So here's the important stuff you'll want to know about as an SMB partner who resells or supports Microsoft technologies:
- SMB Pre-Day - Yes, there will be one! 'Delivering Solutions with Microsoft's SMB Servers with our Productivity, Virtualisation and Online offerings' on Tuesday 31 August from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Microsoft's SMB Partner Technology Advisor, Mark O'Shea will present this session with Sharmila Gosai. This sessions will also focus on product roadmap, solution scenarios, virtualisation, management and migration. Anyone registered for APC can also attend this pre-day a part of the APC ticket. There will not be separate tickets available for any pre-day.
- SMB Track - There are 11 SMB sessions over the two full conference days with come great content for SMB partners. These are business and sales focussed sessions designed to highlight opportunities for partners to generate increased revenue with Microsoft products and services. Hopefully this year they will tell us which button we should press to make all the money fall out the bottom!
- Cloud Services - unless you've been living under a rock you may have noticed Microsoft are a little excited about the cloud right now. There is plenty of content on sales, deployment and best practice plus many opportunities to pick the brains of Microsoft and partner experts who are already delivering BPOS and cloud services.
- Pinpoint - This is a great tool that Microsoft are providing to drive customers to your door. One hundred million times better than Solution Finder, I rate it and have already had great customer enquiries from it. There are 'Pinpoint "Customer Magnet" Workshops' you can attend to help you get the most benefit from Pinpoint.
- Networking - this is probably the biggest reason to attend APC. Lots of partners in the one place all working with Microsoft in different ways all at different stages of maturity with their business. Meet other partners, vendors and Microsofties between sessions, in the Expo, at the social events and you are sure to come away with information and tips you can take back and use in your own business.
- Awards - On Thursday night, APC will wrap up with a celebration dinner and presentation of the Microsoft Partner Awards. Last year Microsoft struck the balance between great music, good food, great room and exciting presenters - lets hope they can go two from two and do the same again this year. If you've thought about entering the Awards but haven't quite made it, this is a great opportunity to find out who the winners are even have a chat about their entry. You'll find most partners are pretty generous with info when they've just received adulation from a key vendor and their peers.
A full agenda is available online with further details and you can follow the links to register from there.
Certified and Gold Partners are entitled to complimentary tickets.
If you still want further information or would like to ask questions of someone who is an APC and WPC veteran, please leave a comment.
Keira McIntosh is the General Manager at Directions Technology - an Australia owned small business providing managed and reliable IT Support in Brisbane. You can also find her on Twitter and Linked In.