Microsoft announced a major revamp of its partner program last week. The Redmond giant will rebrand the existing Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) to Microsoft Cloud Partner Program (MCPP) on October 3.
This will be the first biggest overhaul since Microsoft launched its partner program over a decade ago, and the impact could be significant for over 400,000 organizations worldwide. With this rebranding, the company plans to redirect the focus of its partners towards the Azure cloud infrastructure to align customer requirements with purchasing patterns.
“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,” explained Rodney Clark, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Channel Sales and Channel Chief.
Microsoft’s existing partner program is based on a competency-based model, but this new program will focus on boosting partners’ proficiency in the cloud-based infrastructure. Specifically, Microsoft’s partners can now choose to get certified in one or more solution areas such as Azure infrastructure, Azure data and artificial intelligence, Azure digital and app innovation, security, modern work as well as business applications.
The company plans to discontinue its Gold and Silver designations that helped partners to differentiate their levels of expertise. Instead, their competencies will be categorized into three expertise levels: Base, Solutions Provider, and Expert Specialist.
Microsoft added that it will now use a new partner capability score (PCS) to measure its partners’ technical skills. This score will only be visible to the partners, and it will be calculated based on several factors such as the number of new customers, overall growth as well as deployments and certifications. The partners should earn a PCS of 70 or higher to qualify for each solutions area.
Keep in mind that partners will be able to transition from the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) to the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program (MCPP) until Sept. 30, 2022. They can also choose to renew their current benefits for another year. “Nothing changes immediately. We’re making these announcements and providing you with six months’ notice before these changes begin,” the company noted. We invite you to check out the roadmap for changes regarding the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program on the official website.