Exam Requirements for the New Small Business Competency are not all EASY

Woody Walton 2010

Woody Walton


The New Small Business Competency is a direct result of feedback from partners around the world.  Ithas a lot going for it and we plan on discussing it a lot in the coming weeks at WPC in Toronto, Canada.  You can read up on the competency here.


If you investigate the requirements on the link above you will notice an MCP exam called out before the others.  I will use the Silver competency as an example.

From the Silver Small Business Competency requirements page on MPN

1. Pass the qualifying exams

Your company must employ or contract with one Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) who has passed:

In addition, the same MCP must pass one exam from the following list:1




Although you have a choice with many of the other exams, you must pass Exam 70-323.  This is not an easy exam.  It is quite multidisciplinary and I failed it just the other day.  …of course I did not study for the exam, but that does not impact my view that this was a difficult exam.  I can usually walk in and pass most of our “single product” exams with a little study.  Some are more complex than others, but within my bailiwick, I am usually good to go.  Examples would include the two windows exams mentioned above.  These are quite easy by comparison in my opinion to the Administering Office 365 exam.  The exam covers a lot of ground; it is multidisciplinary, as I said before.


A quick look at the skills measured will let you know what you are in for:

Administer Microsoft Office 365 (35%)

  • Provision and manage users, groups, and domains.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: create users; configure user and group properties and settings; manage user licenses and subscriptions; Bulk Add Users Wizard (CSV import); use Microsoft Online Services Directory Synchronization Tool to provision and manage users and groups; recover identities and users; add and verify domains; Microsoft Online Services module for Windows PowerShell
  • Manage roles.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Office 365 administrator roles; delegated administration; Exchange role-based access control (RBAC) roles including management role assignment policies for users
  • Prepare the client computer and configure remote connectivity.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: prepare the client computer (prerequisites, desktop integration, group policy settings, managing desktop shortcuts, Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant); troubleshoot remote connectivity issues (Windows Firewall and network firewall for Lync, Exchange, and SharePoint); autodiscover and service location, trusted zones; configure remote administration (enable administrator for remote Windows PowerShell, Exchange Management Console), Office Professional Plus 2010
  • Manage identity federation by using Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) 2.0.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configure and manage AD FS 2.0; single sign-on; two factor authentication; AD FS proxy

Administer SharePoint Online (31%)

  • Manage site collections.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: create site collections; manage site collection properties (quotas, owners, administrators, and external user policies); create and configure the public website
  • Manage metadata.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: manage the term store; delegated administration; manage term sets including multilingual; manage enterprise keywords
  • Manage user profiles.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configure user and organization properties and policies; manage social tags and notes; configure MySite properties; manage audiences
  • Manage sites.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: manage team site; external user permissions; send external invites; create permission sets; define roles and groups; site templates; solution and feature framework (activating, deactivating, sandbox solutions); mobile device support; Recovery and Recycle Bin

Administer Exchange and Lync Online (34%)

  • Manage mailboxes, contacts, and groups.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: single item recovery; recover mailboxes; migrate mailboxes; Email Migration Wizard; configure global policy settings including Outlook Web App mailbox policy and Exchange ActiveSync policies; security and distribution groups (moderated, restricted, dynamic, and self-service)
  • Manage Exchange in an Office 365 hybrid deployment.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configure mail routing; configure unified messaging integration; configure transport rules; troubleshoot a hybrid server; shared namespaces; federation gateway
  • Manage messaging security and compliance.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: antivirus/antispam (Forefront Online Protection for Exchange); Exchange Hosted Encryption; S/MIME; Information Rights Management (IRM); journal rules; certificates; Mutual TLS (MTLS); create and manage retention policies and retention tags; administrator audit logging; mailtips; litigation hold; archive mailbox (personal and online)
  • Manage Lync in an Office 365 environment.
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: configure Lync services; configure federation and public IM connectivity (PIC); configure user settings (audio/video, file transfer, dial-in audio conferencing settings)



I find this to be quite accurate.  I would state that the exam went a little deeper in these areas than I thought it would, but this is exactly what it covers.

You will notice they call out managing Exchange in a Hybrid environment, that mention federation and PowerShell.  These are not skills you develop overnight.  I highly recommend anyone wishing to pass this test, or its companion, Exam 70-321: Deploying Office 365, actually set up a trail Office 365 subscription AND spin up some virtual machines with Exchange 2010 installed.  Conduct migrations, set up coexistence, configure ADFS 2.0, use PowerShell!  Actually do it.   The partners that I know that are really solid on cloud have significant expertise on ADFS.  The ones who do not are  being held back a little.  I guess this competency will start to shift that.


Thanks for listening!






Comments (1)

  1. JamesB says:

    So as a current SBSC and ZERO customers on Office 365 I have to pay a grand and take a test that in no way relates to my small businesses customers, yeah that makes a ton of sense. I predict 10% of current SBSC's will go Silver and thats counting those that already are. After the first year I bet that drops by a third.

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