Evolving the Microsoft Partner Network

microsoft partner network
By Microsoft US Partner Team

On March 16, 2022, Microsoft announced the exciting evolution of Microsoft’s partner program from the Microsoft Partner Network to the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program.  The purpose of this new approach will simplify our partner programs and closely align how we go to market, validate partner capabilities to deliver successful customer outcomes, and enable us to further invest in their growth and profitability.

Our goal in making this change:

  • Simplify the partner competencies mechanism by aligning to our six solution area cloud offerings
  • Increase transparency with a new Partner Capability Scoring mechanism
  • Provide partners that specialize in our technology with additional tools and benefits aligned to their solution area
  • Give our customers clarity on the current partner capability to assist partner selection

Announcement Highlights:

As the capabilities required by our customers have evolved, our partner programs must also evolve to meet that demand.

  • Effective October 2022, Microsoft Partner Network will be renamed to Microsoft Cloud Partner Program
  • We will move away from Silver and Gold to new qualifying designations of Solutions Partner and Specialized / Expert. As partners attain the new designations starting October 2022, they’ll have the choice to move to updated benefits or retain their legacy benefits
  • To attain the new solutions partner designation, partners will need to demonstrate their organization’s capability in
    • 1) performance
    • 2) skilling
    • 3) customer success (as measured by partner capability score)
  • Starting today, partners can access a dashboard in Partner Center that shows how they are tracking towards each of the new solutions partner designations and where they can take action to improve their performance scores

Important Reminders:

  • Nothing changes immediately. Partners will have at least six months before changes start to take effect in October 2022
  • Beginning on October 3, 2022, upon membership renewal (anniversary date) partners will have a choice to pursue a solutions partner designation or to maintain their legacy benefits.
  • Starting March 16, partners will be able to visit Partner Center to preview what these changes mean for their organizations and assess how they align to their strategic business plans.
  • We’re not removing the benefits partners receive today that are aligned with the competencies already attained.

What’s in it for partners?

  1. The solutions partner designation becomes the first opportunity for partners to set themselves apart from the competition by demonstrating their organization’s breadth of capabilities aligned to solution areas. That’s valuable for partners, because it’s where we see customer demand, and where the opportunity is for partners to scale to meet customer needs.
  2. Benefits for solutions partners have been updated to ensure they are effective, helpful, and relevant to the partner’s organization. We’re investing more to help partners with business development, increasing customer reach, and expanding technical skilling, enablement and support.