This document and its content for Round II, is based on my own Imagine Cup experience. Please feel free to improve the content of this document and post it back in the Imagine Cup forum, or send us your feedback and we will update it. All the references in this material are optional and non-exclusive. There are plenty of resources available that you can use and this is only a small part of them.
First step is to better understand the products required in the proposal. One mandatory requirement is to use Latest Microsoft Products into your proposal. In that case you must know about each product recommended next elements:
- Product versions (ex. 2007 Standard, 2008 Enterprise, 2008 R2 64b version)
- Hardware requirements (processor architecture, RAM, HDD size, network bandwidth allocation etc)
- Software requirements: OS, features or roles: IIS, SQL Server, etc., incompatibilities with…
- Features and differences between versions
When you are made a proposal and a configuration must be sure that you meet all hardware and software requirements. Do not use Beta versions into your proposal.
1. About your proposal
For the beginning it is very important to write a clear business case, and you can try to respect the structure of an official document. Few references about how to write a business proposal:
- What is a business plan: http://articles.bplans.com/writing-a-business-plan/what-is-a-business-plan
- For typical case studies the structure follows these major sections: The Customer, The Challenge, The Journey, The Discovery, the Implementation and the Results. (Writing a successful case study, By Steve Slaunwhite – http://www.wordbiz.com/archive/steve_slaunwhite.shtml#part1 )
- In the Microsoft approach to case studies (http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/ ) these are based only on three major sections: Situation, Solution and Benefits.
Recommended sections into your business plan proposal:
- Details about you: Name, Country, University
- Table of contents for your proposal
- Executive summary / Introduction / Overview: a general description of your proposal: 200 – 500 words. In this part you must specify what are you intend to present in the content of your proposal.
- Product and Technology Recommendation: a list of software products used in headquarter and in branch offices including version, service pack, reason to use
- Configuration Recommendation – how your products must be configured to meet the requirements. This part could be structured oriented per services: Directory Services, Infrastructure Services, Virtual Services, etc.
- Bibliography (Optional) – Your proposal is not a research paper, but you can use if you want bibliographic references.
- Reference for how to write an executive summary: http://www.garage.com/resources/writingexecsum.shtml
2. Fundamental materials
- Solution Accelerators – very important resource for beginners in service design. This reference is addressing all technologies that can be included into your proposal. You can download all Infrastructure Planning and Design documents from here.
- The second important resource is BOIS (Branch Office Infrastructure Solution for Windows Server 2008). BOIS is oriented for branch office integration, communication and security.
- In the same way I recommend Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit oriented more for planning migration, but could be usefully for you to understand the interconnections between products and services.
- Another important reference is based on MCP (Pro) Exam 70-647 – PRO: Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator. There is a great reference for a 4 books series: MCITP Self-Paced Training Kit (Exams 70-640, 70-642, 70-643, 70-647): Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Administrator Core Requirements. Ask your ADE if they can provide you this book series.
Technical references by products
Greatest collection of resources for Round 2 into this reference: https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=75a27106a7b175cb&sc=documents&id=75A27106A7B175CB%212413
3. General tools
You have needed to use some Office tools for Round 2.
- For writing Business Case proposal you can use Microsoft Word or other application compatible with DOC, DOCX, PDF, RTF, TXT, and HTML.
- For drawing design diagrams you can use Microsoft Visio. IF you are using another application it is better to save your diagrams into an image format: JPG, GIF, BMP, TIFF or PDF.
- You can purpose a project plan and resource allocation using Microsoft Project or Visio.
- You can create a detailed list of hardware and software used into your proposal using Microsoft Excel.
- A better resource in capacity planning could be Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit.
If you have problems with English you can chose an on-line translation tools:
5. Virtual labs and software
An important resource for your preparation, if you do not have access to www.msdnaa.net, is TechNet Virtual Labs. There is a list of Virtual Labs when you can experience the configuration of a system. You must sign up with your Hotmail passport.
6. Final remarks
Please do not Copy/Paste from these materials. In last year’s there were few people that are made that, and this is not fair for other competitors. You can use this materials as a general guides for your proposal but do not forget to be original and main goal is to provide a general proposal based on business requirements.
Do you want to know more? Access this resource: https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=75a27106a7b175cb&sc=documents&id=75A27106A7B175CB%212413
7. Important dates
- 14 February 2012 – The Round 2 Case Study will start.
- 28 February at 16:00 GMT or 29 February at 03:00 GMT Join IT Challenge Captains Rand Morimoto and Chris Amaris via Live Meeting and ask them about competing in the IT Challenge.
- 27 March 2012 – Round 2 Closes
8. Connected links
- IT Challenge Official page: http://www.imaginecup.com/Competition/mycompetitionportal.aspx?competitionId=65
- IT Challenge Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Imagine-Cup-IT/127052839754
- Imagine Cup Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/microsoftimaginecup
- Imagine Cup 2012 Newspaper: http://paper.li/f-1319192195
- Microsoft Virtual Academy: http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/Home.aspx
- Round 1 – Learning Resources – Updated 2011/2012: https://skydrive.live.com/view.aspx?cid=75A27106A7B175CB&resid=75A27106A7B175CB%212317
- Round 2 – Learning Resources – 2011 Version https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=75a27106a7b175cb&sc=documents&id=75A27106A7B175CB%212413
Motivational stories: ImagineCup IT Challenge History and tradition