U.S. Partner News for Friday, June 15, 2012

imageIn your newsletter this week, customized according to your company’s business model, Microsoft Partner Network membership, and your role, you’ll find the latest partner-related information and news about optimizing your membership benefits, plus role-based training recommendations for Windows 8 and Microsoft Private Cloud. I also encourage you to visit and sign in to the new U.S. partner portal, which features links to the Worldwide Partner Conference, the new Small Business Competency, and our June recommendations.

With the new Microsoft fiscal year beginning July 1, the U.S. Partner Team is finalizing plans and preparing for the Worldwide Partner Conference. This will be an historic year for Microsoft and its partners, with several significant product releases. Here are some resources to help you prepare yourself and your company to meet customer demands and stay relevant in the marketplace:

  • Take advantage of your training benefits. As a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, you have several no-cost and low-cost options for sales and technical training. The Learning Plan Tool is a great way to see those options and customize a training plan for yourself and others. We’ve recently added or updated Learning Plans for Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Cloud Services, Private Cloud, Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune, and Microsoft Lync Server 2010. You can search by Exam, Competency, and Role for relevant plans, too.
  • Utilize prepared marketing materials and services to save time and money. Think of Ready-to-Go Marketing as your marketing toolbox, with turnkey campaigns, website syndication, events planning, and lead-generation services that can help you reach new and existing customers with your Microsoft-based solutions and services. Get started with the Marketing Planning and Strategy 101 Campaign.
  • Attend the Worldwide Partner Conference. WPC 2012, in Toronto from July 8-12, is the best way for Microsoft partners to become knowledgeable about the opportunities ahead and to understand Microsoft strategy, product roadmaps, and the evolution of the Microsoft Partner Network. Don’t miss the connection, networking, and business valueregister today and then start your Conference experience with WPC Connect.

If you are a partner with a silver or gold competency, or have a Cloud Essentials Pack subscription, the version of the newsletter you received in your inbox included a welcome letter specific to that aspect of your Partner Network membership. Links to the complementary blog posts below:

We hope to see you at WPC in Toronto next month! Please note that the July 6 issue of the newsletter will be published to our blog only—there will not be an email delivery of it.

WPC 2012 News

WPC 2012: Connect and Engage with Microsoft Public Sector
Vince Menzione, General Manager for Microsoft U.S. Public Sector Partner Strategy, explains why you should consider attending activities next month at the 2012 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference for partners serving Public Sector customers in Education, Government, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Public Safety, and National Security.

WPC 2012: Windows Intune Sessions
Join the Windows Intune team at the Worldwide Partner Conference in July for breakout sessions that discuss how partners who serve small business, midsize business, and enterprise customers can incorporate Windows Intune into their Microsoft practices. In the Session Catalog, search "Intune" for the list, and add these sessions to your Conference schedule in WPC Connect.

WPC 2012: Register for "Speed Dating for the Cloud" Structured Networking
Register for "Speed Dating for the Cloud," on Tuesday, July 10 from 5:30pm-8:30pm. This structured networking event on Tuesday, July 10 from 5:30pm-8:30pm, enables cloud service vendors and prospective resellers to meet and discuss building a partnership. You will have the opportunity spend one-on-one time with top cloud providers who offer high-margin reseller programs. Space is limited.

June 26: The Voices for Innovation WPC 2012 Preview Call
On this Voices for Innovation conference call, we'll preview what we have planned for the Worldwide Partner Conference and discuss how we empower partners to safeguard innovation in the government sphere. You'll also hear about recent actions and current priorities. Join us to find out how you can get involved and be heard.

Partner News

Explore the New Release of Windows Intune
Windows Intune offers you an opportunity for new revenue streams as you upgrade your customers to Windows 7 Enterprise. Deliver PC management, security technologies, updates, software distribution, and remote assistance through a single, integrated, and easy-to-use tool—with no server infrastructure necessary. For training, find courses and build a learning plan for yourself or others in your company.

The New Microsoft Small Business Competency
Visit the U.S. partner portal for information about the new Small Business competency benefits and requirements. Focused on building a capable cloud partner ecosystem, this new competency will be a key differentiator for partners who serve small business customers. And, on June 21, attend the U.S. Small Business Community call, for a discussion about what this new competency means for your business.

Promote Your Microsoft Competencies to Customers with Ready-to-Go Marketing Materials
Communicate the value of your Microsoft competency to customers and prospects with our collection of marketing materials that include web banners, press release kit, sample social media content, and more. Our Campaign Guide explains what's available and how to use these materials to your best advantage.

The Value of Microsoft Competencies to Your Business
When customers look for IT experts, being able to distinguish your company as having achieved a Microsoft competency can provide credibility and differentiation. Only 5% of Microsoft partners worldwide have a competency. Learn how competencies benefit both partners and customers.

Download the Windows 8 Release Preview
Download the Windows 8 Release Preview to experience it yourself, and review our partner resources for IT professionals, developers, and designers. Looking for training? Find training courses, and build a learning plan for yourself and others in your company.

Unlimited Technical Presales Assistance to Help You Close Deals
Your competency benefits include access to Technical Presales Assistance from Partner Services, offering competitive assistance, proof-of-concept guidance, and solution architecture guidance. For deals worth $3,000 or more, there is no cost to you; for deals worth less than $3,000, you may apply your Partner Advisory Hours benefit.

Get Answers to Your Partner Network Questions
On the new partner portal, the Partner Network Support Gateway lets you get help from a virtual support agent anytime, or connect to a Regional Service Center agent through phone, email, or chat during their business hours.

Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for June 2012
As part of our usual cycle of security updates, we released our latest Security Bulletin Summary on May 8, with seven bulletins addressing 25 vulnerabilities. Review the bulletin and watch the on-demand webcast for details. The next release is scheduled for Tuesday, July 10.

Microsoft Security Advisory: Unauthorized Digital Certificates Could Allow Spoofing
On June 3, Microsoft released an out-of-band security advisory addressing an issue that affects all supported releases of Windows. Partners are encouraged to apply the update to their own systems and reach out to their customers as appropriate to help them update their systems, too.

The Big Easy Offer 8 Ends June 30
With the Big Easy Offer 8, customers can earn subsidy payouts on qualifying sales that they can apply toward future purchases of Microsoft software licenses and associated services from you. But time is running out for your customers to take advantage of it, and they must redeem their purchases within 30 days to receive their subsidy check. Terms and Conditions.

Introducing Ready-to-Go Marketing Rewards
Look for the new Ready-to-Go Marketing Rewards flag when you download and use materials from qualifying marketing activities for Microsoft SQL Server and Windows Server. You'll earn points that you can then redeem Rewards in the Marketplace Catalog.

Share Your Vision of What's Next for SMB Customers and You Could Win
Create and submit a video that explains how you think the latest Microsoft products and technologies are driving growth and innovation for small- and medium-business customers. Encourage your customers and social networks to vote for your video, and you could win an amazing prize. The contest runs through June 29. Official Rules.

Microsoft Dynamics Partner Strategy Announcement and Q&A Sessions
During the week of July 9, we will announce program changes, and we want to provide you with ample notice to help you understand and benefit from these modifications. Content published on PartnerSource.

How to Engage with Microsoft Dynamics on Social Media
Follow @MSFTDynamics on Twitter for Microsoft Dynamics customer stories, general news, product announcements, and more. On our blog, we explain how you can stay informed through social media and engage with the Microsoft Dynamics Partner Team.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 Beta Released for Partners
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 will be a landmark release, building on a strong product foundation to deliver new levels of customer and partner value through faster, more efficient implementations and compelling, enhanced application functionality.

Training Resources

Enter Our June Training Sweepstakes
We've hand-selected courses from the following solutions that will automatically earn you entries in drawings for valuable prizes: Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Windows Intune, Microsoft Office 365, and the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). Choose the sales or technical path to get started with these training courses, which are offered at no cost to members of the Microsoft Partner Network.

Microsoft U.S. Learning Plan Tool Offers Customizable Training Experience
Use the Learning Plan Tool to help your company reach its training goals for certifications and knowledge about new Microsoft products and technologies. Whether you need training by product, competency, role, business skills, or certification exams, take advantage of the Learning Plan Tool to create the right plan to improve skill sets and knowledge, and ultimately be more competitive in the marketplace.

Update Your Certifications to Meet New Competency Requirements
The exam requirements for several Microsoft competencies changed in May to reflect the new certifications that are available for new Microsoft product versions. At your company's next Microsoft Partner Network membership renewal, those new requirements must be met to retain existing competencies and benefits.

July 17 Webcast: Windows Intune–Help Address Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise
Devices that are user-owned and not domain-joined add a new complexity to managing security, data, and corporate assets. Find out how the latest version of Windows Intune gives you new opportunities to help your customers address the consumerization of IT in larger organizations.

Learn How to Build Windows 8 Metro Style Apps
Catch this on-demand MSDN webcast series to learn about the new platform for building Windows 8 Metro-style applications. Get an understanding of the platform design tenets, the programming language choices, and the integration points with the operating system and across Metro style apps.

Prepare for Certification with Practice Tests—Partner Discount Available
A great way to prepare for an exam is to take a practice test, so you can assess your knowledge of the exam material. Practice tests feature questions that are the same difficulty and scope as those on the actual Microsoft exam and can help highlight areas where you need more preparation. Practice test vendor MeasureUp has a special offer for large teams: 25 practice tests for $750, a savings of 62 percent.

Take the Sales and Marketing Assessment for Microsoft Learning Partners
Pass the new Sales and Marketing Assessment to strengthen your solution selling skills, demonstrate your expertise, and deliver increased value and service to customers. This assessment should take about 45 minutes to complete.

New Sales Specialist Accreditation for Microsoft Learning Partners
Empower yourself and advance your career with advice, accreditation information, and other tips to help you earn the new Microsoft Sales Specialist Learning Accreditation.

Windows Server 2012 Training
Throughout June, the Windows Server 2012 learning path will feature 27 new technical implementer trainings covering features for virtualization, storage, networking, management, identity and security, remote access, and app platform. Bookmark the learning path and check back often for updates.

Role-Based Training for Windows 8 and Private Cloud

Training for Business Decision Makers
Private Cloud

Windows 8

Training for IT Professionals
Private Cloud

Windows 8

Training for Developers
Private Cloud

Windows 8

Training for Sales and Marketing Roles
Private Cloud

Windows 8

Training for Training Roles
Private Cloud

Windows 8

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