Taking Training to the Bank: A Chat with Microsoft's Seminar Chief

By Carol Ellison  |  Posted 2004-03-31 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Free local training goes a long way toward raising Microsoft's profile and fusing relationships with local and regional resellers who serve the small to mid-sized business market. Ziff Davis Channel Zone Editor Carol Ellison recently chatted via e-mail wi

Q: Describe the TS2 seminars.

A: TS2 seminars are part of a larger effort to offer free support and continued education for technology providers and Microsoft resellers nationwide. Hosted by our trained technology professionals, these free, half-day seminars aim to educate partners on the latest technologies and solutions to better service their customers. They also provide an opportunity for Microsoft to learn from its industry partners, better understand the day-to-day challenges they face, and learn how we can service their needs more effectively.

At the seminar, participants have the opportunity to interact with a Microsoft representative while networking with other participants. The seminars feature product demos; tips on how to grow a business and better service customers; and in-depth information about licensing, training, certification and support options that Microsoft provides.

Q: What were Microsoft's objectives in implementing the program?

A: We believe in providing its partners with the tools and resources they need to better meet the needs of their customers. These seminars are one way the company shares technical product and resource information. The seminars also help participants increase their business through increasing sales and securing repeat customers as a result of the added knowledge and selling tips they walk away with.

The TS2 seminars also aim to provide a personal connection for attendees to Microsoft products, solutions and employees to help them make better technology decisions for their business, as well as providing them with a touch point to offer answers to questions, support relationship-building and deliver feedback. They also help us better understand the unique needs of businesses and partners so that the company can help ensure that partners are getting the support they need from Microsoft, its solutions and its services.

What the partners think

Q: What type of feedback do you get from attendees?

A: Feedback has been very positive; many participants have seen great value brought to their business, including increased productivity, time savings and educational benefits. In fact, 99 percent of attendees have said they would attend again, and 90 percent of attendees said the event exceeded their expectations. TS2 is a quick and easy way to keep up to date on the latest technologies.

For instance, Frank Simone, owner of L&F Consulting, a training and consulting services firm based in New Jersey, thought the seminars were extremely valuable and worth attending. He said the materials handed out at the seminars help him deal with his customers by providing the reasoning behind why they should consider switching to another product. He often refers his colleagues to attend the seminars.

Q: What benefits do partners gain from the seminar?

A: Knowing a product inside and out can build a company's credibility with customers and boost its expertise to overshadow competitors. These seminars aim to provide competitive advantage by giving partners a chance to connect directly with us and get in-person, how-to information on Microsoft products and technologies.

The seminars offer partners an opportunity for efficient knowledge transfer and enable them to polish selling techniques, witness new product introductions, and obtain a resource DVD featuring content from the seminar and a variety of other Microsoft resources. TS2 seminars also provide participants with a great networking opportunity and a chance to share ideas with local peers. As a result, attendees have been able to improve customer relationships, boost their competitive advantage and increase their work performance.

Focus and topics

Q: Who does the training?

A: Our team of presenters is composed of technology and business experts from across the United States who deliver more than 589 TS2 seminars every week. Each presenter owns specific territories, which allows them to develop detailed knowledge of regional business trends and local business environments and to develop relationships with local attendees. Presenters are thus better equipped to address participants' unique needs and issues.

Q: What's the focus? What topics are typically covered?

A: We update seminar content quarterly to ensure ongoing learning for repeat attendees. Currently the seminars feature information on ways technology providers can implement and help improve security infrastructure, as well as on how Microsoft is working harder than ever to help technology providers deliver a more secure computing experience for their customers. The use and deployment of Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003 will also be discussed, as well as the new document management solution, Microsoft Office InfoPath™ 2003. Presenters also will highlight how partners can use Windows® Small Business Server 2003 to provide a manageable and robust platform to meet their customers' networking and information needs.

Those interested can visit http://www.connect-ms.com/ to learn more and check for upcoming seminars in their area.

 
 
 
 
Carol Ellison is editor of eWEEK.com's Mobile & Wireless Topic Center. She has authored whitepapers on wireless computing (two on network security–,Securing Wi-Fi Wireless Networks with Today's Technologies, Wi-Fi Protected Access: Strong, Standards-based Interoperable Security for Today's Wi-Fi Networks, and Wi-Fi Public Access: Enabling the future with public wireless networks.

Ms. Ellison served in senior and executive editorial positions for Ziff Davis Media and CMP Media. As an executive editor at Ziff Davis Media, she launched the networking track of The IT Insider Series, a newsletter/conference/Web site offering targeted to chief information officers and corporate directors of information technology. As senior editor at CMP Media's VARBusiness, she launched the Web site, VARBusiness University, an online professional resource center for value-added resellers of information technology.

Ms. Ellison has chaired numerous industry panels and has been quoted as a networking and educational technology expert in The New York Times, Newsday, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, CNN Headline News, WNBC and CNN/FN, as well as local and regional Comcast and Cablevision reports. Her articles have appeared in most major hi-tech publications and numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.
 
 
 
 
 
























 
 
 
 
 
 

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