Microsoft continues to evolve its partner program and will be rolling out a new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program. This change reflects the vast transition of business operations to the cloud, and Microsoft plans to support its partners in the future.
Microsoft is terminating its Silver and Gold competencies, achievements that partners could earn to help differentiate their businesses to customers beyond a baseline partner network membership status.
The CRM Team Head of Delivery Operations Bertha Musanhu says Microsoft is simplifying its partner programs with solutions partner designations, anchored on the Microsoft Cloud in six solution areas aligned to how Microsoft goes to market.
“By attaining these designations, you can demonstrate your organization’s capabilities in delivering customer success in the solution areas. That’s valuable for you because it’s where we see customer demand, and where the opportunity is for partners to scale to meet customer needs,”
The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program will be open to Microsoft’s current partners including managed services providers, resellers, systems integrators, independent software vendors (ISVs) and device partners.
However, Microsoft is changing the way it categorizes its partners to signal their cloud capabilities and experience. Microsoft will have six solution areas that partners can specialize in. Solutions Partner is the first new partner qualifying level.
The new partner program opens the opportunity to grow and develop as a Microsoft Partner. This model provides two qualifying levels: solutions partner and specialist/expert. The partner designations will be aligned to the six Microsoft Cloud solution areas including:
- Data & AI (Azure)
- Infrastructure (Azure)
- Digital & App Innovation (Azure)
- Business Applications
- Modern Work
Musanhu says a new partner capability score will rank partners’ performance and technical skills based on their certifications, new customers, successful implementations and overall growth.
“Microsoft’s new program will be mainly focused on several different areas: Azure data and AI, Azure infrastructure, Azure digital and app innovation, business applications, modern work, and security,”
Microsoft continues to invest in its partner ecosystem and continues to grow its Azure cloud offerings. These changes to the partner program certainly reflect their cloud-first approach. The new program introduces three levels of competency for partners who demonstrate expertise in the various Azure offerings. This partner status will solidify their authority as Microsoft experts.