US Partner News Online for Friday, April 25, 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.

Top stories

imageDeliver the Best in Services and Solutions with the Devices and Deployment Competency
Make the most of the opportunity to deliver Windows 8 and Microsoft Office services and solutions, in the cloud and on-premises.

Windows 8 Pro Devices
Complete your solution offering and deliver a rich customer experience with Windows 8 Pro devices. Find the latest training, sales, and marketing resources to help win customers. Plus, start earning incentives and get the latest OEM device offers.

Introducing the Microsoft Analytics Platform System – the Turnkey Appliance for Big Data Analytics
At the Accelerate your Insights event last week, Satya Nadella introduced the new Microsoft Analytics Platform System (APS) as the Microsoft solution for delivering “Big Data in a box.” APS is an evolution of our SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) appliance which builds upon the high performance and scale capabilities of that MPP version of SQL Server, and now introduces a dedicated region to the appliance for Hadoop in addition to the SQL Server PDW capabilities.


US-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.

Renew to the Cloud Offer for Office 365
​Use the assets in this promotional campaign to incent migration of the Office annuity base to Office 365 at the time of renewal. For a limited time only, annuity customers save up to 20%. Campaign includes readiness, marketing, and sales materials to get your teams started.

Sell More Microsoft Office 365 with DigitalStride
DigitalStride can help you sell more Microsoft Office 365 by maximizing  your online presence through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, Microsoft Pinpoint profile optimization, and other digital marketing tools.


Recommend and Sell the Right Office 365 Plan to Your Customers
The Office 365 Plan selector is an Excel-based tool that recommends the appropriate core Office 365 Plan based on the answers to a few questions around your customer’s technology and productivity needs. In addition to the recommended plan, it also provides upsell and scale-back plan options, if the customer needs more or fewer features than in the recommended plan.

Register for a Constant Contact Account and Receive a $150 Credit
Your customers check their email all day, every day—making email a powerful way to generate leads, boost sales and build customer loyalty. Send unlimited emails for one flat fee. The first 200 eligible Microsoft partners to register for a Constant Contact account receive $150 credit in their account. Offer ends June 30. Download the terms and conditions.

Azure SQL Database Introduces New Service Tiers
To better serve customer needs for more flexibility, Microsoft Azure SQL Database is adding new service tiers, Basic and Standard, to work alongside its Premium tier, which is currently in preview. Together these service tiers will help you more easily support the needs of database workloads and application patterns built on Microsoft Azure.


Microsoft 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 Digital Advertising Learning Path Game Sweepstakes
Digital advertisers: test yourself on the basics of SEO and how they can be applied to Bing. You could win a $1,000 American Express card through this sweepstakes. Participate by passing one of the required assessments or exam for Digital Advertising competency April 7–May 7. Download the official rules.

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.

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



SQL Server 2014 Delivers New Market Opportunities for Partners 
“With the release of SQL Server 2014, I see immense opportunity for our partners to deliver breakthrough data platform performance to customers, taking advantage of three major trends that are shaping the data platform landscape.” Read more about Phil Sorgen’s take on SQL Server 2014 and your opportunity with mission critical workloads, hybrid cloud solutions, and helping customers gain new insights on their businesses faster.

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.

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.

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.

imageTraining Spotlight: Presales Technical Specialist Accreditation
A Presales Technical Specialist is someone who functions in a technical role at a Microsoft Partner Network organization. This person’s job usually involves explaining the technical functions of a specific Microsoft product or a partner organization’s solution. These specialists support their company’s sales teams with value demonstrations and proof-of-concept development to help close deals. If this sounds like what you do, consider earning the Presales Technical Specialist Accreditation.

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.

May 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 Training and Certification blog to receive the Hot Sheet as soon as it's published each month.

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.

Enter to Win a Trip to New York City: Pass an Assessment by June 30 
Demonstrate your knowledge of Microsoft products and technologies. When you pass a qualifying sales, presales technical, or technical assessment by June 30, you will be entered to win a trip for two to New York City. No purchase necessary. Open only to authorized representatives of companies actively enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network who are US residents (including Washington, DC), age 18 years and older. Game ends June 30. Official rules.

May 7 in New York, New York: Drumbeat Office 365 Sales Readiness Day
Sales professionals and presales technical professionals are invited to this free training for Microsoft partners about selling Office 365. You will learn best practices, programs, and selling tools, as well as receive insights into the cloud services market.

Windows Intune 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. Watch the first three sessions on demand, and register for the upcoming three webcasts in May and June, on the Partner Learning Center.

Prepare for Microsoft Certification Exams with Virtual Partner Tech Days
Virtual Partner Tech Days provide in-depth technical learning and preparation for select Microsoft Certification exams – at no cost to partners. Offerings cover SharePoint 2013, Office 365, Private Cloud Infrastructure, and Microsoft Dynamics products.

Featured video

Watch this video about the new Office 365 Plan selector tool, which helps you identify the right Office 365 plan to recommend and sell to your customers.


Calendar through May 9

This list is a sampling of upcoming partner calls, training, and events. Refer to the May Hot Sheet for a comprehensive list for the next several weeks that's frequently updated.

Week of April 28–May 2

Week of May 5–May 9

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