Hello again partners!  I hope you all were able to join us either in person or via www.digitalwpc.com for an energizing and inspiring WPC last week!  One of the sessions my team and I did was around a topic that is central to many of you — acquiring the “right talent” to achieve your growth objectives.  The fact is we are all facing a global talent war with the world moving faster than ever and requiring more specialized, quality skills. Helping your existing teams stay current on new technology releases is important but challenging with the pace of change, and in many parts of the world we have employability challenges given the demand around technology.  


At WPC we announced some of the strategic big bets Microsoft is making to help partners in three areas to address the gaps:  
     1.  Training and retraining existing staff
     2.  Finding experienced Microsoft technical and sales professionals
     3.  Securing our future with students
Training and Retraining Existing Staff
MPN has a vast array of resources available to partners to help you train and retrain your existing sales and technical staff to ensure they are “ready to win” on our latest technologies and solutions.  The Partner Learning Center offers training on all of our solutions at no or low-cost and on-demand so individuals can consume on their terms.  Use our Learning Paths to find the right, most current training on our products, solutions and competencies aligned to your company’s skilling needs.
Our Sales Specialist program offers free online training and accreditations 24/7 to help “skill up” new and existing sales teams. Accredited sales specialists are required for most silver or gold competencies and your sales professionals earn a Microsoft Sales Specialist badge around the specific area of qualification. We have evidence that sellers who complete the program have up to six times higher sales performance and those deals involving more than one sales specialist average deal sizes 3.5 times larger.    
At WPC we also announced our new Pre-Sales Technical Specialist program as a follow up to our highly successful Sales Specialist program. The program is launching this month for our top compete workloads of Management and Virtualization, Communications, BI, CRM and ERP. This program is focused on a critical technical role which helps move deals from proof of concept to close.
Finding Experienced Microsoft Technical Professionals – New Worldwide Partnership with Elance
At WPC, we announced our new worldwide partnership with Elance, a leading platform for instant access to pre-screened IT talent, freelancers or project-based help – all of which you can manage entirely online if desired. Microsoft partners looking for resources can leverage Elance’s vast network of technically certified Microsoft professionals in 132 countries to work on specific projects on-demand (and we’ve negotiated the ability for you to hire them full-time if desired with no penalty as well as free job postings). Learn more about business networking​.
Securing our Future with Students
Earlier in July we hosted the 10th Global Imagine Cup competition in Australia. This year’s event included more than 325,000 talented young students competing to solve the world’s toughest programs in local competitions, with 400 top finalists converging on Australia for the finals. Imagine Cup is a great example of what talented students can do with our technology to change the world – thinking outside the box!  Students who participate in Imagine Cup are also part of our global Students to Business program. 

The Microsoft Students to Business (S2B) program is a Microsoft community initiative designed to connect Microsoft partners with qualified technical students eager to work on our technology in more than 65 countries.  Through this program, you can hire dedicated, talented young professionals for internships, apprenticeships, as well as full-time jobs within your organization. In our fiscal year 2012, we had more than 111,000 students register for this program – an amazing talent acquisition opportunity for your business!
Aligning the Partner Agenda to Microsoft Subsidiary National Plans and Local Priorities
Finally, as you heard at WPC, we are anchoring our plans to help you solve your talent gap plans by embedding the specific local needs by country into each subsidiary National Plan. These National Plans outline how our subsidiary is going to engage with local government and education institutions to align curriculum and employability initiatives to our partner ecosystem for greater scale and acceleration.  This will allow us to work together to create strong, local IT economies, provide good jobs, prepare youth for the future and empower the world through great training on our latest technologies. Together we can have a huge impact and create employability in every market we serve. 
Here’s to a New Era Together moving ahead!
Best regards,