U.S. Partner News for Friday, July 20, 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 Intune and Microsoft SQL Server 2012. I also encourage you to visit and sign in to the new U.S. partner portal, which features links to partner resources for the Microsoft Office Customer Preview and Windows Server 2012, the new IDC report about the value of your Microsoft Partner Network benefits, and our recommendations for July.

Each year, the Worldwide Partner Conference gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past year by honoring WPC award winners, and then to look ahead to the coming year by sharing product and technology roadmaps in Vision and Value Keynotes as well as within the Conference sessions, and talking with partners throughout the Conference in connection meetings and roundtables, in the Solution Innovation Center, and at the various social activities.

At this year’s Conference in Toronto, the air was charged with enthusiasm and excitement, and every partner I met was ready to start taking advantage of their opportunities with the wave of new products and technologies that Microsoft will release over the next several months. With the Vision Keynotes streamed live each morning, partners who were not able to join us in Toronto also got a taste of the Conference, with Steve Ballmer, Kevin Turner, Jon Roskill, and other executives making announcements and delivering news that shapes the year ahead as transformative for partners and for our mutual customers.

To take advantage of these opportunities, Jon Roskill wrapped up WPC Day 3 with three recommendations for partners:

  1. Use the cloud to sell the cloud. With every Microsoft product now reflecting a cloud story, it’s more important than ever that partners themselves understand the benefits of cloud computing, whether public, private, or hybrid cloud. In a panel discussion about the cloud, Microsoft U.S. Partner Vice President Jenni Flinders told the audience that partners who have not begun to build a cloud practice will start to be left behind. On the Microsoft Cloud Solutions page of the partner portal, you’ll find a collection of cloud-related resources, including a link to our cloud partner programs, Microsoft Cloud Essentials and Microsoft Cloud Accelerate, which offer internal-use rights for Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune, and more.
  2. Build your business with competencies and partner-to-partner networking. The Microsoft Partner Network continues to evolve, with the recent addition of the Small Business competency and there are changes coming in October that will streamline, simplify, and revamp existing competencies. In a blog post published during WPC, Julie Bennani, General Manager for the Microsoft Partner Network, outlines the areas for evolution of the Partner Network in the coming year. You’ll find the full list of Microsoft competencies and links to the opportunities, requirements, and benefits of each on the partner portal.
  3. Lead with Microsoft and get after the pipeline. Kevin Turner told partners at WPC that there is a $12B-plus opportunity to move customers off of Windows XP and to Windows 7 and Windows 8 now, since Windows XP will reach end-of-life as a Microsoft product in April 2014. That’s just one opportunity—with every product in the Microsoft portfolio being refreshed in a 12-month period, there is new opportunity for every partner. A good place to ground yourself in the breadth of Microsoft products is our line card on the partner portal, which links you to partner-ready information about each.

The 2013 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference will be held in Houston, TX. We hope you’ll join us to tell us about your amazing year as a Microsoft partner!


Partner News

WPC 2012: Watch Vision Keynotes Online
At WPC 2012 in Toronto, Microsoft executives—including Steve Ballmer, Kevin Turner, Jon Roskill, and Satya Nadella—took the stage in Vision Keynotes and explained what’s in store for partners and customers in the coming year. Watch them online to hear what they had to say.

WPC 2012 Announcements in the Virtual Pressroom
Visit the Microsoft Partner Network virtual pressroom for an overview of the many announcements made during the week of the Conference, plus links to additional information.

Windows 8 Milestones Announced at WPC
Windows 8 is on track to Release to Manufacturing (RTM) the first week of August. Enterprise customers with Software Assurance benefits will have full access to Windows 8 bits as early as August. More details about the next version of Windows is on The Windows Blog.

The New Office Will Offer Unparalleled Productivity and Flexibility
Sign up for the customer preview of the new Microsoft Office. The next release features an intuitive design that works beautifully with touch, stylus, mouse, or keyboard across new Windows devices, including tablets.

A New Look for a New Era: The New Microsoft Partner Network Brand
In keeping with an unprecedented year that includes the most product releases in Microsoft history, there is a new Microsoft Partner Network brand that offers a cleaner, Metro-inspired look. These visual advancements serve to more deeply connect your business to the MPN brand. Your association with the partner network will grow stronger because of the clarity and simplicity of the new look.

Microsoft Online Services Advisor Incentives
Microsoft is increasing its investments in partners selling Microsoft Online Services, supporting each customer’s purchasing choice and each participating partner’s business model. Starting October 10, partners can earn incentives on Microsoft Online Services, whether their customers are small customers purchasing online, or larger customers purchasing on an Enterprise Agreement (EA).

Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for July 2012
As part of our usual cycle of security updates, we released our latest Security Bulletin Summary on July 10, with nine security bulletins addressing 16 issues. Review the bulletin and watch the on-demand webcast for details. The next release is scheduled for Tuesday, August 14.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Service Update
The July 19 release includes Microsoft SQL Server 2012 support, industry templates, and certifications for our online service. After listening to partner and customer feedback, we are delaying availability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile and cross-browser support. Read our blog post about this service update.

The New, Improved Practice Accelerator—Fast-Track Your Microsoft Practice
The Practice Accelerator offerings from Partner Services have been redesigned to be shorter, with a more flexible structure that gives you more freedom. They still provide you with a detailed framework of resources for Microsoft solutions and help you build a technical services practice, improve your organizational capability, and enhance your ability to compete. Best of all, they now cost just five of your Partner Advisory Hours—a 50% reduction.

New Event Registration System from Ready-to-Go Marketing
At an event, your customers are your valued guests. And now they’ll feel that way right from the beginning of the registration process, too. We’ve refreshed Ready-to-Go Marketing Events to make it quick and easy for customers to sign up for your events—no hoops to jump through and no login required.

Mastering Complexity: Global Partners Choose the Microsoft Dynamics Platform
With its focus on delivering complex data in modern, usable, and flexible ways, Microsoft Dynamics is becoming as relevant for the enterprise today as it is for the midmarket.

Use Your Partner Advisory Hours to Build Your Practice, Close Business, and More
Microsoft partners with a competency receive an annual allotment of Advisory Hours that can be applied to offerings provided by the Partner Services team. Take advantage of Practice Accelerators, Technical Presales and Advisory Services, and Get Current services.

Microsoft Office 365 Practice Accelerator Offered to Microsoft Cloud Partners at No Cost
Use the comprehensive set of reusable tools and best practices in Practice Accelerator for Office 365 to help you identify customer requirements and project scope, analyze customer needs, and deploy solutions built on Office 365.

Expert Guidance and Advice for Developing Microsoft Office 365 Solutions
Discuss your Microsoft Office 365 questions with our specialists who can help you provide Office 365 solutions that solve the business challenges you are helping your customers to tackle.

Use Virtual Partner Concierge to Find Relevant Resources
Complementing the newly released Microsoft partner portal, Virtual Partner Concierge offers you a simple, consistent interface that links you to resources aligned to your areas of interest.

Training Resources

July Training Incentive Includes Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft System Center 2012
Receive an automatic prize-drawing entry when you complete any of our featured courses this month. There's something for every role. Current topics include Windows Server 2012, Microsoft System Center 2012, Microsoft Visual Studio, and Microsoft Office 2010. Official Rules.

Special 2-for-1 Exam Offer for WPC 2012 Attendees Ends July 27
If you or anyone from your company attended WPC 2012, you may purchase a 2-for-1 exam voucher through July 27. Vouchers must be used by December 31, and the person who uses the voucher needs to take both the initial exam and the second exam. Terms and Conditions.

Learn How to Send a Learning Plan to Yourself or Teammates
Use the U.S. Partner Learning Plan Tool to meet your sales and technical training goals for Microsoft products and technologies. The latest post in our Learning Plan Tool How-To blog series offers step-by-step instructions for using the "assign" and "distribute" features of the Learning Plan Tool website.

Microsoft Office 365 Certification Jump Start Videos
The demand for certified Microsoft Office 365 expertise is climbing sharply. Prepare for two Office 365 certification exams, 70-321: Deploying Office 365 and 70-323: Administering Office 365, by using Jump Start videos. These expert-led, demo-rich sessions are available on demand and teach you the concepts and technologies covered in the exams. For exam 70-323, you’ll find additional training in this eight-part e-learning collection.

Register for Live Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Courses
There are six live technical courses scheduled over the next several weeks to help you increase your Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 product knowledge. Take advantage of your Microsoft Partner Network training benefit and register to participate in one or all of these classes.

Exam 74-322 Microsoft Lync Server 2010: Advanced Design and Deployment
Increase your organization’s technical skills in Lync voice and video workloads. This exam will be required for the Gold Communications competency starting in May 2013. Prepare for the exam or hone your expertise in Lync voice scenarios with recommendations from Microsoft Learning.

Role-Based Training for Windows Intune and Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Training for Business Decision Makers
Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Windows Intune

Training for IT Professionals
Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Windows Intune

Training for Developers
Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Windows Intune

Training for Sales and Marketing Roles
Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Windows Intune

Training for Training Roles
Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Windows Intune

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