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In March of this year, Microsoft announced that they would be giving the Microsoft Partner Programme a significant overhaul in October. With the change date rapidly approaching, today we delve into the ins and outs of the revised programme.
The first of many changes to be announced, was a change in programme name - Microsoft are rebranding the scheme from the “Microsoft Partner Network” to the “Microsoft Cloud Partner Program.” As the Partner Programme is comprised of more than 400,000 global organisations, a large number of UK businesses who are tied into the network will need to adapt to maintain affiliation. Keep reading to find out more about what this means for your business!
What is the Microsoft Partner Programme?
As described by Microsoft, the Partner Network is a hub of people, resources, and offerings brought together to give MSPs everything they need to build and deliver successful solutions to clients. The was designed to allow MSPs to provide exceptional MS solutions to clients, through the use of exclusive resources, programs, and tools.
All enterprises within the Partner Network agree to collaborate and establish a close working relationship with Microsoft, guaranteeing they will adopt and evolve Microsoft Technologies for the benefit of themselves and their clients. At Fitzrovia IT we have maintained a Microsoft Gold partnership over the years, a partnership that has allowed us to assure our clients of continuous innovation, increased expertise and skill acquisition.
Whilst the core tenets and principles of the programme remain unchanged, it’s important to understand how the infrastructure of affiliation will change, and how this will affect partnered businesses and their clients.
How is the programme changing?
As highlighted, the programme is moving towards a more cloud-based focus, with the key goals of the Partner Programme altering to reflect cloud innovation and client needs. Microsoft will continue to align with all partners in the system, however there will be an increased focus on business proficiency in six solution areas tied to the MS Cloud:
- Data & AI (Azure)
- Infrastructure (Azure)
- Digital & App Innovation (Azure)
- Business Applications
- Modern Work
With increased MSP focus on these areas, MSP clients will receive cutting-edge services in the world of cloud-based technologies. As Microsoft moves to reflect a wider desire for cloud solutions, MS partners will continue to evolve, adapt and innovate such solutions in order to remain affiliated and at the forefront of the industry.
Microsoft have also revealed that they have chosen to focus on three major commitments in the network overhaul; strengthening digital capability; deepening partner technical capabilities; and streamlining engagement between Microsoft and MS partners. Such commitments highlight why Microsoft have chosen to focus on the six outlined solution areas, as greater cloud understanding and usage will undoubtably enhance business and technical capability.
A final area that partner businesses need to focus on, is the revised success rubric used to rate partner capability. Microsoft are now offering two qualifying levels of partnership:
- The solutions partner - specific requirements are met across the partner capability score.
- Specialisations and expert programs - partners are able to differentiate their businesses through the demonstration of deep technical expertise and experience in specific technical scenarios under each solution area.
To attain a solutions partner designation, Microsoft highlight that ‘partners will need to earn a partner capability score of at least 70 points (out of an available 100 points) across the four measurement areas’. This score allows businesses to validate their demonstrable capability, technical understanding, and proven solutions innovation to prospective and current clients. The score also allows partners to highlight areas for development, if they wish to enhance their partnership level.
What does Microsoft affiliation mean for business?
If your business is looking to engage the services of an MSP, it’s essential to look for MS partnered organisations. This will ensure you are receiving the services of an enterprise who has demonstrated its capabilities in delivering customer success in MS solution areas, having been recognised as an expert skill provider in the area.
The alterations to the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program will allow new and existing clients to review prospective MSP partners in even more depth. With the focus shifted towards advanced specialisations, you’ll be able to partner with an MSP that truly caters to your needs.
As a Microsoft Partnered MSP, Fitzrovia IT has proven its specialisation in numerous MS solution areas. Our expert team continue to utilise MS partner resources to develop, learn and innovate in-house.
If you want to find out more about partnering with our MS affiliated organisation, or discover more about the upcoming changes to partner programme, then don’t hesitate to contact our team today.
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