imageWelcome to this week’s issue of the US Partner News Online! Each week, we’ll bring you the latest news and information for Microsoft partners. You can read previous weeks’ issues at http://aka.ms/uspnewsletter. If you’d like to see the next post in your email inbox, go to http://aka.ms/uspblog and enter your email address under “Subscribe and follow” on the right hand side.

There will not be a post next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. The next post will be on December 6.

Top Stories

imageGood Traction. Great Partners—the Latest from Microsoft Channel Chief Phil Sorgen
Phil Sorgen is traveling the world to learn more about your businesses and how Microsoft can help you achieve your business goals in this highly competitive, rapidly evolving industry.

New ISV Community Resource Page
ISVs in the Microsoft Partner Network now have a source of information about the resources and support available to them to learn about and capitalize on the Microsoft platform opportunity.  Check out the page, share it with your colleagues, and bookmark it for future reference—you'll find new, themed content each month.

imageDecember 3 live webcast: Ahead of the Game with Microsoft
You and your customers are invited to join us on December 3 for a free, one-hour, online event about Microsoft Virtualization and cloud services. You’ll hear from Microsoft executives and experts who will talk about the features and benefits of Windows Server, Hyper-V, Windows Intune, and Windows Azure. Guest speakers from customers and partners that are deploying these products will talk about the value that solutions based on these products bring to their businesses.

IAMCPDecember 9 in Scottsdale, Arizona: Get ROI on Your Microsoft Relationship (IAMCP)
Join the IAMCP at the Microsoft Store in Scottsdale for the first membership meeting of this reinvigorated local chapter and find out how you can maximize your relationship with Microsoft.

General Availability of Azure Active Directory and Traffic Manager, and Preview of Azure Active Directory Premium
This week, the Windows Azure team announced the general availability and preview of several services that help developers better integrate applications, manage identity and enhance load balancing.

Jenni%20Flinders%202010%2001_jpgArt and Science of Partnerships: The Power of Communities Helping Communities
In her latest post, US Channel Chief, Jenni Flinders, talks about the power of businesses incorporating giving back to their local communities into their corporate culture.

Resources to Sell Business Intelligence Solutions to SMB Customers
There's a major opportunity for partners to sell business intelligence solutions to SMBs. With functionality built in to familiar tools like Microsoft Excel 2013 and SharePoint, you have a complete platform for helping SMBs gain insight from their data. And you have the unique flexibility to deliver solutions for your customers’ needs, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

Engage in CityNext and Help Cities Transform, Engage, and Accelerate
CityNext helps you work with city leaders to transform infrastructures, engage citizens, and accelerate economic opportunities. Find out what your opportunity is and how you can get involved by downloading the CityNext presentation. Engage in CityNext by February 28 and be entered into a sweepstakes to win an all access pass for WPC 2014 in Washington, DC. No purchase necessary. Open only to authorized reps of partners actively enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network with a silver or gold competency, and 18+ years old. Game ends February 28, 2014. Winners must pay all travel and meal costs to attend WPC 2014. Official rules in the appendix of the CityNext presentation.

What’s New at Convergence 2014 – March 4-7 in Atlanta, Georgia
This year offers a revised agenda that begins right away with the opening keynote, and concludes with time to wrap up and transition your conference experience back to your home base. We’re also offering attendees the opportunity to come a bit early to participate in offsite community outreach events, promising you a rewarding and enriching experience at the start of your time in Atlanta. Your conference investment will pay off if you come early, stay late, and don’t miss a minute of the event.

Resources

imageSavings of Up to 50% on MPN Competency Exam Vouchers End December 31
Your MPN competency indicates to customers that you are an expert with specific Microsoft products and technologies, and that you hold Microsoft credentials necessary to support the mission-critical IT solutions. Your MPN membership requires your team to stay current on Microsoft technologies and pass certification exams. Enjoy savings on MPN Competency certification exam vouchers through December 31. Your team will have until May 31, 2014 (or until your competency renewal date) to use the vouchers.

imageHyper-V Surge Promotion Ends November 30
Deploy Windows Server Standard or Windows Server Datacenter with Hyper-V and earn up to 20 percent on Hyper-V deployment and a total of 25 percent with Software Assurance. Don’t forget to claim your additional subsidy for the Windows Server Standard or Windows Server Datacenter product through the Open License tab. Offer details and terms/conditions.

SMB Advantage Offer Ends November 30
Customers who make qualifying Microsoft Open and Microsoft Online Services purchases between September 3 and November 30 can earn partner subsidy funds, and utilize them with their choice of eligible Microsoft partner to purchase additional Microsoft software or associated services. With SMB Advantage, you benefit from cross-sell and upsell opportunities, and can establish your role with customers as a trusted advisor.

Yammer Enterprise Now Part of Office 365 Internal Use Rights for Cloud Essentials, Cloud Accelerate Members
If you are a member of Cloud Essentials or Cloud Accelerate, Yammer Enterprise is now part of the Office 365 internal use rights. The benefit is being rolled out now through the end of November for existing cloud partners. You can visit the Office 365 Administration Portal (in the “service overview” tab under “included service”) to check if Yammer is available for your account and activate it.

Lync 2013 Ignite Training on Channel 9
The Lync 2013 Ignite series is a collection of on-demand courses that will give you the critical information you need to successfully deploy and support Lync 2013.

Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for November 2013
The November 2013 security updates cover Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, and Windows. You can watch the November webcast on demand, and register for the next webcast, on December 11. The next security bulletin release is on Tuesday, December 10.

Training and Certification

HotSheet_112013December 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.

Demonstrate Your Sales Knowledge and Enter for a Chance to Win Up to $1,000
Sales and presales technical professionals who pass qualifying assessments through December 31 can earn entries to our sweepstakes. No purchase necessary. Open only to authorized representatives of companies actively enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network who are US residents (including Washington, DC), age 18 years and older. Game ends December 31. Official rules.

Earn a Microsoft Presales Technical Specialist Accreditation, Enter for a Chance to Win Amazon Gift Cards
When you pass a qualifying Presales Technical Specialist assessment, you can also enter for a chance to win an Amazon gift card. Sweepstakes ends December 29. No purchase necessary. Open only to authorized representatives of companies in the Microsoft Partner Network. Official rules.

December 3: Mission Critical Performance with SQL Server 2014
​Get in on a technical preview of the new Mission Critical features of SQL Server 2014, led by the team of Microsoft experts who own the features. Find out how SQL Server 2014 can help you improve performance speed by 10–30 times, using the same hardware you have today—and improve reliability at the same time.

December 4: Platform for Hybrid Cloud with SQL Server 2014
IT Pros are invited to learn about the benefits of moving an organization to the cloud, and how that can provide cost benefits at the same time as increasing scale and flexibility. Microsoft experts will show you how to make that move one step at a time, using SQL Server 2014 to create a hybrid environment.

December 5: New Cloud 1-2-3 Webcast – Fast Track Your Microsoft Office 365 Sales with New Resources from Microsoft
Accelerate the time to get your customers piloting, deploying, and using Microsoft Office 365 with the Microsoft Fast Track methodology. Deploying a cloud service is unlike a traditional client-server deployment project and requires new skills and methodologies. With Office 365, you can get customer IT departments get up and running quickly with a pilot and move to production with the right set of capabilities.

Open Call for Chalk Talk Topics
Are there topics you would like the Microsoft Partner Technical Services team cover in an upcoming Chalk Talk? Chalk Talks are webinars in which Microsoft support experts give a short, technical presentation and then open up the floor for your questions. Give your feedback directly to the team through our Yammer conversation. Instructions to join our Yammer network here.

Webcast Series: Sales Acceleration Strategies for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partners Webcast Series
Register for these webcasts and learn how you can accelerate your Dynamics CRM sales cycle while building long-lasting and profitable customer relationships.

January 14 – March 13: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Virtual Foundation Training
In response to requests from Microsoft Dynamics partners, this course is being delivered virtually so you can maximize customer billing and limit your travel expenses, while receiving a rich and well supported learning experience for CRM consultants and staff members. The virtual training program is delivered over 18 evening sessions and is designed for new or existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Consultants to help build knowledge about Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.

imageCalendar Through December 13

This list is a sampling of upcoming partner calls, training, and events. Refer to the December Hot Sheet for a comprehensive list for the next several weeks that's frequently updated.