U.S. partner news for Friday, February 15 (feat. new Office events and resources)

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 to help you utilize your membership benefits, understand your opportunities and close business, and build your skills. Role-based training recommendations for this issue are about the Business Intelligence competency. Visit and sign in to the U.S. partner portal for the latest news about products and programs, and check out our blog series aligned to your membership.

Momentum for the new Office continues. On January 29, Microsoft released Office 365 Home Premium. Your business customers can purchase on-premises versions of the new Office products through Microsoft Volume Licensing now, and the new Office 365 service for businesses will be available starting February 27. Here are my recommendations for you to get up to speed on the new Office and capitalize on the new partner opportunities it brings:

  • On February 27, attend the virtual launch event for the new Office 365 for business.
  • Register for one of our live webcasts for resellers later this month, where you'll hear from Office and Office 365 experts about your sales opportunities and the latest content and resources for sales readiness.
  • Use the new Office campaign and the Productivity campaign to find materials aligned to your business model, sales guides, recorded sessions, and more.
  • For technical readiness, Office Ignite live and on-demand webcasts provide in-depth technical training, and online guides cover new product capabilities, design, deployment, and management.
  • Check out our Office special edition training Hot Sheet for an up-to-date list of training opportunities and events.
  • If you want internal-use licenses for the on-premises versions of the new Office products, subscribe to the Microsoft Action Pack or attain a Microsoft competency. Office 365 and other cloud services products like Windows Intune are available for internal use through Cloud Essentials.
  • Use our frequently updated online guide to partner resources for the new Office to get news and information about training, materials, and more as they become available.


Save $200 on Your WPC 2013 Registration Before April 5
Worldwide Partner Conference is the best way to get a firsthand look at the Microsoft products and technologies road map and connect with both Microsoft and partners from around the world for learning and collaboration. Find out what's in store for you at WPC this year and plan to join us July 7–11 in Houston, Texas.

Self-Nominate Your Company's Solution for a WPC 2013 Partner of the Year Award
Each year, the winners and finalists of the Partner of the Year Awards are recognized at Worldwide Partner Conference. Receiving a Partner of the Year Award positions your company for new business opportunities, generates press coverage, and can lead to more market recognition. Prepare your self-nomination now—the submission tool opens February 22.

February 27: Virtual Launch Event for the New Office 365 for Business
The new Office 365 service for businesses will be available starting February 27. Join Microsoft executive Kirk Gregersen for a live webcast to see Office 365 in action, to get your questions about the product answered by the people who made (or market) it. The webcast will include live chat.

The New Office: Virtual Events in February for Microsoft Resellers
Your business customers can purchase on-premises versions of the new Office products through Microsoft Volume Licensing now, and the new Office 365 service for businesses will be available starting February 27. Register to attend one of four live webcasts scheduled in February, where you'll hear from Office and Office 365 experts about your sales opportunities and the latest content and resources for sales readiness.

Microsoft U.S. Education Partner Network: Learn What's Hot, Connect with Microsoft
Sign in to the Microsoft US Education Partner Network and learn what's hot in education. Plus, get best practices and updates through our 15-minute Education Newscasts. This month, share your lead-management approach so the Microsoft U.S. Public Sector team can help you better serve your customers and build your education practice. Come for the updates and stay for the conversation.

Apply Your Partner Advisory Hours to Build Your Product Knowledge and Skills
You can use your hours to help build your skill set through Practice Accelerator offerings, which provide best practices for Microsoft solutions. You can also use your advisory hours for Technical Presales and Advisory Services to get customized guidance for competing and for developing and deploying solutions for your customers.

Don't Miss Out on Your Software License Benefits Through Cloud Essentials
Did you know that as a Cloud Essentials member, you have access to software licenses of Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online you can use internally to test drive Microsoft cloud services? Gain valuable hands-on experience that can help you more effectively sell cloud solutions and support your customers by deploying your Cloud Essentials internal-use software.

Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for February 2013
As part of our usual cycle of security updates, we released our latest Security Bulletin Summary on Tuesday, February 12, five Critical-class and seven Important-class bulletins. The next bulletin is scheduled for Tuesday, March 12. Register for the March 2013 security bulletin webcast.

Renew Your Membership on Time to Keep Valuable Benefits
By renewing your membership on time, you keep your valuable benefits like internal-use software for the latest Microsoft technologies. If your company is due to renew in the next 90 days, use our guidance to help you through the process.

Win with Microsoft Products and Microsoft Support
Your membership in the Microsoft Partner Network comes with valuable technical support benefits that range from technical presales assistance to proof-of-concepts and deployment help.

Pass a Sales Assessment and Enter to Win a Windows 8 Tablet
Earn your Sales Specialist or Presales Technical Specialist accreditation by April 30, and be automatically entered in our sweepstakes. Earning your accreditation will not only help you increase deal size and deliver better value demonstrations, it can help your company achieve Microsoft competencies. Contest ends April 30. Official rules.

February Recommendations from Your Local Microsoft Team
Each month, your Regional Microsoft team publishes a list of their recommendations for their local partners, with links to register for their monthly partner call, upcoming in-person and virtual events and activities, and membership highlights.

Microsoft Office 365 BEST Campaign
Are you confident in articulating the Office 365 value propositions to meet your small and midsize customers' business needs? Access the Office 365 BEST campaign, which includes a variety of marketing materials including a discussion guide, a customer pitch deck, a webinar-in-a-box, and Google compete content to help you drive demand and enhance your selling strategy.

Get Refreshed Microsoft Office 365 Content on Your Website Automatically
Add web syndication for Office 365 from Ready-to-Go Marketing to your website, and start driving growth with solutions that help SMB customers move to the cloud. Approximately 65 percent of SMB companies are still using Office 2007 or Office 2003 and older. With Office 2003 support coming to an end next year, it's a great time to drive annuity by encouraging a move to the cloud.

Enroll in the January–June U.S. VAR Rebate Program to Earn up to 30% in Rebates
The U.S. VAR Rebate programs allow eligible partners to earn up to 30% in rebates when they sell volume licensing. Download the VAR Rebate Program terms and conditions for VARs, or if you are a member of the VAR Champions Club or Top VAR program, get the details for those programs.

Support a Stronger STEM Workforce
Are you concerned about the shortage of workers with degrees in in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)? Visit the Voices for Innovation Action Center to learn more and lend support for the bipartisan Immigration Innovation Act of 2013.

Windows Azure Means Massively Scalable Apps
Make your consumer-oriented Windows, Android, and iOS apps massively scalable through Windows Azure Mobile Services. Plug them straight into the cloud back end and direct your energy toward developing on the front-end. Take a 90-day test drive of one of the most competitive cloud platforms around and experience the power of simplicity.

Manage Your Virtualized Computing Environment with Hyper-V
With the Hyper-V role, you can create and manage a virtualized computing environment by using virtualization technology that is built into Windows Server 2012. Hyper-V provides an environment in which you can run multiple instances of various Microsoft and non-Microsoft operating systems at the same time on one physical computer, by running each operating system in its own virtual machine.

Dive into Cloud Resource Management
System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 introduces capabilities provided by Service Provider Foundation that enable service providers and large IT organizations to programmatically integrate cloud resources managed by Virtual Machine Manager into existing management portals and orchestration.

Embark on an Expert-Guided 30-Day Voyage of App Development
Sign up now to receive the tools, help, and support you need to get your Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps developed. Already have an app? We have resources to help iOS developers get started building apps for the Windows Store.

Build Windows 8 Apps, Win Rewards
Publish more apps and boost your chances to win! Get them published before Feb 28 and get a copy of Halo 4. You'll also be entered to win an Xbox 360 console with Kinect, and the Ultimate Backstage Pass. Official rules.

Getting Started with Windows Phone 8
Create your first Windows Phone 8 app, or port your existing apps with languages you already know. Learn how to launch your Windows Phone 8 app in 30 days.

What's New for App Controller in Microsoft System Center 2012 Service Pack 1
With App Controller, you have a common self-service experience that can help you easily configure, deploy, and manage virtual machines and services across private and public clouds. Evaluate System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 to try it yourself, in our Private Cloud Evaluation from TechNet.

New and Improved Technologies for Windows Server Networking
Windows Server 2012 introduces new networking features and capabilities that help to reduce networking complexity while lowering costs and simplifying management tasks for IT pros. Many networking technologies are new or improved in Windows Server 2012, including Hyper-V Network Virtualization. Sign up for the Windows Server 2012 evaluation on TechNet.

Cloud OS Trivia Challenge: Download, Play, and Win
Play our Trivia Challenge and show off your knowledge about Microsoft cloud OS products like Windows Server 2012, Microsoft System Center 2012, Windows Azure, and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012. Prizes include a trip to the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas this April. Invite your customers to play, too.

Explore the New Features of the Hyper-V Extensible Switch
The Hyper-V Extensible Switch in Windows Server 2012 offers several new features to provide isolation and security capabilities for your virtual networks. The Hyper-V switch is also fully extensible so IT pros can choose third-party switch extensions for security, monitoring, and enhanced switching functionality. Sign up for the Hyper-V Server 2012 evaluation on TechNet.

Countdown to Convergence 2013
Register now to secure your place at this premier Microsoft Dynamics event and get your customers on board to attend with you. You can expect great keynote speeches, informative breakout sessions, and unparalleled networking opportunities. Find out what's in store at Convergence on the conference site. Visit PartnerSource for Convergence marketing materials.

March 19 at Convergence: Microsoft Dynamics ERP SMB Partner Awards and Networking Event
Join the Microsoft Dynamics U.S. Partner Team at The Foundry in New Orleans for a recognition and networking event with Microsoft Dynamics leaders, SPLA Cloud Services Providers, and Marketing Service Bureau vendors.

Butterfly Publisher Premium—Social Reach and Custom Content
Get two custom 500-word articles each month with your premium subscription to Butterfly Publisher. Custom content, social media publishing and reporting tools, and social newsletters (to share your social content beyond your followers) make it easy to stay in touch with your prospects and customers. Sign up for a free 15-day trial.

The Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace—Position Your Organization to Sell the Way People Buy
Microsoft Dynamics partners are seeing a shift toward the self-serve buyer—where prospects are no longer engaging with sales organizations during the discovery phase of their technology purchase. They also expect to find the information they need to make a decision online; people want to self-educate and conduct their own research before they engage with a company or individual.

Training resourcesTraining resources

Plan Ahead for March Training with the Partner Training Hot Sheet
Use the Hot Sheet to register for upcoming live in-person and virtual sales, technical, and business training. The March issue can help you plan next month's learning activities, while the February issue contains links for courses taking place the rest of this month.

Build Your Services Practice with Microsoft Practice Accelerator
Practice Accelerator sessions provide a detailed framework of resources, spanning from pre-engagement to post-delivery and are a great way to use partner advisory hours. See the upcoming schedule for topics including Business Intelligence, Data Center Management, Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Enterprise Voice, and Microsoft Office 365.

February 20 in Des Moines, Iowa: Accelerate Your Cloud Sales
Join Microsoft cloud experts and your local Microsoft team for a one-day training that will help you accelerate your cloud sales using demo tools, customer campaigns, and shared best practices. You will learn about partner opportunities with the new Office and how to successfully demo Microsoft Office 365 and Windows Intune for productive customer conversations.

February 26 Webcast: Windows Server 2012 – Networking
Join Microsoft Partner Technology Advisor, Bryan Von Axelson, for the Windows Server 2012 Samurai Webcast Series, discussions about the new features and enhancements in Windows Server 2012.

What's New in Endpoint Protection for System Center 2012 SP1 Configuration Manager
Keith Mayer and Wally Mead wrap up their "What's New" series about System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 with this episode about Endpoint Protection. Tune in as Wally shows you how to install Endpoint Protection during a specific maintenance window, how to find all clients infected with malware, and how to take immediate action and update antimalware definitions quickly and easily.

Building Apps for the new Office and SharePoint 2013
Jerry Nixon welcomes Mike Morton, Mark Wilson-Thomas, and Saurabh Bhatia as they discuss how and why you should start building apps for Office and SharePoint 2013. Tune in as they discuss the new cloud app model for Office and SharePoint and how it provides you with the maximum amount of choice and flexibility to build your apps using familiar languages, tools, and hosting services.

How to Port iOS Apps to Windows Store Apps
This session talks about how to port iOS apps to Windows Store apps with mapping relations between iOS and Windows Store apps. We'll cover programming architectures, design principles, UI controls, application lifecycles, and data storage. After this course, you'll know the difference between these two platforms, and what the recommended replacement is when you port a specific feature to Windows Store apps.

Windows 8 Hands-on Labs Online Training: Creating Windows 8 Apps
Join Technical Evangelist Jeff Brand February 19 for a Hands-on Labs Online training and learn how to create a Windows 8 app using your existing JavaScript skills. Following the presentation, attendees will have time to work on virtual lab exercises. Then, on February 26 join Technical Evangelist Joel Reyes to learn how to customize your app factoring in Orientation, Snapping, and Semantic Zoom with C#.

Windows Azure Hands-on Labs Online Training
Join Technical Evangelist Doris Chen on February 27 for a live presentation and Introduction to Cloud Services. Following the presentation, Doris will be available to assist as you work on virtual lab exercises. You can also join Technical Evangelist Keith Mayer on February 28 to learn how to create Linux virtual machines in Windows Azure.

March 13: Ready-to-Go Marketing Webcast—Generate Real, Qualified Leads with Digital Marketing
See how to build an effective, repeatable marketing engine with our March Ready-to-Go Marketing webinar, Generating Real Qualified Leads with Digital Marketing. We'll focus on best practices and show you how to drive action with an integrated approach to all of your digital marketing activities.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Technology On the Go Sweepstakes
Attend Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Readiness webcasts to be entered to win the Microsoft Dynamics Technology on the Go Sweepstakes. These webcasts explore the updated features Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 has to offer for payroll, human resources, reporting, and global address book. Game ends March 15. Official rules.

February 20 Webcast: Road to Repeatability Series—Using RapidStart Services for Microsoft Dynamics GP to Increase Your Volume 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 migrate 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 that will become available closer to the release. February 28 topic is iPad.

March 4–8 in Fargo, North Dakota: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Upgrade Workshop for Consultants and Developers
The goal of this workshop is to assist technical resources in understanding how to upgrade an existing Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. The workshop will focus on upgrading code elements and the data dictionary for customizations, focusing on the major changes introduced with the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 data model.

March 8 Webcast: Windows 8 Application Developer Starter Kit for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012
Discover what the Windows Application Developer starter kit offers to help developers build beautiful touch-first applications for Windows 8 that build upon the agility of Microsoft Dynamics AX. We'll take a walk through a day in the life of a developer building a Windows 8 companion app for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. You'll learn best practices 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. This is the only offering of this course planned for the next several months.

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 confident you will explain the value the prospect is looking for you to deliver. This is the only offering of this course planned for the next several months.

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.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Enterprise Academy—Industry Training
Take your industry knowledge to the next level with the Microsoft Dynamics AX Industry training. These remotely delivered courses are designed to accelerate your capacity and capability to successfully deliver Microsoft Dynamics AX solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2012 December Service Update Readiness
The release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is underway. Attend this series of on-demand web seminars to learn more about the release, the roadmap, what's new, features and functionality training, and how to prepare.

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Technical Training
Access on-demand foundational training to prepare you for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 in these technical web seminars brought to you by the Microsoft Dynamics GP support team. You will also find a link to a wide array of web seminars available on the GP User Group site.

Featured trainingFeatured training – Business Intelligence competency

Training for Business Decision Makers

Businesses today need powerful business intelligence (BI) solutions that can accommodate their reporting and analysis needs. Partners with BI expertise have practices that include Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint, Windows Azure, and Microsoft BizTalk Server. The training recommendations below will help you meet the requirements for the Business Intelligence competency.

Training for IT Professionals

Training for Developers

Training for Sales and Marketing Roles

Training for Training Roles

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