US Partner News for Friday, April 11, 2014

imageWelcome 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 If you’d like to see the next post in your email inbox, go to and enter your email address under “Subscribe and follow” on the right hand side.

To stay in touch with me and connect with other partners and Microsoft sales, marketing, and product experts, join our US Partner Community on Yammer and choose how you want to stay informed.

There will not be an issue of the US Partner News Online published on April 18. The next issue will be on April 25.

Top stories

imagePut Your App-Building Expertise in the Spotlight: Earn the Application Development Competency
Set yourself apart as a partner that uses the power of the cloud to provide innovative and scalable applications.

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 is Here—Get the Resources for a Hands-On Experience
With Microsoft SQL Server 2014 now generally available, there are a number of free resources you'll want to get your hands on to experience the breakthrough performance of this cloud-first data platform. Take advantage of the evaluation, virtual labs, and more. On Twitter, follow @MicrosoftTrials for regular updates about evaluation software and virtual labs.

Powering the Future of Education
In this guest post on the US Partner Team blog, Wole Moses from the Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector Team talks about how technology is transforming education. Devices are being designed to meet their needs, and Windows 8.1 takes advantage of these advances in devices to provide an intuitive experience for students of all ages and educators.

Windows 8.1 Update: The IT Pro Perspective
The Windows 8.1 Update is a cumulative update for Windows 8.1 that includes a variety of enhancements for enterprises, including improved IE 11 compatibility for enterprise applications, usability improvements, extended mobile device management, and improved hardware support. Read this post on the Springboard Series Blog for guidance and resources for IT pros.

imageGoing Mobile with Windows Campaign, from Ready-to-Go Marketing
The new Windows Mobility campaign is designed to help Microsoft partners sell Windows devices, speed up deployments of Windows devices and increase services revenue from deploying security, virtualization and management solutions. By accessing this campaign, you will get access to content and resources to help you sell Windows Mobility.

Register Today for WPC 2014 and Save
The 2014 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, DC is quickly approaching. To secure your spot at this commercial sales conference, register today and pay $1,995 for your all-access pass. This price is good through April 24—on April 25, the price will increase by $200. We hope to see you there!

US AgendaUS-Specific Sessions and Other Activities for United States Partners at WPC 2014
The US Partner Team has several sessions planned for you at WPC 2014, and most of them are listed in the new Session Catalog. In addition to these sessions, we invite you to join us for the United States keynote on Tuesday afternoon, and the US Celebration at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on Tuesday night. The agenda for US partners differs slightly from the general WPC agenda, so be sure to reference the US agenda when planning your conference attendance and participation.

How ISVs Can Build Business Partnerships for Growth
For many independent software vendors (ISVs), partnership with a platform provider like Microsoft and with channel partners like system integrators and resellers is a strategy that yields impressive dividends. A successful partner strategy requires significant up-front work and ongoing maintenance. Join Diana Kreklow and Gail Mercer-MacKay for a five-part webinar series that outlines best practices in building and managing a partner strategy.

AzureYamJamApril 24: Microsoft Azure ISV Partner YamJam, Featuring Corent Technology
In our monthly YamJams, we invite Microsoft Azure ISVs to share information about their Azure-powered apps as a way to help you discover new solutions for your customers and identify new partnership opportunities. Join us on April 24 and meet Scott Chate, from Corent Technology. Scott will share information about Corent's SurPaaS, which offers an integrated end-to-end solution to transform software to SaaS on Azure.

Drumbeat virtual trainingApril 18: Virtual Office 365 Sales Day
Microsoft partner sales professionals and presales technical professionals are invited to attend a virtual Drumbeat Sales Day to learn best practices for selling Office 365 to enterprise customers. During this training, you will also hear about cloud services market insights and be able to engage with a Microsoft Office 365 expert via live chat.

Cloud 1-2-3 Academy for SMB Partners: Cloud Profitability
Build a strategy to refresh your business model and maximize your profitability along your journey to the cloud. The six-part online Cloud 1-2-3 Academy program provides SMB managed services providers with step-by-step resources to understand the impact of the cloud transition on your P&L statement profitability and cash flows, build a cloud business strategy, and develop a sales/marketing plan to optimize your resources and drive profitability business growth over the next four years.

Microsoft Dynamics Partner Guide to Get IN Office 365
Download the "Plan" document for more information on the question, Why Office 365 with Microsoft Dynamics SMB? and the benefits that are available to you as a Microsoft partner.


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.

CompetencyGuide_0314A Guide to Renewing Your MPN Competency
Keep your valuable competency benefits like access to Microsoft Services offerings, internal-use software, a customized competency logo, and marketplace exposure through Microsoft Pinpoint. Plan your next competency renewal with our step-by-step guidance.

Ask the Experts…Any Time
On the Partner Technical Services blog, Sean Earp provides you with a list of some of his favorite resources for Microsoft partners to get answers to technical issues, get trained, and ask for help when you need it.

April 18: Central Region and West Region Partner Calls
Join your Microsoft US SMB team in the Central Region or West Region 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.

Microsoft Security Bulletin Update for April 2014
The April 2014 security updates cover Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Services, Microsoft Office Web Apps, and Microsoft Windows. You can watch the April 9 webcast on demand, and register for the next webcast, on May 14. The next security bulletin release is on Tuesday, May 13.

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.

Training and certification

Twitter_coolgrey11Stay informed about training opportunities that align to your business, role, and Microsoft Partner Network membership. For real-time updates and reminders about upcoming training, follow @mslearningcurve on Twitter.

HotSheet_112013April 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, and look for the May Hot Sheet the week of April 14.

Microsoft Dynamics Partners Training Schedule
Take advantage of virtual and in-person opportunities to increase your knowledge of Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics ERP.

imageMicrosoft Azure Boot Camps for SMB Partners
Register for a Microsoft Azure boot camp for SMB partners in the city near you. These technically focused, one-day boot camps, delivered by the Microsoft US TS2 team, will get you started with Microsoft Azure so you can offer your small and medium business customers flexible, cloud-based solutions that help them move faster, save money, and integrate on-premises apps and data.

Microsoft Certification Sweepstakes Ends April 27
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 free alternate method of entry are in the official rules.

imageTime is Running Out: Purchase Your Exam Packs by May 31 for Savings
Build your product knowledge and capabilities by earning the certifications and accreditations that help you and your company stand out. Provide exam vouchers to individuals within your organization to prepare them for their Microsoft certification exams. Through May 31, MPN Competency Exam packs are available for 40% off a pack of 20 exams or 35% off a pack of 5 exams. Individuals have until December 31 to schedule and take the qualifying exams in the packs.

imagePlay and Learn: Digital Advertising Learning Path Sweepstakes
From April 7–May 7, pass one of the required assessments or exam for the Microsoft Digital Advertising competency, and you’ll be entered into the sweepstakes, for a chance to win a US$1,000 gift card. No purchase necessary. You must be an authorized representative of a company actively enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) 18 years of age or older. Contest ends May 7. Download the official rules.

Featured video

Watch this video about the Azure Preview portal that was announced at Build 2014. See for yourself how this first-of-its-kind Azure Preview portal is bringing together all the cross-platform tools, technologies, and services you need to speed up the delivery process and keep applications in good shape—using what you already know and whatever toolset you like most.

Azure Preview portal

Calendar through May 2

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 14–18

Week of April 21 – 25

Week of April 28–May 2

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