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How to Attain Partner Designation in the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program for Business Applications

Friday, November 3, 2023
Reading time: 7 minutes

The Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program for Business Applications has transformed the Partner landscape.

In this blog post, we’ll navigate the journey to Solution Partner Designations in Business Applications, with a special focus on the new SMB thresholds. In addition, we’ll shed light on how Companial Learning Journeys can expedite your progress, demonstrating that even small organizations can attain the coveted Microsoft Solutions Partner Business Applications designation.

Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program to Business Applications

The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, initially launched in October 2022, has undergone significant changes. It has now been renamed the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program to emphasize the integration of AI and cloud capabilities. Previously, existing Partners in the program were automatically enrolled.

Partners can achieve Solution Partner Designations in six areas, with a new designation called “Solutions Partner for Microsoft Cloud” recognizing those holding all six designations. Partner capability score principles remain consistent, focusing on performance, skilling, and customer success.

Microsoft also introduced specializations, including small and mid-sized business management, low code application development, sales services, finance, supply chain, business intelligence, and intelligent automation. For Partners not eligible for the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program, legacy competencies are available for those who secured them by the end of the previous year. Alternatively, Partners can opt for the Microsoft Action Pack to access program benefits related to internal use rights.

Fast Track to Solution Designation

When discussing the reduced requirements for the Solutions Partner Business Application Designation, it’s important to note that there are specific thresholds for both the Small and Mid-Sized Business (SMB) track and the Enterprise track.

While the categories and subcategories of the requirements remain unchanged, the threshold for the SMB track has been significantly lowered. To attain the Solutions Partner Designation, Partners must achieve a minimum of one point in each subcategory of the requirements. These subcategories include net customer adds, intermediate certification, advanced certification, deployments, and usage growth. In total, Partners need to accumulate 70 or more points to qualify for the Solution Partner Designation.

What does it mean to acquire a Microsoft Solutions Partner Business Applications Designation?

Let’s explore what it means to acquire the Microsoft Solution Partner Business Applications Designation and the thresholds for SMBs. Let’s use Business Central workload subscriptions served through the Microsoft Cloud Solution Partner Program (CSP) as an example:

1. Performance: Net Customer Adds.

Threshold: 5 Customer Adds, >250$ Adjusted revenue.

Example: Business Central customer with six full users (Business Central Essentials or Business Central Premium) qualifies as a customer add.

2. Skilling and Certification: Intermediate and Advanced.

Threshold: 5 functional consultants or developers + 2 architects.

Example: With a focus on a maximum of five functional consultants, MB 800 or PL 200 certifications create qualification opportunities. To maximize points in this category, it’s recommended to have five unique individuals, each holding at least one of the Advanced certifications to be relevant for the program.

3. Customer Success: Deployments.

Threshold: 5 Production deployments, MIN 5.000 monthly consumption value.

Example: MAICPP introduced new metrics the “Monthly Consumption Value” (MCV). One Business Central full user (full user is Business Central Essential or Business Central Premium user) equals 1,000 monthly consumption value. Five Business Central user implementations count as one production deployment within the minimum monthly consumption value.

4. Customer Success: Usage Growth.

Threshold: Monthly Consumption Value growth of 30%+ across all customers vs. baseline (>=25,000 MCV).

Example: 25,000 MCV baseline would be satisfied with 25 Business Central full users. When growing from the minimal baseline, an additional 8 Business Central full users would satisfy the 30% growth threshold.

To summarize, the introduction of the SMB threshold to the Microsoft Solutions Partner Business Applications Designation drastically lowered the compliance bar, and a Partner with:

  • Five certified members (including two with Advanced certifications).
  • Ten Business Central customers (each with six full users) can achieve the Microsoft Solution Partner designation for Business Applications.

How can a small Dynamics practice afford to hire five certified technical professionals? The solution lies in providing your existing team and new hires with a well-defined learning trajectory that aligns with the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program’s Skilling and Certification requirements.

Companial Learning Journeys offer a curated sequence of Business Central training leading to certifications that align with the Microsoft Solutions Partner for Business Application Skilling and Certification requirements.

What are Companial Learning Journeys?

Learning Journeys are structured learning paths that focus on Business Central and Power Platform proficiency. They offer a curated sequence of Business Central boosters, enriched with Microsoft Learn content. Additionally, they include instructor-led Power Platform exam-based training courses covering Foundation to Advanced certifications. This organized approach ensures efficient learning, unlike the scattered content available elsewhere. Learning Journeys are designed for both new hires and experienced individuals seeking continuous growth.

Key features of Learning Journeys:

  • Comprehensive Content: A single platform offering courses, real-life tasks, and immediate applicability to day-to-day tasks.
  • Instructor Guidance: Real-life instructors, including MVPs, are available for personalized support in chat, monthly meetings, real-life sessions, and instructor-led webinars.
  • Microsoft Certification Support: Assistance for achieving Microsoft certifications.
  • Self-Paced Learning: The flexibility to learn at your own pace.
  • Progress Monitoring: Tools for tracking and assessing your progress, accessible to both students and managers.

We continuously update Learning Journeys to reflect industry advancements and recently introduced the PL-600 certification to meet Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program requirements for Advanced Skilling point scoring.

We offer two Learning Journeys for developers and consultants, each with specific entry levels. The fixed sequence benefits learners by providing structure and enables managers and instructors to track progress effectively.

If you think Learning Journeys can help you reach your goals, give them a risk-free try. Enrol and you have a 30-day cancellation window. Companial members can also use service credits to cover costs.

We encourage all Partners to join Learning Journeys, and we offer a pricing model that caters for different volumes of participation.

Benefits of the Microsoft Solutions Partner Business Applications Designation

The list of Microsoft benefits for Partners serving Microsoft Cloud Business Applications is extensive:

  • Product benefits for Dynamics365, M365, Power BI… (Internal Use Rights)
  • Incentive programs
  • Eligibility for co-selling with Microsoft
  • Partner Go-To-Market Toolbox asset and marketing consultation
  • Training and enablement resources

While there are various ways to access Microsoft’s partnership benefits beyond what’s discussed in this article, such as the Action Pack or Legacy Benefits, it’s crucial to highlight that only the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program (MAICPP) grants Internal Use Rights for cloud products. This entails substantial value; a business with 25 employees could easily derive software benefits exceeding $50,000 annually.

Feeling overwhelmed by all this new information?  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Companial is here to help you navigate the maze of information and guide you towards a clearer understanding of the program.

Contact us now and be sure to visit our knowledge hub if you wish to stay informed about the latest updates regarding the Partner program.

Agnė Balkevičiūtė-Lajienė

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