I’ve seen the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS) discussed on the forums in the past and thought it deserves a full dedicated article. Honestly, it’s one of the best values offered to small tech business. The subscription is required if you want your business to have the “Microsoft Small Business Specialist” credential. If you want a cost effective way to learn current Microsoft software while actively using it to run your business, then you need to check this amazing subscription deal from Microsoft.
The Microsoft Action Pack is offered by Microsoft through their general partner program, which is free to join. Once you are a partner you can choose to subscribe to one of two versions of the action pack subscription:
- Action Pack solution provider – For partners who support, install, maintain, and sell solutions on the Microsoft platform. US$329.00 per year
- Action Pack Development and Design – Includes everything from the action pack solution provider plus tools for businesses that design and develop applications for the Microsoft platform. US$429.00 per year
Both MAPS subscriptions comes with a basic Technet subscription as well, which contains a plethora of Microsoft software available to download for testing or troubleshooting purposes only. Technet has operating systems from Windows 3.1 to Windows 7, and everything in between (Windows Server, SQL server, etc)!
I’ve read that the software offered in this package is estimated to be worth around $20,000 if you were to buy retail licenses of everything!
The MAPS subscription allows the business partner to use the software licenses within the their business. This means that the partner will be able to use Microsoft’s most current software on a daily basis in a business environment. Obviously this is great because the partner gets to learn the software first hand which makes it easier to support and sell to customers. The multiple licenses allow you to use the software on multiple machines within your organization and/or use it to learn a specific application in a virtual environment (ex. if you want to certify in an application).
I find the subscription well worth the cost since I have access to just about all of Microsoft’s active software either through MAPS or Technet. It’s a cost effective (and legal!) way for the IT professional and business owner to get their hands on Microsoft software.
Microsoft’s general partner membership also offers training videos and access to Technet support. The videos are great for learning about many different Microsoft products, from sales overviews to technical tutorials.
Microsoft Small Business Specialist Credential
The Microsoft Small Business Specialist credential is Microsoft’s certification for partners that specialize in support, installation, sales, and deployment of Microsoft products to small and medium sized businesses. Upon obtaining the credential, the partner is allowed to use the “Microsoft Small Business Specialist” logo, then is listed in Microsoft’s pinpoint partner finder, and gains access to the small business partner community.
It serves as another way to set your business apart from others if you have expertise in Microsoft’s small business solutions or if you want to compete in the small business support market. In order to obtain this credential the business must:
- 1. Register as a general Microsoft Partner
- 2. Pass the Small Business Sales and Marketing Skills Assessment
- 3. Have somebody in the organization (or a contractor) pass one of the following exams:
- Exam 70-169: TS: Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard, Configuring (Effective October 2011)
- Exam 70-515 : TS: Web Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4
- Exam 70-523 : Upgrade: Transition your MCPD .NET Framework 3.5 Web Developer Skills to MCPD .NET Framework 4.0 Web Developer
- Exam 70-642 : TS: Windows Server 2008, Network Infrastructure, Configuring
- Exam 70-648 : TS: Upgrading from Windows Server 2003 MCSA to, Windows Server 2008, Technology Specializations
- Exam 70-649 : TS: Upgrading your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist
- Exam 70-653 : TS: Windows Small Business Server 2008, Configuring
- Exam 70-680: TS: Windows 7, Configuring (Effective October 2011)
- Exam 70-683 : TS: Windows 7, Preinstalling for OEMs
Here is a list of software included in the MAPS subscriptions:
- Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 – 10 Licenses
- Microsoft Project Professional 2010 – 5 Licenses
- Microsoft Visio Professional 2010 – 10 Licenses
- Microsoft Business Contact Manager 2010 – 10 Licenses
- Microsoft MapPoint North America 2011 or Microsoft MapPoint Europe 2010 – 10 Licenses
- Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Standard – 1 License
- Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Standard client access licenses (CALs) – 10 Licenses
- Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Standard – 1 License
- Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Standard CALs – 10 Licenses
- Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise – 1 License
- Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise CALs – 10 Licenses
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise – 1 License
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 CALs – 10 Licenses
- Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 client management license (ML) – 10 Licenses
- Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 server ML Enterprise – 3 Licenses
- Microsoft System Center Essentials 2010 Management Server – 1 License
- Microsoft System Center Essentials 2010 server ML Enterprise – 3 Licenses
- Microsoft System Center Essentials 2010 client ML – 10 Licenses
- Windows 7 Professional- 10 Licenses
- Windows 7 Ultimate – 1 License
- Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise- 1 License
- Windows Server 2008 CALs (not edition specific) – 10 Licenses
- Windows Server 2008 Terminal Server CALs – 10 Licenses
- Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials – 1 License
- Windows Web Server 2008 R2 – 1 License
- Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation – 1 License
- Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials – 1 License
- Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard – 1 License
- Windows Small Business Server 2011 CALs – 10 Licenses
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM Workgroup Server 2011 1 Server
- 5 Users Maximum An upgrade license for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server 2011 is available for companies that want to support more than five users.
Additional Software included in the Design and Development Subscription
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional
- Microsoft Expression Studio 4 Web Professional 3 Licenses
- Also included: Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter for development and testing.