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Ready for the MPN Changes?

Earlier this week, previously communicated changes to the Microsoft Partner Network program officially went into effect. These include updates for Microsoft competencies and requirements.

Complete details of the changes can be found on the Microsoft Partner Network website, and you can refer to the Disclosure Guide that highlights what has changed.

Today, I want to call out one of the changes regarding Presales Technical assessments – and how we at MPN Training can help.

As part of the updates this week, Presales Technical assessments will now be required to earn the following competencies:

Collaboration and Content
Customer Relationship Management
Business Intelligence
Devices and Deployment
Enterprise Resource Planning

This requirement is designed to help you in your presales activities. Beyond being a requirement for these business areas, the Presales Technical Specialist program is a great way to boost your business: internal research shows that the impact of trained Presales Technical Specialists can lead to larger and faster deals. You can learn more about the Presales program here, and you’ll also find links directly to our partner learning paths, which show a recommended training path and can prepare you and your employees to pass the required assessments.

To help you make the transition to these new program changes, you can consult our learning paths. Also, take advantage of the Exam Pack offer to help you purchase packs of required certification exams.

Thank you for your interest in the Microsoft Partner Network.

Competency news March

Dear Partner

Last month, many program changes took effect, including requirements updates for Microsoft competencies and programs. In case you missed what changed, you can always review your Microsoft competency’s details. Also, the MPN Training team has resources to help you study for and pass required assessments and certifications. We recommend you start with our learning paths. And, remember that you can use the Exam Pack offer through May, to purchase packs of required certification exams.

Want to get an overview of all Belux training? Check out the Training Calendar!

. Are you making the most of your Microsoft Partner Network membership?

A new infographic from Microsoft Partner Network Training shows MPN Training by the numbers, including the quantified benefits of certification to teams, and how much training costs. Learn how you can best leverage their Microsoft partnership and MPN Training resources.

Stand out from the Crowd: 2014 Partner of the Year Awards!

The Partner of the Year Awards nomination tool is open now until April 11, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. Pacific time.

40% off Certification Exams and a Second Shot to Pass!
Microsoft Partner Network competencies show your customers that you have proven capabilities and expertise on the latest Microsoft technologies. Right now, you can purchase packs of certification exams at up to 40% off. In addition, each voucher comes with a Second Shot if retakes are needed. Order packs before May 31, 2014 and be sure to use them before they expire at the end of the year.

Azure Technical curriculum – live training starts March 4

New Azure Technical Curriculum resources are available now on this MPN learning path. Live webcasts begin March 4.

Competency Specific Information




April 9: DevOps – Visual Studio Release Management Jump Start

Developers, IT administrators, and project managers: Are you interested in improving the software release processes? This no-cost, online live Jump Start is for you. Users of Visual Studio ALM will learn the skills to build an effective release pipeline with the Release Management functionality of Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server. Register here.




Sales Specialist Assessment for Communications (Lync 2013) – Hosting Track

To support the new Competency requirements, this assessment is now available in English + 10 localized languages.


Virtual Convergence 2014

Can’t make it to Atlanta this year? You can still attend Convergence via Virtual Convergence, the no-cost, online event. Tune in the morning of March 4, 2014 for live broadcasts including the pre-show and keynote address, followed by general sessions. Come back after the event for on-demand access to hundreds of session videos. Register today and return March 4-6 for the live event.

Get ready for Microsoft Dynamics CRM spring release 2014

To prepare for the upcoming release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the Getting Ready Guide has been updated to include information on readiness events and materials focusing on this new release. This document will continue to be updated as new materials become available over the coming months.  Check out Addendum I in the Getting Ready Guide to find out more.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM spring release 2014 Training Blitz

Save the dates: April 9, 2014 and April 10, 2014 for online training, designed for the following roles:

· Marketers

· Sales Specialists

· Presales Specialists

· Functional consultants

· Technical consultants

· Developers

Registration info coming soon.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Enterprise Academy

This training provides 300-level technical training to help address the unique needs of your enterprise customers. Drive more architectural type knowledge into deals and implementations, and access technical content designed by R&D and Microsoft Services. All material is based on the new features and functionality of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. Sessions are scheduled for the coming months – register today.



Exams updated with Windows 8.1 content
Two new exams that count towards the Devices and Deployment competency are now updated with Windows 8.1 content: Exam 70-688 and Exam 70-689.

Partner Opportunity – Windows 8 Devices

In this 5-minute video, the Microsoft Windows product team demonstrates Windows 8.1 on a range of Windows device form factors to satisfy various customer usage requirements. Then, partners can discover five key resources where they can learn more to begin selling Windows 8.




Virtual Convergence 2014

Can’t make it to Atlanta this year? You can still attend Convergence via Virtual Convergence, the no-cost, online event. Tune in the morning of March 4, 2014 for live broadcasts including the pre-show and keynote address, followed by general sessions. Come back after the event for on-demand access to hundreds of session videos. Register today and return March 4-6 for the live event.

New E-Learning for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013

The first Microsoft Dynamics course available on Microsoft Virtual Academy is now available. Be sure to take advantage of this free, on-demand learning offering for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013: Business Intelligence in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM spring release 2014 Training Blitz

Save the dates: April 9, 2014 and April 10, 2014 for online training, designed for the following roles:

· Marketers

· Sales Specialists

· Presales Specialists

· Functional consultants

· Technical consultants

· Developers

Registration info coming soon.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Enterprise Academy
This comprehensive technical training program is designed to enable enterprise partners to accelerate technical and functional capabilities to successfully sell and implement Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 solutions. These interactive trainings provide an opportunity to learn from Microsoft Certified Trainers or the Microsoft R&D team for the Advanced Workshops. Sessions are scheduled for the coming months – register today.


New Hosting track training and assessments
The Presales Technical Specialist Assessment for Datacenter – Hosting Track is now available in English + 10 localized languages. Coming soon: Presales Technical Assessment for Data Platform – Hosting Track.

See the Communications and Messaging sections for additional details related to Hosting tracks.



Save up to 40% on Intelligent Systems competency exams

Are you hoping to attain this new competency? Qualifying partners may receive 40% off the cost of exams required to fulfill the requirements. Exam vouchers are available for other MPN competencies as well.

Intelligent Systems development and deployment training

As part of the requirements for the new Intelligent Systems competency, the Windows Embedded team has developed a new training course and associated technical assessment around developing and deploying Intelligent Systems solutions, Microsoft’s solution that addresses the Internet of Things opportunity and the focus of the newest MPN competency. Access this training via the Intelligent Systems competency learning path.




System Center 2012 R2 Advisor for IT Pros

This on-demand course explains the benefits of using System Center Advisor, and how to deploy and use Advisor on its own or integrated to System Center Operations Manager. You’ll also learn about the high level architecture in System Center Advisor, along with how it can be used to optimize your installation of Windows Server and server workloads.

App Performance Monitoring with System Center 2012 R2

Learn how to improve your company’s Application Performance Monitoring (APM). Also get insights into reporting and a holistic overview of APM and the application delivery lifecycle.


Microsoft Exchange Conference April 2 in Austin, Texas
MEC is just around the corner: April 2, 2014 in Austin, Texas. Register now and connect with partners and experts on Exchange in the world of Office 365.

Sales Specialist Assessment for Messaging – Hosting track
This is now available in English + 10 localized languages. A newly published learning asset titled “The Value of Hosted Exchange” is also available in English.


Update your skills on Office 365
Exam 74-325 is available as an option to qualify for the Midmarket Solution Provider competency. Access Midmarket training via partner learning paths.




Competency requirement changes

Changes made to the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) includes updates to the OEM competency requirements.  These updates include new Silver and Gold requirements for passing a qualifying exam or certification and passing a new business-focused assessment: MCP’s must pass Exam 70-684 or Exam 74-697 and a Device Sales Business Assessment. Also, new exams 74-324 and 74-325 have been added and are now available. Download and review the revised MPN disclosure guide (published in December) for detailed OEM competency updates that may affect you.


Prepare for the Certification Exams
Study guides now available for Exams 74-343: Managing Projects with Microsoft Project 2013 or Exam 74-344: Managing Programs and Projects with Project Server 2013.


Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

In this on-demand course, Microsoft Product Marketing Manager David Fabritius takes you through Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and the new Windows Server Essentials Experience role available on the Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2012 R2.


New Exam: 70-687
This counts toward Small Business competency requirements.

Update your skills on Office 365
Exam 74-325 is available as an option to qualify for either the Small Business competency. Find Small Business via partner learning paths.


Practice Accelerator for Business Intelligence

Register now 12th of May


What is it?

A training program designed to help you create a successful deployment practice

Who is this for?

with Microsoft SQL
Server 2012

Partner roles: practice leads, technical planners, implementers, and consultants

What do you get?

Training and resources to support the entire customer engagement

Why attend?

To learn best practices for consistently successful customer deployments

How much?

Use five of your partner advisory hours benefit as partner with a gold or silver competency

Course Outline:

SESSION ONE – 2.5 hour live session

Audience – Engagement Managers, Project Managers, and Technical Team

· Introduction to data extraction, cleansing, storage, management, and analysis

· Data visualization using SharePoint Server and PerformancePoint Services

SESSION TWO – 1.5 hour live session

Audience – Technical Team

· Logical architecture

· Security considerations in a BI solution

· Dimensional modeling considerations

· Data warehouse design considerations

· Extract, transform, and load (ETL) design considerations

SESSION THREE – 1.5 hour on-demand session

Audience – Technical Team (Implementers and Testers)

· Choosing the right BI tool and deployment topology

· Q&A

SESSION FOUR – 1.5 hour live session

Audience – Technical Consultants, Project Managers, and

Engagements Managers

· Deploy: Business scenarios for choosing the right BI tool and deployment topology

· Chalk Talk: Whiteboard and open Q&A


Partners should have at least basic knowledge of SharePoint Server 2010 and SQL Server, but are recommended to have:

· Experience in BI and data warehousing projects using Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft SharePoint Server

· Advanced knowledge of multidimensional modeling (Ralph Kimball’s approach); data warehouse generation using SQL Server Integration Services, Analysis Services, and data warehousing features; and reporting and analysis using SQL Server Reporting Services, PerformancePoint Services for SharePoint 2010, and Microsoft SQL Server PowerPivot for SharePoint and Excel

· Intermediate knowledge of data warehouse management, including data quality services and master data services; and reporting and analysis using Power View and Visio Services.


Reusable materials:

Planning and Deployment

Engagement Guide

Pre-engagement Questionnaire

Kickoff Presentation

Work Breakdown Structure

Infrastructure Architecture Guides

Core Service Delivery Guide

BI Reference Architecture

Reference Architecture

SQL Server

Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit

Additional Solution Accelerators

Fast Tracking Data Warehouse Architecture

Installing SQL Server 2012 BI

Delivery Format

· Microsoft Office Live Meeting

· This offering is a combination of on-demand and virtual instructor-led trainings over a 5 or 10 business day period (proceed to registration for additional details)


· Check your partner advisory hours

· Technical Pre-Sales Assistance

· Advisory Services

· Get Current Services

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Updates

You probably know that Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 has released, but are you aware of the vast amount of training and certification materials available to help sell, customize, and deploy solutions to your customers?

Learning paths

Role-based learning paths – available for sales and marketing roles, consultants, and developers – can help you to build skills relative to your area of specialization. They can also help you prepare for certification. The learning paths contain a variety of learning options, including on-demand webinars, e-learning, and instructor-led training courses. (Note: some materials require Microsoft Dynamics PartnerSource access)
Certification exams
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 exams will be required for the
CRM competency beginning late 2014. You can get a head start on these requirements as new exams are now available including:

In addition to the learning paths, these are some specific new training courses you may wish to take, to further your learning (note these require login to the Microsoft Dynamics website):

New Sales and Presales assessments coming soon
Updated versions of the Sales and Presales Assessments for Microsoft Dynamics CRM are in development and should be available in late February. These new assessments will be required for the CRM Competency in the future – watch for these assessments and take them in order to maintain your CRM competency.

SMB Bootcamps in March

Dear Partner,


Effective November 2013, the current Small Business Specialist Community Program (SBSC) has been retired. As a form of replacement, the Small Business Competency has been made available for you to gain. Maintaining or reaching this competency makes the value of your organization more visible to your customers and can earn you a number of additional benefits from Microsoft, such as Internal-Use Rights for the latest software.

To maintain or reach the Small Business Competency, you need individuals certified on both Windows Server and Office 365. Because we know your time is valuable, we have created a special offer for each of these certifications; the Microsoft Partner Readiness Bootcamps. These bootcamps are the quickest and easiest way to have you and your people certified on Windows Server 2012 and/or Office 365.

About the Microsoft Partner Readiness Bootcamps

These bootcamps are deep technical bootcamps that take place in two phases: Phase 1 is a 2-week self-study period, which is opened with an online kick-off session to help you get started. Phase 2 is a 2-day Instructor-led exam preparation, followed by the exam itself.

Phase 1: Self Study

In this phase, 2 hours study per day are recommended to prepare your skills. We provide you with all the necessary study materials, including official Microsoft course material, on-line labs, practice tests, Microsoft Virtual Academy e-Learning and a detailed study plan to guide you through this phase. This two weeks self-study period also includes an online Q&A session with a trainer to answer your questions and provide any support you may need.

Phase 2: Instructor-led Exam Preparation and Exam

Phase 2 is a 2-day online, Instructor Led, hands-on, event that will prepare you for the exam. All exam objectives will be covered during these two days.

After completion of phase 1 and 2 training, you will have all you need to take the exam. If you by any chance fail the exam, you are eligible for one retake free of charge (valid until 31st May 2014).

Included in your package:

· Kick-off session to guide you through the self-study period

· A detailed study plan outlining everything you need for the self-study phase including original Microsoft course materials, links, online-labs and add-on materials

· Q&A session to provide support mid-way

· 2 day instructor led training – a virtual classroom session (without any travel needs) which covers all necessary exam topics

· 1 Exam (à 150,- Euro) and a free retake if needed

Take advantage now of these all-inclusive, optimized, LLPA offered* packages, made available to Microsoft Partners exclusively:

· Register for the Microsoft Partner Readiness Bootcamp for Windows Server 2012 (70-410 – Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012) for just EURO 1,000 per person here (kick-off 24th of March).

· Register for the Microsoft Partner Readiness Bootcamp for Office 365 (74-325 – Administering Office 365 for Small Businesses) for just EURO 695 per person here (kick-off 26th of March).

*The Readiness Bootcamps are organized by the Leading Learning Partners Association and realized by Compu’Train.

Azure Technical Curriculum



Available Now! Be sure to leverage the Azure Technical Curriculum resources available today on the MPN learning path and be sure to register for the Live Webcasts!


Our new CEO loves learning

New CEO says he is defined by his thirst to learn. What will you learn next?
To quote Satya Nadella, “The one thing that I would say defines me, is that I love to learn. I get excited about new things, I buy more books than I read or I finish, or I sign up for more online courses that I can actually finish.” We’re inspired. Are you?