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The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program Part 2

Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Reading time: 5 minutes

“Advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all paths may lead astray.
―J. R. R. Tolkien

Even if Tolkien meant in “Lord of the Rings” that advice can lead astray, I am of the opinion that a little guidance in the jungle of Microsoft programs can help you as a partner to find your way even better.  

Therefore, the second part of this blog series on the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program deals with the different solution areas with which you can qualify as a partner for the “Solutions Partner” status. Today, we want to look at all 6 solution areas in more detail and see what their focus is.

Once again, as a reminder:  in the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, there will be six solution areas in the future (instead of 18 competencies within MPN) that partners can achieve. This is measured by three criteria – the PCS Score (Partner Capability Score) and leads to two qualification levels. There is a maximum of 100 points to achieve in the PCS Score – you need a minimum of 70 points in one of the solution areas to achieve Solutions Partner status.

The six new solution areas are aligned to the Microsoft Cloud: Business Applications, Data & AI (Azure), Infrastructure (Azure), Digital & App Innovation (Azure), Modern Work and Security. For each area, partners can earn corresponding badges that identify you as skilled in the field.  If you are successful in all  solution areas and earn the corresponding badges, Microsoft also offers an overall badge that recognizes your ability with the Microsoft Cloud. Let’s take a closer look at the six solution areas. 

I would like to start with the Solutions Partner for Business Applications. As a Solutions Partner for Business Applications, they demonstrate their comprehensive solution delivery capabilities with Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. All workloads that deal with Dynamics 365 and Power Platform are considered here: AI Builder, Business Central, Commerce, Customer Insights, Customer Service, Customer Voice, Field Service, Finance, Fraud Protection, Marketing, Mixed Reality, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI Premium/Pro, Power Virtual Agent, Project Operations, Sales, Supply Chain, and Talent/HR.

The three solution areas of Solutions Partner for Data & AI, Infrastructure and Digital App & Innovation are fully aligned with Azure Services. Azure therefore has three different Solutions Partner areas with which they can show their qualification. The three solution areas of Data & AI, Digital & App Innovation and Infrastructure have common requirements and target values for the PCS “Performance” as well as “Customer Success”…. However, when it comes to the requirements for certifications (skilling), the different areas differ. Since all three solution areas are aligned to Azure, the question naturally arises as to which one you want to concentrate / focus on as a partner.

The Solutions Partner for Data & AI (Azure) could be just the right area for you as a partner if you are involved in the following activities for example:

The Solutions Partner for Data & AI (Azure) is to be focused on, in my view, if partner deals with the following topics:

In turn, if partner focuses on the following activities, they should become a Solutions Partner for Digital & App Innovation (Azure):

It is also possible to be active in all three areas and aim for all three badges.

At this point, perhaps a concrete recommendation for action: Take a look at your points already achieved today in the Microsoft Partner Center in the overview of the solution areas. This often gives you a good indication of whether your own assessment corresponds to the figures in reality.

But now let’s move on to the last two Solutions Partner areas.

A Solutions Partner for Modern Work can demonstrate its ability by helping customers increase their productivity and move to hybrid working with Microsoft 365. In this solution area, there are two possible paths to achieve the goal: Enterprise and Small & Medium Business. Microsoft is aware that some partners target SMB customers and others target large customers. In order to offer partners more flexibility and make the goals more achievable, Microsoft evaluates both paths in this solution area and then rewards the path that is most likely to lead to status.

If you find yourself in the following points, then you should consider reaching out to Solutions Partners for Modern Work:

As things stand today, solutions such as Intune, EXO, ProPlus, SPO, Teams, Teams Meetings, Teams Phone Calling, Teams Platform, Yammer, Exchange, Sharepoint are taken into account here.

 Solutions Partners for Security may aim to provide services and solutions on Microsoft 365 workloads or on Azure services. Therefore, the assessment requirements focus on both Microsoft 365 usage and performance, as well as Azure sales revenue. The following solutions / products are considered here:

If these following activities describe your work, you should consider the Solutions Partner for Security status:

All in all, Microsoft offers many options to make one’s own know-how visible to the outside world by means of badges.

If you do not find yourself as a partner in any of these areas, there is no reason to panic! You still have the option of participating in the Partner Program as a “Registered Partner” or purchasing the Action Pack. According to the current state of affairs, these options will also be available to you in the future.

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