Microsoft have announced today a series of updates and changes to their Partner Program, kicking in from October 2022. There’s a LOT of into to go through but below contains a lot of the key changes and an overview of how some of the new elements will work.
It is now known as the “Microsoft Cloud Partner Program” and, according to Microsoft, this “ better reflects the enormous and ongoing transition of business operations to the cloud, and how Microsoft intends to support partners in the future” and “aligns…partners’ go-to-market motions with the way customers buy today“.
From competencies to designations
The various (19) competencies that Microsoft partners have long worked to attain are now “legacy” and have been replaced by 6 “Solutions partner designations”:
- Solutions partner for Infrastructure (Azure)
- Solutions partner for Data & AI (Azure)
- Solutions partner for Digital & App Innovation (Azure)
- Solutions partner for Modern Work
- Solutions partner for Security
- Solutions partner for Business Applications
They map across from legacy to new as follows:
How do they work?
Partners will need to earn at least 70 points, from a potential total of 100.
- Performance: Measured by net customer adds.
- Skilling: Verifies and demonstrates your dedication to skilling and training. Points are awarded for each person on your team with specified certifications.
- Customer success: Measured by usage growth and number of successful deployments.
A Modern Work example
The Solutions partner for Modern Work is split into SMB & Enterprise tracks.
A customer add of 300+ seats = 4 points and partners can accrue 20 points in this manner – so a total of 5 customers.
Customers must be between 10 & 300 seats and each one = 2 points. Again there is a cap of 20 points, this time equating to 10 customers.
This section is divided into Intermediate & Advanced certifications, the applicable certifications are:
- Microsoft 365 Fundamentals
- Managing Modern Desktops
- Microsoft 365 Certified: Messaging Administrator Associate
- Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams administrator associate
- Microsoft 365 Certified: Developer Associate
This area is also divided into 2 categories – Usage Growth & Deployments. The calculations for points are slightly less than straightforward as this example from Microsoft demonstrates:
If you have 2000 MAU growth from DPOR associations over the past 12 months and 1500 MAU growth from CPOR associations, then this is the way the scoring is decided for the Usage growth metric.
DPOR based growth = 2000 MAU DPOR based points = (actual growth / Threshold growth level) * max points = 2000/4000 * 30 = 15
CPOR based growth = 1500 MAU CPOR based points = (actual growth / Threshold growth level) * max points = 1500/1000 * 30 = 45
Usage growth net score = 30 ~ higher of 15 and 45 from above, for up to a maximum of 30
A similar calculation is used for the deployment metric:
Each new qualifying CPOR deployment gets 5 points OR each new qualifying DPOR deployment gets 2.5 points, whichever aggregates to higher points, for up to a maximum of 25 points.
For example, if you have four net new deployments from DPOR associations over the past 12 months and 3 from CPOR associations, the scoring is decided for Deployments metric as follows:
DPOR based growth = 4 DPOR based points = (actual growth / Threshold growth level) * max points = 4/10 * 25 = 10 points
CPOR based growth = 2 MAU CPOR based points = (actual growth / Threshold growth level) * max points = 3/5 * 25 = 15 points
**Deployments net score = 15** ~ higher of 15 and 10 from above, for up to a maximum of 30
See the full Modern Work details here – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/partner-center/pci-modern-work
As well as the receiving licensing of on-premises software such as SQL Server, Windows Server, and System Center, qualifying partners will also receive allowances of:
- Windows 365
- Microsoft Viva
- Project & Visio Online
- Windows IoT
Timeline of changes
Overall this seems like the next step in Microsoft’s long-term plan to keep moving partners towards being more service based around cloud technologies. This was the case the 7+ years ago and is still where they want their partner base to go – offering as many cloud technologies as possible and providing the services to ensure customers get the best results.
This will likely cause plenty of upset and confusion among partners but, ultimately, how much difference it will actually make remains to be seen. Usually, the bigger the partner the more able the are to absorb and adapt to these new initiatives – we’ll see if this is any different.