Microsoft Solutions Partner Designation – What does it mean and why does it matter?
If you’ve got your ear to the ground in the world of business tech, you might have noticed a little white badge showing up on more social feeds and websites. These badges are to designate technology providers achieving one of the new Microsoft Solutions Partner statuses.
At this point you might be thinking, hang on, I thought Microsoft already had a partner program, why are things changing now? It’s a fair question, but this year Microsoft have revamped their entire Partner accreditation scheme, and for good reason. Here’s everything you need to know.
What is Microsoft Solutions Partner designation?
As a globally recognised and respected brand, Microsoft needs to know that it can trust its network of Partners. To do this, it hands out Solutions Partner designations. These prove to Microsoft and end users that their partners have met key criteria in terms of customer success, skill with Microsoft solutions and financial performance.
There is a benefit for everyone here. The end users working with Microsoft Partners know they are working with a team they can trust to deliver a great result. The Partner demonstrates their expertise and can differentiate from the competition. And Microsoft knows that its users are in safe hands.
While the change was announced in 2022, the rollout of these new badges has been a gradual one. So don’t be surprised if you spot a few partners out there still touting their Gold or Silver Partner status.
What is Microsoft Solutions Partner designation replacing?
The new partner programme is replacing Microsoft Gold and Silver Partner accreditations. The change is designed to benefit the end user in two ways.
The first is that the new designations are more focused on the essential parts of Microsoft’s offering. Instead of the more general gold and silver statuses, Solutions Partners now must demonstrate a high level of competence in one of six key services:
- Business Applications
- Modern Work
- Data and AI
- Digital and App Innovation
This is important for end users. It means that when they work with partners who are truly experts in their field, rather than potentially being generalists in a wide range of different services. In short, when you work with a Solutions Partner, you know you’re in for a specialist experience.
The second reason why Gold and Silver Partnerships are being repealed is to create a stricter partnership process. Gold and Silver Partnerships had existed for almost 20 years, and while they were no mean feat to achieve, the new designations are even tougher.
How difficult is it to become a Microsoft Solutions Partner?
The new designations are based on demonstrating expertise in one of six key fields. It’s not just about tests and qualifications but proving how the partner has powered their customers’ growth and success.
When designing the new accreditation, Microsoft worked in collaboration with real customers to home in on their needs. What came out of this was the need for Partners to show a real commitment not just to providing a great service, but also a positive attitude around embracing cloud, AI, and digital transformation.
Achieving Solutions Partner status demonstrates that a partner puts customers first now and will keep doing so into the future.
Why we are excited about the change.
If you haven’t guessed already, we have achieved Solutions Partner Status, specifically for Business Applications. Although recognition from Microsoft is nothing new for us (we were previously Gold Partners), we are still thrilled to be recognised as one of the UK’s SME Microsoft partners to receive this designation.
We are also delighted by the forward-thinking attitude Microsoft has presented with this change. Their commitment to cloud and digital transformation matches our goals here at Cloud9, and we are already seeing them put their money where their mouth is with excellent updates for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform.
Overall, the change is just another example of the need for progression. Gold and Silver Partner status was a great accolade, but one that needed to change to reflect the modern technology that businesses need to thrive in 2023.
Why does this even matter?
To summarise, it is worth looking out for these new designations. Partners that have received them also have a successful track record of implementing Microsoft Services that have improved business outcomes.
Microsoft understand that their users are more technically savvy than ever before. Their users know what to look out for when making purchasing decisions that have a huge impact on their businesses. Being able to actively demonstrate which Microsoft Partners are the cream of the crop helps to make that decision process simpler and more reliable.
To find out more about our Business Applications Solutions Partner status, or anything else Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Power Platform, get in touch with Cloud9 Insight by following the link below.