US Partner News Online for Friday, December 5, 2014

imageWelcome to this issue of the US Partner News Online! In this weekly post, we’ll connect you to resources to help you be market-ready, connect with customers and prospects, and differentiate your business. You can read previous weeks’ issues at

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Top stories

Your future in the cloud - profitability portal page

Your Future in the Cloud: Profitability and Planning Resources
Public IT cloud services spending reached US$47.4 billion in 2013 and is expected reach over US$107 billion in 2017, according to a recent IDC study (IDC. Successful Cloud Partners 2.0. 2014). This same IDC research shows that cloud-oriented partners have 1.5 times higher gross profit percentages and 1.6 times the recurring revenue as a portion of total revenue than other partners.

MCC December 2014 webcasts

December 9: Prepare for Success in 2015 with Microsoft Community Connections
Microsoft Community Connections (MCC) can help you prepare for success in 2015. Increase your leads, gain new clients, and build your pipeline with resources from Microsoft and best practices from other partners. If you face sales and marketing challenges in your business, take the time to invest in your success by attending these two 45-minute webcasts.


Share Your Story: Microsoft Small Business Contest
Share your small business story for a chance to win $20,000. Create a two-minute video that tells us what makes your business unique, and how you turned your dream into a reality. Or, perhaps you have a small business customer with an inspiring story, and want to encourage them to enter. Entries will be accepted through 11:59PM Pacific Time on January 11, 2015. Official rules.


New Windows Apportal Blog Connects You to Technical Resources
Built on Windows 8.1, Windows Apportals can integrate an entire Line of Business (LOB) stack into a single, modern, touch-based experience. The concept behind Apportals is simple—introduce the same nested folder structure common in a desktop OS to the modern OS or Mobile OS. Visit the new Windows Apportals blog for technical documentation.


Holiday Offers for Microsoft partners

Through December 8: Holiday Savings from the MPN Training Team
Through December 8, you can save on practice tests, ebooks, and books, plus enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a custom ebook library. Check out these offers:

  • Save 50% on practice tests from Transcender
  • Purchase a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exam voucher and get a no-cost Microsoft practice test from MeasureUp
  • Save on ebooks from Microsoft Press Store – exclusive MPN savings. Buy 1, save 45%. Buy 2, save 55% on all books and ebooks
  • Enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a custom ebook library via Microsoft Press Store. No purchase necessary. Open only to legal residents of the 50 U.S. states or D.C., 18+. Sweepstakes ends Dec 8, 2014. Official rules.

SMB regional calls for FY15 - December

December 12: SMB Partner Insider Calls for East, Central, and West Regions
Each month, your Microsoft Regional General Manager and Regional Account team will bring you the latest Microsoft information and resources for US partners serving SMB customers, giving you the opportunity to be among the first to know what’s happening. Attend your region’s next call, on December 12, for the latest SMB insights. You can register for this month’s call, and the rest of each region’s series (January–June).

Competency renewal - December 2014

Due to Renew? We Have Step-by-Step Guidance to Help You
Many US partners will be due to renew their MPN competency and membership over the next several weeks. On our blog, we’ve provided step-by-step guidance and links to the information you’ll need to get started, keep your renewal on track, and retain your valuable competency and membership benefits.

Office 365 IUR - Transform your business banner

Activate Your Office 365 Internal Use Benefits to Sell the Cloud
Sell more Office 365 by activating and deploying your internal use benefits. Hands-on experience gives you firsthand knowledge to share with customers considering a move to the cloud.

Training and certification

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

Hot Sheet - December 2014 banner red

December 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, webcasts, and informational calls that are coming in the next few weeks. The current Hot Sheet goes through early January, so you can plan ahead. Subscribe to the US Partner Learning blog to receive the Hot Sheet in your email inbox.

Microsoft competency exam savings - through December 31 2014

Offer Ends December 31: Savings on Microsoft Partner Network Exam Voucher Packs
Build your product knowledge and capabilities by earning the certifications and accreditations that help you and your company stand out. Save up to 35% on exam vouchers purchased by December 31. Vouchers expire May 31, 2015.

Azure Partner Practice Enablement - Dec 8-12

December 8–12 from Partner Technical Services: Azure Partner Practice Enablement
This training starts with an introduction to Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines and Virtual Networks, providing foundational knowledge to run new workloads in Microsoft Azure or migrate existing workloads from on-premises. You’ll learn how Microsoft Azure Active Directory can be used to achieve single sign-on across cloud applications, protect application access, enforce multi-factor authentication, and integrate with Windows Server Active Directory. The second half of this boot camp covers common workload scenarios for cloud computing.

Sales and licensing weekly webcasts - November

December 11 Sales and Licensing Excellence Webcast: Introduction to Windows Apportals
A Windows Apportal can aggregate all of the systems and applications a person uses on a regular basis under one Windows 8.1 Start Screen. Come hear how creating and demoing Windows Apportals to your customers can help you showcase and sell not only Windows, but also Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Sweepstakes - SharePoint All Roles Dec 1 Jan 31

Microsoft SharePoint Sweepstakes for IT Pros, Developers, and Sales Professionals
Strengthen your knowledge and skills about content and collaboration solutions built on SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online by preparing for the latest exams and assessments. When you pass the eligible sales assessment, technical assessment, or certification exams by January 31, you'll be entered to win an awesome new device.

Microsoft Azure - play and learn

Play and Learn About Microsoft Azure
Three new online games for partner sales, presales, and technical roles let you learn about Microsoft Azure through repetitive learning and game mechanics techniques. Whether you’re new to Azure or ready to learn something new, these games will let you study Azure and have fun. 


January 13 Webcast: Driving Sales Productivity with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Office 365
Learn about your opportunity to sell Microsoft Dynamics CRM alongside Microsoft Office 365 via the Sales Productivity Solution. The combined power of customer relationship management (CRM) with already-familiar Microsoft Office tools helps your customers engage with their customers in meaningful ways that deepen their relationships, and enables your customers to transform their sales teams to be highly connected and collaborative.

Featured video

Watch this video, a recording of the December 4 US Office 365 Partner Community call. The featured topic was adding Enterprise Voice for Office 365 customers. You can read the blog posts about this topic, too: read Part 1, read Part 2.

Calendar through December 19

The list below is a sampling of upcoming partner calls, training, and events. Refer to the December Hot Sheet for a comprehensive, frequently updated list covering the next several weeks.

Week of December 8–12

Week of December 15–19

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