U.S. Partner News for Friday, March 16, 2012


In your newsletter this week, customized according to your company’s business model and Microsoft Partner Network membership, as well as by your role at your company, you’ll find the latest partner-related information and news about optimizing your membership benefits, plus role-based training recommendations for Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Office 365. I also encourage you to visit and sign in to the U.S. partner portal, which features links to SQL Server 2012 resources, Visual Studio 11 beta, and silver competency information, as well as our March recommendations for U.S. partners.

The newsletter you received in your email inbox includes a letter from a U.S. partner expert that’s aligned to your company’s membership, and these are also published to our blog.

If your Microsoft practice includes reselling licenses and full-packaged products acquired from authorized Microsoft distributors, check with your distributor of choice to find out about their latest services, programs, and benefits that can help you grow your practice, close deals, and support your customers. You should also review your company’s membership profile on the Partner Membership Center and verify that the Business Focus areas you have selected still accurately reflect your business model. For membership assistance, contact the Regional Service Center by phone at 800-MPNSOLVE (676-7658), by email at mpnsolve@microsoft.com, or via chat.

Partner News

You Are Invited: Join Us at the Microsoft 2012 Worldwide Partner Conference
Each year, thousands of Microsoft partners come to the Worldwide Partner Conference to understand Microsoft strategy and initiatives, get a 12-to-18-month outlook for Microsoft sales and marketing plans, and network with partners and Microsoft team members from around the world. On Twitter, use #wpc12 to join the conversation.

Recognition, Prestige, and Opportunity: WPC 2012 Awards Program
We are excited to offer our Microsoft partners a variety of awards to showcase solutions built on our technologies that benefit our mutual customers. New for 2012 are several awards suggested by partners as well as citizenship awards to highlight the wonderful community work that partners do.

The Big Easy Offer 8 Provides Subsidy Dollars for Microsoft Online Services 
Popular with customers and partners, the Big Easy Offer 8 is back through June 30. The subsidy funds your customer receives for purchasing a wide range of qualifying Microsoft software and services—including Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online—can be spent with you for migration and deployment services, end-user training, and more. Terms and Conditions

Build Your Microsoft Office 365 Practice
Designed for Cloud Accelerate and Cloud Essentials partners that serve SMB customers, the Practice Accelerator for Microsoft Office 365 guides you through a deployment project from start to finish in three phases: deployment overview, planning and preparation guidance, and migration and post-deployment guidance. As a member of a Microsoft Cloud Partner program, you may take this Practice Accelerator at no cost.

Differentiate Your Company by Marketing Your Competencies
Use our new campaign materials to promote your competency achievements to customers and prospects in your own marketing efforts. Our robust set of materials includes website assets, press release kit, copy blocks, presentations, and a video you can embed on your site. Get started by reviewing the guidance document.

Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for March 2012
As part of our usual cycle of security updates, we released our latest Security Bulletin Summary on March 13, with six bulletins addressing seven vulnerabilities. Review the bulletin and watch the on-demand webcast for details. The next release is scheduled for Tuesday, April 10.

No Need to Wait—Meet New Competency Requirements Today
Competency requirements for Business Intelligence, Identity and Security, and Server Platform are changing in May 2012. You can earn these competencies today and start differentiating your company. Download the 2011/2012 Competency Roadmap for details, watch our February 2 webcast about the roadmap on demand, and contact the Experts team if you need assistance.

Deliver Web Applications That Win Customer Confidence and Accelerate Sales
The web applications market continues to grow at an incredible rate. When you earn the Microsoft Web Development competency, you gain access to rich benefits, like internal-use software, which will help position your business to win customer confidence and accelerate sales.

Deliver Robust Search Solutions Built on Microsoft SharePoint Technologies
More than 10,000 enterprise customers successfully deploy Microsoft search solutions. Through attaining the Microsoft Search competency, you can win new business by developing and showcasing your organization's expertise in delivering solutions based on Microsoft search technologies like SharePoint Server 2010.

Download the Windows Server "8" Beta and Technical Data Sheet
Windows Server "8" beta operating system delivers hundreds of new features and enhancements, transforming virtualization and cloud computing to help your customers reduce IT costs and deliver more business value. You'll find innovations in virtualization, networking, storage, and user experience, as well as a transition to Windows PowerShell that will enhance scripting.

March 22 Webcast: How to Build a Brilliant Marketing Plan
Marketing plans set the course for a business. Without a plan, marketing can become a series of unrelated, random tactics. This class will highlight why marketing plans are so important, review best practices for creating marketing plans, and provide the framework for building a powerful plan that will drive results.

New Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Ready-to-Go Marketing Campaign
New The new Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Sneak Peek campaign from Ready-to-Go Marketing brings together several resources to help you prepare for the launch—including a product data sheet, licensing information, a sales presentation, event materials, and customer case studies.

Attend Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Virtual Launch Sessions on Your Schedule
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 has been released to manufacturing. Learn about the new capabilities of SQL Server 2012 at your own pace through more than 30 sessions available in our Virtual Launch Event site.

Use MSDN Cloud Benefits to Evolve Your Business
Your Microsoft Partner Network membership benefits include a subscription to MSDN. Take advantage of access to the cloud through your subscription—up to $3,700 in annual benefits that you can use to get skilled in the cloud. Blue Dot Solutions, a Microsoft Gold ISV competency partner, used Microsoft cloud technologies to lower its costs by 40 percent.

Learn More about the Costs of Your Cloud-Based Solutions
Understanding the costs of running the solutions you develop is important. Activate and use the cloud benefits that come with your Microsoft Partner Network MSDN subscription, and follow our detailed cost guidance.

Real-World Windows Azure Guidance
Find valuable and interesting articles based on the real-world experience of Microsoft partners and customers developing applications for Windows Azure. These articles are written by members of the community who have developed subject matter expertise working with Windows Azure.

More Than 3 Million Small Business Customers Don't Have a Server
Many small businesses run today without a server, and there are over 1 million units of Windows Small Business Server 2000 and 2003 still in use today. It's a significant upsell opportunity. Start pursuing these opportunities using the Windows Server Upsell training and campaign materials.

April 4 Webcast: Help Your Customers Build a Disaster Preparedness Plan
Did you know that 40 percent of businesses never reopen following a disaster? Attend our webcast and learn how to help your customers prepare to withstand a natural or cyber disaster.

Help Your SMB Customers Win a Tech Makeover Worth More Than $7,500
Work with your small business and midsize business customers to create and submit a video explaining how they would use a Tech Makeover to benefit their business. If your customer wins and you are eligible, you could receive $2,000 to help implement the solution. Read the Official Rules.

See How One Partner Exceeded Its Goals with Ready-to-Go Marketing
Trillium Teamologies, which has a Microsoft Gold Digital Marketing competency, skillfully used materials from a Ready-to-Go Marketing campaign to help uncover and close cloud opportunities. The company won a 2011 ASPIRE Gold award with its story.

Microsoft U.S. Public Sector Social Media Partner Playbook
The "Microsoft U.S. Public Sector Social Media Partner Playbook" will help you understand the U.S. public sector landscape and connect with social channels, helping extend your reach.

Tech Policy Issues Affect Your Business: Engage with Voices for Innovation
Want an easy way to learn about—and influence—government policies that affect your tech business? "Like" Voices for Information on Facebook and watch for our new "Take Action Tuesday" updates, with simple to-do's that support your business in the halls of government.

Guide Your SMB Customers to Virtualization
The Cloud Power Windows Server Upgrade and Virtualization campaign gives you tools to explain the benefits of upgrading to Windows Server 2008 R2, including virtualization with Hyper-V technology, and the opportunity to show customers how your services can help ease their transition.

Unified Communications for Government Customers
Effective government depends on collaboration. Use this Unified Communications for Government campaign from Ready-to-Go Marketing to help you show your government customers how to get the tools they need to collaborate more effectively.

Save Big on Windows Phone Plans and Devices
The Windows Phone Discount Program for Partners offers reduced pricing on Windows Phone service plans or devices to Microsoft partners that currently hold at least one competency. Eligibility, FAQ, and Terms and Conditions.

Attend Microsoft TechEd 2012, Our Premier Technology Conference
There is a wide variety of learning opportunities at TechEd 2012. Technical tracks help you navigate the sessions and labs best suited to your learning needs and interests.

Offer Your Customers Savings on Visual Studio with MSDN
With the Visual Studio 11 beta now available, it's a great time for customers to think about implementing an application lifecycle management strategy for their development projects, and buy or upgrade to Visual Studio with MSDN. Customers can secure low prices, be first to get the next version of Visual Studio when it's released, and take advantage of offers like the Partner Services Credit.

Presales Assistance from Partner Services—A Benefit of Your Membership (Action Pack DD, Silver and Gold Competency Partners)
Use Presales Assistance to help you close more deals. Whether you need competitive help, feature overviews and comparisons, or help overcoming customer objections, our experts are here for you. Subscribe to the Partner Services newsletter.

No Out-of-Pocket Cost for Technical Presales Assistance (Silver and Gold Competency Partners)
Technical Presales Assistance from Partner Services provides competitive insights, feature overviews, and guidance on value propositions that can give you an edge for closing more business. For sales opportunities worth $3,000 or more, you get unlimited, no-cost Technical Presales Support. For opportunities worth less than $3,000, you can use Partner Advisory Hours. Subscribe to the Partner Services newsletter.

Training Recommendations

March Training Incentive Features Office, Visual Studio, Azure, and Windows Server Training
Each month we handpick training sessions that you can attend to build your skills on the latest technologies and to earn you automatic entry for prize drawings. Featured this month are training courses for Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, Windows Azure, and Windows Server. Sweepstakes ends June 30. Official rules.

Build Your Windows Desktop Licensing Knowledge and Qualify for Prizes
Get your Windows desktop licensing questions answered with the License Mania training series. Each course earns you an entry into a drawing for a home gym, mountain bike, or fitness watch. Sweepstakes ends April 10. Official Rules.

Help Your Organization Earn a Competency with Multi-Exam Discount
Save up to 40% on exam fees when you purchase a Competency Exam Pack, which each contain at least three exam vouchers. You can use the vouchers yourself or distribute them to individuals within your organization who need to take an exam. Offer ends May 15. Order form and Terms and Conditions.

Preview New Cloud Features of Windows Server "8"
Find out how to cloud-optimize your IT with Windows Server "8." This module will cover how Windows Server "8" delivers value in four key ways: how it takes you beyond virtualization, delivers the power of many servers, opens the door to every app on any cloud, and supports the modern work style.

How to Talk to Customers About Private Cloud and Microsoft System Center 2012
This six-part series of short videos is a great starting point for learning how to tell customers the private cloud story, sell Microsoft System Center 2012, and earn the Private Cloud Sales Specialist accreditation.

"Learn Windows Azure" Event Sessions on Demand
As a partner with a gold competency, you have Partner Advisory Hours that can be applied to deep technical training, offered by the Microsoft Partner Services team, for Microsoft products and technologies. Subscribe to the Partner Services newsletter.

Attend Momentum Workshops to Deepen Your Solution Development and Deployment Skills
As a partner with a gold competency, you have Partner Advisory Hours that can be applied to deep technical training, offered by the Microsoft Partner Services team, for Microsoft products and technologies. Subscribe to the Partner Services newsletter.

Grow Your Market Share with Power Start Workshops
As a partner with a silver competency, you have Partner Advisory Hours that can be applied to product training led by consultants on the Microsoft Partner Services team. Power Start workshops are geared toward sales, marketing, and IT Pro roles, and you'll learn the value propositions, benefits, and features of a Microsoft product. Subscribe to the Partner Services newsletter.

Build Enterprise Voice Skills with Practice Accelerator for Lync Server 2010
When you take Practice Accelerator for Microsoft Lync Server 2010, you will get best practices and reusable tools that can help your customers to communicate from anywhere, cost-effectively and securely.

IT Pros—Get Skills Training for Microsoft Dynamics
Take Microsoft Dynamics Power Start and Momentum workshops to build your skills and drive business success for you and for your customers. These sessions provide essential knowledge about solutions that automate and streamline financial, business intelligence, and supply chain processes.

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Developer Workshop
Spend two days getting up to speed with SQL Server 2012 in a hands-on workshop. This event comes to Dallas, Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco in April.

Role-Based Training for Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Office 365

Training for Business Decision Makers
Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Office 365

Training for IT Professionals
Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Office 365

Training for Developers
Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Office 365

Training for Sales and Marketing Roles
Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Office 365

Training for Training Roles
Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Office 365

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