BeLux Blog

Archive for November, 2013

Partner Program Updates. What you need to know.

When you choose to partner with us, our commitment is to help make it the best business decision you can make. We continually strive to offer a world-class commercial partner program, resources and experiences to allow your organization to pursue new business opportunities with minimal disruption. Since WPC, we received a lot of feedback that more time was needed to prepare for cloud mainstreaming and that we must approach these changes more simply – both were core to this decision. We heard your feedback and are responding.

What’s changing and when?

We have divided what was announced in July at WPC into two program releases in calendar year 2014, one in February and one in late Q3 calendar year. How that impacts you depends on your level of partnership and business model.

Coming in February 2014

  • Mainstreamed Internal Use Rights for Microsoft cloud services: Today, only members of our cloud incubation programs (Cloud Essentials, Cloud Accelerate, etc.) have internal use rights for Microsoft cloud services like Office365, Windows Intune, Azure and CRM Online. We are very excited to announce that in February, we will offer cloud Internal Use Rights (IUR) benefits to all partners in a competency or subscribing to Microsoft Action Pack.
  • Revamped Microsoft Action Pack subscription (MAPs): We are launching a brand new cloud-focused version of MAPs that gives partners more choice and provides content and training organized and optimized for specific partner business models like hosting, application development, custom services, managed services, reselling and device design and development.
  • Cloud Essentials Retires: Complementing the launch of a new MAPs, we are retiring the Cloud Essentials program. Net new enrollment into Cloud Essentials will stop with the February 2014 release. Cloud IUR rights for existing Cloud Essentials partners will extend until June 30, 2014 – at that time all partners must transition into either the new MAPs or a competency to continue to use our Cloud IUR.
  • New Intelligent Systems competency: One of the most exciting new business opportunities is related to the commercial “internet of things”, a true devices-and-services opportunity. IDC continues to track the intelligent systems opportunity. According to Gartner, Microsoft is positioned very strongly here, and to help our partners capitalize on this we are launching a new Intelligent Systems competency.
  • Digital Marketing competency evolves to Digital Advertising: Last year we modified the Digital Marketing competency to focus on agencies and advertising partners. Digital marketing is a broad and potentially misleading term, so for clarity and focus we are completing the transition by changing the name and updating the requirements to better reflect these critical partners.
  • Application track for Collaboration & Content competency: Most of our solution competencies have an application track that enables partners to qualify via a tested application as opposed to accredited people. Our SharePoint business has a large partner ecosystem focused on applications that we need to further support, highlight and more appropriately qualify more via our Microsoft Platform Ready engine.
  • Standard updates to requirements: To ensure that partners have the most current Microsoft skills and applications to successfully sell and deliver our technologies we will continue to update relevant exams, accreditation and application requirements and retire old ones. Details will be included in an updated Disclosure Guide.

Coming late Q3 of 2014

  • Remaining Incubation cloud programs will be retiring: Cloud Accelerate, Cloud Deployment and Azure Circle programs will phase out at this time. We will allow new partners to join these programs until this time to enable partners to continue to earn cloud accelerator incentives. Please keep in mind that for new partners to get Cloud IUR after the February release, they will need to earn these rights via MAPs or by earning a competency.
  • Infrastructure competencies merging: The existing Server Platform, Management & Virtualization and Identity & Access competencies will merge to become the new “Datacenter” competency as announced at WPC in July. This change is designed to help partners deliver on the Microsoft Cloud OS strategy. We will offer new training content to prepare for this in February, giving you much more time to prepare.
  • Business Intelligence becomes Data Analytics: The Business Intelligence competency will change to Data Analytics, signaling the increased emphasis on Big Data scenarios. This is not just a name change as we will introduce new requirements as well. Training material will be made available during the first half of 2014, giving you more time to prepare.
  • Hosting competency retiring, hosting tracks launching: Per hosting partner feedback, the current Hosting competency does not effectively support their needs. In response, we will offer unique hosting tracks within the following core competencies – Datacenter, Messaging, Communications and Data Analytics. This allows us to recognize hosters more precisely for the solution/service offered – what matters most to customers – while introducing requirements and benefits that are more relevant and tailored – what matters most to these partners.
  • Mobility competency retiring: With nearly all devices becoming “mobile” and with the rapid shift to smartphones, we will retire the Mobility competency and transition current partners into the Application Development or the Devices and Deployment competency appropriately.

Need more details?

You can access details via the Disclosure Guide on the Microsoft Partner Network Portal. This document will be updated regularly to ensure you have the details you need.

Our partner ecosystem has always been and continues to be our greatest asset and differentiator in the market, and as a company, we are committed to working closely with our partners to bring the next wave of devices and services to market.

Thank you for your continued partnership and I encourage those who are still considering joining the Microsoft Partner Network to join in as it’s a great time to be a Microsoft partner!

Julie Bennani

General Manager, Microsoft Partner Network

P.S. For more information on these changes, please refer to Top Partner FAQ: Change to the Microsoft Partner Network Program Release. If you would like personal assistance, work with our support teams here. Please Note: You must sign in to the Microsoft Partner Network to access.

To continue to get the news first, please ensure that your contact information, specifically your email address, is current on the Microsoft Partner Network portal.

Read the original blog post here.

Win a Windows Phone


Microsoft Partner Network Contest

Pass one of the below assessments before March 30 2014 and have a chance to win a Windows Phone.

· Communications Presales Technical Assessment
Find prep training here.

· Small Business Sales Assessment
Find prep training here.

· Messaging Sales Assessment
Find prep training here.

CRM Sales Assessment or CRM Presales Assessment

Winners of previous contest

Erik Moreau – Aurelium NV
Johan Pockele – Herithos
Wim Bartels – Bits4kmo
Filip Heens – Nikos
Tim De Wilde – E-TRACE

The assessment must be passed between March 24 and March 30 2014 by an individual working for a Microsoft partner in Belgium or Luxembourg.



Use this great opportunity to test your Knowledge



New Online Training on System Center 2012 R2

​ Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) announces several new online training courses on System Center. 

· Get in-depth training on Service Manager in IT Service Management with System Center 2012 R2.

· Get in-depth training on automation and self-service in the datacenter in Automation & Self-Service with System Center 2012 R2.

· Learn how to manage your diverse underlying infrastructure with Infrastructure provisioning & management

· Get in-depth training on monitoring cloud, OS and workloads with Infrastructure Monitoring with System Center 2012 R2

New Microsoft Dynamics E-Learning Available!


The following E-Learning courses are now available, please

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

· Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2

· What’s New in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 – Application

Microsoft Dynamics MarketingPilot

· Technical Deployment and Customization in Microsoft Dynamics MarketingPilot

· Functional Application in Microsoft Dynamics MarketingPilot

Retail functionality for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2

· Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 for Retail in Brick and Mortar Stores: Installation and Configuration

· Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 for Retail in Brick and Mortar Stores: Development and Customization

· Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 for Retail in eCommerce Stores: Installation and Configuration

· Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 for Retail in eCommerce Stores: Development and Customization

Overview of Windows 8.1 resources

​The Windows 8.1 GA is here! There are numerous readiness resources available to you as a Microsoft partner – with more added regularly. Here’s what we have today, listed by partner type.

Firstly, all partners should review the Windows 8 pages on the Microsoft Partner Network site as well as Windows 8 learning paths. Bookmark these items and check them regularly for updates.

For SMB partners

Learn more about Windows 8.1 Pro, and take training through Reseller Bootcamps to learn what’s new for Windows 8.1.

Then, use campaigns to win customers, including the Windows Featured Devices campaign.

You should also use the Get2Modern campaign to increase awareness for Windows XP end of support, help customers upgrade, and cross sell services. Note that the Windows XP Eradication package is coming to market in late November to provide end-to-end XP migration, and modern OS deployment, including Image Engineering and Application Compatibility.

Finally, learn more about TouchWins device incentives program for distributors and resellers.

For our Corporate Accounts and Enterprise partners
For the basics, learn more about Windows 8.1 Enterprise and Windows 8 licensing.
Then, drive demand for Windows 8.1 by using the Flexible Workstyle campaign and the Good-Better-Best sales script for customer conversations.

If your customers have questions about how Windows 8.1 stacks up against the competition, use the Good-Better-Best Windows Device Compete Guide.

To drive pipeline acceleration for Windows 8.1, you can deliver Windows Accelerate for Corporate Accounts customer workshops – IT Pro Bootcamps and App Clinics. A partner training webcast is also available on-demand via the Partner Learning Center.

Technical resources

I recommend you first learn about Windows 8.1 improvements through this What’s New in Windows 8.1 post on TechNet. As well, check out the Windows Springboard blog.

From an exam perspective, note that technical Exams 70-687 (Configuring), 70-688 (Managing and Maintaining), and 70-689 (Upgrading Your Skill to MCSA Windows 8) are expected to be updated for Windows 8.1 in late January 2014.*

Also, in early 2014, plan to send your top solution architects and consultants to the Flexible Workstyle Practice Accelerator.

* Dates subject to change without notice.  Please check the Microsoft website for latest details.

Finally, visit the Windows 8 section of the Microsoft Virtual Academy on a regular basis to find the latest Windows 8.1 content.