imageOn the first and third Friday of each month, the U.S. Partner Team delivers a newsletter for U.S.-based members of the Microsoft Partner Network. The content you receive in your email inbox as a benefit of your membership is specific to your company’s business and your role. This blog post contains all of the content published in today’s emailed newsletter:

  • Local recommendations
  • Announcements
  • Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM recommendations (some links require PartnerSource access; details)
  • Training resources
  • Role-based recommendations for certifications and assessments

For more partner news, resources, and recommendations, visit us on the U.S. partner portal, join the U.S. Partner Community, and read our “How to Stay Informed” blog post.

Featured this weekLocal recommendations

Join your local Microsoft team for their monthly partner call: East Region on December 14; Central Region on December 14, and West Region on December 14.

Download your software benefits (if eligible): Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013, and other new products are now part of internal-use licenses for Action Pack subscribers and competency partners.

 

AnnouncementsAnnouncements

The New Office Is Now Available to Business Customers
On-premises versions of the new Office products—including Office 2013, Exchange Server 2013, Lync Server 2013, SharePoint Server 2013, Project 2013, and Visio 2013—are available through Microsoft Volume Licensing. Broad availability of the new Office through retail and online channels is planned for the first quarter of 2013. Download licensing price lists.

Prepare for Customer Conversations About the New Office
The first wave of the new Office is now available. Get ready for the new Office with our customer pitch decks for both enterprise and small to midsize businesses, and access the partner-ready and customer-ready materials that best suit your business model.

Download Your Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 Software Benefits
If your company has a Microsoft competency or a Microsoft Action Pack subscription, your company's benefits include internal-use licenses for the new Office. Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 is the future of productivity. Office Professional Plus 2013 includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, and Lync. Membership and subscription support.

Receive Funding and Rewards for Building Eligible Windows 8 Applications
The Microsoft Application Acceleration Program (MAAP) helps accelerate the development of custom line-of-business and business-to-consumer Windows 8 applications. Find out how to join the MAAP community and nominate your customer applications for this offer, and learn about other requirements.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 is Now Generally Available
Read The Exchange Team Blog for details about this latest release of Microsoft Exchange, including information about deployment into new environments and upgrading from Exchange 2010 or 2007 environments, and links to documentation and training.

Microsoft Lync Resources for Systems Integrators
Get the latest Microsoft Lync resources, including the Microsoft Lync 2013 playbook, to build your go-to-market strategy for your practice.

New Microsoft Application Development Competency
Whether your solutions are commercial or custom-developed, and whether you build business applications, or create advanced web portals or rich client user interfaces that run on premises or in the cloud, earn the Application Development competency to take advantage of new opportunities with Windows Server and Windows 8 operating systems, the Windows Azure platform, Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 development system, and emerging cloud-based and web business models. This competency merges the former ISV competency, Web Development competency, and Software Development competency.

Microsoft Search Competency Now Part of the New Collaboration and Content Competency
Take advantage of competency benefits that can help you capitalize on the growing services opportunity around Microsoft SharePoint by demonstrating your ability to offer solutions that connect teams, improve access to information, and increase productivity.

Microsoft Portals and Collaboration Competency Name Change
The Portals and Collaboration competency is now part of the new Collaboration and Content competency. Take advantage of competency benefits that can help you take advantage of the growing services opportunity around SharePoint by demonstrating your ability to offer solutions that connect teams, improve access to information, and increase productivity.

Second Shot: Updated List of Eligible Exams
Microsoft competency exam packs are back. Each exam comes with a free retake, and you can save up to 40%. Eligible exams included in the Second Shot offer now include Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Office 365, and Microsoft Dynamics.

Extended to January 1: Savings on E-Books and Print Books from Microsoft Press
Our Holiday Offer for Microsoft Press to help you prepare for Microsoft certification has been extended until January 1, 2013. You can save 50% on e-books and 40% on print books.

Sell and Deploy Your Solutions More Efficiently, Using Your Benefits
Your company's competency-related benefits include partner advisory hours that can be applied to presales support, competitive assistance, deployment guidance, and more.

December 10: Accelerate Your Business Intelligence Deployments
Build an end-to-end business intelligence (BI) solution that includes on-premises and in-the-cloud capability based on Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.

GovTalk Webcast for Partners Serving Government Customers
Get valuable insights and information from Microsoft and Microsoft partners serving government customers in this pre-recorded web event. The 15-minute segment features industry experts and partners discussing topics relevant to your business and Microsoft practice.

HealthTalk Webcast for Partners Serving Customers in Health-Related Industries
Get valuable insights and information from Microsoft and Microsoft partners serving healthcare customers in this prerecorded web event. The 15-minute segment features industry experts and partners discussing topics relevant to your business and Microsoft practice.

Education Newscast for Partners Serving Education Customers
Get valuable insights and information from Microsoft and Microsoft partners serving education customers in this prerecorded web event. The 15-minute segment features Microsoft General Manager Andrew Ko, president of AssistX Bob Chung, industry experts, and partners discussing topics relevant to your business and Microsoft practice.

Voices for Innovation: The Fiscal Cliff—What's at Stake for Your Business
Voices for Innovation (VFI) informs partners on policy issues affecting the tech sector and your business. In light of the current "fiscal cliff" negotiations in Congress, VFI has assembled background info so you can learn more about potential impacts and how to voice your views to elected officials.

Download the Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Evaluation for Developers
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 is now available. Start building a new class of apps that extend and personalize the way you create and consume information within Microsoft Office and SharePoint. Try it now and receive development resources from the experts.

Download the Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Evaluation for IT Pros
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 is designed to help you achieve new levels of reliability and performance, delivering features and capabilities that simplify administration, protect communications and information, and empower users while meeting their demands for greater business mobility.

Download the Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 Evaluation for IT Pros
Office Professional Plus 2013 is the future of productivity. Download the 60-day evaluation to Office Professional Plus 2013 includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, and Lync. Installation and deployment videos, white papers, and library articles are available now with your free IT pro evaluation.

Download the Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 Evaluation for Developers
Office Professional Plus 2013 is the future of productivity. Download the 60-day evaluation to build and test applications. You'll also find code samples, development tools, and developer-related training links.

Prepare for the Microsoft Security Bulletin for December 2012
As part of our usual cycle of updates, the next security bulletin release is scheduled for December 11. On the Security TechCenter, you can catch up on the November release, register for the December security bulletin webcast on December 12, sign up for notifications, and more.

Jump-Start Your Cloud Practice with Microsoft Cloud Essentials
As a Microsoft Cloud Essentials member, you will have access to internal-use software to test-drive cloud services, technical training, customer management tools to service your customers, and marketing tools to help you generate customer demand. In fact, Cloud Essential partners that deploy and use these products internally are three times more effective in selling cloud solutions.

December 17: Practice Accelerator for Office 365 Available At No Cost to Cloud Partners
Use the Practice Accelerator training program to create a successful deployment business through reusable tools and best practices designed to help you identify customer requirements and project scope, analyze customer needs, and deploy solutions built on Microsoft Office 365.

The Big Easy Offer 9 Ends on December 31
The Big Easy Offer 9 focuses on Open License purchases of on-premises software and gives customers the chance to earn partner subsidy funds when they make qualifying purchases. Those subsidy funds can subsequently be spent with you for additional Microsoft software licenses and associated services. Terms and conditions.

The Cloud Easy Offer Ends on December 31
The Cloud Easy Offer provides customers the opportunity to earn partner subsidy funds when they make eligible Microsoft Online Services subscription purchases through December 31. Terms and conditions.

Ramp Up Your Windows Server Events with Ready-to-Go Marketing
Use the new Windows Server 2012 Launch in a Box materials to plan your customer events. You'll find demos, presentations, web banners, and more.

December 12 Webcast – Sell More Through Better Marketing Planning
Ready-to-Go Marketing kicks off the first in a series of marketing webinars to help you improve your marketing skills. Register to learn how to put together a brief and flexible marketing plan that supports key sales growth strategies.

Microsoft Dynamics Partner Strategy Update
We announced updates to the Microsoft Dynamics partner strategy in July and changes to those updates at the end of August to allow additional time for your organization to transition. Review the content at this link to make sure you are aware of, and ready for, these changes.

Butterfly Publisher: The Essential Social Media Tool for Microsoft Dynamics Partners
With this powerful tool you can easily write, track, and share content across social platforms. Even if you don't have many followers yet, you can use the social newsletter feature to share great content with your email contacts in a digest format. Best of all, it's a one-stop, budget-friendly shop for the latest Microsoft content.

Convergence 2013 Early Registration Is Open
Register for the premier Microsoft Dynamics event by January 25 to receive U.S.$300 off the registration fee! Convergence provides an opportunity to increase revenue, strengthen relationships, and network with peers and experts from around the world. Register now and check PartnerSource for marketing materials.

Share Your Convergence Story for a Chance to Win $250
If you have attended Convergence in previous years, Microsoft wants to hear your story. For example, tell us how the conference helped you foster new business relationships or provided you with a fresh perspective. Submit your video or written story about any Convergence experience.

2013 President's Club and Inner Circle for Microsoft Dynamics Programs
The 2013 Partner Recognition Program for Microsoft Dynamics acknowledges our top Microsoft Dynamics partners for exceptional performance. To gain entry into the 2013 President's Club for Microsoft Dynamics, partners must demonstrate a strong combination of revenue or new customers, plus license growth. A small number of partners from across the globe will be invited the 2013 Inner Circle for Microsoft Dynamics based on stellar sales performance.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Now Available
This release builds on our Dynamic Business vision for how organizations can use technology to be more agile and innovative and to supply people with the information, connections, and tools they need to make a difference every day.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV "Sicily" Release Technology Adoption Program
The Microsoft Dynamics NAV team has begun work on its next release, codenamed Sicily, and is now accepting nominations for the Technology Adoption Program (TAP). TAP is our early-adopter program for NAV partners and their customers who want to go live on a prerelease version of Sicily.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Prepare Customers for the Next Release
We are nearing the release of the next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, which will provide long-anticipated cross-browser capability. However, internal changes to application pages that enable cross-browser compatibility have the potential to cause unsupported JavaScript customizations to break. Please review guidance on PartnerSource to ensure your customers are not affected.

 

Training resourcesTraining resources

December Training Sweepstakes: Windows Intune, Windows Azure, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Improve your ability to sell, deploy, or manage these Microsoft cloud-based offerings. For each featured course you take in December, you'll be entered to win an Xbox 360 Pro Console. Official Rules.

Microsoft Office 365 for Small and Midsize Businesses
Prepare for Exam 74-324: Administering Office 365 for Small Businesses—a requirement for the Small Business competency—by watching the Office 365 for SMB Jump Start.

December 17 in Irvine, CA: Microsoft Lync 2013 Technical Ignite
Stay ahead of the market with this four-day workshop. Presentations will cover a wide variety of topics for Lync, both on-premises and online, and there will be hands-on labs that create an interactive Lync experience.

January 8 in Chicago, IL: Microsoft Lync 2013 Technical Ignite
Stay ahead of the market with this four-day workshop. Presentations will cover a wide variety of topics for Lync, both on-premises and online, and there will be hands-on labs that create an interactive Lync experience.

January 14 in Washington, D.C.: Microsoft Lync 2013 Technical Ignite
Stay ahead of the market with this four-day workshop. Presentations will cover a wide variety of topics for Lync, both on-premises and online, and there will be hands-on labs that create an interactive Lync experience.

January 22 in Boston, MA: Windows Server 2012 Technical Ignite Boot Camp
Attend this intensive training event January 22–25 to upgrade your skills to Windows Server 2012 and prepare for Microsoft Certification Exam 70-417.

Special Offer: Upgrade Your Windows Server 2008 Certification
Purchase an MCSE: Server Infrastructure, MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure, or MCSE: Private Cloud upgrade certification exam set, and get Exam 70-417 at no cost, along with complimentary training and second chances to pass the exams.

Windows 8 Hands-On Lab Online Training—December Events
Attend these online trainings and learn how you can use existing C# or JavaScript skills to create and customize Windows 8 apps for your customers. Learn about Searching and Sharing, Application Bars and Media Capture, and Process Lifetime Management. As you work on lab exercises, Microsoft experts will be available to provide one-on-one virtual guidance.

Windows Azure Hands-On Lab Online Training—December Events
Register for these online trainings to learn about Windows Azure Virtual Machines, Windows Azure SQL Database, how to debug applications in Windows Azure, and more. As you work on your lab exercises, Microsoft experts will be available to provide guidance via chatting or by virtually taking control of labs.

Free HTML 5 Online Course and Exam Voucher
Get started on meeting one of the requirements for the Digital Marketing, Mobility, or Application Development competency. Earn the Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MSCD) certification to start developing Windows 8 web and Windows store apps. Take the "Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3" online course at no cost and receive a voucher to take Exam 70-480, also at no cost. This is a limited-time offer—available through March 31, 2013, while supplies last.

New Windows 8 Training
Take the latest Windows 8 training about product messaging, solution selling, value/opportunity, winning with new devices, and presales technical content for deployment and migration. You'll find a learning path for your company's business model and for your role.

On-Demand: Windows Server 2012 Upgrade Jump Start
This accelerated certification prep Jump Start will help IT Pros with Windows Server 2008 expertise to upgrade their skills to Windows Server 2012 in preparation for exam 70-417 and moving into an MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure, MCSE: Server Infrastructure, or MCSE: Private Cloud.

December 11: Microsoft Dynamics CRM December 2012 Service Update and Beyond Partner Training Blitz
Join us for a live, Internet broadcast training session on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM December 2012 service update. Find out about key investments made in the sales and service process, social integration, updated user experience, and platform capabilities. You'll learn about our competitive position, changes to licensing, and the product roadmap.

December 12: Microsoft Dynamics Operations for Dynamics Hour
Attend this operational training in preparation for the release of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on December 19.

Microsoft Dynamics Holiday Certification Sweepstakes
Let us help you tackle your holiday to-do list. You can get Microsoft certifications and be entered into a drawing for a prize package that includes some great gifts. Through December 15, for every eligible certification exam you pass, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a prize package. Visit PartnerSource for a list of exams. Official rules.

December 19 Webcast: Microsoft Dynamics Road to Repeatability—Marketplace
Join Tera Long for a discussion about the criteria to get listed on Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace and how to write your profile so it gets read by prospective customers.

January 28: Prepare for Microsoft Dynamics AX Certifications with Fast TrAX
Come to the Microsoft office in Fargo, North Dakota, for 18 days of intensive training based on the core fundamentals of Microsoft Dynamics AX. You will get training for certification based on real-world examples that reinforce learning.

Prepare for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Certifications with the Fast Tracks Enterprise Academy
This two-week intensive training based on the core fundamental of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 offers two tracks: Functional and Developer. These classes are targeted at net new professionals within Microsoft Dynamics partner organizations.

Microsoft Dynamics AX Virtual Industry Classes
Take your industry knowledge to the next level with the Microsoft Dynamics AX Industry training. These remotely delivered courses are designed to improve your ability to successfully deliver Microsoft Dynamics AX solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Upgrade Workshop for Consultants & Developers
The goal of this workshop is to help technical staff to understand how to upgrade an existing Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. You'll learn about upgrading code elements and the data dictionary for customizations, focusing on the major changes introduced with the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 data model.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Enterprise Academy Level 300 Workshops
These workshops consist of up to five days of in-person training targeted at IT professionals, presales staff, and developers. They are designed as in-depth interactive sessions that focus on how to implement Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and address specific customer business needs.

On Demand Webcast: Microsoft Dynamics AX on Enterprise Agreements
In this on-demand session, you'll get an overview of changes, operational information about agreements and how CSA fees are processed, as well as certification tracking in VOICE.

 

Featured trainingFeatured training – resources for certifications and accreditations

Training for Business Decision Makers
Learn How Passing Certification Exams Can Help Your Company Earn a Microsoft Competency

Learn How Passing Sales and Marketing Assessments Can Help Your Company Earn a Microsoft Competency

View Competency Assessment and Exam Training Paths

Build an Assessment or Exam Learning Plan for Your Team by Searching by Competency in the Learning Plan Tool

Save up to 40% off Competency Exam Packs and Receive a Second Chance to Pass the Exams

Training for IT Professionals
Help Your Company Earn a Microsoft Competency by Passing Certification Exams

View Competency Exam Training Paths

Build an Assessment Learning Plan by Searching by Competency in the Learning Plan Tool

Save up to 40% off Competency Exam Packs and Receive a Second Chance to Pass the Exams

Training for Developers
Help Your Company Earn a Microsoft Competency by Passing Certification Exams

View Competency Exam Training Paths

Build an Assessment Learning Plan by Searching by Competency in the Learning Plan Tool

Save up to 40% off Competency Exam Packs and Receive a Second Chance to Pass the Exams

Training for Sales and Marketing Roles
Help Your Company Earn a Microsoft Competency by Passing Sales and Marketing Assessments

View Competency Assessment Training Paths

Build an Assessment Learning Plan by Searching by Competency in the Learning Plan Tool

Learn How Passing Sales and Marketing Assessments Can Qualify You for a Sales Specialist Accreditation

Earn Prize Drawing Entries for Earning Sales Specialist and Presales Technical Accreditations

Training for Training Roles
Learn How Passing Certification Exams Can Help Your Company Earn a Microsoft Competency

Learn How Passing Sales and Marketing Assessments Can Help Your Company Earn a Microsoft Competency

View Competency Assessment and Exam Training Paths

Build an Assessment or Exam Learning Plan for Your Team by Searching by Competency in the Learning Plan Tool

Save up to 40% off Competency Exam Packs and Receive a Second Chance to Pass the Exams