Technology Services Group (TSG), the UK-wide IT service and support company set up by Sage founder Graham Wylie, has organised a series of events in partnership with Microsoft and HP to announce Microsoft's new People-Ready software and support products to small and medium-sized businesses.

The Midlands workshop takes place on November 7 at Birmingham Manor Hotel, Meriden.

Microsoft has a number of new products coming to market in the next few months including:

* Windows Vista (the next generation Windows operating system)

* Microsoft Office 2007 (updates for Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc)

* Dynamics NAV (version five, the updated versionof Microsoft's core financial product)

* SharePoint 2007

* Mobile solutions

* CRM solutions.

With Microsoft's launch of these new products already b eing promoted through national advertising, TSG believes the SME community will want to hear about them in more detail.

Karl Noakes, director of partner development, Microsoft UK said: "The workshops from Microsoft gold certified partner TSG, in support of Microsoft's People-Ready business campaign, demonstrate integrated business solutions based on Microsoft software.

"They show how the people in a small or medium business can be truly empowered to drive the business forward."

TSG and Microsoft's People-Ready workshops have been developed as fast-moving, entertaining business events, with a themed live play followed by presenters interacting with the audience to explain the software and gadgetry in straightforward terms.

Starting at 10am, the full presentation will take 90 minutes, followed by a 'meet the experts' session where delegates can discuss specific issues with specialists from TSG, Microsoft and HP.

The People-Ready play focuses on a traditional car component distribution company with some very nontraditional elements, getting the message across in a lighthearted way about how the latest software can have a significant impact on business performance.

The actors take the parts of a cliched, somewhat out-of-touch managing director and his e xtremely efficient PA, together with a marketing manager and salesman out on the road.

The end result is slightly unexpected but aims to demonstrate all the capabilities of Microsoft's new technology without using technical jargon. The event is an ideal opportunity for directors and senior managers to get up to date on the latest IT developments and decide which are relevant to their own businesses.

* The People-Ready website - - is up and running with full information and registration details. Meanwhile, a series of free taster Apple software training courses is being mounted this week by Birmingham's New Technology Institute (NTI).

The autumn programme features input from major film creatives associated with productions such as blockbuster Superman Returns, Midlands-inspired Confetti and effects-based fantasy film Mirror Mask.

The new series of bite-size Apple-software training sessions has been programmed in response to interest generated by two similar weeks held earlier in 2006.

It offers Midlands media professionals insights as to the scope of the Apple Authorised Training Centre courses regularly delivered by UCE Birmingham's Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) at the NTI.

Apple-training manager NTI's Neil Emery, said: "Having run two very successful taster weeks earlier in 2006, we have a focused autumn programme. It aims to meet the Apple-based computer training needs we are finding among the screen-based producers in the Midlands."