Welcome 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.

Top Stories

imageUpdated Program Guide Now Available
The disclosure guide is your source of the latest information about the changes planned for the Microsoft Partner Network. It has been updated to reflect the new timeline for program updates that we announced in November. Several changes take effect in February 2014. Download and use the guide to understand what those changes are and how they may affect your company.

Microsoft Health Users Group Innovation Awards 2014
If your company is an ISV or system integrator that created an innovative, Microsoft-based solution for a healthcare organization this year, consider working with your customer to submit it as an entry for the Microsoft Health Users Group Innovation Awards 2014. Submissions are being accepted through 5:00PM on Monday, January 27.

imageAct Now: Prepare Your Customers for the End of Windows XP Support
The Get Modern with Windows 8.1 and Office Ready-to-Go Marketing Campaign equips you with email templates and offer information to help make the case for why your customers need to upgrade. Use the materials in the Get2Modern with Windows 8.1 and Office campaign to help you talk to your customers and prospects about Windows 8.1 and Office 365.

CityNext_WPC2014sweepsEngage 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.

New From Ready-to-Go Marketing: Windows Azure Campaign – Tools for Selling to SMBs
Use the new Windows Azure campaign to help support your integrated marketing efforts and drive more sales of Windows Azure solutions. 

Prepare for the January Security Bulletin
The next security bulletin release is on Tuesday, January 14. Review the December 2013 security updates, which cover Internet Explorer, Microsoft Developer Tools, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Lync, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Server software, and Windows. You can watch the December webcast on demand, and register for the next webcast, on January 15.

January 16: Learn About Various Virtualization Platforms at the Virtualization Technology Users Group Conference
It’s an increasingly multi-hypervisor world. Nearly two-thirds of businesses use more than one virtualization platform. At the Winter Warmer conference by the Virtualization Technology User Group, you can learn about the different platforms in one place. The free, one-day conference close to Boston offers keynotes and hands-on labs on virtualization solutions by Microsoft and others, as well as networking with over 1,500 attendees.

Resources

Revamped Microsoft Action Pack Subscription Coming February 2014
The new Action Pack subscription will be more flexible, providing content and training organized and optimized for specific partner business models like hosting, application development, custom services, managed services, reselling, and device design and development. Your internal-use software licenses will be expanded to include cloud services like Office 365, Windows Intune, Windows Azure, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. Download the new disclosure guide for details.

Close Deals with Help from Technical Presales Assistance
Partners who have attained a silver or gold competency receive unlimited presales advisory support for any deal worth $3,000 or more. For deals worth less than $3,000, you can access Technical Presales Assistance by phone using your allotted partner advisory hours or through the Partner Support Community.

Get Your Free Digital Marketing Assessment: Microsoft Skyrocket Service
Your online presence (really) matters, and it’s good to know where you stand relative to your peers. The Microsoft Skyrocket service is offering you a free digital marketing assessment to help you increase your website discoverability and lower customer acquisition costs.

Monthly partner callUS SMB Regional Partner Calls for January
Join your local team for their monthly SMB partner call. These calls cover sales, technology, and marketing information and resources for resellers that serve SMB customers. 

Training and Certification

January 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.

Cloud OS Training Sweepstakes: Transform the Data Center 
Complete this hands-on immersion training to learn how Windows Server, System Center and Windows Azure work together to transform the data center. For each module you’ll complete, you’ll be entered into our sweepstakes. Open only to authorized representatives of companies enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network with a valid MPN ID who are legal residents of the US, age 18 and older. Limit 20 entries per person. Official rules.

SMB Partners: Increase Your Profitability with Windows Server 2012 R2
The technology landscape for small and medium businesses is changing, and we can help you be ready for it. Take advantage of the growing opportunities in virtualization, disaster recovery, and affordable storage by attending this webcast series. These live webcasts cover both deep technical content and sales strategies.

PresalesTechnicalSpecialist_graphicEnds December 31: Presales Technical Professionals – Demonstrate Your Expertise, Enter Our Sweepstakes
If you are a Presales Technical Professional with knowledge about Lync, Exchange, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Windows 8, Office 365, Windows Server, and/or System Center, you're invited to demonstrate your expertise and enter our sweepstakes. Pass a qualifying Presales Technical Specialist Accreditation assessment before December 31, and you'll earn a sweepstakes entry.

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.

Ends December 31: Sales Professionals – Demonstrate Your Product Knowledge, Enter Our Sweepstakes
If you are on the front lines with customers explaining the features and benefits of Microsoft products and technologies, consider becoming a Sales Specialist by passing an accreditation assessment. Through December 31, passing a qualifying assessment earns you an entry 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.

Connect Your Microsoft Certification to Your Company’s MPN Membership
Connect your Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live ID) to your company’s Microsoft Partner Network profile to ensure your certification is applied to requirements, and to take advantage of membership benefits like no-cost and low-cost training and technical resources like product support and advisory services.

MS_rgb_Dynamics_Blu288_stackMicrosoft Dynamics Partners Training Schedule
Over the next few months, there are several virtual and in-person opportunities to increase your knowledge of Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics ERP. We also cover upcoming Microsoft Dynamics training in the US Partner Training Hot Sheet.

January 9: Cloud 1-2-3 Webcast – Showcase the Value of Office 365, Generate Leads, and Accelerate Sales Through MEC Demo
Sell the value of Office 365 using the language of business professionals with the help of MEC Demo. MEC Demo is an Office 365-based, push-button demo environment and associated script that arms you with easy-to-use, proven tools to sell the value of the cloud. In this Cloud 1-2-3 webcast, you’ll learn about this demo program, the registration process, and best practices to apply this tool and get results. You can watch the previous Cloud 1-2-3 webcasts on demand.

imageCalendar Through January 17

December 31 – Last day to save on MPN Competency Exam Vouchers

December 31 – Last day to take eligible Sales accreditation assessments for a sweepstakes entry

December 31 – Last day to take eligible Presales Technical accreditation assessments for a sweepstakes entry

December 31 – Last day to save up to $2,000 on your booth presence at TechEd 2014

January 7 – Samurai Server Webcast: Tech Dive – Why Pay More to Virtualize (Hyper-V vs. VMWare)

January 9 – Cloud 1-2-3 Webcast: Showcase the Value of Office 365, Generate Leads, and Accelerate Sales Through MEC Demo

January 9 – Last day to save $300 on your Convergence 2014 registration

January 10 – East Region SMB Partner Call

January 13 – Business Intelligence Practice Accelerator (download the datasheet)

January 14 – SharePoint Practice Accelerator (download the datasheet)

January 14 – Samurai Server Webcast: Selling Affordable Disaster Recovery Solutions with Windows Server 2012 R2

January 14 – January Security Bulletin release

January 15 – January Security Bulletin webcast

January 15 – Countdown2Modern Webcast: Why Upgrade Customers to Windows 8.1 and a Modern Desktop

January 16 – Office 365 Practice Accelerator (download the datasheet)

January 16 – Virtualization Technology Users Group Conference

January 17 – Central Region SMB Partner Call

January 17 – West Region SMB Partner Call

Featured Video

Watch this video from the Microsoft Server and Cloud team and learn about the new opportunities you have to help customers transform their data centers and take advantage of the many possibilities the cloud offers their businesses.

image