Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager - Eric Ligman

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Microsoft Small Business Competency is here! Plus a $999 special (~46% discount!) promotional offer and more competency details!

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Microsoft Small Business Competency is here! Plus a $999 special (~46% discount!) promotional offer and more competency details!

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I am extremely happy to share with all of you that the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency is now available! In addition to this very exciting news that I know many of you have been waiting anxiously for, we have continued to have conversations with and listened to feedback from you, our partners, and we are thrilled to also be announcing a fantastic offer for partners looking to earn the Microsoft Partner Network Silver Small Business competency as their first Microsoft Partner Network competency (like many of our existing Small Business Specialist Community members).

For a limited time, June 1, 2012 –> December 31, 2012, those partners looking to earn a Silver Small Business competency in the Microsoft Partner Network, who fulfill the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business competency requirements and who meet the eligibility criteria I have listed below, can receive a one-time ~46% discount off the standard Silver Small Business competency fee of $1,850 USD, and enroll for only $999 USD! Now, the prices I have listed are in U.S. dollars and exact pricing varies by country (exact price will be available within the Partner Membership Center during enrolment); however, you get the general sense of the type of discount we are talking about here. It’s a huge savings and an incredible offer.

Ok, let’s take a look at the details of the competency and the offer, since we all know you are asking yourself, “What do I have to do to get that discount?” right about now. Here are the details:

First, let’s look at when the $999 promotion runs and what it applies to:

  • The $999 promotional offer for the Microsoft Partner Network Silver Small Business competency is a limited-time, one-time offer that applies to your enrollment fees.
  • As I mentioned above, this promotional offer ends December 31, 2012, so you must have a paid invoice from the Partner Membership Center for only Silver Small Business competency enrollment fees dated between June 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.
  • And in case the “one-time” clarifier above wasn’t clear enough, please note that a partner organization is only eligible for one pricing offer during the promotional period.

Now, let’s look at the eligibility conditions to qualify for this promotional offer:

  • This promotional $999 offer is for attaining the Silver Small Business competency only, not a Gold Small Business competency. The current Gold competency fee will apply for attaining a Gold Small Business competency.
  • Partners who are currently enrolled in a Microsoft Silver or Gold competency, or who have enrolled in a competency within the past 12 months are not eligible for this pricing offer.
  • Current Microsoft Action Pack Solution Provider or Action Pack Development and Design members who earn the Small Business competency are eligible for this pricing offer.
    • For all of you current partners who are Microsoft Small Business Specialist (SBSC) members, you have an Action Pack Subscription as part of your requirement to attain the Small Business Specialist designation, so this applies to you. Based on the note above regarding partners with existing competencies not qualifying for this offer, it makes this promotional offer a wonderful opportunity for existing Microsoft Small Business Specialists who are looking to have the Small Business competency be their very first Microsoft Partner Network competency.
  • Cloud Accelerate partners who choose the Small Business competency as their sole Silver competency are eligible for this pricing offer.
  • Cloud Essential partners who only earn the Small Business competency are eligible for this pricing offer.

This is a great opportunity for all of our current Microsoft partners with the Small Business Specialist (SBSC) designation looking to achieve the Small Business competency as their first Microsoft Partner Network competency as SBSC evolves into the Small Business competency. After all, the Small Business competency represents the evolution of Small Business in the Microsoft Partner Network from just a designation to a full competency, which brings it up to being on par with the other competencies in the Microsoft Partner Network, aligning to feedback we heard from many of our current SBSC members.

As for the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business competency itself, here is some information and resources for you regarding it:

  • Benefits comparison: Ever since I put up my What are the requirements to earn the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency? post here on the blog, I have received questions about what the benefits are for the Small Business competency and how they compare to SBSC, the Mid-Market competency, Cloud Essentials, or Cloud Accelerate. To help make these answers really easy for you, here are two charts that provide you side-by-side comparisons including benefits and requirements (click them for full size):

Small Business competency compared to: Mid Market competency and SBSC

Small Business competency compared to: Mid Market competency, SBSC, Cloud Essentials, and Cloud Accelerate

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As someone that has been personally involved with the SBSC program since it was just an idea on a whiteboard, I am very grateful to all of our SBSC members (many of you whom I have had the great pleasure to meet and/or work with over the years) for everything they do each and every day to serve the needs of small businesses around the world. It is so exciting to see Small Business now earn its own full competency status, bringing with it the additional benefits and features as a competency for our partners, and now with the promotional $999 price that our existing SBSC members can take advantage of. In addition, the Small Business competency is built on the core solutions that SBSC has been focused on for years (SBS, Windows, etc.), while expanding additional opportunities for today and into tomorrow with the inclusion of cloud-based solutions such as Microsoft Office 365. In fact, the Small Business competency is the first Microsoft Partner Network competency to include cloud services benefits. It is definitely an exciting time for Small Business customers and partners!

Want to take advantage of the $999 promotional offer? Then head on out to the Small Business competency page or the Partner Membership Center within the Microsoft Partner Network to find the required steps to enroll.

By the way, have you seen the front page of the Microsoft Partner Network portal today? (Click image for full-size) The Small Business competency is the showcase item! Small Business is truly a BIG deal. image

Also, be sure to check out:

Here’s to an exciting future for Small Business in the Microsoft Partner Network and I look forward to seeing many of you this summer at Worldwide Partner Conference.

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Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER, LinkedIn, and RSS and see “What I’m thinking
Director, Worldwide Partner Experience
Microsoft Corporation
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  • I can’t be the only SBSC feeling hung out to dry here.  How is moving from a $324 per year Action Pack subscription renewal up to $999 a year a bargain / discount?  I am a one man shop and support about 185 desktops and 15 servers spread out over 10 small business customers.  I’ve been doing managed services for over 10 years, my customer like on-premise.  I don’t need Office 365 licenses.  I don’t need 5 MSDN / 3 TechNet licenses.   My customers don’t want Office 365, they like on-premise.   My customers don’t want Intune.  It does have some nice monitoring abilities but also forces customers to pay for a Windows Enterprise license in subscription form…all of my customers already have Windows 7 Pro.  They don’t want to repay for Windows they already own.  The handful of features in Windows Enterprise over Pro aren’t being used by any of my customers.  So, I don’t require 50 Intune licenses since I won’t be reselling it.   Third party RMM tools cost a great deal less and allow me to charge my customers a FAIR price for what is actually used.

    I am excited for Windows 8, Server 2012 and some of the cool things Microsoft has been doing lately.  This new competency does NOT fall into that category of cool things.    A one-time $999 fee…maybe.  $999 a year just isn’t worth it to me and probably a lot of other small shops out there.   I DO need internal use licenses on Microsoft software to test deployments, upgrades, and to run my business.  I’ll be moving to a single user TechNet subscription, this new “small business” competency for $999 a year just isn’t a bargain for what I need / use.

  • ... I feel the same here in Germany. Much worse is the end of the Small Business Server (RIP). I guess I will then sell the W2012 Essential and use some other Mail Server (Open Source or other). Cloud is no option, because many small companies do not want their data in the cloud or the connection is too poor. Might be a short step to drop Office and use the open source office programs ... I guess it depends what my customers want ...

  • I'm on the same page as "Long Time SBSC Member" in the last post on every point.  Mind you the $999 promotion is only for the first year and ends December 31st.  Subsequent years it’s the full $1,850.  Yikes!

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