Update April 2, 2020: We have published an update on the Microsoft Partner Network in response to COVID-19.
Update April 1, 2020: New Office 365 E1 Trial for Cloud Solution Providers added to the “Enabling Teams” section below. Offers across Power Platform and Dynamics 365 are available on the partner news hub on the Business Applications Microsoft Partner Community (requires login to access).

To our Partners,

As the world responds to the outbreak of COVID-19, our thoughts are with the people affected and the medical professionals working around the clock to help those most at need. At Microsoft, we’re working to do our part by ensuring the safety of our employees, striving to protect the health and well-being of the communities in which we operate, and providing technology, tips and resources to our customers and partners to help them do their best work while remote.

Many of our partners and customers have asked us to share the details of how we enable remote work for such a large workforce. I wanted to share with you some of our resources and best practices, as well as provide visibility into services available to you:

Best practices and discussion for remote work

  • Best practices on enabling effective remote work, based on our internal learnings.
  • The Microsoft Tech Community has launched a new interactive forum for sharing of best practices and other discussions across fellow customers, partners, and Microsoft subject matter experts

Enabling Teams

  • Teams is a pivotal part of the remote work experience, and Microsoft is committed to making Teams available to everyone.
  • We recommend that partners lead with the CSP Office 365 E1 Trial (available 1 April, 2020), as this is the only experience that partners can initiate and manage. The functionality of this new trial will be the equivalent of the Office 365 E1 trial and will provide 6 months of free use for up to 3,000 users. Please see details in our news article.
  • If the CSP trial does not align to the customers seat needs, licensing model or audience limitation, the Office 365 E1 Trial offer is the recommended path. Partners can work with the Microsoft account manager, or for customers without an account manager, can request through Partner Center Support.
  • Virtual delivery options are now available across all Microsoft 365 Partner Accelerator workshops. Learn more about best practices and watch the on-demand webinar.
  • For more information on supporting your customers with remote work, visit the Microsoft 365 partner blog.

Resources for Education partners

In the wake of the impact on schools, for education customers, Microsoft has extended the following three new offers:  

  1. Office 365 A1 – Free versions to all educational institutions:  This version provides unlimited chat, built-in group and one-on-one audio or video calling, 10 GB of team file storage, and 2 GB of personal file storage per user.   You also get real-time collaboration with the Office apps for web, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. No restrictions for # of users.
  2. Microsoft Teams for Free (Individuals and IT roll-out – in Office 365 A1 above):  This version provides unlimited chat, built-in group and one-on-one audio or video calling, 10 GB of team file storage, and 2 GB of personal file storage per user:
  3. Minecraft: Education Edition; We’ve extended access to Minecraft: Education Edition to all free and paid O365 Education accounts through end of June 2020 and published a M:EE remote learning toolkit with links to >100 Minecraft lessons and STEM curriculum.

For more information on the Education offers and resources, please see the EDU Partner Flash on Yammer.

Training resources

We have a range of training resources available for you and your customers at no additional cost.

  • Microsoft Learn is a free, online training platform that provides interactive learning for Microsoft products. Our goal is to help you become proficient on our technologies with fun, guided, hands-on, interactive content that’s specific to your role and goals.
  • Regionally delivered webinars for partners and customers that are designed to boost the teams’ knowledge of deep technical scenarios across all Microsoft cloud solutions.
  • Role-specific learning paths for partners to build their skills on Microsoft products and solutions.

Technical assistance

  • Microsoft FastTrack is available to assist organizations setting up remote work and learning in response to COVID-19. We recommend partners work alongside FastTrack, to gain access to deployment resources, remote engineering assistance and to leverage data migration services. To help your customers request assistance in response to COVID-19, please sign in and fill out a Request for Assistance form on behalf of your customer. If you have challenges signing in or need additional assistance, please send an email to ftcrfa@microsoft.com
  • If you require pre-sales technical or deployment assistance, you can utilize your advisory hours and get guidance from Partner Technical Services.

My hope is that many of the above resources can be useful in assisting your organization during these challenging times. You can also visit the Microsoft Partner Community if you have additional questions.

Thank you for your partnership with Microsoft.

Sincerely,

Gavriella