learning about how to utilize the right technology solutions to help them run their businesses efficiently.

Participating small businesses should expect to learn about how to invest in new technologies wisely by making informed and educated decisions about the kind of technology they need now and in the future. The Microsoft products and solutions covered in this seminar include FrontPage 2003, the Microsoft Office System, Small Business Server and Windows XP.

The TS2 Seminar, short for Technical Sales for Technical Specialists, is designed for local technology providers whose customers include small- and mid-sized companies. This seminar is one way in which Microsoft shares both new products and resources with resellers so they can better meet the needs of their small and mid-sized business customers.

For example, Microsoft partners learn ways to develop a security practice for their customers using the Microsoft Office System and Small Business Server 2000. Participants receive free security tools from Microsoft and can expect to learn about the company's preparation for the launch of Windows Server 2003. Attendees also gain input on how to grow their business and get in-depth information about Microsoft's licensing, training, certification, and support options.

Designed specifically for technology professionals and IT providers, products covered in this seminar include Microsoft .Net, the Microsoft Office System, Security issues, and Windows Server 2000 and 2003.

The Microsoft Business Solutions Seminar offers mid-sized businesses live demonstrations of several Microsoft Business Solutions products. The seminars are geared toward helping mid-sized businesses streamline operations and automate routine tasks. This seminar is a half-day event that provides attendees the opportunity to meet with Microsoft representatives and discuss their individual business needs. Products covered in this seminar include Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Management (ERM), and Great Plains solutions.

The Women and Minority Entrepreneurs seminar is designed to educate minority-based small business operators about achieving their business goals by streamlining their operations. Presented in English and Spanish, this seminar covers topics such as how to better manage growth, marketing on a shoestring budget, and how to build a small business with integrated solutions. Specific products covered in this seminar include FrontPage 2003, the Microsoft Office System, and Small Business Server.

The TechNet Briefings seminar dives deeply into the technical aspects of Microsoft products and solutions to provide participants with a detailed knowledge of product offerings and operations. Microsoft technology specialists with real-world implementation experience of its business solutions present TechNet Briefings about such issues as deploying wireless networks, upgrading desktop software, and server security considerations.

The MSDN seminar is also half-day presentation designed for professional software developers. Presented by Microsoft's experts and packed with intense, how-to technical information, the purpose of the MSDN event is to educate professionals about Microsoft developer tools.

Anyone interested in participating in one of Microsoft's seminars can pre-register online — registration requires that you use or open a Passport account, which like the each of the six different seminars is free of charge.

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