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 messaging,

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, May 17.

Featured this week

Local recommendations

  • Join your local Microsoft team on their May partner call: East Region on May 10; Central Region on May 17; West Region on May 17.
  • The countdown is on—both the Big Easy Offer 10 and the Cloud Easy Offer end on May 31. Talk to your customers today about moving to modern IT solutions for their businesses.
  • On Thursday, July 11 at the 2013 Worldwide Partner Conference, our East Region executive team will give a keynote in the U.S. Subsidiary track about our priorities and opportunities for working together in the coming year.
  • Each Wednesday through the end of June, learn from Microsoft experts and our cloud distributor partners about the new licensing options for Microsoft Office 365. Next calls: May 15; May 22; May 29; June 5; June 12; June 19; June 26.
  • 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. May 14: Microsoft Exchange 2013; May 28: Microsoft Word 2013.
  • Join us for the next VAR compete webcast on Friday, June 7 to learn how to sell your Microsoft-based solutions to SMB customers against competitive offerings.
  • Invite your customers to the next Unleash Your Productivity webcasts on May 24 and June 28.

Announcements 

Announcements

Connect with the US Partner Team for Expert Guidance and Information
We deliver partner-related news and information through a variety of online communications. Whether you like to stay informed through blogs or enjoy the rapid pace of Twitter or Facebook, we keep you up-to-date about your benefits and opportunities. Starting today, you can also join our new Yammer network for the US Partner Community. We look forward to meeting you.

WPC 2013: Regional Keynotes Will Prepare You for the Year Ahead
Join your local Microsoft team on Thursday, July 11 at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston for a keynote about your opportunities in the coming year with Microsoft. You'll hear from each Region's executive team about their goals and priorities, and learn how to engage with their teams.

WPC 2013: SMB Reseller Keynote and Session
On Thursday, July 11 at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, join Cindy Bates, Vice President of U.S. SMB, for a keynote about your opportunities with Microsoft as a reseller serving SMB customers. Then, join Cindy's team for a breakout session that will help you find and use resources and campaigns to more effectively reach customers and close deals.

Microsoft Certification Exam Offers End May 31
If you are preparing for Microsoft certification exams to update your skills for the latest products or to apply to the requirements for a competency, take advantage of our exam offers. Purchase a pack of exams for up to 40% off and, for a limited time, get a free second chance to pass the exams if needed. Offers end May 31, and you must take your exams by December 31.

Earn Your Cloud Certification: Free Exam Prep for Windows Server MCSA
The 90 Days to MCSA program is a plan of action with a focus on Windows Server and SQL Server that includes a training roadmap, free exam prep, training offers, resource wikis, and more. Sign up for biweekly emails that will help you get started and stay on track.

Get Your Microsoft Certification at Microsoft TechEd North America 2013
Microsoft certification exams will be offered at 50% off the regular price to registered TechEd North America attendees. Pre-register to take Microsoft certification exams onsite. See what we’re offering you onsite at TechEd to prepare, and find resources you can use now to get started.

Earn Your Sales Accreditation for a Chance to Win a Trip to Hawaii
Strengthen your Microsoft product knowledge and stand out from the competition by earning a Sales Specialist or Pre-Sales Technical Specialist accreditation. Through May 31, you will be automatically entered into our sweepstakes drawing for a sunshine-inspired prizes when you pass your assessment. Official rules.

Close Office 365 and Windows 8 Deals with Presales Advisory Support
Silver and gold competency partners receive unlimited presales advisory support at no charge for deals worth $3,000 or more. For deals under $3,000, you can still get support by applying your partner advisory hours benefit.

Get Your Bing Ads Benefit Today
Partners in the Digital Marketing competency, the Small Business competency, and the Application Development competency are eligible for Bing Ads credit, as a way for us to introduce you and your customers to our digital marketing products. Bing Ads can help you reach new audiences. Download our FAQ for details about the benefit and how to obtain your credits.

Microsoft Office 365 Email Migration Offer from Quest Software Ends June 30
Migrate your first 25 mailboxes to Microsoft Office 365 at no cost, using OnDemand Migration for Email from Quest Software. This offer from Quest is a great way to start using your internal-use software that is part of your Microsoft Cloud Essentials subscription.

Microsoft Office 365 Solution Selling Materials
Download a series of webcasts and customer-ready materials that articulate the Microsoft Office 365 Joint Solution Selling Approach. The materials include a Customer Decision Framework and the Cloud Principles deck, which addresses common customer cloud concerns like privacy, transparency, compliance, and security.

Create and Deliver More Effective Microsoft Office 365 Demos
MEC Demo for Office 365 replaces the Demo Provisioning Tool. It includes an easy-to-use Setup Assistant so you can create your Office 365 E3 Trial tenant and provision it with the "day in the life" personas, content, and scenarios you need to dazzle your customers with the power of what Office 365 delivers for businesses.

May 16 Partner Call: Earn Incentives for Selling Microsoft Online Services
Microsoft Online Services Advisor incentives reward eligible partners that sell and deploy Online Services and manage the end-customer relationship for Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. Get expert guidance about these incentives in a biweekly call led by our US expert.

May 8 Webcast: How to Sell Microsoft Office 365 Using the New Licensing Options
Join us for a weekly call—cohosted by our cloud distributor partners D&H, Ingram Micro, Synnex, and Tech Data—about the new licensing options for Office 365. You’ll learn what’s available, how to target your customers with the right offering, and how to close the sale. Next calls: May 15; May 22; May 29; June 5; June 12; June 19; June 26.

Cloud Easy Offer Ends May 31: Help Your SMB Customers Move to the Cloud
Customers can increase their IT flexibility, reduce deployment costs, and improve their operations management when you help them move to the cloud. The Cloud Easy offer lets your customers earn partner subsidy dollars on their Microsoft Online Services subscription purchases—dollars they can apply to additional software licenses, subscriptions, or services. Offer ends May 31. Offer terms and conditions.

Big Easy Offer 10 Ends May 31: Help Your SMB Customers Expand Their IT Budgets
With the aggressive refresh cycle of Microsoft products over the past year, it’s time to talk to your customers about upgrading so they can take advantage of the new features and functionality that help increase operational efficiency, data management, productivity, and collaboration. With the Big Easy Offer 10, your customers can earn partner subsidy dollars on a variety of Microsoft on-premises software. Offer ends May 31. Offer terms and conditions.

It’s Beyond Easy for Resellers to Close Windows 8 and Office Deals
There’s a good chance that your SMB customers are using older versions of Windows and Office in their businesses. Help them move to the modern desktop. 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.

Share Your Windows Intune Expertise and Success for a Chance to Win a Surface Pro
Enter the Windows Intune Partner Gallery competition by creating a short video about how you use Windows Intune, and you’ll get a chance to win a Microsoft Surface Pro. Contest ends June 30. Terms and conditions.

Get Deployment Guidance for Windows 8, Microsoft SharePoint, and Microsoft SQL Server
Attend a Practice Accelerator and get a detailed framework of solution deployment resources that span from pre-engagement to post-delivery. The complete documentation set includes project guides, templates, architecture guidance, and planning and design guides.

Prepare for the May Microsoft Security Bulletin
As part of our usual cycle of updates, the next security bulletin release is scheduled for May 14. On the Security TechCenter, you can catch up on the April release, register for the May security bulletin webcast on May 15, sign up for notifications, and more.

We’d Like Your Feedback About Loyalty Programs
Microsoft is developing a loyalty program for our commercial customers and partners, inclusive of our portfolio of business software and services. Take our short survey and give us your input on what drives you and your company to recommend Microsoft products, and on what your customers would value in a loyalty program.

May 14 Webcast: Office Talk Focus on Microsoft Exchange 2013
The Office Talk Office Hours series offers in-depth-coverage of Microsoft Office. 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: May 14 – Microsoft Exchange 2013; May 28 – Microsoft Word 2013.

June 7: Monthly SMB Compete Webcast for Resellers
Register for our June webcast, which will help you secure your SMB customer base and increase your market share with Microsoft-based solutions against competitors like Google and VMware. You can watch previous webcasts on demand.

May 15 Marketing Webcast: Turning Attendees into Real Prospects Through Event Marketing
Find out how you can maximize your ROI with this step-by-step event marketing methodology. We’ll introduce you to best practices for success, and show you how to whittle the attendee list down to a manageable group of high-value prospects that your sales team can focus on closing.

Your Voice Can Make a Difference: STEM Education and Immigration Reform
Immigration reform and STEM education are both critical to the future of the U.S. technology sector. Congress is now debating these issues, and your views are important. Get the latest update from Voices for Innovation, and learn how you can help strengthen the tech workforce.

May 24: Unleash Your Productivity Webcast, Featuring Microsoft SharePoint 2013
Invite your customers to the next Unleash Your Productivity webcast, where we’ll discuss SharePoint 2013. On these monthly webcasts, Microsoft experts help users learn how the latest Microsoft product releases can help them increase productivity and collaboration.

Use Windows Azure Cache for Responsive Apps
Caching frequently used data enhances user experience by saving database roundtrips. Windows Azure Caching delivers data closer to application logic, helping apps be more responsive and scalable. Sign up for a free 90-day trial of Windows Azure in a few clicks.

Telling Customers Stories That Make an Impact with Microsoft Dynamics AX
Use our sales and marketing resources to help tell relevant, meaningful stories to customers about products and services that include Microsoft Dynamics AX. Materials include messaging for various roles, including CIO, CFO, manufacturing COO, retail manager, human resources manager, service industries practice manager, and appointed government officials.

Lapsed Customer Re-Enrollment Promotion
Eligible customers who have lapsed on their Microsoft Dynamics Business Ready Enhancement Plan service plan can renew their plan with discounted lapsed fees. This offer is available to existing customers for all Microsoft Dynamics product lines that have lapsed on their service plan prior to October 1, 2011 (customers who have lapsed for greater than 18 months). Offer ends June 21. Terms and conditions.

Re-Enrollment Award for Microsoft Dynamics ERP Customers
Customers can renew their service plan for Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and Microsoft Dynamics AX, and receive up to 20% off their next qualifying license purchase, add users, purchase new modules, or transition to Business Ready Licensing. The discount is based on tenure of the customer and consecutive years of being current on Microsoft Dynamics Service Plan. Customers renewing April 17–July 3 are eligible. Terms and conditions.

Microsoft Dynamics GP On–the-Go Readiness Sweepstakes
Attend your choice of 4 of 16 available on-demand webcasts by May 15, and you will be entered for a chance to win a Microsoft Surface. The Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 webcasts review content that was delivered in live events so you can revisit the material and expose additional resources to key concepts and information about this exciting release. Official rules.

Training resources 

Training resources

May Training: Register for Upcoming Webcasts, Partner Calls, and Classroom Training
Increase your product knowledge and skills training offered by Microsoft and its Learning Partners. Many of the courses are offered at no cost or low-cost. The latest issue of the partner training Hot Sheet will help you find and register for training activities taking place over the next few weeks.

On Demand: Samurai Webcast Series for Windows Server 2012
Watch this eight-part webcast series at your pace and learn how to become more technically savvy with Windows Server 2012. Sessions cover new features and functionality in the latest Windows Server release, including manageability, competing with VMware, virtual desktop infrastructure, and more.

On Demand: Cloud How-To Webcast Series Teaches You Critical Demo and Sales Skills
Over the past several months, our Cloud How-To series for partners serving SMB customers has provided you with practical guidance and skill-building opportunities for building a cloud practice and selling Microsoft cloud solutions like Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune, Lync Online, and SharePoint Online.

May 7 Webcast for MSPs: Drive Your Profitability with Microsoft Cloud Solutions and the New Office
Join industry expert Gary Pica and Microsoft cloud expert Bryan Von Axelson for a review of best practices for Managed Service Providers (MSP). They will also discuss how to take advantage of Microsoft Cloud Solutions and the new Office to build and increase your business.

May 15 Webcast: Learn to Easily Deploy and Migrate Customers to Microsoft Office 365
We’ll discuss built-in Microsoft migration tools and provide a deep dive into a very exciting third-party deployment option that makes it fast, safe, and easy to migrate customers to Office 365.

May 16: Windows Azure for IT Professionals Jump Start
Join a new, expert-led Jump Start from Microsoft Virtual Academy that will help you understand how to use Windows Azure Infrastructure Services such as virtual machines and virtual networks to migrate, extend, run, manage and monitor common workloads in the cloud.

May 28: Software Testing with Visual Studio 2012 Jump Start, for Exam 70-497
Join Microsoft Virtual Academy on May 28 for a live, expert-led, free online Jump Start course about Application Lifecycle Management. This course will help you prepare for exam 70-497, a requirement for the MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management track. Your certification could also help your company earn the Microsoft Application Lifecycle Management competency.

May 29: Administering Visual Studio TFS 2012 Jump Start, for Exam 70-496
Prepare to pass exam 70-496 and earn the MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management track, a requirement for the Microsoft Application Lifecycle Management competency. In this Jump Start course from Microsoft Virtual Academy, you’ll learn to make Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server better serve your team processes and the ways you communicate.

Webcasts Featuring Windows Azure ISV Solutions That Extend Office 365
Watch webcasts presented by Windows Azure ISVs featuring their solutions that extend the value of your Microsoft Office 365 deployments. Download our brochure for links to webcasts by Datacastle, Icertis, Vablet, and ReadSoft and learn how their solutions can help you resolve customer pain points.

How-to Video: Reflection in the .NET Framework for Windows Store Apps
This video will demonstrate how to get all classes that inherit from a base class or implement an interface in a C#/VB.NET Windows Store app.

Create a Custom Refresh Image in Windows 8
Windows refresh feature doesn’t allow you to create custom refresh points like Windows System Restore does. Instead, Refresh creates a Windows Installer Image to help it restore settings to default state. This script demo shows you the option to create a custom refresh image to restore your custom PC settings in Windows 8.

DevRadio: Practical Azure with Jim O'Neil Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Tune in to find out how you can deploy your code to the cloud. Microsoft Evangelist Jim O’Neil lays out the differences between Azure VMs, Cloud Services, websites, and your on-premises data center. He then demos how to get started with Azure VMs and how to deploy a sample application to them.

DevRadio: Using Window Azure to Build Back-End Services for Windows 8 Apps: Azure Mobile Services
In part 4 of this series, Peter Laudati, Brian Hitney, and Andrew Duthie show us how to build the same game leaderboard service on top of Windows Azure Mobile Services. Tune in to learn how to get started and understand the advantages of using Azure Mobile Services for this kind of service.

TechNet Radio: Configuring Network Fabric in Virtual Machine Manager
In part 5 of the Building a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 SP1 series, Keith Mayer and Yung Chou show us how to configure network fabric in Microsoft. Watch as they demo how to architect our physical networks and bring them into Virtual Machine Manager, define the logical and VM networks, and then create and assign switches and gateways.

TechNet Radio: ITProGuru vs. Hyper-V Live, Part 2
Dan Stolts and Microsoft MVP Rob McShinsky are back for part 2 of their Hyper-V Live series, and in this episode they demo Live Storage Migration, Multiple Live Migrations and how to rapidly move multiple VMs at one time without interruption through Live Cluster Node Evacuations.

TechNet Radio: Virtualization Landscape in a Heterogeneous World
Dan Stolts welcomes Tony Asaro for an in-depth look at the virtualization landscape and the factors companies should consider when assessing their virtualization needs. Tune in for a discussion about Hyper-V vs. VMware, Live Migration, and Hyper-V Replica, plus how to manage virtualization solutions with Microsoft System Center 2012.

TechNet Radio: Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Matt Hester kicks off his eight-part Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) series. In this episode, he welcomes Chief Technical Evangelist for the Cloud Brian Prince to the show as they give us an overview of the Microsoft IaaS platform, also called Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Learn why developers and IT professionals should consider using this service, and how to create your own Azure Virtual Machine in minutes.

Windows 8: The App Development Opportunity
Jerry Nixon welcomes Niels Hilmar to the Windows 8 for the Enterprise show as they discuss the Windows 8 app development opportunity that is open for anyone who has a great idea for an app. Tune in as they discuss the first-mover advantage, as well as what tools and resources are available.

May 15: MBS Operations Presents Dynamics Hour
Each month, the Dynamics Hour offers partners the opportunity to hear Microsoft subject matter experts present an operational topic in depth. Register for the May 15 call or future operational training events, and watch past recordings on PartnerSource.

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.

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.

Business Intelligence in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2
This presentation provides you with an overview of the new BI capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2. Two demo scripts help demonstrate the new capabilities by showcasing how a CFO can gain instant business insights as well as how combining internal and external data can help lead to faster, smarter decisions.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Enterprise Academy: Level 300 Workshops
The Step 3: Level 300 Workshops consist of up to five days of in-person training and interactive sessions covering how to implement Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 in order to address specific customer business needs. The Service Industries Workshop starts May 13 in Redmond, Washington, and the Developer Workshop starts May 20 in Atlanta, Georgia.

May 28 – June 28: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Summer Institute
These workshops include on-demand, virtual, and in-person training that targets recent college hires. They are designed as a deep dive overview of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and will help these new hires at your company develop their knowledge and skills. Session 1: May 28–June 28; Session 2: June 28–August 2.

Featured training

Featured training

Build your technical and sales capabilities in messaging solutions, through training for Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Forefront.

Business Decision Makers

Silver Messaging Competency Requirements

Gold Messaging Competency Requirements

The New Exchange Overview: Work Smarter, Anywhere

Exchange Online Protection Overview

Messaging Learning Path

IT Professionals

The New Exchange Overview: Work Smarter, Anywhere

Exchange Online Protection Overview

Data Loss Prevention in Exchange

The New Exchange: Archiving and eDiscovery

Messaging Learning Path

Developers

Data Loss Prevention in Exchange

Exchange Online Protection Overview

The New Exchange Overview: Work Smarter, Anywhere

The New Exchange: Archiving and eDiscovery

Messaging Learning Path

Trainers

Messaging Learning Path

The New Exchange Overview: Work Smarter, Anywhere

Exchange Online Protection Overview

Silver Competency Requirements

Gold Competency Requirements