imageWelcome to this week’s issue of the US Partner News online! You’ll find the latest news and information for Microsoft partners here every Friday. Read previous issues at http://aka.ms/uspnewsletter. To subscribe by email to receive these weekly online issues, go to http://aka.ms/uspblog, and you’ll see this option under “Subscribe and follow” on the top right.

Top Stories

Offer Your Customers the SMB Advantage
Customers who make qualifying Microsoft Open and Microsoft Online Services purchases between September 3 and November 30 can earn partner subsidy funds, which they can use to purchase additional Microsoft software or associated services from eligible Microsoft partners.

CloudPartners_IDCGraphhicPartners Selling Cloud Solutions Experience Higher Profits and Faster Growth
An IDC study sponsored by Microsoft and released at the Worldwide Partner Conference reveals customer preferences for buying cloud solutions and the success of partner companies that have moved their business to the cloud.

Register Early for WPC 2014 and Save
Next year's Worldwide Partner Conference is in Washington, DC, July 13–17. For a limited time, you can register early for your all-access pass and get a special price of $1,695.

Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 General Availability in October
On the Blogging Windows blog, Brandon LeBlanc gives details about the general availability release of Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, coming in October. Download the preview.

The Next Releases of Windows Server, Microsoft System Center, and Windows Intune Are Coming in October
Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft System Center 2012 R2, and the next Windows Intune update will be available starting October 18. On the In the Cloud blog, Brad Anderson talks about these releases and recommends downloading the previews now.

imageConnect with a Cloud Distributor to Build Your Cloud Business
Work with a Microsoft authorized cloud distributor to build your cloud practice. Find out what D&H, Ingram Micro, Synnex, and Tech Data offer resellers through their respective programs and evaluate which distributor best meets your needs.

Windows Azure Benefit for MPN Members Offers Flexibility
Windows Azure credits are a benefit of your MPN membership. Members of the Microsoft Partner Network Cloud Essentials program receive monthly credits of $100 of Windows Azure at no charge. Activate yours today.

Take Control of Learning for Yourself and Your Company
New, interactive partner learning paths enable you to create, assign, and track training progress for individuals and teams. Learning paths are collections of training that help you build capabilities, increase Microsoft product knowledge, and earn Microsoft competencies.

New Mobility Campaign for SMBs: Business Anywhere Is the New Normal
People aren't tethered to the office anymore. Help your customers solve the challenges that come with a mobile workforce without tying up their IT staff or their dollars. In the Business Anywhere campaign from Ready-to-Go Marketing, you'll find discussion guides, customer-ready templates, copy blocks, sales tools, and more to help you talk to your customers about mobility.

imageNew Virtualization and Cloud Services Campaign for SMBs: Be Lean & Stay Lean
Technology trends are both informing and transforming the business landscape. Help your customers do more with what they have. Show them how they can trim costs but still scale when they need to with the Be Lean & Stay Lean campaign from Ready-to-Go Marketing.

Tweet Congress to Support a Stronger STEM Workforce
Encourage Congress to move forward with legislation to reform high-skilled immigration and create a national STEM education fund. With the House of Representatives back in session, you can urge legislation by using Voices for Innovation's Tweet Congress tool.

New Microsoft Dynamics AX Solutions Excellence Certification Program
The Microsoft Dynamics AX Solutions Excellence Certification Program will help you demonstrate your expertise at providing proven, high-quality Microsoft Dynamics AX implementations and distinguish your company and employees from competitors.

September 24: Microsoft Dynamics Hour Call with MBS Operations (PartnerSource)
During Microsoft Dynamics Hour, you have the opportunity to hear experts cover one or two operational topics in depth. At the next Dynamics Hour call, on September 24, you'll hear important updates about Microsoft SQL Server.

Congratulations to 2013 Microsoft Dynamics President's Club and Inner Circle Members
The Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle represents an elite group of Microsoft Dynamics partners whose sales achievements rank them in the top echelon of the Microsoft Dynamics global network of partners. Microsoft Dynamics President's Club honors high-performing Microsoft Dynamics partners whose commitment to customers is reflected in their business success and growth.

Content Marketing for Microsoft Dynamics Partners Made Easy and Powerful
Butterfly Publisher is a content marketing tool for Microsoft Dynamics partners that makes it easy to produce, find, and share content through blogs, social sites, and newsletters. Dynamics-related content is curated and ready to go in the Microsoft Library.

Resources

DisclosureGuide_contentsMicrosoft Partner Disclosure Guide: Competency Changes
Starting in January 2014, changes to the Microsoft competencies will include updated requirements to align with the availability of new Certification exams and assessments; the integration of exams for Office 365, Windows Intune, Windows Azure, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online into relevant competencies; and the introduction of new cloud, hosting, and application qualification tracks for relevant competencies. Read more about these changes in the downloadable disclosure guide.

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.

Microsoft Partner Network Disclosure Guide: Redesign of the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription
A new version of the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS) is coming later this year. It will be a universal subscription with resources and benefits for partners emphasizing Microsoft Cloud Services and serving small and mid-market customers. The new MAPS will include six resource centers, aligned to partner business models. Read more about the MAPS changes in the downloadable disclosure guide.

Statement of Direction for Microsoft Dynamics AX
The Statement of Direction document provides insight into our current Microsoft Dynamics AX development plans through 2015. Share this information within your own organization and with your customers and prospects to help them plan and maximize their Microsoft Dynamics AX investments.

imagePrepare for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Upgrade
With the release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 this fall, Microsoft will be providing customers with greater flexibility and choice in scheduling their upgrade. Review the information about the Customer-Driven Upgrade and work closely with your customers to help ensure that customizations, processes, and workflows continue to meet their expectations after they upgrade.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Services Bureau Special Offers (PartnerSource)
The Marketing Services Bureau (MSB) provides marketing offers that can help you implement end-to-end marketing campaigns, obtain customer lists, find consulting services, and more. And check out MSB for limited-time special offers for services like e-books, market research, and website search engine optimization (SEO) review.

Training and Certification

HotSheetCalendarSeptember Hot Sheet: Find and Register for Upcoming Training and Partner Calls
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. Subscribe to the US Partner Learning blog to receive the Hot Sheet as soon as it's published each month.

Earn or Retain Your Competencies with Savings on Microsoft Certification Exams
Increase your capabilities and earn or retain Microsoft Partner Network competencies by encouraging IT pros and developers at your company to earn Microsoft Certifications. Purchase discounted packs of eligible exams through December 31. Individuals have until May 31, 2014, to schedule and take their exams.

Save up to 50% on Microsoft Certification Exams
Earning a Microsoft Certification demonstrates your ability to design, deploy, and manage Microsoft products and technologies. These designations can also help your company differentiate itself by earning or updating Microsoft Partner Network competencies. Purchase your exam pack by December 31 and take your exams by May 31, 2014.

Administering Office 365 for Small Business Jump Start
Watch this one-and-a-half day, demo-rich Jump Start aimed at helping IT Pros administer Microsoft Office 365 for small and midsize businesses. Stephen Hall, CEO, District Computers, and Chris Oakman, Chief Infrastructure Officer, Eastridge Technology, delivered this new and updated version of their popular Microsoft Office 365 course for the newly released exam 74-325, Administering Office 365 for Small Business (a refresh of exam 74-324).

New Devices and Deployment Sales Specialist Competency Assessment
This assessment, for partner sales roles, tests knowledge of Devices and Deployment solutions. The Devices and Deployment learning path (MPN Competency > Core infrastructure > Devices and Deployment) provides you with a list of recommended courses to prepare for this assessment. A presales technical assessment will be released soon.

Cloud 1-2-3 Webcast Series
Build your cloud business by participating in this webcast series. The 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.

Drumbeat Sales Day at the Ignite Summit in Washington, DC, on November 4
Successfully selling Microsoft Office 365 requires a new way of approaching the sale. At Drumbeat Sales Day, specifically for Microsoft partners, we'll share Microsoft best practices, programs, and selling tools. We will also present insights about your opportunity in the cloud services market. This training is recommended for sales and presales technical roles.

imagePrepare for Server Platform Competency Exams with Discounted Practice Tests
Take a practice test for Server Platform exam 70-412 (Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services) or exam 70-417 (Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012) at a 40% discount.

Prepare for Data Platform Competency Exams with Discounted Practice Tests
Take a practice test for exam 70-462 (Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases) or exam 70-463 (Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012) at a 40% discount.

Demo2Win! and Discovery2Win! Workshops for Microsoft Dynamics Partners
Demo2Win! and Discovery2Win! workshops offer a systematic approach to building your sales competency as a part of the process of selling solutions. They are recommended curriculum for the Presales Technical Specialist accreditation for both CRM and ERP.

September 18–20 in Fargo, North Dakota: Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Airlift 2013
Airlift sessions feature role-focused content for presales consultants, developers, and implementation consultants. Attendees at the Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Airlift will have get a preview of the new features and functionality of Dynamics GP, months before others will get to see them.

October 20 in Tampa, Florida: Partner-Readiness Activities for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
As part of this fall's Partner Connections Event in Tampa, Florida, get hands-on, in-person training for the next release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 (code-named Orion).

November 3–6 in Anaheim, California: eXtremeCRM 2013
Microsoft is proud to be the corporate sponsor for this event again. eXtremeCRM is where Microsoft Dynamics CRM partners come together to build relationships, gain knowledge, and understand current and future technologies.

imageFebruary 3–5 in Bellevue, Washington: Microsoft Dynamics AX Technical Conference
Attend the Technical Conference to stay up-to-date on capabilities in the next release, and to connect and interact with the Microsoft Dynamics AX product team. Experts from the Microsoft SharePoint, Office, BizTalk, and Visual Studio teams will also be there. Note that this is a change from the original November dates of this conference.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Technical Training On Demand
Watch these on-demand webcasts for a comprehensive technical overview of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. Recommended roles for these webcasts are application consultants, presales consultants, and developers.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Sales Training On Demand
Watch these on-demand webcasts for a comprehensive sales and marketing overview of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. Recommended roles for these webcasts are sales management and professionals and marketing management and professionals.

imageCalendar Through September 20

This list is a sampling of upcoming partner calls, training, and events for the next two weeks. Refer to the September Hot Sheet for a comprehensive list for the next six weeks that’s frequently updated, and look for the October Hot Sheet during the week of September 16.

September 10—September Security Bulletin release

September 11—September Security Bulletin webcast

September 12—Cloud 1-2-3 Webcast: Driving Demand for Your Cloud Practice

September 12—Ignite Webcast: SharePoint Online Administration

September 13—East Region SMB partner call

September 13—Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Jump Start

September 16—Bridge the Talent Gap: Exam 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012

September 16—Bridge the Talent Gap: Exam 70-243: Administering and Deploying System Center 2012

September 19—Cloud 1-2-3 Webcast: Office 365 Deployment Migration and Management Best Practices

September 20—Chalk Talk: SharePoint Server (Wave 15)

September 20—Central Region SMB partner call

September 20—West Region SMB partner call

Featured Video

Watch this video, recorded during a WPC 2013 session, about how to get the most out of your Microsoft Partner Network technical support benefits. On the MPN portal, information and resources on this topic are in the Support section.

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