In your newsletter this week, customized according to your company's business model and Microsoft Partner Network membership, as well as by your role at your company, you'll find information and news about the Small Business Specialist Community and Microsoft Office 365, as well as training recommendations for Microsoft Forefront Security and Microsoft SQL Server 2012. I also encourage you to visit the U.S. partner portal home page, where you'll find links about Windows Phone, Cloud Opportunities, and our recommendations for partners for November.

If you are an Action Pack subscriber, read this month’s letter from Julie Golding, about the value of being a member of the Small Business Specialist Community.

Below are all the items we published in this week’s U.S. partner newsletter. If you feel that the version you received in email, is missing something critical from this superset, please let me know by commenting here or sending me an e-mail (partnerQ@microsoft.com).

In this post, you will find three sections of content:

  • Partner News – Information about Partner Network membership and partner-related campaigns, promotions, and opportunities.
  • Training Recommendations – Links to the latest training opportunities (many of them low-cost and no-cost) and training-related offers.
  • Role-Based Training – Our recommendations for two Microsoft products: this week, it’s Microsoft Forefront Security and Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (SQL Server code name Denali).

For more partner news, resources, and recommendations, visit us on the U.S. partner portal and Virtual Partner Concierge, and join the U.S. Partner Community on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Cheers,

Diane Golshan
Sr. Marketing Manager, U.S. Partner Team
Learn more about what I do at Microsoft.




Partner News

Excited About Microsoft Lync? Demonstrate Your Expertise with the Communications Competency
The new Communications competency is specifically for partners who sell, deploy, support, or develop Microsoft Lync solutions. Attaining the competency can help you differentiate your expertise, increase your value to existing customers, and expand your reach to new customers.

Partner Resources for Microsoft SQL Server 2012
Get ready to drive new revenue, expand your opportunities, and optimize your solutions. Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is a cloud-ready information platform that helps you deliver business insights, and keep your customers' mission-critical systems up and running. Download CTP3 and review the resources available for this upcoming release.

Microsoft Security Bulletin for November 2011
As part of our usual cycle of updates, on November 8 Microsoft released four security updates, and recommends that customers plan to install all of these updates as soon as possible.

Cultivate New Business with a Complete Profile in Microsoft Pinpoint
You are 10 times more likely to attract a new customer prospect if your Microsoft Pinpoint profile has customer reviews linked to it. Showcase your competency strength and proven expertise to set you apart from other partners with a complete Pinpoint profile.

Use Social Media to Demonstrate Your Expertise to Small Business Customers
Sign up to be an expert for our Ask a Partner Facebook page and you'll have opportunities to connect with small business customers and answer their questions that match your business specialties. To get started, click the "Like" button.

Using IE9 Offers a Powerful Web Experience, and Could Win You a Prize
Discover what's new in Windows Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) and find out how to experience a faster, more beautiful web than ever before. When you enter the Internet Explorer 9 Sweepstakes, you will have the chance to win an ASUS Slate tablet and other great prizes.

On-Demand Webinar: Microsoft Offers for Small Business Partners
Now is the time to take advantage of incredible offers on solutions you already sell. Learn how to capitalize on partner offers like VAR Rebate, customer promotions like the Big Easy Offer 7, and product-specific offers for Windows Intune and Microsoft Office 365.

Join the Community of Partners That Empowers Small Businesses
The Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC) is a vibrant network of partners who serve small business customers and help them take advantage of Microsoft products and technologies to realize their big ambitions. Benefits include access to tools, internal-use software, and more.

More VAR Summits Scheduled in Central Region
New cities in the U.S. Central Region have been added to the VAR Summit series: December 1 in Columbus, OH; December 8 in Cleveland, OH; December 8 in Milwaukee, WI; December 14 in St. Louis, MO; and December 15 in Kansas City, KS. Content covered will include how Office 365, System Center, Windows Server, Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync can address your customers' business needs.

New Offers Available for Microsoft Dynamics ERP Customers
These two new game-changing offers seek to aggressively reinvigorate ERP new business growth and enable partners to drive additional license revenue by unlocking the power of Business Ready Licensing to their Module Based Licensing existing customers.

Registration Is Open for Convergence 2012
Start planning now to join us for Convergence 2012, March 18-21 in Houston, Texas. It's the best opportunity for you to get a firsthand look at the latest innovations that will help you optimize your business, connect with your customers, and improve your bottom line.

New Microsoft Dynamics ERP Cloud Resources Available for Partners
The Microsoft Dynamics ERP Cloud team has produced two new resources to help partners build a successful cloud-based business: the presentation desk "Should You Consider Moving Your ERP Solution to the Cloud?" and the Microsoft Dynamics ERP Cloud Transition Guide.

Microsoft Dynamics Lead Referral Program: Designed to Pay You for Leads
If your expertise does not extend to selling Microsoft Dynamics solutions—or solutions in a particular Microsoft Dynamics expertise area, industry, or geography—you can pass leads for those opportunities to Microsoft and earn fees if the lead closes as a transaction.

Now Available On-Demand: Windows Phone 7.5 Developer Event
If you missed the recent Windows Phone 7.5 Developer Event, you can now watch videos of it online. You'll get the information you need to develop, publish, and earn money from your Windows Phone applications, whether you're a student or a developer with years of coding experience.

Have a Great App? Windows Phone Could Feature It in an Upcoming Ad Campaign
Microsoft is looking for amazing apps—choosing up to seven each month—to receive an advertising campaign that includes banner ads with up to 1 million ad impressions. Selected apps will also be featured on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Extended: Microsoft Cloud Benefits, Plus Help Migrating Mailboxes
Sign up for the Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack and Microsoft Office 365, and we'll give your company up to 10 licenses to the MigrationWiz mailbox migration solution. Offer ends December 30, 2011.

Help Your Customers Efficiently Manage IT Resources
With Microsoft System Center Essentials 2010 and Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V, your customers can simplify their IT, which helps reduce costs and improve uptime. Use our Windows Server Upgrade and Virtualization campaign materials to start the conversation.

How Your Business Can Benefit from Practice Accelerator
Practice Accelerator provides best practices and reusable tools to build your services practice. See how one partner used them to cut development time while increasing quality and efficiency across multiple engagements.

Use Partner Advisory Hours to Help Solve Customer Challenges Quickly
Partner Advisory hours are included in your Microsoft Partner Network membership benefits to help you meet customer needs, providing responsive service and expert advice on IT issues as they arise.

No Need to Wait—You Can Meet May 2012 Competency Requirements Now
New requirements for the Business Intelligence, Identity and Security, Server Platform and the new Management and Virtualization competencies will take effect in May 2012. You can meet those requirements now and earn these competencies today. Review the changes in the Competency Roadmap, and contact the U.S. MPN Experts Team for step-by-step guidance.

Find Expert Advice and Tools to Help Small Business Growth
The Small Business Insights page on the OEM Sales Center offers articles, expert advice, and other information you can use to manage and grow your small business, plus communicate the value of your Microsoft-based solutions to your small business customers.

Microsoft Materials for Your Retail Space
Download or purchase materials like posters, banners and tear sheets, and order promotional items that feature Windows 7, Microsoft Office 2010, and Windows Server—at partner-only pricing.

Get Great Rewards for Selling Microsoft Products
Sign up for the Reseller Reward Hub, where you can earn points for purchasing qualified Microsoft products like Windows 7, Microsoft Office 2010, and Windows Server products, and then trade those points for rewards.

Customized Promotional Items for the Holidays
On the OEM Sales Center, choose from a selection of quality promotional items for customization at partner-only pricing. Add your own logo alongside Microsoft on our recommended items, or contact us with your special request or other ideas.

Microsoft Office 365 Offers Your Customers Workplace Flexibility
On our new "Your Office, Your Terms" website for Office 365, you'll find resources to discuss with your customers how the workplace is rapidly evolving to incorporate more flexibility in where work is done and how it is accomplished.

Microsoft Office 365 Virtual Customer Events
Invite your customers to this virtual event series, which explores Microsoft Office 365 and its integration with the cloud. We'll highlight the business value of Microsoft Office 365 and explain how Office 365 integrates with other Microsoft cloud-based products like Microsoft SharePoint, Lync, and Exchange Server.

Register for TechEd 2012 by December 31 for Super Early Bird Savings
TechEd 2012 June 11-14 in Orlando, Florida, will offer four days of more than 1,000 learning opportunities and training across the full range of Microsoft products and technologies. Save U.S. $300 off the price of admission when you register before December 31.

Find Your Ideal Microsoft Technical Professional through MSemploy—Limited Time Offer
Through January 31, 2012, Microsoft U.S. partners with a gold competency are invited to add their job postings to MSemploy's new job board at no cost, and those with a silver competency are invited to add their job postings to MSemploy's new job board for $100 per posting, a 70% savings. MSemploy eliminates the clutter in job boards– candidates in their database are manually screened prior to acceptance and are experienced with Microsoft products and technologies.

Training Recommendations

New to the Microsoft Partner Network? How to Find U.S. Partner Training Resources
Your Microsoft Partner Network membership includes access to no-cost and low-cost training opportunities to help you build technical, sales, and business skills. Our blog post identifies the resources available to find the training you need, and how to stay training-savvy in the future.

November Partner Training Sweepstakes
The Partner Training Sweepstakes offers a chance to grow your skills and be entered to win great prizes. Take any of our featured Windows 7, Microsoft Office 2010, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft System Center training sessions this month and you will be entered to win a Dell Netbook or a $150 American Express gift card.

On Demand Webcast: Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and MSDN Subscription Attach Promotion
With this new promotion, existing Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2010 users are eligible for a 35% discount on the price of Visual Studio 2010 Professional with MSDN or 15% off of the price of Visual Studio 2010 Premium with MSDN. Through their MSDN subscription, your customers will have access to valuable, comprehensive resources.

Get Certified in Microsoft Virtualization
As today's businesses go virtual, they expect their IT departments to lead the way. Set the pace in your organization by expanding your Microsoft Virtualization expertise, and get certified through a Microsoft Learning Partner.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Training Resources
Microsoft Dynamics partners are invited to visit PartnerSource to see the latest training resources for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, including sales industry courses, sales assessments, certifications, E-Learning collection, training materials, and the Getting Ready Guide.

Purchase Competency Exam Packs by December 31 to Get Savings
Prepare your team to pass competency exams with exclusive training offers up to 40%. Exam vouchers may be used by any individual in your organization and exams must be taken no later than May 31, 2012.

For a Limited Time, Save on Practice Tests
Assess your knowledge of the exam material and highlight areas where you need more preparation. Two key practice test vendors are offering up to a 40% discount on qualifying Microsoft practice exams. Choose the offer that best fits your needs.

Training Designed Specifically for Microsoft OEM Partners
The OEM Training Zone is the central destination for Microsoft OEM partners to find product and program training. You'll find training that covers Windows 7, Microsoft Office 2010, and Windows Server 2008 R2, as well as Windows Embedded and our Channel Incentives Program.

Webcast Series: Marketing Excellence for Small Business
Each quarter, we tackle a different small business challenge. Watch the November 15 webcast on demand, and register for the January 24 webcast, "Making Social Media Work."

Role-Based Training

Training for Business Decision Makers
Microsoft Forefront Security

Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Training for IT Professionals
Microsoft Forefront Security

Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Training for Developers
Microsoft Forefront Security

Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Training for Sales and Marketing Roles
Microsoft Forefront Security

Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Training for Training Roles
Microsoft Forefront Security

Microsoft SQL Server 2012