What you need to know about Microsoft Cloud Partner Program Changes

Microsoft announced the Microsoft Partner Network will become the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program. What else has changed?

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    Earlier this year, Microsoft announced sweeping changes to the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN). Starting October 2022, the MPN will become Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, or MCPP. In this blog, we’ll provide a high-level look at what’s new, what’s to come, and what it means for partners.

    Here’s What’s Changing with Microsoft Cloud Partner Programs

    The most significant change is that Microsoft is changing the existing 18 competencies into six solutions partner designations aligned with the Microsoft Cloud. It is a single-tier designation model called the “solutions partner designation,” and it will combine today’s silver and gold tiers. So, naturally there are new badges for each designation.

    Gold and Silver Melt Away

    With the MCCP, Gold and Silver tier designations are going away. However, if you renew your Gold or Silver tier status by September 30 (see Key Dates below), you may preserve your benefits through your next anniversary date.

    Why It’s Changing

    The change is intended to simplify what had grown into a complex system. The six designations are closely aligned to the six solution areas of Microsoft Cloud and will make it easier for customers to select a partner that specializes in the solutions they need.

    As customers demand for Cloud solutions grow, the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program gives partners the opportunity to differentiate from their competitors through solution designations and specializations and cultivates customer confidence in partner expertise and capabilities.

    Solutions Partner Designations Explained

    Beginning in October 2022, partners will be eligible to obtain any of six designations. Here’s the list, followed by the core competencies that define them.

    1. Solutions Partner for Infrastructure (Azure)

    2. Solutions Partner for Data & AI (Azure)

    • App Integration
    • Data Analytics
    • Data Platform

    3. Solutions Partner for Digital & App Innovation (Azure)

    4. Solutions Partner for Modern Work

    • Cloud Productivity
    • Collaboration & Content
    • Communications
    • Messaging
    • Small & Midsized Cloud Solutions
    • Windows & Devices

    5. Solutions Partner for Security

    • Enterprise Mobility Management
    • Security

    6. Solutions Partner for Business Applications

    • Cloud Business Apps
    • ERP
    • Project Portfolio Management

    Add Specializations

    For each of the solutions partner designation categories, partners can earn specializations that further demonstrate your expertise and differentiate your firm in areas such as AI and Machine Learning, Cloud Security, and Teamwork Deployment.

    While we’re talking about specialization, Stratos Cloud Alliance is the only Indirect Provider specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365.

    How Certification Works

    To attain certification in any category, you’ll need to earn 70 points (out of 100 possible) across three measurement brackets: performance, skilling, and customer success. Be aware that you’ll need to secure points in all three categories.

    You can easily monitor your points from the Partner Center, and Microsoft is being transparent about how points are awarded and the actions partners must take to earn them. We won’t cover the details here, as there’s plenty of detailed information available from Microsoft, here, here, and here. However, as you would expect, measurements include net customer adds, advanced certifications, user growth, and deployments.

    You aren’t limited to a single designation. Partners can choose to earn more than one solutions partner designation. Once your first designation is achieved, you can earn additional designations with no additional fee.

    Key Dates to Be Aware Of

    Today: You can check your progress toward attaining a designation in the Partner Center.

    September 30, 2022: This is the last day you can attain (new or renew) a legacy competency. While the legacy Silver and Gold badging will no longer be endorsed, your benefits remain in place through your anniversary date.

    October 3, 2022: The new solutions partner designations are available, and you must meet the required partner capability score to attain your designation. If you reach the necessary points before or after your anniversary date, your new badge will be available to you in partner center – or you have the option to purchase a legacy benefits package for competency you have attained.

    How Indirect Providers Can Help

    Here’s a quick framework to help make direct sense of all the indirectness.

    We’re all in this together – as an Indirect Provider with measurement criteria to meet – Stratos Cloud Alliance is here to help resellers make sense of the new Microsoft Cloud Partner program requirements and earn their solutions designations. We provide essential tools and resources so you can sell more, increase your skill levels, provide superior customer experiences, and grow your business.

    Indirect Providers are not simply distribution channels. At Stratos Cloud Alliance, we have invested heavily in creating our Stratos HUB eCommerce Marketplace where partners can explore and license Microsoft and complementary products. We also offer readiness programs, sales resources and marketing campaigns, training, licensing guidance, billing support, and more.


    This Cloud Definitely Has a Silver Lining

    We’ll be direct here (pun intended). Change often feels disruptive, but in today’s competitive landscape, disruption and transformation are around every corner — and represent new, lucrative opportunities for partners ready to embrace them.

    Indirect Providers like Stratos Cloud Alliance can help reselling partners ramp up your cloud solution offerings quickly and cost-effectively, so you can focus your efforts on serving your current customers and winning new ones. We invite you to reach out to our team a to talk about your firm’s path to success with Microsoft solutions. Or, if you’re ready to join us, just fill out the form here.