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The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program Part 4

Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Reading time: 7 minutes
Updated: Monday, September 26, 2022

„Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.“
J.R.R. Tolkien

This wisdom applies not only in “The Lord of the Rings”, but also in all of our everyday lives. It all depends on everyone and everything. Only together can we find solutions and answers. Only together can we achieve goals, and to this effect, every employee has their word to say.

In the context of the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, too, everyone counts. Especially in the area of Skilling, which focuses on the expertise of your employees and their certification exams.

Depending on the Solutions Partner status you are aiming for, different certifications are relevant or different know-how is expected from your employees. Depending on the desired focus, a distinction is made here between “Intermediate certifications” and “Advanced certifications” which you can achieve points with. The following diagram shows the distribution of points. It is important to note that in order to qualify for Solutions Partner status, you must always score at least one point in each of the five categories (Net customer adds, Intermediate Certs, Advanced Certs, Usage Growth and Deployments). Consequently, there must equally be at least one person who achieves an “Advanced Certificate”.

Now let us take a look at where each Solutions Partner focuses their certifications and how points are awarded in each case.

For the Solutions Partner for Business Applications, a distinction must once again be made between “Larger Markets and Other Markets” for the Skilling measurement point. In the DACH environment, we are in the Larger Markets. Therefore, the following information is geared towards these goals. In order to achieve the full score of 20 for the Solutions Partner for Business Applications in the area of Intermediate Certifications, it is necessary to certify 20 people. Here, one point is awarded for each certified person – regardless of whether this person takes 1 or 5 certifications. Intermediate certifications focus on the functional Consultant exams and you can choose between exams for the different Dynamics 365 Apps. Dynamics 365 Finance Functional Consultant, Dynamics 365 Sales Functional Consultant, Dynamics 365 Business Central Functional Consultant etc., but also Power Platform App Maker or Data Analyst are exams that are scored.

Regarding the Advanced Certifications, the focus is on architects in the area of Business Applications. Exams such as Dynamics 365 + Power Platform Solution Architect is one of the three exams with which, as things stand, points can be achieved. In addition, it is irrelevant how many exams a person takes as this is counted per person. A certification in the area of Advanced Certs awards 2.14 points. With the maximum number of 7 certified persons, you can therefore achieve a maximum of 15 points.

In the Solutions Partner for Modern Work, a distinction is made between Enterprise and SMB Market, as in the Performance area.

A total of 10 points can be achieved for the Intermediate Certifications. In the enterprise market, 5 certified persons are required for this by contrast to 2 in the SMB environment. There are 5 different focal points to choose from, like Teams Administrator Associate or Modern Desktop Administrator.

In the Advanced Certifications area, 15 points must be achieved – this performance requires two certified persons in the Enterprise segment and one in the SMB segment. Currently, only one exam is available for this, that of the Enterprise Administrator Expert.

The Solutions Partner for Security does not have two certification areas. On the contrary, only Intermediate Certifications are available here. A total of 40 points must be achieved. To get the full number of points, 6 certified persons are required. Each person therefore provides 6.6 points.

However, the 6.6 points are not so easy to earn. Each person must pass the Microsoft 365 Security Administrator Associate exam and the Azure Security Engineer Associate exam, as well as at least one of the following three certificates: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst, Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator or Microsoft Purview Information Protection Administrator. So the 6.6 points per person sounds good for now. Unfortunately, there is also a lot to prove.

In the Azure area – i.e. for the Solutions Partners for Data & AI, Solutions Partners for Digital & App Innovation and the Solutions Partner for Infrastructure – the principle remains the same: in other words, each certified person counts once for points, regardless of the number of certifications. What is new here, however, is that there is an entry requirement for the Intermediate Certifications. Below you can find a description of which certifications are required for these areas, or which certifications earn points. However, in order for the points ticker to start at all, it is necessary that at least two people within your company can prove they have the Azure Administrator Associate certification. If this requirement is not met, you can diligently collect certificates. However, this will not earn you any points.

In order to achieve the full 20 points for the Intermediate Certifications, 5 certified persons are required. For the Solutions Partner for Data & AI area, they can choose between Azure Database Administrator or Azure Data Engineer, for example. Regarding the Solutions Partner for Digital & App Innovation, they can choose between Azure Developer or Power Platform Developer, and concerning the Infrastructure, they can choose between Windows Server Hybrid Administrator, among others.

There are also entry requirements in the Advanced Certifications area. Here, it is also necessary for two people to prove certification so that the actual certifications are counted. At this level, two people are required to prove that they hold the Azure Solutions Architect Expert certificate.

Now it is time to start earning points, and here, too, there are a total of 20 points to be awarded – each certified person earns 5 points. For the Solutions Partner for Data & AI, you can choose between Customer Data Platform Specialty or Azure Cosmos DB Developer Specialty. For the Solutions Partner Digital & App Innovation, you can choose between Azure IoT Developer Specialty, Azure DevOps Engineer or Power Platform Solutions Architect. The last area – Solutions Partner for Infrastructure – requires Azure Virtual Desktop or Azure for SAP Workloads for you to score points here.

In conclusion, points are not easy to obtain. Therefore, you and your employees must invest a lot of time and energy, and make other efforts to earn them. Each of you has the choice whether and which Solutions Partner status to aim for. If you need help with the assessment, choosing the right Solutions Partner status or just want to discuss the whole topic, please contact your Companial Account Manager.

Update

Please note: As of September 22, 2022, Microsoft has announced the introduction of an SMB path for the “Business Applications” solution area in the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program. This will result in changes to the thresholds for achieving “Solution Partner” status. The original announcement from Microsoft can be found here.

For all those who are not yet Companial Partners. Do not worry, we will not let you down and will gladly welcome you as a new member at any time: Contact us – Companial

Companial will walk you through the details, tactics and preparation required to earn the title of Microsoft Solution Partner with our Fast Track to Microsoft Cloud Partner Program.

Martina Plathe

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