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The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program Part 3

Tuesday, July 26, 2022
Reading time: 6 minutes

“Where there is a will, there is a way.”
―J. R. R. Tolkien

The changes made to the Microsoft Partner Program are a big challenge for many partners – a new change, another innovation after the recent introduction of the NCE (New Commerce Experience). And I agree with all the critics, it’s quite a lot, but remember the world as a whole doesn’t stop and wait for us to sort ourselves out either. However, we can determine the pace at which we respond to these changes. Determine for yourself the pace at which you approach each step – the important thing is to accept and understand that we cannot end or fundamentally change this journey. We can only determine our own approach. We all desire to continue to be active in the Microsoft environment and to advise our customers in the best possible way. Therefore, in addition to the desire, we need the will to at least deal with the upcoming innovations.

In the last two publications of this blog series, we have looked at the fundamental nature of the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program as well as the different solution areas to be achieved, with which you can show your know-how.

In this third publication of my blog series, I would like to share with you the details of the Performance “Partner Capability Score” (PCS) so you can have a closer look. Our common goal is to attain the “Solution Partner” qualification level and thus demonstrate our competence to the outside world. We can reach this qualification level via points. These points, in turn, are measured using the PCS.

To obtain the Solutions Partner status, a total of at least 70 points are required, with at least one point always being achieved in each measurement category (Performance, Skilling, Customer Success).

The focus today should be the first PCS “Performance”, and what exactly is being considered here? The Performance category measures your ability to grow your customer base. The most important key figure here is “net customer adds”. Points are awarded for the number of customers added in the last 12 months. There are different thresholds / measurement criteria for each of the six solution areas.

At this point I would like to point out that the following information is subject to changes by Microsoft – especially with regards to PCS, a few details will most likely change until the launch in October!

At Solutions Partner for Business Applications, a “net customer add” is defined by the number of qualifying workloads added to a customer base. So it’s not a new customer per se that counts, it’s how you manage the different workloads of your customers that counts. A workload is translated as a Subscription or a subscription for a solution – e.g. a Subscription for 10 users of Dynamics 365 Sales is one workload. Another workload would be if you book a subscription with the same customer with Power Apps. My recommendation would therefore be to open up to the various subject areas in the business applications sector and to offer your customers, in addition to e.g. Dynamics 365 Sales, an offer for the Power Platform. On the one hand, this gives you a broader base with your customers because you address different issues, but on the other hand you also increase your sales and thus create new earning opportunities and ideally have more “workloads” that can count for the PCS.

In the Western Europe environment as a whole, we are in the so-called Larger Market. With the net customer adds we can therefore earn a maximum of 15 points here. Each workload that meets the defined criteria earns you one point. The big question now is: What are the criteria for a workload to count? The criteria state that a subscription must be active to count. Moreover, the revenue you add to a workload as a partner must be greater than 0 EUR. Furthermore, all active subscriptions for the same product line (workload) that meet the previous two criteria must collectively exceed at least $1,500 per month for a Customer Add to count. The current values are compared with the values from 12 months ago.

If we look at the three Solutions Partners for Azure – Solutions Partner for Data and AI, Solutions Partner for Infrastructure and Solutions Partner for Digital and App Innovation – Azure Services are used for the “Performance” PCS evaluatedThere are 30 points to be earned for each of the three Solutions Partner areas. Each qualifying customer subscription counts for 10 points – so a total of three “net customer adds” must be achieved to receive the full number of points. A qualifying customer is a customer for whom the Azure consumed revenue (ACR) is at least USD 1,000 in at least one of the last two months. If a customer falls below this value for two months in a row, he is considered a lost customer and is deducted from the number of customers gained.

The assessment of “net customer adds” at the Solutions Partner for Security evaluates new customers in Azure Security and Microsoft 365. In total, there are 20 points to be achieved in this area for the “Performance” PCS. For Azure Security, a monthly revenue of at least 100 USD ACR must have been achieved for the last 12 months – however, only revenue from defined products such as e.g. Azure Defender and Network Security. For Microsoft 365, the number of users for Azure Active Directory Premium, Microsoft Defender for Office 365, Microsoft Defender for Endpoints, Microsoft Defender for Identity, Microsoft Information Protection, and Intune products will be scored. A customer is considered qualified for this if they have had at least 25 paid users in the last month.

Each new customer is awarded 2 points, so that a maximum of 10 customers can be taken into account to reach 20 points.

For the Solutions Partner for Modern Work, there is a small distinction in the evaluation criteria. Microsoft introduces two different paths with criteria here for the first time. Once the Enterprise path and the SMB path are fixed – depending on which customer target group you specialize in and where they collect the most points, the path with the highest points is then taken into account.

In both the Enterprise and SMB paths, there are a total of 20 points to be earned – in Enterprise you can reach them with 5 Customer Adds whereas you will need 10 Customer Adds in the SMB path to achieve these points. In the enterprise environment, are taken into account all subscriptions that are included in the key figure Paid Available Units (PAU) which have more than 300 users. So, I guess this can be interpreted as more than 300 users with Intune, EXO, ProPlus, SPO, Teams, Teams Meetings, Teams Phone Calling, Teams Platform or Yammer products. For the SMB path, all PAUs between 10 and 300 are considered. So, all new subscriptions with a number of users between 10 and 300 with Intune, Exchange, ProPlus, Sharepoint, Teams, Teams Calling, Teams Meetings, Teams Phone, Teams Platform and Yammer products.

In summary, there are quite a few abbreviations, quite a few numbers and quite a few rules. But, we as Companial still inform our partners about this! If you are already part of the Companial family and have any questions on this topic, please feel free to contact your Partner Account Manager at any time. For those who are not yet Companial Membership Partners: Don’t worry, that can be changed – Contact us!

Companial is here to guide you through the details, tactics, and readiness required to acquire Microsoft Solution Partner designation with our Fast Track to Microsoft Cloud Partner Program.

Martina Plathe