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.
Let Us Help You Plan Your Microsoft Partner Network Membership Renewal
Your company's Microsoft Partner Network membership will expire in the next couple of months. Use the Renew my membership guidance on the MPN portal to start the renewal process. For assistance, you can request one-to-one communications with an MPN Support agent through the Partner Membership forum in the Partner Support Community.
Build 2014 News and Announcements
You’ll find the news, announcements, and highlights from Build 2014, as well as other developer-related links and tweets, in the newsroom on the Microsoft News Center.
Microsoft Channel Chief, Phil Sorgen: Smaller Partners Make Action Pack Better
Channel Chief Phil Sorgen talks about the redesigned Microsoft Action Pack subscription. It now provides simple and flexible resources that can grow and evolve with you, whether you're focused on providing cloud, on-premises, or hybrid solutions. You asked for training customized to your needs, and for added technical advisory support to provide much-needed help with those complex customer scenarios. Those benefits are now part of the Action Pack.
Mobile First, Cloud First: Microsoft Expands Cloud Services for Mobile Scenarios
Customers continue to use more devices and services, and IT needs an integrated and economical way to manage it all. The new Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) provides comprehensive device, identity and access management with data protection from the cloud. EMS includes Windows Intune, Azure Active Directory Premium and Azure Rights Management Services, to give IT the tools they need to help protect corporate assets and enable people to work on the devices they love.
Windows 8.1 Update: Important Refinements to the Windows Experience
The Windows 8.1 update includes improvements for the enterprise such as improved Internet Explorer 8 compatibility on Internet Explorer 11, extended mobile device management functionality, and ease of deployment with increased predictability for new operating systems and line-of-business apps by leveraging familiar management tools.
Windows Developer Platform: Build Innovative Apps, Reach More People
New capabilities in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 Release Candidate include the introduction of universal projects so that developers are able to create apps that can be easily optimized to take full advantage of Windows devices. Developers of all types can draw upon their existing skills to deliver shared experiences for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update. Universal projects allow developers to use approximately 90 percent of the same code, a single packaging system, and a common user interface to target apps for phones, tablets and PCs.
WPC 2014: US Partner Activities and Agenda
The US Partner Team is planning an experience for you at WPC 2014 that includes the United States Regional Keynote, US Celebration, and US-specific sessions. Use our United States agenda to plan your conference attendance, networking, and participation.
Submissions for 2014 Partner of the Year Awards Close April 11
It's time to polish, finalize, and submit your 2014 Partner of the Year Award nomination in the Awards tool. Winning an award positions your company for new business opportunities, generates positive press coverage, and can lead to greater market recognition. Last year, United States partners took home 19 awards. We'd love to cheer for you at WPC. Good luck!
New Study Shows Companies Are Moving with Cloud Deployments at a Rapid Rate
Microsoft just released the Hosting and Cloud Go Mainstream: 2014 study. This global survey includes answers from over 2,000 customers of various sizes, and offers insights into how customers buy, use, and manage their IT in different cloud scenarios. Read about three key insights from this study that you should consider for your business, and download the study.
Prepare for the Microsoft Security Bulletin for April 2014
The next security bulletin release is on Tuesday, April 8. Get information about the security updates for March 2014 that cover Internet Explorer, Microsoft Silverlight, and Microsoft Windows. You can watch the March webcast on demand, and register for the next webcast, on April 9.
Show Customers How Much They Can Save with Office 365
With support ending on April 8 for Office 2003, Exchange Server 2003, and Windows XP, now is a good time for customers to move up to Office 365. Help your customers understand the benefits of moving to Exchange and Office in the cloud by using CloudReady Insight. This third-party tool calculates the return on investment of moving to Office 365 based on a customer's present on-premises usage.
Lead Qualification Service from Ready-to-Go Marketing
Closing sales can be a lengthy process, especially when valuable time is wasted engaging leads that aren't qualified. Let Microsoft manage the post-event follow-up conversations with your event registrants. The calls are made on your behalf with your messaging, saving you time and resources. It's a new way to receive targeted, qualified leads, and offered to MPN members at no cost.
Competing and Winning in the Midmarket
There are more than 60,000 midmarket firms (defined as companies that have 100 to 249 seats) in the United States, and on average, they spend $100,000 on infrastructure, productivity software and devices a year. Current Microsoft midmarket customers represent over $2 billion in software upgrade opportunity alone. Use the materials from Ready-to-Go Marketing to plan and implement your midmarket strategy.
US SMB Regional Partner Calls for April
Join your Microsoft US SMB regional team for the April partner call in their monthly series. These calls cover technology, sales, and marketing information and resources for resellers that serve SMB customers. You'll hear from Microsoft experts about your opportunities, resources and tips for building your business, and best practices.
Register for the VAR Incentive Program to Earn Up to 22 Percent in Incentives
The VAR Incentive provides maximum payout when you help your customers recognize the benefits of emerging Microsoft products and technologies, including virtualization, security, and unified communications. You must register for the current incentive even if you have participated in previous versions of the VAR rebate. Terms and conditions.
Earn $500 for Your First Sale of Microsoft Office 365 to an SMB Customer
Register for the VAR Incentive, then make your first Microsoft Office 365 sale through Open or Advisor between March 1 and May 31, and you may be eligible for an extra $500 payment. Terms and conditions.
SMB Advantage: Earn Partner Subsidy Funds for Cloud Sales
Earn partner subsidy funds on eligible sales of Microsoft Office 365 or Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online through Open or Advisor. Redeem the purchase within 15 days, and your customer will receive a check to be used within 90 days for additional purchases or services provided by you. Offer ends May 31. Terms and conditions.
Cloud 1-2-3 Academy for SMB Partners: Build a Profitable Cloud Business
Whether you are new to the cloud or have closed a few cloud deals already, Cloud 1-2-3 Academy will help you make decisions about your business model to help you maximize revenues in the long term.
Spread the Word About Your Business with Microsoft Community Connections
Give your business a boost by hosting local events and webinars with Microsoft Community Connections (MCC). Be the small business expert in your and help spread the word via local business organizations in your area, like Chambers of Commerce and other networking groups. Fully scripted presentations are available for download at the MCC site. When you register your event with us, kits with marketing resources are provided at no cost to you.
April 30 in Austin, Texas: Meet the Bing Ads Team
Register and connect with Bing Ads experts, get agency resources, and see a drill down on insights from the local area. Earn your Bing Ads Accreditation in the afternoon, then join for a networking happy hour and a chance to win an Xbox One.
May 6 in Chicago, Illinois: Meet the Bing Ads Team
Register to connect with Bing Ads experts, get agency resources and see a drill down on insights from the New York area. Earn your Bing Ads Accreditation in the afternoon, then join for a networking happy hour and a chance to win an Xbox One.
Microsoft Dynamics ERP On-Demand Webcast Library
Encourage your customers to take advantage of the library of Microsoft Dynamics ERP on-demand webcasts that explain the different ways Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions can help organize and advance their businesses.
Ready-to-Go Marketing: Help Customers Say Goodbye to Windows XP and Upgrade by April 8
The Get Modern with Windows 8.1 and Office campaign, from Ready-to-Go Marketing, provides you with resources that will help you prepare for conversations with your customers and explain the benefits of modernizing their businesses by moving to current versions of Windows, Office, and Exchange. You'll help customers increase productivity, access information anywhere, and stay secure while positioning yourself as their trusted advisor.
New Windows Solutions Page on the MPN Portal
Mobility changes the way business is done. Windows devices can help your customers work from multiple devices and locations and access critical apps and data, while helping IT keep corporate data protected. Find out how the wide range of Windows devices and mobility solutions let you deliver new products and services, monetize existing offerings, and better serve your customers.
Resources to Help You Transition Your Cloud Internal Use Rights
As of February 24, all Microsoft Action Pack and competency partners now have access to Microsoft Internal Use Rights for Microsoft cloud solutions such as Office 365, Windows Azure, Dynamics CRM Online, and Windows Intune. You can now deploy your internal use rights benefit allotment the way you choose, to suit your business needs—online, on-premises, or both.
Test Product Migration and Application Compatibility with Previous Versions
Over 30 products from the collection of previously released trial software remaining under mainstream support have been re-released on the TechNet Evaluation Center to support your migration and application compatibility testing needs. Get the downloads and get started with migrating your customers to the most current Microsoft products. On Twitter, follow @MicrosoftTrials for regular updates about evaluation software.
Speed Up Your Deployment Time and Increase Customer Wins with Practice Accelerator
Solutions that address Big Data, Enterprise Social, Mobility, and the Cloud are key for your customers. Use Practice Accelerators that address these topics to educate your team and standardize your deployment methodology. Use your Microsoft competency advisory hours benefit to build your practice in one or more of these critical areas, speed your time to deployment, and increase customer wins and retention.
Microsoft Dynamics Partners: Get More Out of Your Marketing Budget
The Marketing Services Bureau (MSB) can provide you with access to marketing expertise you may not otherwise have the time or budget to hire. Whether you're in need of a list, consulting services, or a social media solution, MSB can help fill your marketing gaps and accelerate your path to new leads. Check back regularly for new special offers.
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.
Training and Certification
Stay informed about training opportunities that align to your business, role, and Microsoft Partner Network membership.
April Hot Sheet: Find and Register for Upcoming Training and Partner Calls
The Hot Sheet is a frequently updated schedule of live virtual and in-person training and informational calls that are coming in the next few weeks. Subscribe to the US Partner Learning blog to receive the Hot Sheet as soon as it's published each month.
Microsoft Dynamics Training Schedule
Register for Microsoft Dynamics training for both CRM and ERP using our schedule that goes through July. We also list Dynamics training on the monthly Hot Sheet.
Windows Intune Weekly Webcast Series
See how Windows Intune lets you manage PCs and mobile devices from the cloud. This webcast series covers product, sales, and technical information about the unified PC and mobile device management solution for businesses.
Schedule Your Next Certification Exam by April 27 for a Chance to Win a Surface Pro 2
Your next Microsoft Certification exam could be your winning entry to our certification sweepstakes for US partners. Pass a qualifying exam by April 27 and you will be entered into weekly drawings for a $500 Microsoft Store gift card and monthly drawings for a Surface Pro 2. No purchase necessary. Open only to authorized representatives of companies enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network with a valid MPN ID who are legal residents of the US, age 18 and older. Details and a free alternate method of entry in the Official Rules.
8 Weeks of Windows 8 Ends April 13 – Enter to Win a Cool Device
Pass a Windows assessment and be entered to win a Dell Venue 8 Pro, a Toshiba Encore, or a Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Multimode Table PC. Weekly and grand prize drawings. Contest ends April 13. Open to US resident employees of OEM Reseller partners who are 18 or older. Weekly entry periods are Monday through Sunday. Download the official rules.
Get Deep Technical Training and Earn Your Microsoft Certification at TechEd North America 2014
Explore the 600+ sessions and labs that are being offered at TechEd in Houston, Texas from May 12–15, and sign up now for deep technical education opportunities that complement your goals. If you're working toward a certification, you can take advantage of on-site Microsoft Certification exams at 50% off the standard price.
April 21–24 in Chicago, Illinois: Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Technical Ignite Boot Camp
Learn about the in-memory and cloud capabilities of SQL Server 2014 in this deep technical training. You will walk away with an understanding of how to simplify cloud adoption for your SQL databases, as well as unlock new hybrid scenarios.
April 29–May 2 in Reston, Virginia: Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Technical Ignite Boot Camps
In this four-day technical training you will learn about the in-memory and cloud capabilities of SQL Server 2014 and walk away with an understanding of how to simplify cloud adoption for your SQL databases, as well as unlock new hybrid scenarios.
May 7 in New York, New York: Drumbeat Office 365 Sales Readiness Day
Sales and presales technical partners are invited to this free training on selling Office 365. You will learn best practices, programs, and selling tools, as well as receive insights into the cloud services market.
Watch this video to build your cloud expertise and help your customers move to the cloud. Learn how to get started with Office 365 training. Training is available for sales and technical professionals.
This list is a sampling of upcoming partner calls, training, and events. Refer to the April Hot Sheet for a comprehensive list for the next several weeks that's frequently updated, and look for the May Hot Sheet the week of April 14.
Week of April 7–11
- April 7–8 in Minneapolis, Minnesota: Ahead of the Game Technical Series
- April 8 – Security Bulletin Release
- April 8 in Indianapolis, Indiana – SMB Live: Get in the Cloud
- April 8 – Cloud 1-2-3 Academy: Changing Buyer Behavior and Expectations
- April 8–11 in Sunnyvale, California: SQL Server 2014 Ignite
- April 8 – Partner Practice Enablement for Windows Azure (Part 5 of 8): Cloud Services, Web Sites, and Infrastructure Services
- April 9 – Security Bulletin Webcast
- April 9 in Minneapolis, Minnesota – SMB Live: Get in the Cloud
- April 9 – Practice Accelerator for SharePoint 2013: Search, Social, Portals and Collaboration
- April 9 – Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) Wednesday
- April 9 – Visual Studio Release Management Jump Start
- April 10 – Practice Accelerator for Office 365
- April 10 in Cleveland, Ohio – SMB Live: Get in the Cloud
- April 10 in Minneapolis, Minnesota – Cloud 1-2-3 Academy: Cloud Transformation Workshop
- April 11 – SMB Partner Call for East Region
- April 11 – Submissions close for 2014 Partner of the Year Awards
Week of April 14–18
- April 15 in Sunnyvale, California – SMB Live: Get in the Cloud
- April 15 in Tampa, Florida – SMB Live: Expand Your Portfolio
- April 15 – Develop and Test for Microsoft Azure
- April 15 – Cloud 1-2-3 Academy: Cloud Business Model Optimization
- April 15 – Accelerate Your Insights Webcast: Transform Data into Action
- April 16 in St. Louis, Missouri – SMB Live: Get in the Cloud
- April 16 – Cloud 1-2-3 Academy: Cloud Transformation Workshop
- April 17 in San Francisco, California: SMB Live: Get in the Cloud
- April 17 in Jacksonville, Florida: SMB Live: Expand Your Portfolio
- April 17 in Nashville, Tennessee: SMB Live: Expand Your Portfolio
- April 18 in San Antonio, Texas: SMB Live: Expand Your Portfolio
- April 18 – SMB Partner Call for Central Region
- April 18 – SMB Partner Call for West Region