imageWelcome to this week’s issue of the US Partner News! Thank you for your feedback about the first issue, published last week, of this refreshed approach to delivering relevant, partner-related news and information. You’ll now find the US Partner News each Friday. You can come directly to just the newsletter posts by using http://aka.ms/uspnewsletter, and you can subscribe to receive all the latest blog posts with your email address (go to http://aka.ms/uspblog, and you’ll see this option under “Subscribe and follow,” on the right).

Top stories

New Microsoft Office 365 SKUs Available Through Open
Starting September 1, new SKUs for Microsoft Office 365 will be available to customers through channel partners selling Open. This expansion of SKUs in the Open channel means more of your customers, including Academic and Government customers, have increased flexibility and choice in moving some or all of their business to the cloud.

imageMicrosoft CityNext: Deliver Innovative Solutions that Transform Cities
CityNext helps you work with city leaders to transform infrastructures, engage citizens, and accelerate economic opportunities. Learn about your opportunity to participate in this initiative.

The Windows 8 Partner Opportunity
Nearly 30 percent of small and mid-market customers worldwide still have portions or all of their company running Windows XP. Helping these customers move off Windows XP and onto a modern operating system is one of four partner opportunities Erwin Visser talks about in a recent Windows for Your Business blog post.

imageExhibitor and Sponsorship Opportunities for SharePoint Conference 2014
Secure your spot now to exhibit your Microsoft SharePoint solutions at SPC 2014, in Las Vegas from March 3–6. For marketing and promotional opportunities, you must first purchase booth space.

 

BacktoSchool_Green_150x161Back to School Training Sweepstakes
Enter to win a $120 Amazon gift card when you take featured Microsoft Lync, Windows 8, or Windows Azure training. You will automatically receive an entry into the drawing for each course you complete from our list of eligible courses. Sweepstakes ends October 4. Official rules.

Microsoft Dynamics User Group Conferences in October
​The independent user groups for Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Dynamics GP, and Microsoft Dynamics NAV are hosting their annual conferences in Tampa, Florida the week of October 21. These conference offer a wealth of practical ideas, collaborative learning, in-depth knowledge sharing, and networking opportunities.

Offer Your Customers a Microsoft ERP Test Drive
A business solution from Microsoft is more affordable than most people think. It replace an overworked and undersized accounting system, offer a faster track to growth, and a better way to handle financial management, supply chain management, business intelligence, and reporting.

Resources

How to Align Your Company’s Positioning and Branding with Microsoft
In this post, you’ll find guidance and resources for how to talk about your relationship with Microsoft; explain how your products and solutions are based on, or work with, Microsoft products and technologies; and showcase the Microsoft expertise your company has.

imageMigrate Your Customers to the Modern Desktop     
The end of support for Windows XP and Office 2003, on April 8, 2014, is quickly approaching. Customers that don’t complete a migration to current versions will put their businesses at risk. We’ve curated a list of resources to help you start the conversation with your enterprise and SMB customers.

Microsoft Partner Network Disclosure Guide – Cloud Integration Announcement
Starting January 2014, Microsoft cloud-related partner offerings will be fully integrated into the Microsoft Partner Network competencies and the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription. A new cloud track will be introduced into applicable competencies, there will be updated requirements, and on June 30, 2014, the cloud programs (Cloud Essentials, Cloud Accelerate, Cloud Deployment, and Windows Azure Circle) will be retired.

imageThe Most Powerful (and Underused) Marketing Program for Microsoft Partners
In this Marketing Matters article on Redmond Channel Partner magazine, Barb Levisay talks about Microsoft Community Connections, a program that helps you position your company as an expert in Microsoft technologies with local businesses.

Training

August Hot Sheet – Find and Register for Upcoming Training 
The Hot Sheet is a frequently updated schedule of live virtual and in-person training and informational calls that are coming in the next few weeks.

Bridging the Talent Gap Trainings Provide an Alternative to Full-Day Certification Prep Courses 
If full-day courses to prepare for Microsoft Certification exams are not an option for the technical professionals at your company, consider this alternative. These virtual courses are delivered by an instructor two hours daily, Monday–Thursday, over four weeks. Upcoming offerings cover Windows Server 2012 (exam 70-411); System Center (exam 70-243); SQL Server (exams 70-462 and 70-463).

Increase Your Windows Server 2012 Knowledge for a Chance to Win a Surface Pro
Watch Windows Server 2012 on-demand webcasts, through August 31, and be entered into a random drawing to win a Surface Pro in our sweepstakes. For each session you watch you’ll earn one more entry, with a potential of earning eight entries per partner. Contest ends August 31. Official rules.

Cloud 1-2-3 Webcast Series: Sales, Marketing, and Technical Content to Build Your Practice
This lineup of presentations includes sales, marketing, and technical content that will help you understand the cloud opportunity and Microsoft cloud solutions, drive demand and close sales, and increase your migration and deployment expertise.

imageCalendar through August 23

This list provides a sampling of upcoming partner calls, training, and events for the next two weeks. Refer to the Hot Sheet for a comprehensive list for the next six weeks that’s frequently updated.

August 13 – Security Bulletin Release for August

August 13 – Cloud 1-2-3: Showcase the Power of Office and Office 365 to Your Customers

August 14 – Security Bulletin Webcast for August

August 15 – Cloud 1-2-3: Jumpstart Your Office 365 Practice (Part 1)

August 16 – Central Region call for SMB resellers

August 16 – West Region call for SMB resellers

August 19 – Exam Prep Course for System Center Configuration Manager certification (through September 12)

August 19 – Practice Accelerator for Windows 8 (Flexible Workstyle) 

August 22 – Cloud 1-2-3: Jumpstart Your Office 365 Practice (Part 2)

Featured video

Watch this video by Microsoft partner, US Licensing Group, to learn how they use Microsoft Community Connections to establish their technology expertise for local small businesses. 

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