A Partner’s Guide to Microsoft’s Cloud Partner Program

Partner Management

A Guide to Microsoft's Cloud Partner Program

A Guide to Microsoft’s Cloud Partner Program

If your organization is one of the 400,000 members of Microsoft’s Partner Network (MPN), then you may want to pay close attention to this article related to upcoming changes to your partnership requirements. Microsoft’s partner organization spans over 30 years and is a critical channel to building, selling, supporting and servicing joint customers.

Earlier this year, Microsoft made a formal announcement that changes are forthcoming to MPN starting in October 2022. We encourage each partner to thoroughly review the new program and assess the impact to the respective organization.

Microsoft will be re-branding the “Microsoft Partner Network” to the “Microsoft Cloud Partner Program”. According to Microsoft’s Channel Chief, Rodney Clark, “This announcement is about more than a name; this change better reflects the enormous and ongoing transition of business operations to the cloud, and how Microsoft intends to support partners in the future. It aligns our partners’ go-to-market motions with the way customers buy today.”

Starting in October, Microsoft will be introducing Solution Partner designations to help identify a partner’s broad technical capabilities and experience delivering successful customer outcomes via Microsoft’s cloud solutions. Solution partner designations include: Data & AI (Azure), Infrastructure (Azure), Digital & App Innovation (Azure), Business Applications, Modern Work, and Security. Achieving a solution designation will be measured on a point-based system of performance, skilling and customer success. Partners can track their progress against these KPIs in Microsoft Partner Center.

  1. Performance: Measured by net customer adds.
  2. Skilling: Verifies and demonstrates a partner’s dedication to skilling and training. Points are awarded for each person on your team with specified certifications.
  3. Customer success: Measured by usage growth and number of successful deployments

Microsoft has also updated the benefits they provide to partners who achieve a solution designation. This includes product benefits (IURs, cloud licenses, and Azure credits), go-to-market services, customer-facing badges, technical presales and deployment services, technical support, and eligibility to earn incentives. Incremental benefits are available to partners that invest and demonstrate deep technical expertise aligned to the solution areas.

“This announcement is about more than a name; this change better reflects the enormous and ongoing transition of business operations to the cloud, and how Microsoft intends to support partners in the future. It aligns our partners’ go-to-market motions with the way customers buy today.”

Rodney Clark, Microsoft Channel Chief

Microsoft has acknowledged it will take time to sunset MPN as partners transition to the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program. However, they encourage partners to familiarize themselves with the program benefits aligned to their partner business strategic plans. Prior to October 2022, there will be no impact to partners’ business or program status – including anniversary dates – and no reduction in benefits. In addition, there will be no changes to partner incentive eligibility in the 2023 investments and incentives program year, which runs from October 2022 to September 2023.

Key Dates

These are important dates for partners to track as part of their onboarding to the new program:

  • March 16, 2022: Public announcement introducing Solutions Partner designations. Notification that after September 30, 2022, legacy competencies will no longer be valid.
  • September 30, 2022: The last date to renew a legacy competency.
  • From October 3, 2022 to the partner's next anniversary date:
    • On October 3, Solutions Partner designations will be available to attain.
    • Partners who meet the requirements, will attain a Solutions Partner designation and receive the new customer-facing badging.
    • Legacy competencies and associated badging will no longer be valid, but partners that have a competency by September 30, 2022, will continue to receive legacy benefits until their next anniversary date. After that time, Microsoft will provide options for partners to continue to purchase legacy benefits.

On the partner's first anniversary date after October 3, 2022:

  • Partners who attain a Solutions Partner designation can choose to move to the updated Solutions Partner benefits or retain their legacy benefits, and pay the corresponding fee.
  • Partners who don't meet the requirements for a Solutions Partner designation but who renewed a competency by September 30, 2022, will have the option to continue to pay the fee to retain their legacy benefits.

Please note that program details are subject to change and we recommend you refer to Microsoft Partner Center to obtain the latest updates.

Build Your MCPP Roadmap with ONEClub

We will work with you to establish a plan to achieve your Microsoft Cloud Partner Program designations. We will guide you through the process so you can take full advantage of the program benefits.

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Christopher Rozzi

Christopher Rozzi

Global Channels GTM Lead

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