back to article Guess who's now automating small-biz IT jobs? Yes, it's Microsoft

Microsoft has lobbed its Microsoft 365 Business package for small and mid-sized companies into general availability. Companies with fewer than 300 seats to manage are being pitched on the service that wraps Windows PCs, mobile device management (MDM) tools, and Office 365 into a single offering with one management pane for …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Mark 65

      Re: Oh, this is going to be good...

      Yep, took one look at this bit

      Through the use of a single management interface, we're told, senior staff or business owners can not only manage things like patch deployments and file permissions on staffers' Windows boxes, but also set and revoke permissions and accounts on Android and iOS devices through MDM tools and controls for Office 365.

      The aim of the service, said Caroline Goles, director of Redmond's Office small biz marketing, was to give smaller companies the ability to manage computers and devices the same way larger enterprises do, without the need for dedicated admins and large up-front investments.

      and thought "that'll end well". Letting people that think record macro constitutes programming perform sysadmin work should turn out just fine.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And this is meant to be run by a non-IT person? Did anyone read the number of IT Buzzwords microsoft manage to fit into those little statements?

    There is no way a non-IT boss can do this, they wouldn't understand 90% of what they are doing, or why they needed to do it.

    I can't wait til the non-IT people try and figure out the Microsoft AD permissions systems.

    Truly, the end of the world is nigh, soon, they'll be offerring remote access sessions so people can press the big red button...

    1. Mage Silver badge

      they wouldn't understand 90% of what they are doing

      So like Windows for Workgroups, but in the Cloud and trust Microsoft, the company that has had inappropriate services defaults and other settings on EVERY Server OS, SBS, NT Workstation, Win 3.x /Win9x, web browser. email client etc they ever released.

      MS themselves don't understand most of what they are doing, or the Win 8 and Win 10 for desktop would have /would be radically different.

      This will end in tears. For the SOHO and SME.

    2. Mark 110

      It's not actually a bad idea if its done well. But 300 seats???? Nah. A small business with <50 seats maybe. Theres plenty of businesses like that running off a NAS box some local support contractor set up for them to do file and email - this would give them device management, cloudy file and patching as well.

      It would need a very IT competent business manager to tend the thing though and I sense they would soon find it became a fulltime job. Especially if they tried it with 300 seats.

    3. barbara.hudson

      They don't have to understand

      This is targeted at PHBs. They only have to believe they can do it long enough to sign a contract. Dunning-Kruger approved this message.

    4. Triggerfish

      As a poster said below, they is going to be cash going mopping up this mess, it's all very well clicking and enabling things, understanding the ramifications of doing it is a different matter.

      Plus I have worked with a lot of small businesses with very clever owners in their field, but were hopeless with computers, I'm not sure any of them would even want to open up something like this and do it themselves.

  3. Pete 2

    Progress: but in which direction?

    > Indeed, BOFHs are considered a solution of the past,

    Now replaced by the Bastard Software From Microsoft BSFM¹ - doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

    If the future is anything like the past, it will need many more BOFHs to run this, than it will save.

    [1] Not sure why, but my fingers kept adding a superfluous D to that acronym.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Progress: but in which direction?

      I think it's more FWFM, polite version HWFM (halfwit from Microsoft, I'm sure you can work out the other one).

  4. handleoclast
    Coat

    All your business are belong to us

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I totally love those solutions

    Claiming that you can do without competent staff must be about the oldest scam ever, even in the IT world.

    I fully support this idea, because I *know* there will be lots of work mopping up the damage afterwards. It's like giving kids a lighter and sending them to the nearest petrol station - just wait for the "whumpf" and you know you'll be cleaning up for quite some time..

    Been there, done that, and I full expect to repeat that cycle in a couple of years because they never learn. Ever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I totally love those solutions

      "Claiming that you can do without competent staff must be about the oldest scam ever, even in the IT world.

      "

      I'm sure we all remember how 4GLs were going to eliminate programming and allow PHBs to design their own applications using drag and drop.

      1. Mark 65

        Re: I totally love those solutions

        We've moved on from Crystal Reports to Power BI and still suitable reports don't really occur by end-users utilising drag drop. Different facet, same sales bullshit.

      2. OldSoCalCoder

        Re: I totally love those solutions

        Yes - I remember a decade ago reading how Oracle's latest release was going to do away with all db admin jobs. How'd that go, by the way?

    2. Denarius
      Black Helicopters

      Re: I totally love those solutions

      indeed. For bigger corps (or is that now corpse ?) wasn't SAP going to automate all the backend processes and cut staff, costs and speed business ? And that worked how well ?

      Yah, now SMBs can have the same experience.

      On the more cynical side, I have heard so many security horror stories where the PHB class are the reason so many miscreants have an easy entry to an organisation. The spooks are going to love this. And the Russians, Chinese, Brits and even the Merkin TLAs. Deckchair, check. Popcorn, check. Double shot latte, check. Now for the show

    3. Naselus

      Re: I totally love those solutions

      "I fully support this idea, because I *know* there will be lots of work mopping up the damage afterwards."

      Indeed. I'm already googling what my new salary will be once I go from being a sys admin preventing problems to a management consultant explaining why problems happened after they fired all the sys admins.

    4. cschneid

      Re: I totally love those solutions

      "There's a wealth of ignorance out there." ISTR this being attributed to Ed Yourdon, but I can't find a reference anywhere.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I totally love those solutions

      "Claiming that you can do without competent staff must be about the oldest scam ever, even in the IT world."

      Quite. This is the claim of DevOps as well, innit? At least by half: you don't need all those Ops people, the Devs will handle it, or visa versa. Either is a fallacy.

      Getting on with less staff is the holy grail to management/owners. How well it turns out is often another matter.

  6. DonL

    "manage things like patch deployments and file permissions on staffers' Windows boxes, but also set and revoke permissions and accounts on Android and iOS devices through MDM tools and controls for Office 365."

    So it's just a management product like all the others, a lot have MDM integrated these days. Effectively the impact of this product is zero. Zenworks, for example, is easy to install and super stable (runs on Linux). It does all of this and more.

    I heard sometime that the MS equivalent (can't recall the name) is a horrible beast and it's very time consuming to manage, so if you're a MS only shop their new product might be an option. For the rest of the world the problem was already solved by other products.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ DonL re MS Dashboard

      Its capabilities were awesome at an organisation I worked for long long ago, far far away. Reported every user login as a problem and ignored half the organisations frames going offline. However the senior PHB got to see lovely PowerPoint slides and had a good lunch.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Their next move

    to grab every business by the short and curlies and bleed them dry just like any drug pusher.

    The PHB's and MBA's will lap this up.

    Then they'll make them move everything into the cloud. IF they don't they will be 'fined' for resisting the borg.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Software audits for small businesses

    In Canada, Microsoft is threatening small businesses with software audits to gather info on what people are running. I suspect this information is being used so they can market Microsoft 365 Business.

    1. Mark 65

      Re: Software audits for small businesses

      How does that work? I have a small business, for example, and they threaten me with a software audit. I tell them to go fuck themselves. What's next? If I'm not volume licensed or under some extra special licensing deal what can they do? They can't even stop me acquiring licenses as they flog them through 3rd parties. The only people they can threaten are the volume and other discount licensing schemes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Software audits for small businesses

        How does that work? I have a small business, for example, and they threaten me with a software audit. I tell them to go fuck themselves.

        No, you pretend to be frightened, and explicitly state that you will agree to an audit on date x because you feel pressured into this position, and you ask them to repeat if that was their intent.

        When they show up, your office should be filled with the press, and the police for arresting the idiots for pretending to be law enforcement and attempt to force cooperation and access under duress.

        Trust me, I'd happily spend money on a lawyer working out how I could cut those idiots deepest and I'm friendly with enough journalists to turn it into a scandal that hits national TV. Sure, I'll be on their hate list forever afterwards, but so are they on mine - and I like playing dirty.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Senior staff can manage file permissions?

    0-fustercluck and get someone in to do it in how many hours?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just been migrated to Orifice 365

    And, now some time down the line, I have to say it is still absolute shite.

    Slow, balky, with a UI that many aspects of which seem to have been designed by a marketing reject whilst out of his head on Spice. A big dose of Spice at that.

    Should have been shipped with Vista. They'd go well together.

    My productivity has taken a nosedive.

    And did I mention it is shite?

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Just been migrated to Orifice 365

      UI that many aspects of which seem to have been designed by a marketing reject whilst out of his head on Spice

      Oh don't worry they seemingly change it every year, usually for the worse.

  11. ee_cc

    I can already see

    when peeps ask for more disk space...

  12. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Devil

    SatNad's vision

    PHB's clicking on their animated dashboards all day long, monitoring Enterprise KPIs via vibrant Azure-hosted analytics, while diversity hire worker drones mindlessly complement auotmated Microsoft buiness operations as Cortana heckles them to install the latest update or to click on the ads appearing in the Metro interface while their vestigial human reflexes are collected, pseudo-anonymized, sent to Redmond and big-dataed for the yearly indivdualized performance assessment, seamlessly integrated into the formerly mentioned KPI indicators.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: SatNad's vision

      That's one fine sentence, right there!

      Sadly, it sounds plausible...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SatNad's vision - Sadly, it sounds plausible

        I suspect he copied it straight off a leaked Microsoft PowerPoint.

  13. TubunMuzuru

    "....Guess I'll have to buy the 'White Album' again"

    Good times, eh? Yet another automation trend, working its way through the bowels of MSFT. I got into consulting for the idealism of it all, building the aircraft and not sweeping the hangar. Now I specialise to failure. It pays better. A whole new vista of opportunity beckons, as it did for all those years, killing Oracle vertical market apps, SAP installations turned into blazing skips, SeeBeyond! CORBA! Thanks, Satya! Whatever would people such as ourselves do without you creating new opportunities to put out fires?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "....Guess I'll have to buy the 'White Album' again"

      Once MS switched to pretty much stealing all that of MS Partners business leaving crumbs on the table, we now have the Microsoft Partner Full-time Employment program. Thank you, Satya!

      Like Marvin in Die Hard 2, I don't want to have anything to do with cleaning up this mess.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    The cynicism is much strong here :)

    I sense the cynicism is much strong here :)

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: The cynicism is much strong here :)

      I sense the cynicism is much strong here :)

      Some asian mythologies tell how the world repeats a creation cycle every few thousand years. In IT, it's just the same thing only you don't have to wait as long for the next bright-eyed, optimistic deity to come along with another take on the same idea all over again.

    2. Denarius

      Re: The cynicism is much strong here :)

      Nope. GBS quote: The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

      This is bitter experience generating rational skepticism. Cynicism would be funnier.

  15. Herby Silver badge

    Haven't I heard this before??

    I'm from Microsoft and I'm here to help you.

    I'm sure everyone knows how this turns out.

  16. whoseyourdaddy

    Have a software vendor who struggles with MSFT CRM on a regular basis.

    But this might be tolerable compared to a situation (N-2 employer) where borking your password locks you out. If it's after 2PM, you may as well head to the bars because the IT department is on the other coast and won't arrive until 5AM.

    Yaay!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "But this might be tolerable compared to a situation ...where borking your password locks you out. If it's after 2PM, you may as well head to the bars because the IT department is on the other coast and won't arrive until 5AM."

      What happens when the PHB who's running it locks himself out?

      1. nijam

        > What happens when the PHB who's running it locks himself out?

        Further damage is avoided.

  17. Christopher Rogers

    I like it. MS clearly understand that sysadmins are feeling the squeeze so they are giving non-IT management the opportunity to really F*** up their own infrastructure to the point of realizing that they desperately need IT staff to steady the ship. Good to see MS helping the small guy /jokingnotjoking

  18. trevorde

    Hi PHB, I'm from Microsoft...

    ... and we've noticed you've been having some issues with your system. Please install this 'monitoring' program, give me your credit card details and we will sort them out for you now.

  19. carlos_c

    SBS all over again

    Microsoft used to run the SBS line of servers for about 10 years - this was very popular amongst SMB's - gave exchange, sharepoint remote access all in one bundle and the price was similar to full windows. This had a simple interface so that technically the system could be self managed - but in my experience no body ever did this they still employed outside people to manage the systems.

    This offering of Microsofts seems to be a cloud based version of SBS

  20. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Clippy is now a Zombie

    What will it take to kill it?

  21. J J Carter Silver badge
    Trollface

    So many BOFHs are Butt Hurting Today!

    Hate to break it to you, but this system pretty much runs itself. The out-the-box information assurance is likely far better than achieved by a BOFH who still pines for the days of using teco.

  22. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
  23. IGnatius T Foobar
    FAIL

    One requirement...

    ...you do need to have Frontpage Extensions loaded on every computer for this to work.

  24. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    Hmm Managed SMB Dashboard aaS

    Sounds like a business proposition

    Yeah PHB buy this system from microsoft, you cvan see whats going on but i'll work it from my place and make sure everything runs nicely for a fee....

  25. Neal McQ

    Eh, should this statement

    "When they looked at the solutions of the past, they were outsized in complexity or cost."

    not be

    "When they looked at OUR solutions of the past, they were outsized in complexity or cost."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      re: Guess who's now automating small-biz IT jobs? Yes, it's Microsoft

      @Neal McQ: "When they looked at OUR solutions of the past, they were outsized in complexity or cost."

      Reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon: “It's inexplicable, but the low-cost system I sold you seems to be woefully underpowered”

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