Microsoft Cloud Partner Program: Everything MSPs need to know

Microsoft has been helping partners within its network to provide innovative and unique solutions across a huge range of industries for over 30 years. The guidance, tools and programs provided have enabled partners to support their customers in adapting and evolving in our rapidly changing world.

To ensure Microsoft fulfils their commitment to partners to support innovation, business growth and customer satisfaction, they have updated their partner program. To help you understand and navigate this program, we’ve got the lowdown on what these changes mean for you and your customers.

Introducing the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program 

Microsoft launched its new program in 2022 to align partners’ go-to-market motions better with how customers buy and, in fact, how Microsoft have been categorising and marketing with their own solutions over the last few years. Its primary aim is to make it easier for customers to identify partners with the technical capabilities, knowledge and experience they need.

The new program is now known as the “Microsoft Cloud Partner Program” (MCPP). The MCPP streamlines the legacy 18 competencies into a new model focusing on proficiency in 6 solution areas:

  • Modern Work
  • Security
  • Infrastructure (Azure)
  • Data & AI (Azure)
  • Digital & App Innovation (Azure)
  • Business Applications

There will be 2 qualifying levels:

  1. The Solutions Partner level replaces the legacy Silver and Gold membership tiers and demonstrates a partner’s capability to deliver customer success within their chosen solution area.
  2. Specialisations and expert programs will allow Solutions Partners to differentiate and demonstrate deep technical expertise and experience in specific technical scenarios under each area specialisation.

How are points achieved?

Points are achieved across 3 separate areas:

Performance: measured by net customer adds in the specified solution area.

Skilling: points are awarded for each person on your team with specified certifications.

Customer success: measured by usage growth and number of successful deployments.

To attain a Solutions Partner designation, partners must earn a capability score of at least 70 (out of 100) points across the 3 areas of measurement with at least 1 point within each metric. You can check your progress towards your Solutions Partner designation by accessing your dashboard in the Partner Centre.

How legacy competencies track onto Solutions Partner designations

Here’s exactly how the existing competencies fit into the Solutions Partner designation framework.

Existing Competencies New Solutions Partner designation
- Cloud Platform - Datacentre
Solutions Partner for Infrastructure (Azure). Solutions Partners for Infrastructure are able to demonstrate broad capability to help customers accelerate migration of key infrastructure workloads to Microsoft Azure.
- App Integration - Data Analytics - Data Platform
Solutions Partner for Data & AI (Azure). Solutions Partners for Data and AI are able to demonstrate broad capability to help customers manage their data across multiple systems to build analytics and AI solutions.
- Application Development - App Integration - DevOps
Solutions Partner for Digital & App Innovation (Azure). Solutions Partners for Digital and App Innovation are able to demonstrate broad capability to help customers build, run and manage applications across multiple clouds, on premises, and at the edge, with the tools and frameworks of their customer’s choice.
- Cloud Productivity - Collaboration and Content - Communications - Messaging - Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions - Windows and Devices
Solutions Partner for Modern Work. Solutions Partners for Modern Work demonstrate broad capability to boost their customer’s productivity and make the shift to hybrid work using Microsoft 365.
- Enterprise Mobility Management - Security
Solutions Partner for Security. Solutions Partners for Security demonstrate broad capability to provide customers with the holistic, industry-leading security solutions they need to keep their business safe.
- Cloud Business Applications - Enterprise Resource Planning - Project Portfolio Management
Solutions Partner for Business Applications. Solutions Partners for Business Applications demonstrate broad capability to deliver solutions with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform.

Specialisations and expert programs explained

Partners can continue validating their enhanced knowledge by earning specialisations aligned to solution areas or becoming Microsoft Azure Expert MSPs. 

Your Partner Center dashboard will show you how close you are to earn a specialisation within a particular solution area. Specialisations showcase your deep technical expertise and make it easy for customers to identify you as a trusted partner.

Becoming an Azure Expert MSP or Specialisation Partner will help you drive revenue for yourself and your customers. The process involves a pre-audit and on-site audit. While it can take considerable time to pass these and become an expert in a certain solution area, the accreditation has many benefits designed to help you stand out and excel as a partner. These include an exclusive Azure Expert MSP or Specialisation badge, a top priority in the MCPP referral engine and prioritisation for co-sell engagement and leads, and ongoing support to develop new practices.

For more detailed information on these changes and how you can prepare for these accreditations, click here.

What are the benefits?

Microsoft are introducing new benefits aligned to the Solutions Partner designations. The new benefits package includes product benefits, including IURs, cloud licences and Azure credits, go-to-market services, customer-facing badges, technical presales and deployment services, technical support, and eligibility to earn incentives.

Get support from intY

If you’re feeling unsure about how the transition to MCPP affects you, please get in touch. We know it can take time to get used to changes, so we’re on hand to support you with any concerns or difficulties that come up.

If you have questions about any of the information contained in this blog, please reach out to our experts at intY’s Azure Practice or Modern Workplace teams who will be happy to help.

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