Below are all the items we published in this week’s U.S. partner newsletter, delivered to U.S.-based members of the Microsoft Partner Network earlier today. If you feel that the version you received in email, targeted to you according to your company’s partner profile and your role at your company, is missing something critical from this superset, please let me know by commenting here or sending me an e-mail (partnerQ@microsoft.com).

In this post, you will find four sections of content:

  • Local Recommendations – Our U.S. East, Central, and West Regions can help you close business, and share their favorite resources.
  • Partner News – Information about Partner Network membership and partner-related campaigns, promotions, and opportunities.
  • Training Recommendations – Links to the latest training opportunities (many of them low-cost and no-cost).
  • Role-Based Training – Our recommendations about a specific product or topic; this week: Microsoft System Center 2012 + Systems Management, and Microsoft Visual Studio.

For more partner news, resources, and recommendations, visit us on the U.S. partner portal and Virtual Partner Concierge, and join the U.S. Partner Community on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Cheers,

Diane Golshan
Sr. Marketing Manager, U.S. Partner Team
Learn more about what I do at Microsoft.



Local Recommendations

As we approach the end of 2011, here are our recommendations to help you close deals this year and prepare for a great 2012. Happy Holidays!

Partner News

December 6: Interactive Leadership Forum for Microsoft Partners
Join Jon Roskill, the Corporate Vice President for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, and his leadership team for an interactive, live webcast about the Microsoft Partner Network.

December 8: Digital Marketing Competency Community Call
On the second Tuesday of each month, join the Digital Marketing competency community call to hear from Microsoft SharePoint experts about resources, tools, and best practices to help you close more business. For December, we will feature SharePoint Conference 2011 highlights. You do not need to have attained the Digital Marketing competency to participate. Follow the hashtag #MSLGF on Twitter for more community news.

Be Recognized by Potential Customers as a Microsoft Learning Partner
We are running a campaign on MSN.com through December 31 that will prompt customers seeking training on Microsoft products and technologies to look for the Microsoft Learning partner logo. When you display the logo, customers will recognize your expertise and be encouraged to take advantage of your training services.

Resources for Partners Serving Education, Government, or Healthcare Customers
The Microsoft U.S. Public Sector partner team wants to help you develop your public sector-related practice, and offers industry-specific sales, marketing, and training resources that can help you reach new customers, drive velocity with current customers, or build a new line of business. We also encourage you to update your organization's profile in the Partner Membership Center to help us identify you as a partner serving these customers.

Prepare for the December 2011 Microsoft Security Bulletin
As part of our usual cycle of updates, the next security bulletin release is scheduled for December 13. On the Security TechCenter, you can register for the December security bulletin webcast, sign up for notifications, and more.

Serving Small Business? Like You, We Believe in Local
The Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC) offers benefits—like online technical aid and marketing assistance—to help you support small businesses in your area through the use of Microsoft products and technologies.

December 14: Small Business Specialist Monthly Webinar
Technology has transformed small businesses—allowing them to achieve big ambitions. Join us for the December SBSC webinar, where we'll discuss topics targeted to helping you realize your goals with exciting new Microsoft products and technologies.

The Big Easy Offer 7 Ends December 31
With the Big Easy Offer, customers choose from a variety of popular Microsoft products, including Windows 7, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Lync, Microsoft Online Services, and developer tools, while receiving money back on qualifying purchases that can be used toward additional software, hardware, or services from you.

Earn Ongoing Referral Fees with Windows Intune
Help your customers get started with Windows Intune by initiating a no-cost, 30-day trial or placing an order on their behalf. Use our sales resources to explain the value Intune offers them. In addition, the Windows Intune 3for5 Offer provides eligible partners with $500 for each of their first three qualifying customer orders of Windows Intune.

Download the Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 RC0 enables a cloud-ready information platform that will help organizations unlock breakthrough insights. At the download page, you will find notes about new features, plus documentation. Take advantage of training opportunities. %%[ endif ]%% %%[ if ProgramRole == "Partner Business Decision Maker" OR ProgramRole == "Partner Sales" OR ProgramRole == "Partner Marketing" then ]%%

Follow Our Journey to WPC 2012
The 2012 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference will be held in Toronto, Canada from July 8-12. The U.S. Partner Team has already begun planning, and recently visited Toronto to get acquainted with our host city. Read about our trip and then stay informed with our regular posts. Follow the hashtag #WPC12 on Twitter to join the conversation.

December 13: Unlock Your Business Potential Virtual Event
Invite your customers to this online webcast so they can learn what is coming in Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and discuss Microsoft Dynamics and Windows Azure. Learn how Microsoft can help reduce costs and increase ROI on mission-critical applications while innovating with new technology.

Microsoft Dynamics Campaigns Now Available through Ready–to–Go Marketing
The Ready-to-Go Marketing site is now your destination for Microsoft Dynamics marketing campaigns, including the Microsoft Dynamics ERP Campaign, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online + Office 365, and Don't Get Forced.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM November 2011 Service Update
The November 2011 service update brings integrated social collaboration capabilities to customers and a unified Microsoft Office 365 experience and enhancements to enterprises using Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the cloud.

Make the Most of Convergence 2012
Convergence, coming to Houston, TX in March, is a proven revenue generator and a prime opportunity to drive sales and close deals. By attending with your customers, you offer real business value by helping them better realize the benefits of extending Microsoft Dynamics-based solutions across their business.

Microsoft Dynamics ERP Holiday Season User Offer
Now is a great time to connect with your customers and talk to them about expanding the use of their ERP solution in their organizations. Through December 22, existing Microsoft Dynamics GP, SL, and NAV customers can purchase additional user licenses for up to 20% off.

Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step 2012
The primary focus is guidance for the Dynamics AX 2012 release and new content for Dynamics CRM 2011, both Online and On-Premises. Download Sure Step 2012 or use the Sure Step Online version for the latest tools, templates, and content.

Internet Explorer 9 Sweepstakes Offers a Chance to Win an ASUS Slate Tablet
Through December 31, new and existing users of Internet Explorer 9 can enter the Internet Explorer 9 Sweepstakes for a chance to win an ASUS Slate Tablet and other prizes. Read the Official Rules for eligibility and full details.

Help Your Customers Increase Productivity by Upgrading Their PCs
Combining the Windows 7 Professional operating system and Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010, the Business PC campaign from Ready-to-Go Marketing offers your customers powerful new tools to help them increase productivity.

See How Sovran Saves Time with Ready-to-Go Marketing.
Microsoft partner Sovran has only a two-person marketing department, but with Ready-to-Go Marketing it has a much larger presence. Learn how Sovran uses Ready-to-Go so effectively in this video case study.

Visio Services Demo Content Pack
The Visio Services in Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and Microsoft Office 365 can help you upsell SharePoint eCALs in addition to Visio Pro and Premium licenses. The Visio 2010 Demo content pack provides a set of three virtual machines you can use to evaluate and demonstrate these capabilities.

Training Recommendations

Partner Training Sweepstakes Brings More Chances to Win in December
Take any of our featured Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Windows Small Business Server 2011, Microsoft Office 365, or Windows Azure courses and be entered to win in the Partner Training Sweepstakes. You will earn a prize entry for each sales or technical course you attend, and there are courses for every job role.

New Windows Azure Sales and Technical Courses
Deepen your knowledge of the Windows Azure Platform by taking one of these recently released online courses for Sales, Developer, and Architect roles.

December 14 Webcast: Compete to Win – The All-Up Cloud Story
Strengthen your cloud knowledge with more strategic clarity. Join moderator Ulises Aguilar for an interview with representatives from Microsoft Office 365, Windows Azure, Microsoft Hyper-V, and more.

Stay Relevant in Today's Job Market
Stay competitive in today's tech industry with skills that transfer from the classroom to the workplace. Microsoft Official Courses from Microsoft Learning partners are the authorized source to teach the technical skills essential for success.

January 11: New Jump Start for Microsoft Server Virtualization Exam 70-659
Hosted by Microsoft Learning, this accelerated Jump Start is tailored for experienced IT professionals who are familiar with Microsoft server technologies, Hyper-V, Virtual Machine Manager, and Remote Desktop Role Services. Your $99 registration fee includes an exam voucher.

Expand Your Microsoft Office 365 Skills with Power Start Workshops
Offered by Partner Services, these workshops provide a technical overview and can help you prepare to perform migrations and deployments. Each workshop can be taken individually for the cost of one Advisory Hour, a benefit of your company's membership in the Microsoft Partner Network.

Competency Exam Pack Discounts End December 31
Prepare your team to pass competency exams with exclusive training offers of up to 40% off. Exam vouchers may be used by any individual in your organization and must be taken no later than May 31, 2012.

Role-Based Training for System Center 2012 + System Management and Microsoft Visual Studio

Training for Business Decision Makers
Microsoft System Center 2012 and Systems Management

Microsoft Visual Studio

Training for IT Professionals
Microsoft System Center 2012 and Systems Management

Microsoft Visual Studio

Training for Developers
Microsoft System Center 2012 and Systems Management

Microsoft Visual Studio

Training for Sales and Marketing Roles
Microsoft System Center 2012 and Systems Management

Microsoft Visual Studio

Training for Training Roles
Microsoft System Center 2012 and Systems Management

Microsoft Visual Studio