​This is it, partners! It’s showcase time. Award nominations open Monday, March 5, 2012 at 12 PM PST.

 
I think the most exciting part of the Worldwide Partner Conference is Awards – this is when YOU get to shine.
 
Why?
 
We bring the products to the marketplace, but YOU make them into amazing and meaningful solutions for customers around the world.
 
To get you started, I want to share the five things you need to know and do for Awards this year:
 
1)      Review the categories and descriptions. 
We want you to showcase your best work and, by spending time thoughtfully reviewing the categories, you can select your best case study to improve your opportunity to be the highlighted winner. Ultimately, you want to submit for the award that is best tailored for your company.
 
2)      Be aware of many new categories we’ve added for 2012.
There are dozens of categories, including some new ones that were added as a result of your suggestions. We’re excited to continuously shape the Awards program based on your input.
 
New awards include:
    • Citizenship:
      • Youth Programs
      • Humanitarian Response
      • Innovative NGO Building 
    • Cloud Partner of the Year
    • Intune Partner of the Year
    • Microsoft Office 365 Innovation Partner of the Year
    • Messaging Partner of the Year
    • Services Partner of the Year
    • Support Partner of the Year
 
3)      Award recognition sets you apart and customers take notice.
Not only is this about being recognized by Microsoft executives and peers, but accolades such as winning a Microsoft partner award can generate awareness of your company to customers. In a highly competitive world, this can make a difference.
 
4)      Awards Nominating opens today, Monday, March 5, at 12 PM PST.
Once you’ve done your research, pulled together your information, and prepared to submit your entry, you’ll start the process here.
 
5)      Mark your calendar for the deadline, the Awards Nominating process closes on Sunday, April 15 at 11:59 PM PDT. 
Especially for U.S. partners, this is a busy tax period, and I suggest submitting your entries soonest, so that you can prioritize between this important activity and the tax activities for your business.
I hope you’re as fired up for Awards this year as we are. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments area below, and I can work with the Awards team to turn around prompt answers for you.
 
Good luck!
 
– Kat​