Recently, I’ve been doing some partner training on Office 365, and one of the KEY resources available to Microsoft partners that I continually point to is QuickStart for Microsoft Online Services Portal. It occurred to me that I didn’t remember seeing any previous posts around this great resource on this blog, so here goes. If you were to see the actual URL you’d notice it’s https, which means this site will require an MPN ID to access, but I presume that the great majority of our blog audience are MPN partners, my apologies to those who are not, but there’s also plenty of good Office 365 info on other resources such as the Office 365 portal on microsoft.com. And to be clear, the QuickStart portal is not specific to Office 365, it covers ALL of our online service offerings as you can see from this home page screenshot below, so if you want to get great resources for Windows Intune or CRM Online, or even Azure, this could be THE PLACE TO GO. I won’t specifically call it a “one-stop shop” but it’s certainly got a comprehensive collection of resources that may well fill all your needs (and I’ll highlight a few as we go). And one of the reasons I’ve said “all things Office 365” above is that it includes a variety of resources for technical, as well as sales/marketing, and even partner opportunity needs and everything from case studies to tools. So, let’s drill into the site a bit to show you more about what all’s there.
Clicking on the Office 365 link under “Explore product resources” (or dropping down Products tab and clicking Office 365) brings you to this page (below). Notice this defaults to Sales/Marketing – if you want Technical resources then you’ll need to also click on the Technical link in the breadcrumb bar (right below the tabline). And, by the same token, you’ll click on the Partner Opportunity breadcrumb if that’s the type of material you are looking for.
Notice you can easily browse by topic or product and filter by Featured or Latest content. One of the more interesting resources I want to call out is the Office 365 MidMarket Tele Discussion Guide (in the Sales box above). This is a 12-page in-depth document “designed to help scale resellers and value-added resellers (VARs) prepare for, conduct, qualify, and close outbound customer calls to drive Microsoft® Office 365 sales with small and midsize businesses”. This is a great resource for sales people, and if that’s what you are, you are really missing out if you don’t investigate this document.
In each tab, below the Resource Lists, you’ll see the Latest Training Sessions area as well as the Latest Community Activity. Generally the Community info (e.g. blogs and wiki) is the same across the tabs but the Training Sessions are different between the Sales and Technical tabs, so be sure to check that area in the applicable tab. Btw, this is where the site gets a bit unintuitive, so let me call out some things to know: In the “Sales” box (above) Click on the “View all ‘Sales’ resources” link (shown larger below),
Now, on that page you should notice 2 things (shown below): 1) the Library is only showing 57 out of 157 resources (but there’s no vertical scroll bar). and 2) that there’s a “View all Sales/Marketing resources” link available in the header -- so you need to click that link to get to see ALL the resources.
But, if you want to focus on SMB, notice in 1) above, you can click on one of the orange SMB symbols and you’ll get a filtered list of just the SMB-focused content (currently 35 out of the 157 resources as seen below).
Here you should see the Office 365 Small Business Discussion Guide, along with other great SMB-focused resources such as: a Customer Deck (Powerpoint file). datasheet (2-page product overview/handout), and a Click-thru Demo. I would also point out that there are, obviously, some MidMarket (MM) resources in the filtered list, but the vast majority of them are for small business. I suggest you may want to check out the MM resources because you will likely be dealing at some point with customers over 25 seats and, as you hopefully know (from reading BVA’s and Woody’s earlier blogs), there are some significant limitations on the Office 365 Small Business SKU that might cause you to recommend the Enterprise SKUs even to businesses with less than 25 users. So, in review, the Products tab is where you’ll find the resource lists, which include both technical and sales information and materials, as well as Training information and Community Activity links, and don’t forget to click on the view all to access all 130+ resources currently available.
Before I close, I would encourage you to also check out the Community tab. In addition to the Microsoft blogs it has some other great blogs and discussion areas, such as Bret Hill’s Office365Answers blog which BVA called out in a previous post. Don’t pass up the News tab either. As you see in the screenshot below, it currently has highlights some news around Blackberry and also the “transition window” (from BPOS to Office 365), which is a recommended read, and a webcast on “Three Things Every Cloud Partner Needs to Know to Sell (Office 365)” which covers some key changes. And, lastly, the Support tab not only outlines your support options (such as Deployment and Advisory Services) but also has links to the Enterprise phone support numbers as well as the Office 365 Online Community for Small Business (and Enterprise SKU) support.
OK, so hopefully, if you haven’t already been using this great portal, you’ll now be motivated to look into it and not only get more informed but also leverage some of the great informational and material resources that are available to you there.