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Virtual PDM Virtual Partner Development Manager
Nov 26,2020

Building vital skills to drive business performance

Welcome to our new blog series. As a virtual Partner Development Manager, I’m going to support you on your journey to become a successful partner with the tools, knowledge, and confidence to help customers grasp the full power of the cloud and new technology.

Technology has given us some fantastic things. At home it’s more common to stream a new release straight into your living room than go to the cinema. At work, there’s useful tools and apps to help streamline processes, such as Microsoft Teams.

But on the other hand, all this new tech has made what we need to support customers much more complex. And I realise that sometimes trying to find those resources can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

So just think of me as your virtual metal detector. Over the next few months, I’m going to help you navigate the partner ecosystem and pull up some fantastic resources you can use to broaden your opportunities.

Today I’m going to talk to you about building a skilled workforce that can help drive your organisations performance and get you started on your journey. Currently, a lot of our work and information sharing has moved online – we’re even running Inspire, our global partner community event, remotely this year. But this doesn’t mean you have to pause development programmes – these can be done online too.

Recognise your needs

Cloud has changed how we engage with customers through a lifetime value cycle. In order to stay competitive, you need employees who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to deliver what the customer needs.

Ask yourself two questions:

  1. Do I have the right skills within my organisation to sell and deliver the solutions or service?
  2. Do we have enough individuals trained and certified to meet the customer demand?

The Training and Readiness Assessment guide is a great start to extend your cloud proficiencies in your organisation. It looks at upskilling and cross skilling existing and new employees and, as it only takes about 25 minutes, it quickly sets you on the right path.

Plan your journey

The next thing to do is to use the assessment guide to plan your organisation’s journey. Map out a learning path that’s relevant to you and your team. Set organisational and employee goals to focus on learning. Weave re- and up-skilling into your employees KPIs to give them an incentive to learn. For more information on planning your learning journey, and to find out about our 7-step process to help get you started, read our blog here.

Learning resources

Now you’ve identified what skills gaps you need to close and how, we get to the fun stuff: Learning resources. We’ve got a whole range you can use to help build your employee’s skills, depending on how they best learn.

With remote learning, you can still cater to a range of learning types. After all, not everyone works the same way and sometimes different types of resources are great for different reasons. On-demand learning, for example, is perfect for when you don’t have a whole day to set aside and wish to learn at a time that suits you. For when you do have that focus time, training days are great for going deeper into various subjects, while connecting remotely with experts and other partners. Let’s take a look at our options below:

Online training, webinars, and more

Whether you are looking for on-demand or live virtual events, courses or bite-sized learning we have all resources available to you, whether in sales or technical roles.

These are for everyone within the partner business to use. Whether you’re an HR/L&D professional building learning plans, or an individual learner looking to build further skills. I’ve pulled out a few links that believe will be of use to you, but there is so much more on the Partner Skills Hub, so check it out!

  • Partner Training Centre – access role-specific learning paths and build your skills on Microsoft products and solutions.
  • Microsoft Learn – learning paths or modules to gain particular subject knowledge or become Microsoft certified.
  • Ignite the Tour sessions – watch on-demand content from our annual event that focusses on tech staff and developers. Learn about new, and future tech, and connect with experts and others.
  • UK Virtual Training Days – these free training sessions will help to accelerate your business and build a more technical team. Sessions currently cover Microsoft 365, Power Platform, Azure and Dynamics 365.
  • UK Live Events – Our in-person events have moved online so you can still benefit from training. See a full list on our Partner Skills Hub.
  • Technical Consultations and Webinars – as part of your membership you can get access to personal technical consultations and interactive webinars to help develop specific expertise.
  • Virtual Instructor Led Trainings – interactive seminars to boost your knowledge across all Microsoft cloud solutions.


If you are looking to gain a personal certification, or whether your organisation is looking to achieve competencies or advanced specialisation, then having role-based certified employees is important. It’s also the best way to show your customers you have the right skills and knowledge.

Certifications are an amazing benefit to your employees, as their skills are futureproofed. They also have a higher opportunity for growth in your business. There are learning paths on how to achieve certifications, so you know the journey you need to take.

Find out more at Learning Certification.

If you’re not sure what specific certifications you need, the Cloud Enablement Desk can help with that. Get in touch with them via this form.

Building the future workplace

Not only is it important to re- and upskill your employees, but you need to attract the right kind too.

Hiring the right person is more than looking for the skills you need right now, it’s looking for the employees with the ability to skill up and grow with you. Someone who shares your values and goals. So think about expanding your recruitment to apprentices, people with industry knowledge, and those returning to work.

Read the Recruit, Hire, Onboard, and Retain Talent playbook to get all the tips and tricks.

We’ve pulled together all the talent programmes available from Partners who specialise in helping companies fill their talent gaps. These include apprenticeship graduate and other talent programmes. Reach out to the Talent Concierge today.

The next step

While this is the first step of your journey, it’s important to remember that knowledge isn’t a one-and-done process. You need to encourage your employees to keep re- and upskilling in order to keep up with technological advancement. Take a look at our Partner Skills Initiative on how to build a culture of continuous learning.

By building a culture of continuous learning, you’ll have empowered employees who have the passion and knowledge to drive business goals and help your customers succeed. Keep the Partner Skills Hub bookmarked to get the latest training and events.

I look forward to chatting to you in my next blog. In the meantime, make sure you’re subscribed to receive news and communications from the UK One Commercial Partner Team. We have an informative, monthly newsletter that focusses on Partner Skills and UK Community Calls.