10 things for US partners to know for 2016

Here are a few things every partner should know as we head into the New Year. We’ll resume the weekly US partner news online posts on Friday, January 8. For real-time updates about the topics covered here, and other partner-related news and information, follow @msuspartner on Twitter (and see other options to stay informed).

Cheers to the New Year!

1. Our US Partner Team blogs are on a new platform.

The US Partner Community blog and the US Partner Learning blog should look familiar, and yet different. The new platform has a responsive design that makes reading our posts easier on your mobile devices, and you’ll find both RSS and email subscribe options on the main page of each blog.

2. We’re expanding our “MPN 101” offerings to include more topics.

In addition to our MPN 101 narrated overview and presentation, our US Partner Team program expert, Chinmayi Bhavanishankar, is hosting a New Partner Orientation call every few weeks. We also piloted cloud services IUR (internal use rights) activation calls that were popular, so there will be a new series of those in early 2016. And, if you’re interested in attaining a cloud competency, Chinmayi has a new series of calls about each of those that starts January 13.

3. If your company is an ISV or App Builder, we’d love to talk to you.

Whether you develop for mobile, desktop, or the cloud, Microsoft offers a complete set of innovative platforms and technologies. Our US Partner Team lead for ISV and Application Builders, Sharon Lee, regularly shares news and information with the community.

4. It’s only a few short months until WPC 2016.

While our US Partner Team lead for WPC experience, Ahinsa Mansukhani, has already done quite a bit of planning for WPC 2016, January is when she’ll bring together the large US virtual team to pitch in and work together to deliver an amazing experience for US partners. WPC 2016 is in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, July 10–14.

5. This is your year to attain a cloud competency.

There are now five cloud competencies available, for partners with active practices around Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, and Enterprise Mobility Suite. Join the new Cloud Competency Attainment call series that starts January 13 to learn more about each competency and get a detailed look at requirements, benefits, and timeline for attainment.

6. Stay on top of Microsoft technologies through our Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Windows Partner communities.

These communities are led by National Partner Technology Strategists from the Microsoft US Partner Team—subject-matter experts on how you can start, build, and extend your practice to include these products. Community activities include blog posts, community calls, and Yammer group discussions.

7. We’ll continue bringing you a comprehensive schedule of partner training opportunities.

If you’re not familiar with the Hot Sheet training schedule, you may be missing out on valuable business, sales, and technical training, much of it offered at no cost. We work with a wide variety of stakeholders throughout Microsoft to compile this schedule—the Hot Sheet includes courses, webcasts, calls, and office hours, and it’s updated regularly as we learn about new offerings. On Twitter, we “tweet the Sheet” through @mslearningcurve.

8. If you’ve resolved to have more effective customer cloud conversations, we can help.

Our sales excellence webcasts cover a wide range of Microsoft products, and explain the latest partner opportunities, how to identify them, and how partner sellers can have effective customer conversations to build your pipeline, increase revenue, and close deals. Register for upcoming webcasts led by Microsoft and partner experts, and take advantage of our on-demand library of nearly 40 webcasts from the past year.

9. It’s time for customers to modernize their data platforms.

SQL Server 2005 will reach its end of support on April 16, 2016. There’s no shortage of resources to help you get up to speed on this topic so you can capitalize on the opportunity to help customers upgrade from SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2014 and Microsoft Azure SQL Database. Data is every company’s most valuable asset. Plus, data has never been more fun, when you add in products like Power BI, Machine Learning, and Cortana Analytics.

10. We look forward to connecting with you in the US Partner Community.

Thank you for reading our blog, participating in our various partner community calls, and joining us on Twitter, Facebook, and Yammer. As you can see from the list above, we’re committed to giving you the opportunity to meet and connect with members of the US Partner Team. Yammer in particular is a good way to engage with many of them directly. Details about all of our US Partner Community properties are in our “how to stay informed” online guide.

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