I won £500 in a pub quiz recently because I answered a question incorrectly. The question was “Which suburb of Seattle was Microsoft founded in?”
I started at Microsoft in 1991 and knew full well Microsoft was founded in Alberquerukey, New Mexico. So that left me with Redmond or Bellevue. Bellevue was the first Seattle office but I figured the quizmaster had checked a press article or something stating Microsoft was founded in 1975 in Redmond (their current location). So I gave Redmond as my answer and won £500. Do I feel guilty winning by giving a knowingly false answer?
No but the point of this blog post is where can you find official facts about Microsoft, the products, interesting numbers, quotes and stories? Check out Microsoft Story Labs. As well as news articles there are fun facts and figures like how much Fanta Microsoft employees drink (the company offers free beverages on campus) and details about the company in the Press Tools dropdown. It’s a good resource to be aware of.
Had the quizmaster asked me to spell Alberqwerky, I would have gone home empty-handed.
Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) face a complex and changing landscape when it comes to understanding all of the different ways new technologies can help their businesses.
Many Microsoft partners are capitalising on the opportunity to grow their businesses by expanding their roles to that of a trusted advisor and business consultant — looking for ways to help SMBs modernise across the IT platform.
Microsoft is focused on helping you deliver solutions that address your customers’ key goals and business challenges. So you can use technology to help make them be more successful, whether by improving operational efficiency, protecting data, helping employees be more productive, or better connecting with customers. In fact, only Microsoft offers a complete platform with the flexibility to deliver the solutions your customer’s need, from server to cloud, desktop to mobile devices.
ModernBiz Technical Series
The ModernBiz Technical Series provides training, demonstrations and hands-on instruction on how to use the latest Microsoft technologies to deliver solutions to SMB organisations. This set of training courses is designed to prepare Microsoft value-added reseller (VAR) partners to help customers get the benefits of the modern business by providing solutions and services that span the entire IT ecosystem, from server, to cloud, to devices.
In this training, you will:
Get hands-on experience: With a focus on building real-world solutions, this training consists of presentations, demos, and hands-on labs.
Get the skills you need to build real-world SMB solutions: This technical series is designed specifically for partners working with SMB customers to build solutions using the latest products and technologies from Microsoft.
Any of the ModernBiz Technical Series courses can be attended as a standalone course or as a part of the complete series.
Who should participate: The ModernBiz Technical Series course is for Microsoft value-added reseller (VAR) partners who work with small and midsize organisations. The training is designed for those who are ready to learn more about meeting the technical needs of SMBs with Microsoft solutions.
Audience: IT Professionals, Consultants, SMB Resellers
Level: 200 (Technical) This training aligns to the Microsoft ModernBiz campaign for SMB partners.
There are free one or two day courses for each of these key technology areas.
We’re proud to be working in conjunction with Microsoft to deliver monthly webinars on licensing. The 60-minute calls run on the second Wednesday of every month and will take you through a different topic each month kicking off with Azure in the Open Volume Licensing programme in August. The calls also include updates on products, technologies and promotions and each month’s call is also recorded so you can catch up with previous topics.
There are three calls on the day, each targeted to a specific audience segment:
10am – 11am Microsoft small and medium business (SMB) partners and distributors
12pm – 1pm Microsoft customers with volume licensing agreements
2pm – 3pm Microsoft Large Solution Providers (LSPs)
Registrations are monitored so please do not register for calls outside your segment or try to register with generic email addresses such as @gmail or @hotmail.
If you are an LSP, please contact your Microsoft account manager to register.
If you are an SMB partner primarily transacting Open and Open Value licence agreements, please contact your preferred distributor who can provide details of the registration links.
If you are a Microsoft Volume licensing customer, you have access to a great new UK specific volume licensing site. The site is a hub through which you can access UK specific VL content and resources. To view details on the Spotlight Calls as well as our upcoming 2-day Licensing Fundamentals events, please click on the events link in the rotating banner.
A question from Nigel: “Do MS Partners have to take out MAP or a Silver/Gold Competency to get access to Office 365?”
Excellent question Nigel and I fear you already know the answer; yes.
Internal use rights (IUR) are licences that allow companies to use selected Microsoft software for their production use. As you can imagine this can save thousands. So why does Microsoft allow this and how can commercial companies get these?
Why Does Microsoft Allow Internal Use Rights?
Why do Ford sales staff drive Ford company cars? They don’t normally need to travel as they’re showroom-based. The dealership tends to do this so the salespeople understand the product better and that translates into sales figures. Microsoft wants their partner channel to do the same. The amount of partners I see that aren’t using Office 2013 on their primary machines is pretty high and these are often the same partners that struggle to sell Office 2013. Use the software and you’ll soon discover little gems that make brilliant anecdotes, demos and proof points for customers.
How Can a Partner Obtain Internal Use Rights?
Up until the early part of 2014, any organisation registered on the Microsoft Partner Network could enrol into a program called Cloud Essentials which allowed partners to sell Office 365 and other cloud solutions. Becoming a registered partner is free and very easy; my mum could do it. Furthermore, becoming a Cloud Essentials partner was easy. It required no minimum purchase and just involved taking an online test (which shows you the answers afterwards) and signing an online agreement. Again, my mum could have registered, taken the test once, got it wrong but noted the answers and taken it again. Cloud Essentials partners then had access to 250 seats of Office 365 E3 plan, 100 seats of Dynamics CRM online as well as Intune. This was over £50,000 in software and more than most small and medium business (SMB) partners required. It also devalued ‘real’ partners. By that I mean Microsoft has a lot of inactive registered partners; companies that perhaps only registered to get access to a webpage that asked them to register or companies that only registered to gain the IUR. I’ve even seen a couple of registrations where the partner’s registered web address was along the lines of Daddy@TheStevensFamily.org (names changed to protect the innocent).
Cloud Essentials is now closed to new enrolments and existing IUR benefits will not be renewed at the end of the enrolment period for those partners who were Cloud Essentials partners.
Internal Use Rights are now obtained by purchasing a Microsoft Action Pack (MAP) or by gaining a competency (e.g. Small Business, Communications, Server Platform or Learning). Simply being a registered partner (aka community) does not accrue IUR. This makes them harder to obtain but means Microsoft are concentrating on committed partners. IUR have also changed to become more flexible as they allow partners to allocate their licences on-premises, in the cloud or as a mixture of both. At the time of writing the Action Pack subscription costs £310 + VAT. Competency fees vary according to the competency you earn but are in the ball park of £1,000-£2,000 for Silver and £2,000-£3,500 for Gold.
Again, as a guide an Action Pack would earn 10 Windows 8.1 Pro licences and 5 Office licences which can be a mix of Office 2013 on-premises or Office 365 E3. This is in addition to a host of other software titles. A Silver competency would earn 25 windows 8.1 Pro and 25 office licences. A Gold competency would earn 100 of each.
Partners who were enrolled in Cloud Essentials could enjoy £65 of free credit for Microsoft Azure per month; the offer states this is no longer available but it will continue for previously-enrolled Cloud Essentials Partners. I’m hoping this free credit will still be available to any registered partner but I’m yet to test this. Looks like I’ll need to set up one of those Daddy@TheStevensFamily.org partner accounts.
For more information on the number of licences you can obtain through IUR as well as how to increase the IUR seats, you can read this page directly on the Microsoft Partner Network.
If you currently enjoy IUR and you want to read up on the transition, this Cloud IUR guide will help you.