The new Microsoft Cloud Partner Network: how can MSP clients benefit?
In March of 2022, Microsoft announced they would be updating their Partner Network Programme, moving away from the Bronze/Silver/Gold ranking towards a capability focused system. As a longstanding guarantee of quality, the overhaul of the Microsoft Partner System will undoubtably be confusing to MSP clients. What do capability certifications mean, and how can they similarly guarantee top-quality products and services?
Today we examine the newly remodelled ‘Microsoft Cloud Partner Programme’, and investigate how you can identify a reliable and highly-skilled Managed Services Partner to fulfil your business’ IT needs.
What is the Microsoft Cloud Partner Programme?
Before delving into the pros and cons of the remodelled scheme, it’s essential to first explain its aims and purpose. Under a different name, the original Microsoft Partner Programme was launched in 1992, aiming to certify solutions providers in the provision of Microsoft services and products. This scheme evolved over time, to become the much-recognised Partner Network.
Now, the newly renamed Microsoft Cloud Partner Programme still allows Microsoft Service Providers to demonstrate expertise in MS Solutions, but it also aims to unite and develop a number of its Cloud Solutions under a single umbrella. This has been done primarily to simplify channel programs across the three clouds of Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Azure. With relation to this new focus, the programme is now centred around 6 Cloud based designation areas:
- Data & AI (Azure)
- Infrastructure (Azure)
- Digital & App Innovation (Azure)
- Business Applications
- Modern Work
How are Partners graded and certified?
Following the elimination of the Bronze/Silver/Gold ranking, partners are now required to differentiate themselves within the 6 designation areas. If a partner is able to demonstrate competency in a designation, they then qualify as a solutions partner. Solutions partners become a part of the global Microsoft Network, gaining access to a specialist hub of people, resources, and offerings - designed to develop partner offerings. MSPs are provided with everything they need to build and deliver successful solutions to clients, with the help of exclusive resources, programs, and tools.
Within the framework, Microsoft Partners can qualify at 2 levels, as either solutions partner or specialist/expert. Partners are required to gain their initial solutions partner status, before demonstrating additional expertise in order to be certified as an expert Microsoft Solutions Partner - the levels are differentiated as such;
- Solutions Partner: specific requirements are met across the partner capability score, and partners will need to earn of a capability score of at least 70 across 4 measurements areas.
- Expert: partners are able to differentiate their businesses through the demonstration of deep technical expertise and experience in specific technical scenarios under each solution area.
How does the network benefit my business?
So, what do the changes mean for MSP clients? And how can businesses ensure they’re receiving the best in Microsoft Solutions and Services? Well, the scoring and certification process used within the Cloud Partner framework enables partners 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 further development, if they wish to enhance their partnership level in the future.
When engaging with an MSP within the Cloud Network, clients know they are engaging with managed IT partners who have invested heavily in training and developing their team, funnelling resources into Microsoft specialisation training and certification.
As a longstanding Microsoft Gold Partner, at Fitzrovia IT we are now recertifying in a number of Microsoft Designations - transferring previously certified competencies into the new framework. Thanks to the resources of the Microsoft Network, our Microsoft specialists have continued to develop within the specialist designations over the past few years, ensuring our clients receive the best in Microsoft Solutions, especially regards to Microsoft Cloud products.
As we believe in the importance of in-house development, we’ve trained our team in Microsoft services and solutions, and offer our clients the best in Microsoft specialists. Having been Microsoft Certified Partners for over two decades, we have remained at the forefront of technology, whilst building upon tried and tested solutions.
If you want to find out more about our Microsoft Partner status, and the specialist MS services we offer, contact our team today.