Microsoft Overhauls Partner Programme – UC Today

Microsoft has overhauled its partner programme, scrapping its existing partner competencies and Microsoft Partner Network branding in the process.

From October 2022, the programme will be known as the Microsoft Cloud Program, with partner accreditations aligned to six areas of the vendor’s portfolio:

  • Data & AI (Azure)
  • Infrastructure (Azure)
  • Digital & App Innovation (Azure)
  • Business Applications
  • Modern Work
  • Security

The tiering of partners will also change, with partners given different levels of accreditation based on a new ‘partner capability score’. Partners hitting a score of 70 or more out of 100 across will be labelled “solutions partners” in the six proficiency areas.

The assessed areas are:

  • Performance: net customer adds
  • Skilling: intermediate certifications; advanced certifications
  • Customer success: usage growth; deployments

Beyond the solutions partner status, partners can shoot for specialisation and expert programmes, which will give them badges in specific areas of the six categories listed above.

Rodney Clark, Corporate Vice President of Channel Sales at Microsoft, said:

“This deep relationship between Microsoft and our partners spans more than 30 years, and in that time frame our partners have provided unique solutions across numerous industries, helping countless customers succeed in an ever-changing world.

“They especially have played a pivotal role in helping businesses adapt amidst the pandemic.

“As things continue to change and evolve, we are committed to investing in and delivering what partners need to innovate, grow their businesses and deliver on the promise of digital transformation for customers across organisations and industries.”

Microsoft said that, along with the changes, it will be investing more in the channel’s success. Partners will be able to renew their existing benefits and also access a new package of benefits.

Internal use rights licences will remain, albeit branded as “Product Benefits”.

Microsoft added that partner incentive eligibility will remain the same in the 12-month period running from October 2022.

All Change

The partner programme refresh is one of several channel-focused changes announced by Microsoft over recent months.

Price rises announced last year will see the cost of certain Microsoft 365 prices rise by as much as 25 percent. These rises were delayed slightly by Microsoft at the start of the month.

A further hike of 20 percent for subscriptions billed monthly, rather than annually, will also come into force in June.

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