Welcome to this week’s issue of the US Partner News Online! Each week, we’ll bring you the latest news and information for Microsoft partners. You can read previous weeks’ issues at https://aka.ms/uspnewsletter. If you’d like to see the next post in your email inbox, go to https://aka.ms/uspblog and enter your email address under “Subscribe and follow” on the right hand side.
Today’s newsletter content was also delivered by email to Microsoft Partner Network members in the United States as a benefit of their membership.
Bringing the Power of Oracle Software to Microsoft Public and Private Clouds
On his In the Cloud blog, Microsoft VP for Cloud and Enterprise Engineering, Brad Anderson, talks about the partnership between Oracle and Microsoft to bring Oracle workloads to Microsoft clouds. Customers using Java, Oracle WebLogic Server, and Oracle database will now have the flexibility to run that software on Windows Azure and Windows Hyper-V.
Announcing Surface 2, Surface Pro 2, and New Surface Accessories
Two new Surface models—Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2—along with an expanded portfolio of new Surface accessories, will be available at Microsoft retail stores and select third-party retailers in October. Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 each benefit from significant updates, including improvements to processing power and battery life, to display and camera resolution, and to the Kickstand, now with dual angles, so it’s more comfortable for you to use your Surface on your lap or at your desk.
New Microsoft Virtual Academy Course: Migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7
Windows XP End of Support—April 8, 2014—is approaching fast. This course will IT Pros and businesses plan and migrate from their Windows XP environments to Windows 7. You’ll learn what steps to take and what tools are available to help you provide business continuity while migrating seamlessly.
New Administering Office 365 for Small Businesses Exam Now Available
Exam 74-325, a refresh of exam 74-324, is now available. This exam is an optional requirement for the Small Business competency. A new, on-demand Jump Start that can help you prepare for this exam is on Microsoft Virtual Academy.
Register Today for SMB Live: Get in the Cloud Events in October and November
SMB Live: Get in the Cloud is a multi-city tour for Microsoft partners who serve SMB customers in the United States. At these events, you’ll get expert guidance from Microsoft about the fundamentals needed to build a successful cloud practice, learn how to make money selling Microsoft Office 365, understand the licensing models, and hear best practices from partners who have succeeded in the cloud. Space is limited.
US SMB Regional Partner Calls for October
Join your local team for their monthly SMB partner call. These calls cover sales, technology, and marketing information and resources for resellers that serve SMB customers.
Bring the Productivity Story Alive for Customers with MEC
The Microsoft Experience Center (MEC) lets partners deliver in-person, hands-on, day-in-the-life experiences to customers that showcase the Microsoft productivity platform and win over business professionals. MEC Demo is the virtual offering that’s available to all partners to create demos of Office 365, using that same concept of day-in-the-life experiences.
Register Early for WPC 2014 and Save on Your All-Access Pass
Next year’s Worldwide Partner Conference is in Washington, DC, July 13–17. For a limited time, you can register early for your all-access pass and get a special price of $1,695.
Prepare for the October Security Bulletin Release
As part of our usual cycle of updates, the next security bulletin release is scheduled for October 8. On the Security TechCenter, you can catch up on the September release, register for the October security bulletin webcast on October 9, sign up for notifications, and more.
Keep Up the Momentum to Build a Stronger STEM Workforce
Legislation to reform high-skilled immigration and create a national STEM education fund has never been more critical—yet it still needs to pass the U.S. House of Representatives. Voices for Innovation asks you to urge your Representative to support this important legislation using our easy online tool.
Project 2014 Conference Registration is Open
The Project 2014 Conference (PC14) is in Anaheim, California, February 2–5. PC14 offers a wide variety of presentations, labs, Q&A sessions, and networking events for attendees to build their project, program, and portfolio management skills. You’ll hear directly from Microsoft speakers and industry experts about Microsoft Project and Project Online.
MPN 101 Presentation
If you’re looking for a guided overview of your MPN membership options, flip through the MPN 101 presentation. You’ll find descriptions of these options as they are today and what changes to expect in the next year. Links included in this deck provide a deeper look at each topic. Then, join the MPN 101 group conversation in the US Partner Community on Yammer.
Prepare for Windows Server, System Center, and Windows Intune Releases in Mid-October
The next releases of Windows Server 2012, Microsoft System Center, and Windows Intune will be available starting October 18. These products, along with Windows Azure and Microsoft SQL Server 2012, comprise the Cloud OS. Together, they provide a consistent platform for infrastructure, apps, and data and allow IT to rapidly build and deploy applications, flexibly manage IT services, and support real-time analytics across all forms and data.
Microsoft Partner Disclosure Guide: Competency Changes
Starting in January 2014, changes to the Microsoft competencies will include updated requirements to align with the availability of new Certification exams and assessments; the integration of exams for Office 365, Windows Intune, Windows Azure, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online into relevant competencies; and the introduction of new cloud, hosting, and application qualification tracks for relevant competencies. Read more about these changes in the downloadable disclosure guide.
Microsoft Partner Network Disclosure Guide: Cloud Integration Announcement
Starting January 2014, Microsoft cloud-related partner offerings will be fully integrated into the Microsoft Partner Network competencies and the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription. A new cloud track will be introduced into applicable competencies, there will be updated requirements, and on June 30, 2014, the cloud programs (Cloud Essentials, Cloud Accelerate, Cloud Deployment, and Windows Azure Circle) will be retired.
Microsoft Partner Network Disclosure Guide: Redesign of the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription
A new version of the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS) is coming in January 2014. It will be a universal subscription with resources and benefits for partners emphasizing Microsoft Cloud Services and serving small and mid-market customers. The new MAPS will include six resource centers, aligned to partner business models. Read more about the MAPS changes in the downloadable disclosure guide.
Increase the Effectiveness of Your Customer Engagements with the Gear Up eToolkit
The Gear Up eToolkit provides Microsoft product information, answers to common questions, selling tips, and objection-handling so you can have more effective customer conversations, demonstrations, and presentations. Download the eToolkit app for your Windows Phone or desktop or use it through your browser.
Three New Marketing Campaigns Help Your SMB Customers Stay Ahead of the Game
Microsoft server and cloud products can help you build and deliver solutions that delight your SMB customers and increase your margins. The Ahead of the Game campaigns address three distinct workloads and partner opportunities: Be Lean and Stay Lean is a server consolidation and virtualization campaign; Business Anywhere lets you help SMBs increase productivity for remote and mobile employees; Tap Your Data Goldmine improves data accessibility and increase shared insights and collaboration.
Set Your Job Role in Your MPN Profile to Get More Relevant Communications
Along with your company’s MPN profile, your individual MPN profile settings help us direct the right email communications about partner information, resources, and opportunities to you. You can quickly check your primary job role setting, and update it if necessary, in the Partner Membership Center. Your job role is in the Your Name and Job Responsibilities section.
Stay informed about training opportunities that align to your business, role, and Microsoft Partner Network membership.
October Hot Sheet: Find and Register for Upcoming Training and Partner Calls
October is shaping up to be a month that’s chock-full of great training opportunities. We’ve just added many in-person sales and technical trainings, as well as partner networking events at the Microsoft Stores, to the October issue of the Hot Sheet. Take a look at the Hot Sheet to find and register for the training that suits your business and role. Look for the November Hot Sheet during the week of October 14.
Windows Azure Training Opportunities for Every Role
The momentum of Windows Azure is growing, and the partner opportunities are tremendous. Find out what those opportunities are and how your company can capitalize on them. Each member of your team—technical, sales, presales, practice development—can increase his or her Windows Azure knowledge and expertise with in-person, live virtual, and on-demand training.
- Developers: Spend the Day with Windows Azure, Leave with Code Running in the Cloud
- IT Pros: IT Camp for Windows Azure – Discover Key Hybrid Solutions
- Sales and Presales Technical Professionals: Windows Azure at Your Doorstep
Three Ways to Save on Microsoft Certification Exams
Take advantage of offers for Microsoft Certifications that will help you demonstrate your Microsoft product and technology expertise. Your company can increase its capabilities for serving customers, and may be able to meet competency requirements, too.
Get Certified on Windows Server 2012 and Save on Exams
Windows Server 2012 certification is required to maintain MPN competencies like Server Platform, Application Development, OEM, and Midmarket. If members of your company’s technical team are preparing for Windows Server 2012 exams 70-412, 70-411, 70-417, or other Windows Server exams, an exam pack can save you money. Offer ends December 31. Exams must be taken by May 31, 2014.
Cloud 1-2-3 Webcast Series for SMB Resellers
Build your cloud business by participating in this webcast series. The lineup of presentations includes sales, marketing, and technical content that will help you understand the cloud opportunity and Microsoft cloud solutions, drive demand and close sales, and increase your migration and deployment expertise.
Ignite Summit in Washington, DC, November 5–7
Attend this three-day workshop for deep technical training on productivity workloads, delivered by Microsoft product experts. The Ignite Summit will feature more than 70 breakout session titles in tracks that cover Office, Office 365, Developer, Exchange, Project, SharePoint, Visio/Visio Services, and Yammer.
This list is a sampling of upcoming partner calls, training, and events. Refer to the October Hot Sheet for a comprehensive list for the next six weeks that’s frequently updated, and look for the November Hot Sheet during the week of October 14.
October 8 – Security Bulletin Release for October 2013
October 8 – Microsoft Store for Partners Networking Event in San Francisco, California (See other cities and dates here)
October 9 – Security Bulletin Webcast for October 2013
October 10 – Practice Accelerator for Office 365
October 11 – SMB Partner Call for East Region
October 17 – Practice Accelerator for Office 365
October 18 – SMB Partner Call for Central Region
October 18 – SMB Partner Call for West Region
Watch this video, featuring Brad Anderson, Vice President of Cloud and Enterprise Engineering, talk about the Microsoft and Oracle partnership to bring the power of Oracle’s software to private/public cloud.