3,5 min to readPartner Programs

Guide: Microsoft Cloud Partner Program

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Christopher RozziGlobal Channels GTM Lead

If your company is one of the 400,000 members of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN), this blog post will be of interest to you as you learn more about your specific partnership requirements. Microsoft’s partner program has been around for more than 30 years and is essential for building, selling, supporting and servicing mutual customers.

In 2022, Microsoft officially announced that there will be changes to the MPN program from October 2022. We recommend that every partner familiarise themselves with the program and consider its relevance to their organisation.

Microsoft has rebranded the “Microsoft Partner Network” (MPN) as the “Microsoft Cloud Partner Program” (MCPP). Rodney Clark, Microsoft’s Channel Chief, explains: “This announcement is about more than just a name change. This change better reflects the huge and ongoing shift of business operations to the cloud and how Microsoft intends to support its partners in the future. It aligns our partners’ go-to-market strategies with the way customers are buying today.”

Microsoft’s Solutions Partner designations have been in place since October 2022 and are designed to highlight a partner’s extensive technical capabilities and experience in delivering successful customer outcomes with Microsoft cloud solutions. Solutions Partner designations include: Data & AI (Azure), Infrastructure (Azure), Digital & App Innovation (Azure), Business Applications, Modern Work and Security.  Achievement of these Solutions Partner designations is measured through a points-based system of performance, skills and customer success. Partners can track their progress against these KPIs through the Microsoft Partner Centre.

  1. Performance: Measured by the net increase in customers
  2. Skilling: Verifies and demonstrates a partner’s commitment to qualification and training. Points are awarded for each person in your team with certain certifications.
  3. Customer Success: Measured by growth in usage and number of successful deployments

Microsoft has also updated the benefits for partners who obtain a Solutions Partner designation. These include product benefits (IURs, cloud licences and Azure credits), go-to-market services, customer-centric badges, technical presales and implementation services, technical support and the opportunity to earn incentives. Additional offerings are available for partners who invest in the solution areas and can demonstrate deep technical expertise.

Microsoft states that it will take some time to phase out the MPN as partners gradually transition to the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program. However, the company encourages partners to familiarise themselves with the benefits of the program, which are aligned with their strategic partner business plans. There will be no changes to partner incentive eligibility for the 2023 Investment and Incentive Program year, which runs from October 2022 to September 2023.

Important dates

All partners should note the following dates regarding their participation in the new program:

  • 16 March 2022: Public announcement of the introduction of Solutions Partner designations.   Announcement that previous competencies will no longer be valid after 30 September 2022. 
  • 30 September 2022: Last date for renewal of existing competencies.  
  • From 3 October 2022 until the partner’s next renewal date:
    • o Solutions Partner designation became available on 3 October 2022.
    • Partners who meet the requirements will be awarded the Solutions Partner designation and the new, more customer-focused badge.
    • Previous competencies and associated badges will no longer be valid, but partners who have a competency by 30 September 2022 will continue to receive the previous benefits until their next renewal date. After that date, Microsoft will provide options for partners to continue to purchase the old benefits.

From the partner’s first renewal date after 3 October 2022:

  • Partners who achieve Solutions Partner status can choose to switch to the updated Solutions Partner benefits or maintain their current benefits and pay the appropriate fee.
  • Partners who do not meet the requirements for Solutions Partner status but have renewed a competency by 30 September 2022 have the option of continuing to pay the fee to maintain their existing benefits.  

Please note that programme details are subject to change at any time. We recommend that you check the Microsoft Partner Centre for the latest updates.

Additional resources for Microsoft partners


A man in a suit and tie is posing for a photo.

Christopher Rozzi
Global Channels GTM Lead

Partner & Channel Management