Microsoft Action Pack Q & A

Julie Golding 2011Each month in the third-Friday edition of the U.S. partner newsletter, our Microsoft Action Pack Subscription expert in the U.S., Julie Golding, delivers a message to Action Pack Solution Provider (SP) and Action Pack Development and Design (DD) subscribers. Below is a series of commonly asked questions, and Julie’s answers, from 2011.

Read the Action Pack blog series.

Have a question you’d like Julie to answer? Send her an email ( or tweet (

imageAction Pack subscribers can get regular updates and links to Action Pack-relevant news on Virtual Partner Concierge.

From December 16, 2011

This month, let's take a look at Microsoft Pinpoint, a benefit of your Microsoft Partner Network membership. Pinpoint is Microsoft's online marketplace that connects business customers with Microsoft partners, and it provides you an opportunity to showcase your Microsoft-based solutions to customers looking to solve their business challenges.

  • On average, 100,000 business customers visit Pinpoint each month in search of a Microsoft partner;
  • One in four of those customers connects with a partner by clicking through to the partner's website, downloading a trial, taking a screenshot, and more;
  • Customers spend about six minutes on the Pinpoint site, and visit 3-4 pages.

Whether you are new to Pinpoint and need to get listed, or have already created a profile, we have resources that will help you use this benefit to your best advantage. In our Pinpoint Pointers blog series, my colleague, Tina Hanson, explains how Pinpoint works and offers guidance to write a compelling profile that gets noticed. Tina also hosts a series of short, on-demand presentations covering Pinpoint. Start with "Welcome to Pinpoint Pointers."

From November 18, 2011

This month, I would like to highlight a very important community of Microsoft partners: the Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC). I recently met with the new SBSC program owner, Jeannie Cappo, and had an opportunity to learn more about this community of partners who focus on serving small business customers.

"The Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community is a vibrant network of Microsoft partners across the United States," explains Jeannie. "Local businesses are the lifeblood for these partners, and we are focused on providing them with products and programs to help them achieve their goals. SBSC is a good fit for Microsoft Action Pack subscribers who are marketing, selling, planning, and building Microsoft-based solutions for small businesses."

SBSC members enjoy benefits like use of the Small Business Specialist Community logo and branding, enhanced internal use rights benefits, coaching (like monthly webcasts for Community members), and marketing assistance.

Become an SBSC Member

Maintain Your SBSC Membership

As a Microsoft Action Pack subscriber, you have already met one of the three requirements to join the SBSC. You will also need to:

  • Pass a qualifying technical exam;
  • Pass the Small Business Sales and Marketing Skills Assessment.

If you're ready to get started in the SBSC, review the requirements page, where you'll find details about the exam and assessment requirements, and if you need help, contact the Regional Service Center by phone, email, or chat.

Many SBSC members are due to renew their SBSC membership over the next few months. To remain in the Small Business Specialist Community, you will need to meet the current requirements, including:

  • Continue your Microsoft Action Pack subscription;
  • Pass a qualifying technical exam;
  • Pass the Small Business Sales and Marketing Assessment.

To check on your company's SBSC status, contact the Regional Service Center by phone, email, or chat.

From October 21, 2011

At the Microsoft booth at SMB Nation at the end of September, we highlighted Microsoft Office 365 running on a Windows MultiPoint Server, which I thought was very cool, and a great opportunity for partners who serve small business or education customers. As an Action Pack subscriber, you are eligible for one license for Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 Premium, giving you a chance to try it yourself.

With Windows MultiPoint Server, a single computer supports multiple users at the same time, each working independently using their own monitor, keyboard, and mouse—with a familiar Windows computing experience. This budget-friendly solution lets you provide your customers with access to the latest technology. By providing fewer physical computers and a single integrated point of management, Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 is easy to manage and support. With the MultiPoint Manager software, you can more easily manage your sessions using orchestration features like thumbnail viewing of what different users are doing, blocking stations, launching/closing applications for users, and projecting stations onto others. Finally, Windows Multipoint Server is the only server edition that can be joined as a client to a Small Business Server Essential domain to leverage the client backup, Launchpad, and Remote Web Access features.

From September 16, 2011

Q: When will Windows Home Server 2008 be replaced with the newer version of that product, Windows Home Server 2011, as part of Action Pack software benefits?
A: We believe that Windows Storage Server is a better fit for you, and I encourage you to download and try it. Windows Home Server 2008 is currently part of your software benefits, but will be removed in March 2012.

If you are not familiar with Windows Storage Server, it is part of the Windows Server 2008 R2 family, and here is a quick overview, from

Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 is built on the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system to provide a platform for network-attached storage (NAS) appliances and is optimized to deliver a better file serving experience. The Windows Storage Server product family provides advanced storage solutions for small businesses to enterprise organizations. It includes storage technologies such as file deduplication, and an iSCSI software target for unified file services and block I/O storage.

From August 19, 2011

This month, Julie is interested in hearing from Action Pack subscribers like you.

Q: How can Microsoft help you better run your business?
A: Join the discussion on Facebook or on LinkedIn to weigh in with your thoughts and ideas. We look forward to hearing from you!

From July 15, 2011

Q: I am interested in trying Microsoft Office 365 in my company, so we can sell it to our customers. Is it part of my Action Pack internal-use rights?
A: Your membership in the Microsoft Partner Network makes you eligible to register for the Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack and obtain internal-use rights to Microsoft cloud products like Windows Intune, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, and Office 365. As an additional bonus, sign up for Cloud Essentials and deploy Office 365 internally, and we'll give your company up to 10 complimentary licenses to the MigrationWiz mailbox migration solution through our Cloud Migration Promotion.

From June 20, 2011

This month, Julie turned the tables and asked Action Pack subscribers a question:

Q: For information about your Action Pack subscription, what’s your preferred form of communication?
A: Email your answer to, or respond to our Facebook poll. Your response will help shape our communications plans and provide us with good information to share with colleagues. We look forward to hearing from you!

From May 16, 2011

Q: I have heard a lot about Ready-to-Go campaigns. How can they help my business as an Action Pack subscriber and how should I use them?
A: Ready-to-Go Marketing offers resources, materials, and tools that let you build marketing campaigns to promote your Microsoft-based solution to customers. Download and use professional marketing materials, create in-person and online events for your customers, expand your reach with marketing and lead-generating services, and keep your website updated with minimal effort. Using partner feedback, we recently updated the Ready-to-Go Marketing website to offer a better online experience and make it easier for you to find the right content, fast, and quickly preview materials to determine if they meet your needs. I encourage you to check out the new site and see what Ready-to-Go Marketing has to offer.

From April 18, 2011

Q: As an Action Pack subscriber, should I consider going to the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference? What is the value for me?
A: The annual Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) is your time to hear about the Microsoft business, product, and technology roadmap for the coming year. You’ll learn about new ways to grow your business with products and technologies like cloud services, Windows 7, and Windows Phone. Thousands of partners from around the world attend, as do Microsoft executives and team members, making WPC our largest partner event. It offers an excellent opportunity to build your network and make connections with people who can help you shape your strategies and plans to build your business. This year’s Conference is from July 10-14 in Los Angeles. Partners who register for an All Access Event Pass before April 25 will save $300 with our Early Bird Discount. The Microsoft U.S. team will have a significant presence at WPC, with plans that include a track of sessions specifically for U.S. partners, and a lounge that will be open throughout the Conference, with kiosks staffed by U.S. partner team members.

If you would like to garner recognition for the Microsoft-based solutions you offer your customers, you may want to consider nominating your company for a WPC Award. You have until April 29 to make your submission. Awards you may be eligible for include:

  • Sustainability Partner of the Year
  • Online Services Solution Partner of the Year
  • Public Sector, Government Partner of the Year
  • Small Business Specialist Partner of the Year

I hope you will consider making the investment to attend Worldwide Partner Conference this year. I think there is a lot of value for Action Pack subscribers in the event that will serve you well. One of the kiosks at the U.S. Lounge will be specifically for Action Pack subscribers, and my colleagues and I would love to meet you.

From March 21, 2011

Q: If I renew my Action Pack subscription before my anniversary date, will my anniversary date change?
A: No, your anniversary date will not change. If your anniversary date is in May 2011 and you decide to renew in March 2011, your subscription will be up for renewal in May 2012.

From February 21, 2011

Q: What new Microsoft products are available for Action Pack subscribers in the digital download site?
A: Windows Small Business Server 2011 will be available for download as part of your internal-use benefits at the end of February, and Microsoft Lync was added last month. These are great new products to use in your own business and to recommend and sell to your customers. See all your Action Pack software contents. If you have elected to receive physical media, your next update kit will ship in April. [Note: As of 4/15, we are pleased to announce that Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard and Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials are now available for download from the partner digital distribution portal. Read the blog post from the WW Partner Group.]

BONUS: Check out our new video, which shows how you can utilize your Action Pack benefits in conjunction with the Gear Up sales tools.

From January 17, 2011

Q: What are the benefits of having an Action Pack SP subscription versus a TechNet subscription? Which subscription should I renew?
A: Microsoft Action Pack SP provides internal-use rights for the latest versions of Microsoft software, which you can use to run your business, and includes a TechNet subscription so you can evaluate software (current and older versions) for your clients. The software licenses offered through TechNet are for evaluation purposes only and do not provide internal-use rights. Your Action Pack subscription also provides benefits like support through the Partner Online Technical Communities and listing in Microsoft customer directories. See the full list of benefits.

From December 20, 2010

Q: How do I activate my TechNet subscription that is a benefit of my Action Pack Solution Provider?
A: Instructions for accessing this valuable benefits are published at TechNet offers evaluation licenses for full-version Microsoft software, plus access to the Microsoft TechNet Library. If you need help activating your benefit, use our Action Pack Subscription Support page to find self-help resources, and contact information for phone-based support if you get stuck.

Comments (7)
  1. SGSMikeG says:

    I’m still unclear…can you confirm if the latest Action Pack includes Smat Business Server 2011 ?  This link suggests its not :…/action-pack-solution-provider-software-contents.aspx

  2. Radek says:

    Can I use software, which were downloaded, when my subs. has ended?

  3. susan says:

    "End of February" means Monday as the SBS 2011 is still not on the site as of Friday.

    Why does it take so long to be on the site?

  4. Leo Jacob says:

    It is great news considering we have bought several copies for clients already yet cant do our own install!

  5. Chris says:

    Is the SBS 2011 part of the Action Pack. I don't see the License only SBS 2008. Will the that License work with SBS 2011?

    Thank You

  6. Hi Chris – Great news! SBS 2011 will be part of your digital download benefits at the end of February, and the Software Contents lists for both Action Pack editions will be updated. Cheers, Diane

  7. Hi Susan – Please visit Eric Ligman's blog post at for information about how to download SBS 2011 as part of your competency or Action Pack benefits. Cheers, Diane

Comments are closed.

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