U.S. partner news for Friday, February 1

imageOn the first and third Friday of each month, the U.S. Partner Team delivers a newsletter for U.S.-based members of the Microsoft Partner Network. The content you receive in your email inbox as a benefit of your membership is specific to your company’s business and your role (learn more about this in our recent MPN tips post). This post contains all of the content published in today’s emailed newsletter:

  • Local recommendations
  • Announcements, including Microsoft Dynamics (some links require PartnerSource access; details)
  • Training resources, including Microsoft Dynamics (some links require PartnerSource access; details)
  • Role-based recommendations for the Devices and Deployment competency (formerly the Desktop competency)

For more partner news, resources, and recommendations, visit us on the U.S. partner portal, join the U.S. Partner Community, and read our “How to Stay Informed” blog post.

The next newsletter will be delivered to your inbox and published to this blog on Friday, February 15.

Featured this weekLocal recommendations


Early-Bird Pricing for WPC 2013 Saves You $200
Registration is open for the 2013 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, July 7–11 in Houston, Texas. Plan to join us and partners from around the world to establish contacts, build relationships, get insight to the Microsoft product roadmap and strategy, and understand your opportunities for revenue and profitability.

Promote Your Microsoft Competency to Customers
Tell your customers about your company's Microsoft expertise. Our customizable materials include a press release kit, web banners, presentations, social media copy, and a video to embed on your website—all designed to help you differentiate your company and showcase the value of your competency achievement.

Demonstrate Your Knowledge About Small Business Technology Needs
Small businesses often have unique IT needs. If this is your area of expertise, consider earning the Small Business competency. For the Silver Small Business competency, only one Microsoft Certified Professional must meet the exam requirements, and through June 30, the silver competency fee is just $999. Terms and conditions.

Schedule Your Exams Today for MPN Competency Exam Packs Purchased Last Year
If you purchased MPN Competency Exam Packs between August 27 and December 31, 2012, it's time to schedule your exams. Your exams (and your Second Shot retakes, if you need them) must be taken by May 31. Review the list of qualified exams, and then click Schedule My Test at the top of the page to get started.

Earn Up to 20 Percent in Rebates with the U.S. VAR Rebate Program
From January 1 through June 30, the U.S. VAR Rebate Program allows you to earn up to 20 percent in rebates when you sell annuity agreements, specifically Microsoft Open Value, both new (license & Software Assurance [L&SA]) and renewal (Software Assurance only). You must sign up specifically for this rebate period, even if you have participated in previous rebates. Terms and conditions.

Beat Your Sales Quotas with a Sales Improvement Program
A leading sales consultancy firm, Ninety Five 5, helps partners boost profitability and expand their businesses by creating a customer-focused sales culture. The program is delivered in eight languages and 15 countries. Ninety Five 5 is offering special pricing to Microsoft partners.

February 13 Marketing Webcast: Build Marketplace Credibility with Customer Evidence
Demonstrate your company's value by using customer evidence. In this webcast, you'll learn how to build high-impact case studies and effective reference stories and testimonials. Plus, you'll get tips to utilize customer evidence across all of your marketing activities, which may help you win the next deal.

Give Those Who Serve the Tools to Do the Job
Use your new Office expertise, and these government, health, and public safety campaign materials, to help public sector organizations improve communication. Facilitate collaboration and take advantage of reliable anytime, anywhere access to vital information that can support, protect, and care for citizens.

Sales and Marketing Resources for Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 is an incredible offer for businesses of all sizes. To help you position your company as a trusted advisor for cloud-based solutions that include Office 365 consider using our prepared marketing materials, campaigns, and services from Ready-to-Go Marketing.

Get Incremental Cloud Resources and Account Management
Associating your company with a Microsoft Cloud Channel Developer Distributor is a smart way to increase your access to resources that will help you build your cloud practice. Offerings from these companies may include services readiness, sales training and activation, technical and licensing support, and account management. Sign in to the Partner Membership Center to select your Cloud Channel Developer Distributor.

Sign in to Access Your Cloud Dashboard and Tools
Sign in to the Cloud Partner programs page to see a dashboard of your Microsoft cloud-related activities and links to detailed reports. You will find quick access to relevant and frequently used cloud tools and see a range of available resources that will help you drive demand, sell, and service your customers.

Expand Your Market Reach with Cloud Capabilities
Cloud computing can help your customers increase their IT flexibility, reduce deployment costs, and manage operations. The market opportunity with cloud computing continues to grow. Through the Cloud Essentials subscription, you can get cloud-related benefits. In just a few minutes, you can enroll in Cloud Essentials and access internal-use software licenses for Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

Support for Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 Ends April 8, 2014
After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates for Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003. Talk to your customers today about moving to current versions of Windows and Office to help them minimize risk, increase productivity and operational efficiency, and take advantage of technologies like virtualization and the cloud.

Prepare for the February Microsoft Security Bulletin
As part of our usual cycle of updates, the next security bulletin release is scheduled for February 12. On the Security TechCenter, you can catch up on the November release, register for the February security bulletin webcast on February 13, sign up for notifications, and more.

Build Windows Phone 8 Apps in Just 30 Days
Sign up for Generation App, and you'll receive the tools and support you need to get your Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps developed. If you already have an app, we have resources to help iOS developers get started building Windows Store apps.

Publish Your App and Qualify to Win the Ultimate Experience
Publish an app for a chance to experience the ultimate day with the Windows 8 Games Studios team and the makers of Xbox games. Three developers with the best apps will get to join a coding session, tour Microsoft Studios, and get a sneak peek at an upcoming game. Sweepstakes ends February 28. Official rules.

Use Frameworks to Create an App Fast
Apps don't have to take forever to create—app development tools can help. Simply choose one of the platforms found on the Generation App site, and start turning your idea into an app—fast.

Windows Azure 90-Day Free Trial
Gain fully functional virtual machines running Windows or Linux in minutes, without test hardware or downloading ISO or VHD files. Your free Windows Azure 90-day trial includes 750 small-compute hours per month, 10 websites, 35 GB of storage, and unlimited inbound bandwidth.

Download Microsoft System Center 2012 SP1 Trial
Microsoft System Center 2012 brings together data center management and the benefits of private cloud services in a single product. Download the trial to evaluate the Microsoft private cloud.

Hyper-V Replica Can Help Customers Lower Total Cost of Ownership
With Hyper-V Replica, administrators can replicate their Hyper-V virtual machines from one Hyper-V host at a primary site to another Hyper-V host at the Replica site. This feature lowers the total cost of ownership for an organization by providing a storage-agnostic and workload-agnostic solution that replicates efficiently, periodically, and asynchronously over IP-based networks across different storage subsystems and across sites.

Ready-to-Go Marketing Aspire Awards Honor the Best in Partner Marketing
If you've used Ready-to-Go Marketing resources or Microsoft Community Connections to run a successful campaign or event, enter your campaign details on our site, along with your most creative work samples. You could win the grand prize—a $3,500 Build Your Own Technology Makeover. Entry deadline is April 30. Download the Official Rules.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM December 2012 Service Update Broad Availability
This release is now rolling out to our full online customer base encompassing thousands of organizations and is available for new trials and subscriptions in North America, with APAC/EMEA following shortly.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Partner Transition to Online Services Portal
Learn how to transition your Internal Use Rights (IUR), how to support your customers' transition, and how to ensure functionality of your customers' solution. Transitioning to the same environment used by Microsoft Office 365 will open new cross-sell and up-sell opportunities between the two solutions.

March 17: Partner Event at Convergence
Save the date for the Convergence Partner Only Event on Sunday March 17 at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans. We are hosting an executive Q&A, followed by a reception with appetizers and beverages from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Submit your questions for the Q&A session by February 15 in an email message to mbs-event2@microsoft.com.

Take Advantage of Marketing Services Bureau Offers
The Marketing Services Bureau (MSB) has a wide variety of marketing services for Microsoft Dynamics partners. Whether you need a customer list, consulting services, an outsourced marketing director, or a social media solution, MSB can help fill marketing gaps and accelerate your path to new leads. Special offers right now include marketing office hours, discounted SCO training package, telesales services, and custom infographics.

Training resourcesTraining resources

Stay informed about training opportunities that align to your business, role, and Microsoft Partner Network membership.

Schedule Your February Training with Hot Sheet Recommendations
The Hot Sheet is your online guide to live in-person and virtual sales, technical, and business training. From the Hot Sheet, you can go directly to registration information for the courses you are interested in taking. The March Hot Sheet will be published around February 15 at https://aka.ms/hotsheetnews.

Microsoft Tech Showcase—Training for the Latest Microsoft Products
Learn about the features of the latest wave of Microsoft product releases at training events hosted by Microsoft Learning Partners. Search the Tech Showcase Events site for training on Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Visual Studio 2012, SQL Server 2012, Exchange 2013, SharePoint 2013, and Lync 2013.

The Sales Opportunity for Windows Server 2012
Over half of all Windows Server customers are still on the decade-old Windows Server 2003 technology, offering you a significant revenue opportunity. Follow the Windows Server 2012 Sales Specialist training in this learning path, and in just two hours get training on selling scenarios, objection handling, simplified licensing structure, and ways to move your customer to the private cloud.

On-Demand Webcast: Expand Your Managed Services Offerings with Windows Intune
Windows Intune provides the ability to manage all devices—from PCs to phones—from the System Center Configuration Manager console. Listen to the recent Partner Academy Live session to see if you might be interested in adding this offering to your existing management practice.

February 4–8: Build Your Data Center Management Practice
Help customers reduce costs, improve operational efficiencies, and drive business agility by delivering an integrated data center solution based on Microsoft System Center 2012. Practice Accelerator for Data Center Management provides reusable tools and best practices that can help you reduce the complexity and resources necessary to deploy, manage, and support infrastructure and management systems. Next session dates: March 4–8.

February 12: Windows 8 Online Developer Training—Creating a Windows 8 App
Join Technical Evangelist Alice Pang for a Hands-On Labs Online (HOLO) training and learn how to create a Windows 8 App levering your existing C# skills. Following the presentation, attendees will have time to work on lab exercises. More Windows 8 HOLO training opportunities.

Windows Azure Online Training for Developers and IT Pros
Get hands-on with Windows Azure by attending an upcoming Hands-On Labs Online (HOLO) training session. Join Technical Evangelist Keith Mayer as he provides an introduction to Windows Azure Virtual Machines and helps you work through lab exercises. Or join Technical Evangelist Bret Stateham to learn how to debug Applications in Windows Azure.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Technology-On-The-Go Sweepstakes
View one of the six qualifying webcasts for Microsoft Dynamics AX about payroll, human resources, reporting, global address book, and other features, and be entered to win an Optoma PK320 Pico Pocket Projector or Garmin Nuvi 2495 GPS. Contest ends March 15. Official rules.

February 4–8 in Atlanta, Georgia: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client Workshops
These courses will help functional and implementation consultants understand the foundation of Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client, its functionality, the necessary security requirements, and how to properly and effectively troubleshoot Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Web Client. The implementation consultant workshop will go deeper deployed components/services and how they function together; the installation options; tenant services/tenant management; and troubleshooting techniques.

February 11–14 in Phoenix, Arizona: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Industry Summit 2.0
At the Industry Summit you'll get the latest information about Microsoft Dynamics AX industry solutions, and learn to market, sell, and deploy them. You'll also have the opportunity to connect with Microsoft, Microsoft ISV partners, and industry peers.

February 20 Webcast: Road to Repeatability Series–-Using RapidStart Services for Microsoft Dynamics GP to Increase Your SMB Business
In a volume SMB ERP business, there is little room for mistakes, extended implementations, or large consulting efforts. Come to this session to learn about tools you can use to configure new customers companies in Microsoft Dynamics GP, as well as migrating data to Microsoft Dynamics GP.

February 21: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Tech Chat Series – Activity Feeds and Yammer
The announcement of the next Microsoft Dynamics CRM service update has generated excitement—and questions—from our channel. This Tech Chat Series is an opportunity for ongoing discussion between partners and Microsoft, leading up to the formal readiness courses and materials which will become available closer to the release. February 28: iPad.

February 21 Webcast: Work Better Faster Smarter with a Business Management Solution from Microsoft
Learn how Microsoft Dynamics ERP is an innovative, flexible, end-to-end solution that helps make your people more proactive and productive by giving them personalized, agile tools based on the familiar, interoperable Microsoft technologies that they work with every day.

March 8 Webcast: Windows 8 Application Developer Starter Kit for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012
In this webcast we will provide an overview of the new starter kit available for building Windows 8 Store apps powered by Microsoft Dynamics AX. Take a walk through a day in the life of a developer building a Windows 8 companion app for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Learn best practice design patterns focused around usability, integration, and security.

April 2 in Chicago, Illinois: Demo2Win Workshop
Come to Demo2Win to learn the tactics and receive the tools you need to give you the edge and improve your close rate. Learn how the 80/20 rule applies to your presentations and move from good to great in the eyes of your prospects.

April 3 in Chicago, Illinois: Discovery2Win Workshop
Come to Discovery2Win and get the tools you need to improve your sales process. Start getting buying signals in Discovery. Walk into the presentation knowing you will present the value the prospect is looking for you to deliver.

Do You Have a New Employee Who Needs Microsoft Dynamics AX Training?
The Microsoft Dynamics AX Fast TrAX course is an intensive, three-week training program that will help your new hires prepare for certification. With separate tracks for developers and consultants, Fast TrAX is the go-to classroom event to get your resources quickly trained and ready for billable hours.

Do You Have a New Employee Who Needs Microsoft Dynamics CRM Training?
The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Fast Tracks program a two week intensive training program that will help your new hires prepare for certification. With separate tracks for developers and consultants, Fast Tracks is the go-to classroom event to get your resources quickly trained and ready for billable hours.

Featured trainingFeatured training – Focus on Devices and Deployment competency

In November, Microsoft refreshed the Desktop competency to the new Devices and Deployment competency. Delivering services and solutions for the Windows 8 operating system and Microsoft Office productivity software represents a tremendous business opportunity for partners. By completing the training and passing the certification exams and assessments listed in the learning path, your company demonstrates expertise in products like Windows 8, Microsoft Office, and the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP).

Training for Business Decision Makers

Training for IT Professionals

Training for Developers

Training for Sales and Marketing Roles

Training for Training Roles

Comments (1)

  1. José Barba says:

    Thanks great resources

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