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 (learn more about this in our recent MPN tips post). This 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 Collaboration and Content competency

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

It’s a new year, filled with new opportunities and possibilities! Thank you for your enthusiasm and engagement in 2012 as we embarked on an historic year for Microsoft, its customers, and you. Now, let’s start 2013 off together right, with these recommendations.

AnnouncementsAnnouncements

How to Prepare for the New Office
Partner resources for the new Office are listed in our new comprehensive online guide. Whether you are looking for technical training, marketing materials, sales and licensing information, or internal-use benefits information, you'll find links to what you need in our guide.

Guidance and Advice for Your Windows 8 Deployments
Your partner advisory hours benefit can be applied to Advisory Services from experienced Microsoft technical consultants. Their expert guidance and advice can assist you with new Windows 8 deployments as well as upgrades and migrations to Windows 8. They can also provide guidance and expertise for security, virtualization, client management, and flexible workstyles scenarios.

Updates to Microsoft Partner Incentives
We currently have a strong portfolio of incentives across Enterprise, Solution Incentives, Online, SMB and SAM, and we are always evaluating new and innovative ways to drive more value with our partners. Get an overview of updates and changes scheduled to take place starting in February to improve your experience.

January 21: Accelerate Your Business Intelligence Deployments
Build an end-to-end BI solution that includes on-premises and in-the-cloud capability based on Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. You can learn best practices in selecting, deploying, and scaling BI solutions based on Microsoft technologies.

Tips to Manage Your Microsoft Partner Network Membership
Take advantage of the expertise of the U.S. Partner Team to manage your Microsoft Partner Network membership. From understanding how and why to update your organization's profile as well as your own, to quickly finding the information and news that's relevant to your role in your company's business, to getting the most out of your benefits, our online guide provides you with the links and insights you need.

Your Action Pack: Three Great Reasons to Renew Your Subscription
Start using your internal-use software licenses for three key Microsoft products today and start talking to customers about how your solutions built on them help meet their needs for efficiency, cost effectiveness, business productivity, and more. In our blog post, you'll also find information about renewing your subscription.

It's the Biggest Partner Event of the Year—Pre-Register for WPC 2013 at a Discount
Register now for the 2013 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference All Access pass, and you'll be eligible to take advantage of the low price of $1,695, a $300 discount. Plan to join Microsoft and the Microsoft partner community in Houston from July 7–11 for opportunities to network and get insight to the product and technology roadmap. This offer ends January 30.

Prepare for the January 8 Microsoft Security Bulletin
As part of our usual cycle of updates, the next security bulletin release is scheduled for January 8. On the Security TechCenter, you can catch up on the November release, register for the January security bulletin webcast on January 9, sign up for notifications, and more.

Learn the Cloud: Rock Paper Azure Challenge
We've raised the stakes in Rock Paper Azure. We're awarding weekly prizes just for playing, plus three grand prizes at the end of the six-week challenge. You'll learn the cloud, build a killer bot, and battle it out for top bragging rights. It's a fresh chance to win. Contest ends January 25. Official rules.

Win the Ultimate Backstage Pass with the Windows 8 Games Studios Team
Publish your app in the Windows Store or Windows Phone store and enter for a chance to visit Microsoft Studios, meet the Windows 8 Games Studios team, and join the developers in a coding session. To enter, publish your apps and complete the form at http://www.generationapp.com/ultimateexperience. The more apps you publish, the greater your chances to win. Contest ends February 28. Download the official rules.

Microsoft Office 365 Fast-Track $25,000 Sweepstakes
Enroll in the Sweepstakes and then sell at least two new customer subscriptions for Microsoft Office 365 to be automatically entered for a chance to win a quarterly prize of $5,000 or the grand prize of $25,000. Contest ends June 14. Official rules.

Want to Serve Larger Customers, Smaller Customers? It's Your Choice with Microsoft Office 365
Repositioning your business to sell Microsoft Online Services also means strategizing about your current customer base—and your target customer base. Does your adoption of a cloud-services model lend itself to a business based on larger customers than you could previously support, or should you maximize your return on cloud services by targeting a high volume of smaller companies? The answer may surprise you.

January 10: Make More Money by Maintaining and Upselling Your Microsoft Office 365 Customers
In this webcast, Microsoft experts will discuss how to drive incremental Microsoft Online Services deals with your customers. Discover the opportunities to expand your cloud practice using the Delegated Administration Tool, internal-use rights, and quoting and trial offer tools.

Identify Opportunities to Upgrade Your Customers to Current Microsoft Products
A large number of small and midsize businesses (SMB) are using older technology, representing a significant revenue opportunity for your business. Request and use your U.S. SMB Customer Talk workbook to identify your customers that are using older versions of Microsoft software, and then equip your business with sales and marketing resources to have compelling upsell conversations with them.

Download the Microsoft System Center 2012 SP1 Beta
The System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 beta enables System Center customers to jointly evaluate System Center 2012 with Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. New features include integration with Windows Azure Virtual Machines, 360-Degree Application Monitoring through Global Service Monitor (GSM), and the REST OData API for integration with hosted service provider clouds.

Download the Windows Server 2012 Evaluation for IT Pros
Simply put, Windows Server 2012 helps you transform your IT operations to reduce costs and deliver a whole new level of business value. Download the free Windows Server 2012 evaluation and learn what it can do for you today.

Use Web Syndication to Build Credibility with Your Customers
Web Syndication is a free service for Microsoft partners that helps you dynamically deliver compelling, customer-facing content on your own website. Syndicated content helps you build credibility with your customers as you partner with Microsoft and share consistent messaging across your website.

Increase Exposure for Your App with the Windows Azure Go-To-Market Program
The Windows Azure Go-To-Market Program includes a variety of offers to help Cloud Services Vendors increase consumption of their Windows Azure apps. The program provides you with exposure to thousands of potential new customers, helps you build a better cloud business, and offers technical support to improve your apps' performance.

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Reaches General Availability Milestone
In December, Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013. This release introduces significant new features and capabilities that are designed to help SMBs expand their business with powerful solutions that are quick to implement and simple to use. Download the solution from PartnerSource.

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Launch Portal
Your resources for the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 release are available on PartnerSource.

Microsoft Dynamics on Forbes.com
On Forbes.com, you can read viewpoints of our Microsoft Dynamics leadership team about how our products can help every business become a dynamic business—a connected organization that can create change and opportunities, and where people are doing their best work.

March 17: Partner-Only Event at Convergence
While the focus is on customers for our week in New Orleans, we are hosting an executive Q&A followed by a partner reception from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, so we have an opportunity to greet our partners before the conference begins. If you have a question for our executives, submit it by email (mbs-evnt@microsoft.com) by February 15.

Convergence 2013 Early Registration Ends January 25
Don't miss the opportunity to save $300 off the price of a Convergence full attendee pass. Early registration pricing ends January 25. Talk to your customers about their plans to attend and encourage them to register soon to get the discount.

The Dynamic Sales Team: A White Paper About Sales Transformation
This paper focuses on the important trends affecting the sales profession, the four essential characteristics that a Dynamic Sales Team must have, and ways that a business solution from Microsoft helps organizations become a Dynamic Sales Team. This is a great piece to share with your customers and prospects.

January 16: Dynamics Hour Webcast for Operational Topics
The Dynamics Hour webcast offers Microsoft Dynamics partners a monthly training opportunity to hear Microsoft subject matter experts discuss one or two operational topics in depth.

Microsoft Dynamics Editorial and Events Calendar
This calendar offers partners a preview of global Microsoft Dynamics events. In this calendar you will find scheduled dates for conferences, readiness offerings, and training. Use this calendar to help you plan and budget time and resources for the events you want to attend.

Boost Your Marketing with the Campaign Toolkit for Partners
Use the campaign toolkit available for Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and Microsoft Dynamics SL partners to drive demand generation and support your sales efforts.

Special Offers for Marketers in the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Services Bureau
The Marketing Services Bureau (MSB) offers a variety of services. Whether you are in need of a list, consulting services, an outsourced marketing director, or a social media solution, MSB can help fill marketing gaps and accelerate identifying new leads. Special offers this month include free Marketing Office Hours, a discounted SEO training package, and a social media selling course.

Outsourced Marketing Services for Microsoft Dynamics Partners
The Microsoft Partner Outsource Model (OSM) is a suite of services for Microsoft Dynamics partners that builds and executes a full 3 to 12 months of marketing for a fraction of the cost of doing it in-house. This end-to-end program is geared toward partners that are short on time or marketing headcount, or would simply prefer to focus their staff on sales and implementation.

Training resourcesTraining resources

Schedule Your January Training with Hot Sheet Recommendations
The Hot Sheet is your online guide to live in-person and virtual sales, technical, and business training. From the Hot Sheet, you can go directly to registration information for the courses you are interested in taking. The February Hot Sheet will be published the week of January 15 at http://aka.ms/hotsheetnews.

January Training Incentive Includes the New Office
Get up to speed on the customer opportunity with the new Office. For each featured course you take in January and February, you'll be entered to win a $120 Amazon gift card or a Nikon digital camera kit. Official rules.

January 8 in Chicago, IL: Microsoft Lync 2013 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 22–24 in Redmond, WA: Office Partner Launch
Learn about the new technical capabilities of the new Office release and about business opportunities for partners. The event features presentations, demonstrations, and discussions with experts from the Office and Microsoft Partner Network teams.

January 22 in Boston, MA: Windows Server 2012 Technical Ignite
This four-day course will cover new features and functionality in Windows Server 2012 and prepare partners for Exam 70-417: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012.

February 4–6 in New York: Windows 8 Application Development Deep Dive Training
This three-day training event will cover Windows 8 UI design principles and application development with hands-on learning opportunities. You'll learn how to add functionality to your Windows 8 applications by digging into shared libraries and data usage, and sharing data with other applications. To help you add extra polish to your applications, course content will teach you how to make best use of the Start screen tiles, toast messages, and charms.

Microsoft Dynamics AX Technical Conference Recordings
Due to popular demand from the attendees and other partners who couldn't attend in person, Microsoft is offering certain session recordings and presentation content from the conference. Please find links to the materials on PartnerSource, broken out by session type.

January 8–9 in Irvine, CA: Microsoft Dynamics ERP Growth Through Repeatability Clinic
This hands-on workshop explores how rapidly changing buyer behavior is increasingly driving partners to develop volume solutions and repeatable business processes. The session will focus on the roadmap and practical tactics that other partners have implemented to build or expand their volume practices.

January 10 in Irvine, CA: Streamline your Microsoft Dynamics ERP Demo with the Velocity Workshop
The Microsoft Dynamics GP Volume Velocity Workshop is a one-day course that will teach sales and presales consultants in your organization to market and sell more effectively in today's web-enhanced selling environment.

January 10: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2012 December Service Update Tech Chat Series
The announcement of the next Microsoft Dynamics CRM service update has generated excitement—and questions—from our channel. This Tech Chat Series is an opportunity for ongoing discussion between partners and Microsoft, leading up to the formal readiness courses and materials which will become available closer to the release. Topics covered include flow UI, Lync, Skype, XBrowser, infrastructure and deployment, Activity Feeds and Yammer, and the iPad.

January 14 in Chicago, IL: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 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.

January 14–15 in New York: Microsoft Dynamics ERP Growth Through Repeatability Clinic
This hands-on workshop explores how rapidly changing buyer behavior is increasingly driving partners to develop volume solutions and repeatable business processes. The session will focus on the roadmap and practical tactics that other partners have implemented to build or expand their volume practices.

January 16–17 in Dallas, TX: Microsoft Dynamics ERP Growth Through Repeatability Clinic
This hands-on workshop explores how rapidly changing buyer behavior is increasingly driving partners to develop volume solutions and repeatable business processes. The session will focus on the roadmap and practical tactics that other partners have implemented to build or expand their volume practices.

January 16: Microsoft Dynamics Road to Repeatability Call—Convergence 2013
Join us for the January Road to Repeatability to learn more about Convergence 2013 in New Orleans. Senior Marketing Manager Heather Kulla will discuss what's new this year, offers and tools to help you get your customers to this event, and the training content that's in store for this business-building event.

January 28 in Fargo, ND: Microsoft Dynamics AX Fast TrAX Workshops—Consultant and Developer Certification Training
Come to the Microsoft office in Fargo, North Dakota, for 18 days of intensive training based on the fundamentals of Microsoft Dynamics AX. You will get training for certification based on real-world examples that reinforce learning. Next session is in April.

January 28–February 2 in Dallas, TX: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client Workshops for Consultants
These courses help consultants understand the foundation of Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client, how it functions, the necessary security requirements, and how to properly and effectively troubleshoot Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Web Client.

February 7–8 in Dallas, TX: Accelerated Sales Workshop for Microsoft Dynamics Sales Professionals
The Accelerated Sales Workshop is for sales professionals focused on cloud and on-premises ERP and CRM opportunities who want to increase their win ratios and decrease the duration of their sales cycles. This intense two-day workshop covers the strategies and skills required to address the rapid and recent changes in buying behavior.

February 11–14 in Phoenix, AZ: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Industry Summit 2.0
The Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Industry Summit 2.0 will bring you up to speed on Microsoft Dynamics AX industry solutions, enable you to professionally market, sell, and deploy industry solutions, and connect you with Microsoft, Microsoft ISVs, and industry peers. Building on the momentum and feedback from last year's industry summit, we are adding role-based training by industry.

February 11–14 in Redmond, WA: 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.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM December 2012 Service Update and Beyond Partner Training Blitz
Listen to our training session on the upcoming release of 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 Microsoft Dynamics CRM roadmap for the upcoming two releases.

March 4–8 in Fargo, ND: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Upgrade Workshop for Consultants and Developers
The goal of this workshop is to help technical resources understand how to upgrade an existing Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. The workshop will focus on upgrading code elements and the data dictionary for customizations, focusing on the major changes introduced with the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 data model.

Featured trainingFeatured training – Focus on Collaboration and Content

Training for Business Decision Makers
In November, Microsoft merged three Microsoft SharePoint–focused competencies (Portals and Collaboration, Content Management, and Search) into one competency, Collaboration and Content. Completing the training and passing the certification exams and assessments listed in the learning plan can help your company demonstrate expertise with products like Microsoft SharePoint.

Training for IT Professionals

Training for Developers

Training for Sales and Marketing Roles

Training for Training Roles

In November, Microsoft merged three Microsoft SharePoint–focused competencies (Portals and Collaboration, Content Management, and Search) into one competency, Collaboration and Content. Training for sales, IT pro, and developer roles are all included in the new Collaboration and Content learning path. Completing the training and passing the certification exams and assessments listed in the learning plan can help your company demonstrate expertise with products like Microsoft SharePoint.