The Microsoft Partner Network is now the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, where we prioritize the cloud to ensure our customers’ future success. Digital transformation and acceleration are imperative, and the Cloud Partner Program is invested in partner success, recognizing that technical capabilities—and our strategy—is evolving to exceed customer needs.
The Cloud Partner Program remains a place for all partners – whether they build and sell services, software solutions, or devices – aligned with the core solutions and technologies required to grow their own environments, migrate to the cloud and deliver success for their own customers.
Find below the most essential information and relevant resources to prepare you for the transition.
Introducing solutions partner designations
Microsoft is streamlining the existing 19 competencies into six solutions partner designations that are aligned to the Microsoft Cloud. By attaining these designations, you’ll demonstrate your organization’s capabilities in delivering customer success in the solution areas. Here is a breakdown
For more information about the details of each Solution area please click in the icons below
This unique new single-level will combine the current Silver and Gold levels. If you have Silver or Gold competencies, you will have time to learn more and evaluate how the solutions partner designation fits into the strategic plan for your business. There will also be an option for partners with legacy competencies to retain the associated benefits.
Learn more about the Solution Partner Designations and how legacy competencies map to them by downloading the guide here.
Solutions Areas: Partner Levels
To help customers better understand a partner’s capabilities, two rating levels have been created on top of the base membership:
The Solution Partner level is a qualification based on the fulfilment of specific requirements across what it’s called the partner capability score (see below) for each solution area. Success is measured by performance, skilling, and customer success.
Specializations (currently called advanced specializations) and expert programs will continue to be a way to further differentiate your organization, demonstrating your deep technical expertise and experience in specific technical scenarios aligned to the solutions areas.
Learn more about advanced specializations, their benefits, and unique requirements on the Microsoft Partner Specialization page and on the Partner Center page. To apply for these specializations and check their status, follow this guide.
Customers want to know how to find partners with both exceptional technical capabilities, knowledge, and a proven history of delivering innovative solutions that lead to customer success.
The Solutions Partner designation has a holistic framework, the Partner Capability Score (PCS), which measures performance, skilling, and customer success. So, it’s not just what you know, it’s how you apply that knowledge to what you do for customers every day.
To attain a Solutions Partner designation, you will need to earn a minimum of 70 points (with points in each category and sub-category) out of the possible 100 points that are available.
Each of the three categories has metrics with different ratings and criteria. When partners meet the threshold for a metric, they will receive the maximum weighted points for that metric. On the other hand, they will get partial points for any progress on that metric.
You can track your progress towards earning a Solutions Partner designation by signing into Partner Center.
For more information about the partner capability score for each Solution Area please click on the icons below.
To support you as you grow your business, go to market, and reach more customers, Microsoft has updated benefits and aligned them across the six solutions partner designations.
Realize business development
With product benefits such as product licenses, cloud services subscriptions and Azure credits
Increase customer reach
With go-to market services, Microsoft solution provider placement, customer-facing badges, and co-selling with Microsoft
Expand training and Enablement
With access to personalized assistance and world-class Microsoft experts, including comprehensive courses, technical presales, and deployment services, as well as product, platform and technical support.
When you attain a solutions partner designation, you’re eligible to receive the new benefits package associated with that designation. This includes product benefits (internal usage rights IURs, cloud licenses, and Azure credits), go-to-market services, customer-facing badges, technical presales and deployment services, technical support, and eligibility to earn incentives.
We’re also introducing additional product benefits aligned to specializations (currently called advanced specializations) and expert programs, further increasing the value for partners that choose to invest in demonstrating deep technical expertise and experience in specific technical scenarios aligned to the solution areas.
To help you to understand the updated benefits, download here the Solutions Partner Benefits Guide.
You may also choose to keep the benefits associated with your legacy competencies until they expire and not adopt the new solutions partner benefits.
PROGRAM IMPORTANT DATES
Microsoft understands that these updates may require you to adjust your business plans, and remind you that these changes aren’t immediate. Here you can find the key dates and summary actions of the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program:
September 30, 2022
October 3, 2022
- Solutions partner designations are available to attain.
- Partners will need to meet the required partner capability score to attain solutions partner designations.
- No further competency renewals will be processed.
- Benefits associated with legacy competencies continue through the partners’ next anniversary date.
PROGRAM USEFUL RESOURCES
The best resource to track your progress toward attaining a solution partner designation and associate benefits is the clear Partner dashboard available in the Microsoft Partner Center.
As explained in the Partner Center guide and in the video above, the process for accessing the portal is the following:
- Sign in to the Partner Center dashboard
- Select the Membership workspace
- Select ‘Overview’ under ‘Solutions Partner’ on the navigation menu.
- Select View details for any of the solution area cards on the page or select any solution area of interest on the navigation menu.
As well, as described in the Solutions Areas: Partner Levels section above, the Dashboard can be used as well for applying for specializations and checking their status.
Voice of Partner Sentiment Survey
Please leverage this survey to share your direct feedback with Microsoft Voice of Partner Sentiment Survey. Every other month you can find a summary on all of your feedback sent including what the response is and how to take action on it.
Advanced Support from Microsoft
See how our team of Partner Success Account Managers can support you further in your transition: Microsoft Advanced Support for Partners
Solutions Partner associations playbook
This playbook reviews how to use Digital Partner of Record (DPOR), Claiming Partner of Record (CPOR), Partner Admin Link (PAL), Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) for partner associations
Partner associations are the sole mechanism by which customer success, performance and skilling category points are acknowledged and calculated towards achieving solutions partner designation(s). Without these associations in place, partner capability score points are not recognized.
For each of the association processes, the playbook contains information and graphics on how each process works, the benefits for using it, types of associations, a how-to section, a FAQ and links for additional resources.
|Solution Partner Associations Playbook|
How is Microsoft simplifying the Microsoft Partner Network programs?
We are simplifying our partner programs focused on differentiating services solution capabilities, to meet customer’s needs and introducing the solutions partner designation, anchored on the Microsoft Cloud in six solution areas aligned to how Microsoft goes to market: Data & AI (Azure), Infrastructure (Azure), Digital & App Innovation (Azure), Business Applications, Modern Work and Security. This new model provides two qualifying levels: solutions partner and specialist/expert.
When will these changes happen?
From September 30, 2022, legacy competencies and associated badging will no longer be valid, although if you have a competency by that date, you will retain your benefits. Starting on October 3, 2022, Solutions Partner designations will be available for partners to attain.
Will I lose my existing benefits as a result of these changes?
No. As part of these changes, we are not removing the benefits you receive today that are aligned to competencies already attained. We will introduce new benefits aligned to the solutions partner designations, and partners that attain the new designations will have a choice of whether to move to the new benefits or keep their legacy benefits.
Who do I contact for assistance?
If something doesn’t appear to be reported correctly on the Solutions Partner dashboard, please log a ticket with Support at https://partner.microsoft.com/support.
For more information on the evolution of the program, download here the Overview deck: Explore details about the program guide.
In this downloadable PDF you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions.