The game is changing for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) as new technologies in areas like cloud services, mobile computing, and business intelligence transform the IT landscape. All of this change adds up to an overwhelming number of choices for SMBs, from new pricing models to different deployment options. More than ever, customers are looking for partners who can help them stay ahead of these trends and translate business needs into effective technology solutions. 

As a result, resellers are shifting to a more consultative role, working closely with customers to gain a deeper understanding of their businesses and help them make the right strategic decisions about which technologies and services to purchase and deploy. Resellers who have already started to take on this expanded role have seen their business realize the margin benefits of offering these more profitable services.

Ahead of the Game Technical Series

The Ahead of the Game Technical Series provides training, demonstrations, and hands-on instruction on how to use the latest capabilities in Windows Server 2012 R2 to deliver solutions to small and midsize organizations. This set of training courses is designed to prepare Microsoft value-added reseller (VAR) partners to help your customers get their businesses ahead of the game by providing solutions and services in the areas of virtualization and cloud, mobility and remote access, and business intelligence. 

Dates & Locations

BRISBANE: February 4th – 6th

Clifton's Brisbane 288 Edward St Brisbane

MELBOURNE: February 18th – 20th

Clifton's Melbourne Level 1, 440 Collins Street Melbourne

SYDNEY: February 11th – 13th

Microsoft 1 Epping Road, North Ryde

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Who Should Attend

The Ahead of the Game Technical Series is for Microsoft value-added reseller (VAR) partners with or without existing business practices built on Windows Server and/or SQL Server who work with small and midsize organizations. The training is designed for IT professionals and consultants who are ready to learn more about meeting the technical needs of SMBs with server and cloud solutions.

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. 
  • Choose the training that’s right for you: Participants have the flexibility to choose one, two, or three days of hands on technical training for the subject matter that is most relevant to their needs.  
  • Get the skills you need to build real-world SMB solutions: Designed to help you prepare for the new and improved Midmarket Competency coming in 2014, this technical series is designed specifically for partners working with SMB customers to build solutions using the latest products and technologies from Microsoft. 

This training aligns to the Microsoft Ahead of the Game campaign for SMB partners. There is a free three-day course with each day focusing on one of the three key technology areas:

1. Virtualization and Cloud

When SMBs think about virtualization, they typically think about server consolidation—enabling them to run more applications on fewer servers and helping to cut costs for hardware, maintenance, and power. Virtualization also delivers a range of other benefits, like making it dramatically faster and easier to manage the IT environment. 

One major benefit of virtualizing your customers is that it eases the upgrade path by eliminating the pain typically associated with migrating servers. Once services are hosted on virtual machines, it is simple to move the contents of a server to new hardware—or to deploy to the cloud. 

In this course, you’ll learn key technologies for helping SMBs virtualize, and where appropriate, to

deploy to the cloud. This course focuses on three key areas for SMBs, including server consolidation, backup & disaster recovery, and storage.  

2. Mobility and Remote Access 

There is a rapidly expanding opportunity to deliver solutions around mobility and remote access, as SMBs look for new ways to empower workers to get their jobs done wherever they need to be. Many partners are successfully developing new lines of business around mobility and remote access to gain a share of this expanding market. 

An increasingly mobile workforce creates a range of SMB challenges, whether managing what many people are referring to as the “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) explosion, or enabling more secure access for telecommuters. With the Microsoft platform, you can deliver solutions to SMBs that provide them the flexibility to do business anywhere—combined with the peace of mind that their environment is protected.

Partners who attend this training will leave with the skills to provide solutions to SMB customers in three key areas: mobility with Windows 8 devices, remote access to on-premises LOB applications, and mobile productivity in the cloud with Office 365.

3. Business Intelligence

We are in the midst of a data explosion as a massive amount of new data is generated daily by a range of sources, from website statistics to data captured on mobile devices. Most businesses are sitting on a goldmine of data right in their own organizations, including customer purchase histories, accounting records, and product profitability data. 

Today, there is a great opportunity to grow your business making business intelligence a reality for SMBs—helping them put data to work to make better decisions faster, to focus on the right opportunities, and to win more business. 

Now, with new functionality built-in to familiar tools like Microsoft Excel 2013 and new Microsoft cloud solutions like Power BI for Office 365, you have a complete set of tools to build BI solutions and services for SMBs. And you have the unique flexibility to deliver solutions on-premises or in the cloud to meet your customers’ specific needs.

In this course, you will learn how to deliver powerful BI solutions to your SMB customers that enable them to find and combine multiple sources of data, gain insights from that data through interactive dashboards and reports, and to share those insights with the rest of the organisation.