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 MPN tips post). This post contains all of the content published in today’s emailed newsletter:

  • Local recommendations
  • Announcements, including Microsoft Dynamics (some links require PartnerSource access; details)
  • Training resources, including Microsoft Dynamics (some links require PartnerSource access; details)
  • Role-based recommendations for building capabilities on Windows 8 and Office 365 that help you serve small business customers

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.

The next newsletter will be delivered to your inbox and published to this blog on Friday, April 19.

Featured this weekLocal recommendations

  • There are lots of great activities for you in April that let you connect with your local Microsoft team, understand new opportunities with Office and Office 365, join new public sector communities, and get training that leads to technical certifications and sales accreditations. See our recommendations below and other news and information for partners.
  • Join your local Microsoft team on their April partner call: East Region on April 12; Central Region on April 19; West Region on April 19.
  • The U.S. Partner Team is offering 20+ sessions at WPC 2013 that will help you build your practice, monetize new opportunities, and increase revenue. Come partner with us in Houston this July.
  • It's now Beyond Easy for resellers to find customers, increase sales, and earn incentives.
  • Register for a webcast that explains the new Office 365 licensing options for small business and midsize business customers: April 10; April 17; April 24; May 1.
  • The Office Talk Office Hours series covers Microsoft Office in depth—these interactive sessions provide you with product demos, selling tips and tricks, and business best practices from Microsoft and other partners. This month's topics: April 9 – Exchange 2013; April 23 – Outlook 2013.
  • Earn your Sales Specialist or Presales Technical Specialist accreditation before April 30 for a chance to win a Windows 8 tablet. Rules.
  • Join us for the next VAR compete webcast on Friday, May 3 to learn how to sell your Microsoft-based solutions to SMB customers against competitive offerings.
  • Invite your customers to the next Unleash Your Productivity webcast on April 26.

AnnouncementsAnnouncements

Renew Your Membership on Time to Keep Valuable Benefits
If your company’s Microsoft Partner Network membership and competency is set to expire in the next 90 days, use online guide and step-by-step instructions to get started on your renewal.

Twenty-Plus Sessions from the U.S. Partner Team at WPC 2013
See the list of sessions planned for U.S. partners at this year’s Worldwide Partner Conference and find out how to stay informed about other U.S.-specific activities. This year, you’ll be able to attend the U.S. sessions throughout the week, from Monday through Thursday, when the East, West, and Central regions will close the day with their locally focused keynotes.

Capture the Office 365 SMB Opportunity
If you serve small-business customers, consider attaining the Small Business competency to demonstrate your expertise and access benefits that are incremental to your Cloud Essentials subscription. Through June 30, there is a limited-time offer for a reduced fee when you earn the Silver Small Business competency (terms and conditions). And find out whether your Windows 8 certification meets competency requirements.

New Licensing Options for Microsoft Office 365 Create New Reseller Opportunities
Now you can offer either Office 365 Midsize Business through Volume Licensing with an Open license or Office 365 Small Business Premium as a full-packaged product. Sell as you do today and own the billing process with customers. Plus, you can earn incentives, such as rebates and co-op funding, while capturing top-line revenue and upfront margin on the resale.

New Marketing Kit Helps You Sell Windows Intune
The Windows Intune Marketing Kit contains a series of customizable materials to use in building a services-led sales and marketing campaign. The audience for these materials is small and midsize businesses.

It's Beyond Easy for Resellers to Find Customers, Sell, and Get Rewarded
We've pulled together the resources you need to find customers to build your pipeline, identify offers that will help you close deals, and get rewarded through incentives and rebates.

Start the Cloud Conversation with the Cloud Easy Offer
Use the Cloud Easy offer to talk to your customers about the productivity gains and efficiencies of the cloud for their businesses. Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, and Lync Online are among the products eligible for partner subsidy dollars, which can be applied by the customer to additional software licenses, subscriptions, or services. Offer ends May 31. Terms and conditions.

Increase the Profitability of Your Office 365 Deployments
A new white paper provides detailed steps on how Windows Intune can optimize your Office 365 deployments. In addition to covering the impact of rolling out Windows Intune in preparation for your customer’s Office 365 deployment, it details how it can assist during deployment and how it opens new managed services opportunities after deployment.

Windows Azure ISV Partner Solutions for Office 365
Take advantage of offers from Windows Azure ISVs Appsolutely, iCertis, Datacastle, and ReadSoft to extend the value of Office 365 for your customers. These apps create value in document and contract management, collaboration, and mobility. Download the PDF brochure for offer details.

Keep the Cash Offer—Publish Your Apps and Get up to $2000
Publish your apps in the Windows Store or Windows Phone Store and get $100 for each qualified app, up to $2,000. You can submit up to 10 apps per Store. Offer ends June 30. Terms and conditions.

Turn Your App Ideas into Reality
Register at App Builder today for help planning and designing your Windows Store app. When planning your app, think less about the features you want to include and more about the experience you want to provide to users. Then use our guidance and tools to bring your app to life.

Prepare for the April Microsoft Security Bulletin
As part of our usual cycle of updates, the next security bulletin release is scheduled for April 9. On the Security TechCenter, you can catch up on the March release, register for the April security bulletin webcast on April 10, sign up for notifications, and more.

New Microsoft Partner Support Community Connects You to Experts
Connect with experts and other partners at no cost to get answers to your product, developer, presales, and Microsoft Partner Network membership questions. The Support Community includes improved search capabilities with results from the forums and TechNet, MSDN, and the Microsoft Community. You can also request private communications with a Microsoft expert within any forum.

Sunny Weather Sweepstakes: Earn Your Sales Accreditation to Enter
Earn your Microsoft Sales Excellence accreditation and stand out as an expert. When you pass a qualifying Sales Specialist or Pre-Sales Technical assessment, you will earn your accreditation and be entered into our drawing for a trip for two to Maui. Contest ends May 31. Official rules.

The New Exchange Campaign from Ready-to-Go Marketing
Offer your customers business-class email, calendar, and contacts on a PC, phone, and web browser. With Exchange Online, customers can increase productivity and safeguard their organizations, while maintaining IT control. Use the customizable materials in our campaign for the new Exchange to start the conversation with prospects and customers.

Enter the ASPIRE Awards Before April 30—Grand Prize Is $3,500
Share your Ready-to-Go Marketing success story and you could win a $3,500 American Express gift card. This is your chance to show off your most creative, innovative, and successful campaigns and be recognized by Microsoft. Contest ends April 30. Official rules.

New Community for Partners Serving Government Customers
There’s a fresh lineup of content on the new Government Partner Exchange (GPX) to help you connect and sell into government accounts. You’ll find a new GovTalk video on Disaster Response; presentations from the recent Government and Defense summit in Brussels; diversity program suppliers; and more. Request an invitation from PEXComm@microsoft.com to join.

New Community for Partners Serving Health and Life Sciences Customers
There’s a fresh lineup of content on the new Health Partner Exchange (HPX) to help you connect and sell into health accounts. You’ll find a HealthTalk video on business intelligence in health, a new Excel 2013 and SQL BI demo, and materials from recent health-related events. Request an invitation from PEXComm@microsoft.com to join.

Keep Apps Grounded with Windows Azure
With Windows Azure Service Bus and Windows Azure EAI, your cloud apps stay permanently connected to your on-premises line-of-business apps such as SAP and Oracle EBS. With Service Bus, Microsoft provides a 99.9% monthly SLA so you don’t have to worry. Try Azure yourself with our offer for Microsoft Partner Network members.

Limited Time Offer for Enterprise Agreement Customers: Microsoft Dynamics AX EA Starter
Microsoft Enterprise Agreement customers can add Microsoft Dynamics AX to one of their business operations with this limited-time offer. With the EA Starter, customers get three Enterprise User CALs and 50 Self-Serve User CALs with their first Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Server license. Use our templates and fact sheet to talk to your customers about this offer. Offer ends June 28. Terms and conditions.

Easy Start Offer for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013
The Easy Start Offer can help you increase your Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 sales. Your prospects can take advantage of a 40% discount pack for their first three users. Offer ends June 15. Terms and conditions.

Stretch Your Marketing Dollars with the Microsoft Dynamics Outsource Model
The Microsoft Dynamics Outsource Model offers you a comprehensive suite of bundled services, which can help you build and execute a full 3–12 months of marketing on your behalf at a fraction of the cost of doing it yourself. This innovative marketing system is uniquely designed for the new economics of selling your Microsoft Dynamics product and service offerings to customers.

Convergence 2013 Attendee Offer for Microsoft Dynamics ERP
Through May 30, existing Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and Microsoft Dynamics SL customers who attended Convergence 2013 are eligible to receive a 20% discount on additional users and/or modules meeting a minimum System Price List value of $2,400. Terms and conditions.

Training resourcesTraining resources

Your Online Guide to April Training
Use the Hot Sheet to find and register for in-person training, live webcasts, and partner calls taking place in April. These training activities can help you complete your Microsoft certification or accreditation by teaching you about the latest Microsoft product features. Your company benefits from your expertise and can then enter new business opportunities, as well as meet Microsoft competency requirements.

Complete Eligible Technical Training by April 30 to Enter Our Spring Sweepstakes
Through April 30, you'll automatically be entered to win a $100 American Express gift card when you take any of our featured technical training for Windows Server 2012, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Microsoft System Center 2012, and Windows Intune. These trainings are selected to help you earn Microsoft certifications. Official rules.

Complete Eligible Sales Training by April 30 to Enter Our Spring Sweepstakes
Through April 30, you'll automatically be entered to win a $100 American Express gift card when you take any of our featured sales training for Windows Server 2012, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Microsoft System Center 2012, and Windows Intune. Official rules.

Training for IT Consultants to Build or Deepen Your Microsoft Practice
Microsoft Practice Accelerators provide a comprehensive set of reusable and best practices that you can implement to identify customer requirements, determine project scope, analyze customer needs, and deploy your Microsoft-based solutions. Offerings cover Windows 8, Office 365, Business Intelligence, Data Center, Lync, Systems Center, and Windows Intune.

TechEd 2013 Content Catalog
Customize your TechEd 2013 experience with our planning tool. Check out our catalog, full of 400+ sessions and labs that can help you increase your knowledge of Microsoft products and technologies.

Microsoft Competency Exam Second-Shot Offer Ends May 31
Purchase a Microsoft Competency exam pack and get up to 40% off, plus a second chance to pass the certification exam if you need it. Schedule your exams today so you have time to complete them before your vouchers expire on May 31—you must use your Second Shot by then, too.

Free Cloud Certification Prep for Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft SQL Server 2012
The 90 Days to MCSA program provides you with a plan of action to complete your certification. It also includes tools such as a free exam prep, a clear roadmap, and community support. Your certification in Windows Server 2012 or Microsoft SQL Server 2012 proves your expertise to your customers and your company.

Build Your Technical Expertise with Competency-Related Training and Events
The Competency Training News Digest, updated monthly, provides you with a list of business, sales, and technical training opportunities that are aligned to the Microsoft competencies earned in the Microsoft Partner Network. Competencies let Microsoft partners showcase the Microsoft product and technology expertise their technical and sales teams have.

Build Your Sales Expertise with Competency-Related Training and Events
The Competency Training News Digest, updated monthly, provides you with a list of business, sales, and technical training opportunities that are aligned to the Microsoft competencies earned in the Microsoft Partner Network. Competencies let Microsoft partners showcase the Microsoft product and technology expertise their technical and sales teams have.

On Demand: Windows Intune—Unified Device Management
The recent release of Windows Intune integrates with System Center Configuration Manager 2012 SP1, allowing you to add cloud-based mobile device management to your existing systems management solution. Download this package of presentations, setup guides, and simulations and learn how to take advantage of these powerful features.

April 9 Webcast: Windows Server 2012 as a Web Application Platform
In this webcast, part of the Samurai Series, you’ll find out why Windows Server 2012 provides an excellent platform for helping your customers’ organizations bridge hybrid cloud and on-premises IT environments. You’ll also learn how you can work with your customers to help them deliver more business value to their employees and their customers.

April 11 and April 18: Two-Part Webcast Series Helps You Win Office 365 Deals
These two one-hour webcasts will provide an extended look at the business value of the new Office, how to use the Office 365 MEC Demo, what customer offers are available, and more information that will help you have the customer conversations that can lead to closing more deals.

April 11–12 in Chicago, Illinois: Sales Methodology Training
Only a few seats remain for partners for the Microsoft-sponsored Sales Success Systems training in Chicago. In these sessions, you will learn how to develop a sales success plan, create demand, structure opportunity conversations, and communicate the value of your Microsoft-based solutions to customers. Space is limited.

April 17 Webcast: Using Your Website to Help with the Sales Cycle
Join this Ready-to-Go Marketing webinar and learn how to generate qualified leads by implementing the seven critical components of an effective website. We’ll show you how to build engaging content and create compelling calls to action so you can support prospects throughout the buying cycle.

April 17: Customer Talk Workbooks—Move Customers to the Latest Microsoft Releases
Many of your customers may still be using old Microsoft products and technology. In this webcast series, you’ll learn about the Microsoft Customer Talk Workbooks and how to use yours to identify and close customers that will benefit from moving to the latest Microsoft product releases for Office, Windows Server, SQL Server, and Exchange.

April 18 Webcast: Important Changes to the Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Licensing Model
Learn about the shift from the per-processor licensing model to a per-core licensing model for SQL Server 2012. This session will provide a guide on how to help customers make a smooth transition to the per-core model.

April 23 Webcast: Windows Server 2012 Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
In this session, part of the Samurai Series, you’ll learn how Microsoft VDI, powered by Windows Server 2012, allows users to seamlessly access—from any device—their rich, full-fidelity Windows environment running in the data center.

April 30–May 3: Microsoft Lync 2013 Ignite Virtual Training
This four-day online workshop includes presentations and hands-on labs that cover both Lync and Lync Online.

Office Ignite Technical Modules for IT Pros and Exchange Administrators
The Office Ignite technical modules include 300-level and 400-level content. Designed for IT pros and Exchange administrators, this learning path lets you connect directly to courses that will increase your capability around development, design, and deployment of Office solutions.

Microsoft DevRadio: Practical Azure with Jim O’Neil—Caching
When your application involves database lookups or service calls, every millisecond of latency adds up, particularly for high-demand, “Internet scale” solutions. Caching is already part of your on-premises solutions, and with Windows Azure Caching you can easily get the same functionality and know that it’s backed up by the Windows Azure SLA.

TechNet Radio: Deploying Windows Server 2012 Using WDS
Blain Barton and Microsoft Deployment MVP Rhonda Layfield conclude their Windows Server 2012 deployment series. In this episode of TechNet Radio, they discuss Windows Deployment Services (WDS). Tune in as they chat about its new features, show a quick demo of how it works, and explain how to use it with Windows Server 2012.

TechNet Radio: Cloud Innovators—Monitor Your Applications with Foglight for Windows Azure Applications
TechNet Radio welcomes Douglas Chrystall, Chief Architect at Dell Software, to discuss Foglight for Windows Azure applications. Foglight is a new product offering from Dell that helps monitor applications built on the Azure platform. Tune in to hear how this solution can provide diagnostics and improve your applications performance quality.

DevRadio: Reactive Extensions for Windows 8
Jerry Nixon and DevRadio welcome Bart De Smet from the Reactive Extensions team to discuss the importance of using Rx and LINQ in their Windows 8 apps. Tune in as they share some background info as well as best practices for .NET developers who want to streamline their code and push their data in real time to users.

TechNet Radio: Windows Server 2012 File Server Tips and Tricks
In this episode of their Windows Server 2012 File Server and SMB 3.0 series, Bob Hunt and Jose Barreto talk about how to use multiple subnets when deploying SMB multichannel in a cluster from how to avoid loopback configurations for Hyper-V over SMB.

TechNet Radio: Building a Private Cloud with Microsoft System Center 2012 Service Pack 1
Keith Mayer and Yung Chou kick off their multipart series about building private clouds. In Part 1, they discuss the difference between a private cloud and a highly virtualized environment, how Microsoft System Center 2012 components map to private cloud requirements, and how the SP1 release allows for even greater improvements to managing your data centers and applications.

April 17: MBS Operations Presents Dynamics Hour
The Dynamics Hour offers partners a monthly training opportunity where Microsoft subject-matter experts deep dive on one or two operational topics. Register for this or other operational training events or see past recordings on PartnerSource.

April 22–26 in Atlanta, Georgia: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Enterprise Academy
This five-day instructor-led training provides a 200-level functional CRM foundation and 300-level Advanced Development and Advanced Infrastructure content for Microsoft Dynamics CRM to help you address the needs of your enterprise customers.

May 20 – 24 in Chicago, Illinois: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Enterprise Academy
This five-day instructor-led training provides a 200-level functional CRM foundation and 300-level Advanced Development and Advanced Infrastructure content for Microsoft Dynamics CRM to help you address the needs of your enterprise customers.

April 29–30 and May 1–3 in Fargo, North Dakota: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client Workshops
These courses will help you understand the foundation of Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client, how it functions, the necessary security requirements, and how to troubleshoot Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Web Client. Choose from either the Functional Consultant track that starts April 29, or the Implementation Consultant Track that starts May 1.

May 29–June 21 in Fargo, North Dakota: Microsoft Dynamics AX Fast TrAX
In this course for consultants, we’ll help you prepare for Microsoft Dynamics AX certification through an intensive, 18-day training. The program is augmented with an end-to-end case study to provide additional hands-on experience.

Microsoft Dynamics ERP On-Demand Webcast Library
Encourage your customers to take advantage of the Microsoft Dynamics ERP library of on-demand webcasts that focus on the different ways Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions can help them organize and advance their business.

Recommend the Grow Your Business Kit to Your Customers
Microsoft offers a kit for customers that includes the Focus Research white paper about readying your business for ERP; top reasons to purchase a business solution; customer stories; and details about cloud and on-premises deployments. Encourage your customers to download this kit and use it as the basis for a rich discussion about their needs.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Enterprise Academy Level-300 Workshops
This course is for experienced Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 consultants and developers who are looking to increase their product knowledge. Courses require a prerequisite survey to level set attendee knowledge base. If you are eligible for Partner Advisory Hours, you may use those toward the registration cost. These courses are being offered in cities across the United States.

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client Workshops
These courses will help you understand the foundation of Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client, how it functions, the necessary security requirements, and how to troubleshoot Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Web Client. In the implementation consultant workshop, you will get a deeper and more detailed view of deployment and installation options, tenant services and management, and troubleshooting.

Featured trainingFeatured training

Build your capabilities for Windows 8 and Office 365 to better serve your SMB customers

Training for Business Decision Makers
Build your companies technical and sales capability for serving small-business customers by following training recommendations for the Small Business competency and helping your employees earn related product certifications and accreditations. Relevant products include Windows 8, Office 365, and Windows Intune.

Training for IT Professionals
Earn certifications for Windows 8, Microsoft Office 365, and Windows Intune to demonstrate your expertise in helping small-business customers move to the modern desktop and capitalize on cloud computing. Attend relevant Practice Accelerators to implement your Microsoft-based solutions that meet customer requirements and needs.

Training for Developers
Build Windows 8 and Office apps that meet the needs of small- business customers.

Training for Sales and Marketing Roles
Learn how Microsoft products that meet the needs of small businesses—like Windows 8, Microsoft Office 365, and Windows Intune—are licensed and how to discuss them with your small-business customers on their terms.