by Julie Golding, U.S. MPN Lead
The benefits you get as a Microsoft Action Pack subscriber in the Microsoft Partner Network can help you build your product knowledge and expertise on the most recently released Microsoft products so you can capitalize on the new opportunities with Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Microsoft System Center 2012, and Visual Studio 2012, and prepare for the release of the new Office, which released to manufacturing in mid-October. If you aren’t using the resources I’ve listed below, you’re not getting the full value of your benefits!
- Microsoft software licenses for internal use. Download your software licenses, a key benefit of your Action Pack subscription, to use the latest Microsoft products in your business. Windows 8 Professional, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 Essentials (which replaces Small Business Server), Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013, and more are available for download now. Get your software and license benefits.
- No-cost and low-cost training. Most of our live and on-demand online courses are offered to you at no cost as a benefit of your Microsoft Partner Network membership, and we’ve made it easy to find the product training you need to build technical and sales skills for yourself and others in your company. My three favorite ways to find training on the latest products:
- The U.S. Partner Training blog at http://blogs.technet.com/b/uspartner_learning/ is frequently updated with information about the latest training, live in-person, live online, and on-demand. The monthly training Hot Sheet is always available on the blog at https://aka.ms/hotsheetnews (and you’ll see it listed in the Partner Training Resources on the right-hand side of the blog).
- Product learning paths offer training by role at https://mspartner.microsoft.com/en/us/pages/training/learning-paths-by-product.aspx. If you want to track your progress in completing a specific learning path, create a learning plan at http://www.microsoftlearningplans.com/.
- The U.S. partner news blog series at https://aka.ms/uspnewsletter features two products in each post, with training courses and links organized by role.
- Technical certifications and sales accreditations. Getting a Microsoft Certification yourself, or having certified IT pros and developers on your staff, is a smart business investment, even if you don’t plan to move from Action Pack to Microsoft competency. You can still use the training benefit I described above, plus take advantage of training-related offers like the practice test offer and the Microsoft Competency Exam Packs, which offer savings of up to 40% on qualifying exams and include a second shot at taking the exam if you need it. For sales and presales technical personnel, Partner Sales Skills Excellence Accreditations develop product knowledge and expertise that can be valuable in helping you position your company as a trusted IT advisor.
- Technical communities and support. Members of the Partner Network have access to unlimited online technical support and answers to break-fix and presales questions from Microsoft engineers, and can benefit from the expertise of other partners as well, through the Partner Online Technical Communities. And, based on whether you have a Solution Provider or Development and Design subscription, you have additional community and support resources:
- Action Pack Solution Provider – With your online TechNet subscription, you can test full versions of the latest software, download documentation from the TechNet Library, and share ideas and get expert advice from other IT professionals in the TechNet forums.
- Action Pack Development and Design – You have three MSDN for Microsoft Action Pack Development and Design subscriptions, plus 10 partner advisory hours that will let you take advantage of Technical Presales and Advisory Services and Practice Accelerators.
You’ll find a list of all your Action Pack benefits on the partner portal—just click the graphic below to link to the benefits for your subscription.