Microsoft Cloud Partner Program: What Should Partners Expect?

Apurva Pathak | July 20, 2022 | 501 views | Read Time : 05:00 min

Microsoft Cloud Partner Program
Microsoft Partner Network is now the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program. As a part of this transition, Microsoft recently announced massive changes to its partner programs. The company will roll out new competencies and incentives later this year.

If you are an existing Microsoft cloud partner, here are the things you should expect:

The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program

In the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, Microsoft brings three clouds: Microsoft 365, Azure, and Dynamics 365 under one umbrella. To qualify for the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, partners need to meet two criteria: specializations and solutions partner designations. The legacy incentives will be phased out by October 1, 2023. The channel partners should consider their options before this date. Partners should finalize mergers, acquisitions, and strategic partnerships to avoid any negative impact.

Solutions-based Partner Designations

Microsoft partners will need to differentiate themselves in at least one of six solution areas to earn a solutions partner designation. This designation will highlight a partner's expertise to potential customers and qualify them for relevant benefits and incentives. Additionally, partners will need to renew their competencies once the program takes effect in October. Three metrics: performance, skills, and customer success will help calculate a partner’s eligibility for the solutions partner designation.

Partner Specializations

Attaining a specialization can help partners improve their technical expertise. Partners must maintain certain certifications to validate their specializations.

Benefits and Incentives

After September 30, 2023, incentives and product benefits will roll out based on the solutions partner designations. After the launch of the new partner program, partners with legacy incentives will have two options:
  • Achieve a solutions partner designation: Partners will have to meet the necessary criteria for a designation after October 3 to become eligible for incentives.
  • Buy a legacy benefits package: If a partner’s legacy competencies have been renewed before September 30, they can keep their incentives up to October 3, after which they will expire.

It is important to note that partners cannot choose both options.

Wrapping It Up

These announcements may confuse some partners, but Microsoft has made available plenty of resources, such as webinars, to help its partners navigate the transformation smoothly.

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