Microsoft Partner Network Evolves to Focus On Customer Demands

Microsoft is making big changes to its partner program that will impact partners who work with our Stratos Cloud Alliance team.

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    Microsoft is making big changes to its partner program that will impact partners who work with our Stratos Cloud Alliance team. Effective October 2022, Microsoft is changing the name of its partner program from the Microsoft Partner Network to the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program. As part of this change to focus on solutions customers are demanding, Microsoft is simplifying the program with partner designations aligned to the six Microsoft Cloud solution areas:

    • Business Applications
    • Data and AI
    • Digital and App Innovation
    • Infrastructure
    • Modern Workplace and Surface
    • Security

    The new program will also increase transparency—with a new Partner Capability Scoring mechanism that provides partners with additional tools aligned to their solution area. This will give prospects searching for partners more clarity on current partner capabilities to assist them with partner selection.

    No More Silver and Gold Designations

    Microsoft will also move away from the <Silver> and <Gold> partner identifiers to designations of <Solutions Partner> and <Specialized/Expert>. To attain your new designation, you need to demonstrate your capabilities in three areas:

    • Performance
    • Skilling
    • Customer Success (measured by partner capability score)

    As your firm attains its new designation, you can choose to update your benefits or retain your legacy benefits.

    Previewing the Impact on Your Business

    By accessing your dashboard in Partner Center, you can preview now what the changes to the program mean for your business come October and assess how they align with your strategic plans. You can also start tracking your progress towards the new designations and take steps to improve your performance scores.

    Keep in mind…nothing changes immediately! You have until October before these changes take effect. Microsoft is not removing the benefits you receive today that align with the competencies you have already attained. Beginning on October 3, you can pursue your new designation.

    Key Benefits of the New Program

    The new partner designations can help you set yourself apart from your competitors by demonstrating your breadth of capabilities as they align to the Microsoft solution areas. Those six areas are where Microsoft is seeing customer demand, so it’s an opportunity to meet specific customer needs.

    Microsoft is also updating the tools they provide to ensure they are helpful and relevant to your business model. These include more resources for business development, customer outreach, expanding your technical skills, sales enablement, and technical support.

    Additional Resources

    For more information on what the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program means for your business, you can visit the Microsoft Partner Network website. Microsoft has also posted two helpful blogs—Evolving the Microsoft Partner Network for Partner Growth and Customer Success and Evolving the Microsoft Partner Network Programs.

    The Stratos Cloud Alliance team is also glad to talk with you to share our perspective and help you fully leverage the program. Connect with us today to start planning your future.