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.

To stay in touch with me and connect with other partners and Microsoft sales, marketing, and product experts, join our US Partner Community on Yammer and choose how you want to stay informed.

Top stories

Jenni%20Flinders%202010%2001_jpgThe Microsoft Channel: Technology’s Melting Pot
Microsoft US Channel Chief, Jenni Flinders, talks about the value of diversity in the workplace and particularly in the technology industry. You can participate in a conversation about diversity with Jenni and other members of the US Partner Community in our People for Innovation group on Yammer.

Get Started with the New Intelligent Systems Competency
The Windows Embedded Partner Program is now part of the Microsoft Partner Network. If you are building intelligent systems solutions today, or are interested in capitalizing on the opportunity with the Internet of Things—a market that is quickly gaining momentum—follow this guidance from the Windows Embedded team to get trained and earn the new Intelligent Systems competency.

imageFinalize and Submit Your 2014 Partner of the Year Award Nomination – Submissions Due April 11
You have fewer than three weeks to polish your Partner of the Year award nomination and complete your submission in the Awards tool. Winning an award positions your company for new business opportunities, generates positive press coverage, and can lead to greater market recognition. The tool will close at 11:59PM Pacific Time on Friday, April 11.

Give Your Feedback About Microsoft Licensing Content
The Microsoft Worldwide Licensing and Pricing Team is reviewing and evaluating the partner-ready content they provide to streamline and simplify it. You are invited to take their short survey and give your perspective about current content and what you would like to see when content is updated. The survey is open until March 28.

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Be Rewarded and Save with Training and Certification Offers
Whether you’re preparing for a Microsoft Certification exam, gathering best practices to help improve your company’s time to market for deployments, or just interested in deepening your technical knowledge about Microsoft products and technologies, take advantage of these offers. 

Windows Intune Webcast Series
Join the Windows Intune team for a webcast series that covers product, sales, and technical information about the unified PC and mobile device management solution for businesses. Windows Intune lets you manage PCs and mobile devices from the cloud, enabling people to use the devices they choose to access applications and data while following corporate policies.

How Customer Preference is Changing with Cloud and Altering Engagement
We believe that by 2016 45% of IT budgets will be devoted to IT cloud initiatives with 15% being devoted to public cloud. This shift in spending is accompanied by a shift in customer needs as well as changes in the way we engage with customers. By understanding what is driving these shifts in customer needs, you can improve how you position yourself as a trusted advisor and the selected solution provider.

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Meet Search Marketing Experts at Bing Ads Connect
Come to one of these four in-person events to engage with search marketing experts and learn about your opportunities with Bing Ads. If you have an Action Pack subscription, your benefits include Bing Ads credits that you and your customers can use to market products, services and solutions. Come learn how to put them to work.

Resources

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A Guide to Renewing Your MPN Competency
Keep your valuable competency benefits like access to Microsoft Services offerings, internal-use software, a customized competency logo, and marketplace exposure through Microsoft Pinpoint. Plan your next competency renewal with our step-by-step guidance.

Get Resources Aligned to Your Business Needs in the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription
The Microsoft Action Pack subscription is for Microsoft Partner Network members that do not have a competency, but want to build their Microsoft practice. Benefits include access to Microsoft software and online services to run your business, rights to world-class developer tools, resources aligned to your business needs, and more.

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March 27: Windows Azure ISV Partner YamJam, Featuring Alert Logic
In our monthly YamJams, we are inviting Windows Azure ISVs to share information about their Azure-powered apps as a way to help you discover new solutions for your customers and identify new partnership opportunities. Join us on Yammer to meet Jonathan Norman from our ISV partner, Alert Logic. Jonathan will “Yam” about Alert Logic Log Manager, security and compliance log management for Windows Azure or on-premises environments to search, correlate, alert, and report.

Ready-to-Go Marketing: Help Customers Say Goodbye to Windows XP and Upgrade by April 8
The Get Modern with Windows 8.1 and Office campaign, from Ready-to-Go Marketing, provides you with resources that will help you prepare for conversations with your customers and explain the benefits of modernizing their businesses by moving to current versions of Windows, Office, and Exchange. You'll help customers increase productivity, access information anywhere, and stay secure while positioning yourself as their trusted advisor.

Peter Han’s Blog: Windows 8.1 Devices – Critical Care for the Healthcare Industry
Healthcare—with its demanding, complex requirements for high system security, compliance with government regulations, clean environments, portability, and usability—is an industry especially poised to tackle daily challenges through technology innovation. Find out how OEMs and their Windows 8.1 devices are revolutionizing how healthcare providers do business.

Training and certification

Stay informed about training opportunities that align to your business, role, and Microsoft Partner Network membership.

HotSheet_03202014April 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.

Training Spotlight: Selling Windows 8.1 Devices to Commercial Customers
Windows 8.1 Enterprise provides IT professionals with a reliable and manageable infrastructure for today’s changing and increasingly mobile work styles. It’s the fastest and most secure OS from Microsoft for desktop, laptop, or tablet. There are new training resources available for both sales professionals and IT professionals to understand how Windows 8.1 benefits enterprise customers.

Connect Your Microsoft Certifications to Your Company's MPN Membership
Microsoft Certified Professionals should connect their Microsoft accounts (formerly Windows Live ID) to your company's Microsoft Partner Network profile. This helps ensure your Microsoft Certification is recognized in your company’s MPN membership and applied to competency requirements. You will also be able to take advantage of training benefits and technical resources like product support and advisory services.

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March 29: Global Windows Azure Boot Camp
Sign up for a one day deep dive class that will help you get up to speed on developing Cloud Computing Applications for Windows Azure. In addition to this great learning opportunity the hands on labs will feature pooling a huge global compute farm to perform diabetes research. Join the conversation with #GWAB.

Cloud OS Training Sweepstakes Ends March 31
Our Data Insights and Data Center Immersion trainings will give you a technical understanding of how Windows Server, Microsoft System Center, Microsoft SharePoint, and Windows Azure work together. And when you complete the self-assessments at the end of the training modules by March 31, you will be entered to win great prizes like Dr. Dre Beats Pill Speakers or Surface Pro 2 tablets. 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.

8 Weeks of Windows 8 – Enter to Win a Cool Device
Pass a Windows assessment and be entered to win a Dell Venue 8 Pro, a Toshiba Encore, or a Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Multimode Table PC. Weekly and grand prize drawings. Contest ends April 13. Open to US resident employees of OEM Reseller partners who are 18 or older. Weekly entry periods are Monday through Sunday. Download the official rules.

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Icing on the Cake: Increase Your Customer Wins and Retention, Plus Earn a Chance to Win
Microsoft Practice Accelerator equips partners with a detailed, reusable framework for the solutions you deploy. Each person from your company who attends a Practice Accelerator in March will be entered into the Accelerate Your Learning Sweepstakes for a chance to win a $1,000 American Express gift card. Open only to authorized reps of companies actively enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Network. Game ends March 31. For details, including free alternate method of entry, see Official Rules.

Featured video

Watch this video for an overview of the Microsoft Action Pack subscription and how it can help you build your Microsoft practice.

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Calendar through April 4

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