21 October 2020

Working together to support your customers

Autumn feels like it’s well and truly here. And with the change of season comes a blast of updates from Microsoft, along with a few announcements of our own. So, this email has a bit more content than normal.

Check out this month’s video for a quick review of the most important updates, and gain a host of inside tips and talking points to spark a conversation with your customers.

New Westcoast Cloud training

We’ve launched our brand new eLearning microsite, with in-depth training on Dynamics, Modern Workplace and Azure. It’s perfect for refreshing your knowledge, or getting new team members up to speed. We’ve released a batch of vertical guides too (for the healthcare, retail, and tourism and hospitality industries). Targeting businesses in these sectors? Our guides are essential reading.

Hybrid solutions team

Lastly, we’re excited to announce our brand-new hybrid solutions team at Westcoast Cloud. A lot of your clients have IT challenges that go beyond cloud solutions. So we’re working with our parent company (Westcoast) to offer you more support on hybrid solutions. Look out for more details in the near future, or feel free to get in touch if you want to chat sooner.

Perpetual software license in CSP

Perpetual licensing launches worldwide from 1 January 2021. Instead of paying monthly, you’ll have the flexibility to support customers who prefer buying lifetime licenses. Worth knowing — Westcoast Cloud has early bird access. Contact us now for details.

The end of open licensing is coming

This is the license program that Microsoft is retiring at the end of next year. The majority of these are perpetual licenses and can continue to be used after the date of retirement and for as long as the customer wishes. Within this program you can also purchase annual subscriptions for cloud products. These subscriptions will last for 1 year from the date they are activated and cannot be purchased or renewed after 31st December 2021. Having said that if your customer is looking for cloud licensing, or to renew an Open cloud agreement, we would recommend moving your customers to CSP and can give you the relevant support to help you make this happen.

Partner incentives

On October 1, Microsoft launched the new partner incentives scheme. This will affect your rewards for numerous applications and services (including Cloud Solution Provider, Enterprise, and Microsoft Commerce Incentive). For full details, check out Microsoft’s array of on-demand webinars.

Ignite update

Last month, Microsoft Ignite 2020 delivered a host of new product features. There’s a swathe of updates coming to Teams — including breakout rooms and live captions with speaker attributions. Employee well-being is also being prioritised in Teams — from an integration with the Headspace meditation app to a virtual commute feature intended to help create a transition between work and home. Catch all the other updates via the Ignite on-demand video sessions.

Competency extension

Do your customers have a competency anniversary date between July 1 and December 31 2020? Microsoft have now extended these by a year — a decision that was taken in response to COVID-19.

Update to MPA implementation

Over the next few months, Microsoft Partner Agreement (MPA) for indirect resellers will enter its second phase. Indirect resellers that don’t accept the MPA will find it far harder to gain new customers or place new orders and renewals in the CSP program.

Azure SQL Edge

As of last month, Azure SQL Edge was made available to Cloud Solution Providers. This small-footprint container is a no-code toolkit that connects Internet of Things devices to the cloud, offering real-time intelligence and security. It’s built on the same engine that powers Azure SQL and SQL Server, giving it a familiar developer experience and same tooling that many teams will have experience with.

Teams and Voice discounts

New discounts and offers are available for Teams and Voice – for you and your customers. Get 35% off Advanced Communications for Enterprise Agreement customers (until the end of January). And snap up a 35% discount on Business Voice for brand new customers. For help claiming these discounts, contact us today.

Open Academic, Government and Charity

This is continuing past 31st December 2021 with no retirement plans at this time.

Open Value & Open Value Subscription

This is continuing past 31st December 2021 with no retirement plans at this time.

Certification arrives for Business Central Functional Consultants

Big news — Business Central Functional Consultants can now get certified with the Microsoft beta exam. This is a major milestone on the road to preparing for the competency and Business Central advance specialisation (coming this December). If a Functional Consultant passes the exam, it’ll count towards their competency once the exam goes in GA. Find out more about the beta exam today.

Got a topic for us to cover next month?

Need a bit of extra support from your Westcoast Cloud team? Reach out to your Westcoast Cloud contact, or email us on marketing@westcoastcloud.co.uk