22 March 2021

March Monthly News


Hello again. Spring is here. The sun is starting to shine (sometimes). And we’re back with another round of monthly updates. Just five to cover this time around.

Get the headlines from Tom in this month’s round-up video. The perfect place to pick up a few customer talking points for the month ahead.

Free exam vouchers

Good news for partners looking to validate their technical expertise. Microsoft is offering a free certification exam voucher to everyone that completed at least one Ignite Skills Challenge.

Eligible exams include all the Microsoft fundamentals, from Azure to Office 365. You can find the full list here.

To book a free certification exam, partners should sign into their Microsoft Certification Profile and schedule an exam as normal. From here, they can proceed to the Exam Discounts page and enter their email address to claim their voucher.

Protecting your customers from a new price for 365 E3

On 1 March, Microsoft increased the price of 365 E3. The increase is reflected in March price lists. Usually, the price increase would only affect new customers, with existing customers paying the lower price until their anniversary.

But who wants bigger bills? That’s why we’re resetting price protection for all Microsoft E3 customers until February 2022. Don’t forget to let them know! Contact Tom and the team for more information.

Another competency extension

Our partners have told us that keeping up competency renewals and requirement is proving difficult right now. Microsoft is listening and has once again announced an extension to existing competencies.

Customers with competency anniversary dates between 1 January and 30 June 2021 can renew for one year.

But renewals are not automatic. Remember to tell your customers to visit the Partner Center and pay the relevant fee before this year’s anniversary date.

More competencies and specialisations

The past 12 months haven’t been easy on anyone. But it’s been particularly challenging for SMBs. To support our partners in the SMB market, Microsoft has announced a new competency and two advanced specialisations.

The Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions competency is designed for partners with Microsoft Dynamics. It will help you demonstrate your technical competency and unlock go-to-market offers and programmes.

The two specialisations cover Small and Midsize Business Management and Low Code Application Development. Details, eligibility criteria and everything else you need to know is here.

A Business Voice bonus

To encourage more partners to take up Teams for meetings and calling, Microsoft has extended its Business Voice and Audio Conferencing promos.

Until 30 June 2021, customers can add Audio Conferencing to their 365 subscriptions for free for up to 12 months. Business Voice can be added with 25% off if taken with a calling plan. And 33% off if taken without.

Need a little inspiration? Free Audio Conferencing is an excellent introduction for new 365 customers. Existing customers are more likely to appreciate the Business Voice promo.

For more information, contact xxx

Keep your certifications active with Certification Renewal

Here’s an update from Microsoft that makes life a whole lot easier for resellers. Certifications used to expire every two years. And getting a certification renewed involved going to a testing centre and passing exams all over again. What a faff. But now if you have an active certification that’s set to expire within six months, you can renew it for free on Microsoft Learn. Lovely stuff.

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