New website in the works – tools for SMB IT Pros

I’ve been throwing around some ideas within my team on how to reach our SMB (Small and Medium Business) IT Pros in the same way that sites like reach our developer community.   More specifically, what types of tools can I provide from the windows team that IT Pros can really use and build on? 


Some background: IMHO, the beauty of gotdotnet and other developer sites are the samples.  Samples that are well documented that don’t over complicate a task by overloading the code with error checking and performance enhancements that obscure the readability of the code.  


Does that mean error checking and perf aren’t important? Of course not but error checking might better be handled in a separate sample where I can digest the topics in bite size chunks.


My idea is to publish a site.  Yes! Another site but with a different paradigm; one that doesn’t strive to provide everything to everyone.  More simply, a site with samples that SMB IT Pros can consume with instant gratification.   The key to being successful would hinge on NOT providing everything that everyone needs.  I want to be the local grocer; not that super-value-outlet-mart that I can never find the soup isle in.   By keeping it reasonable I would be able to keep content discoverable.


What type of information would I keep on it? 


Here are a couple ideas I have:


1.)    Script Samples: Boiling down useful WMI and command line scripts to their basic elements for IT Pro that aren’t scripting gurus.   

2.)    Solution guides:  Simple, practical, and applicable guides for implementing windows client and server technologies like DNS 101, DHCP for Beginners, How to move from NT Domains to Active Directory in 10 easy steps. 

3.)    Partner workspaces or forums where the SMB communities can answer questions about documentation on the site in real time.   I can’t stay up as late as I used to anymore.


I’m probably going to make this my holiday vacation project this year to see if I can’t reduce some of the frustration I saw and felt in a previous life as an IT Pro for a university where I didn’t have a supporting staff that already had figured this stuff out. 


Any ideas are appreciated. 


Mike Langowski

Comments (3)

  1. John S. says:

    This would be AWESOME.

    I really like the solution guide idea. I’d like to see some content like, "I’ve got AD & Exchange running, what next?" with info on applying Live Communications Server or SharePoint in an SMB environment.

    And make sure the solution guides are complete from pre-install, installation, configuration and then application. Most of the documentation I find leaves out instructions and examples to actually apply technologies once they’re implemented.

  2. Mike Langowski says:

    Thanks for the feedback. I’m pretty sure if I can tear myself away from blog reading that I can make this happen. 😉

    Mike Langowski

  3. Nathan R says:

    I’m with John on this one. Although aimed for SMB’s it would probably be good info for alot of IT Admins out there.

    I’m a bit of a fan of Wiki’s for documentation (most possibly there’s alot of people against them) but along with a forum area the two parts could work well together.

    Trying to think up things that I think would be good outside of what you’ve got listed. Might have to return when I come up with some.

    A blog area (or maybe just linking to blogs) for IT Admins might be a good place.

    Suppose at the end of the day, will just depend on the community that starts around the site. I’ll be all in when you get it up and running.

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