Originally posted by Dan Truax on 7 April 2020 at MPN Blog

With more than 23 years at Microsoft managing internal and customer facing, at-scale, online digital marketing solutions, Dan Truax leads the Partner Digital Experiences and Programs team. He is focused on delivering innovative, engaging digital and programmatic experiences to enable success and growth for our partner ecosystem.

We are always striving to find ways to help our partners differentiate themselves from their competitors and stay one step ahead of business trends by placing customer relevancy at the forefront. There are three ways partners can highlight their technical services and skills: competencies, advanced specializations and Expert MSP.

When a partner has demonstrated a broad technical skill to deliver services on a Microsoft product or technology, they are eligible to attain a competency. By attaining a competency, partners can display that competency to customers, showcasing their status, and can also unlock go-to-market resources and offers that help them better connect to customers, hone their customer propositions, and ultimately drive more business and create more opportunities. As partners continue to invest in skilling their teams, gain experience, and prove their capabilities, they can participate in even more rigorous programs.

Advanced specializations

Customers want to work with organizations that have deep knowledge, and advanced specializations let partners demonstrate their extensive skills and experience. Partners that attain a gold competency can further differentiate their organization’s services by earning an advanced specialization. Partners can highlight their capabilities in the solution areas where customers are seeking help. Customers can easily identify partners most relevant for their business needs because the advanced specialization tag in the partner’s business profile is prioritized in search results within our partner directory. This kind of classification alone can have an immediate and positive impact on the partner’s business.

Our newest offering: Adoption and Change Management

Our newest advanced specialization, “Adoption and Change Management,” is now available for partners with an active gold cloud productivity competency. Providing adoption and change management services presents a unique opportunity to create new revenue streams and deliver additional value for customers. This advanced specialization is awarded to partners who have proven their expertise in helping customers manage the rapid pace of adoption and change of their users to Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and Yammer. Some of the areas of expertise covered in this new program include but are not limited to:

  • Alignment to accredited change management methodologies
  • Capability to measure and drive increased adoption to meet the customer’s business priorities
  • Building an adoption and change management strategy and implementation plan
  • Anticipating and dealing with areas of resistance

There are a number of specializations available to partners who have attained the Cloud Platform competency and demonstrated extensive experience and proven success in implementing and providing support in a product, solution area, or service for Azure. These are renewable annually and include:

  • Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure
  • Linux and Open Source Databases Migration to Microsoft Azure
  • Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure
  • Data Warehouse Migration to Microsoft Azure
  • SAP on Microsoft Azure
  • Modernization of Web Applications to Microsoft Azure

Expert MSP

Our expert Managed Service Providers (MSPs) meet the most complex cloud service needs around governance, compliance and security for our global customers. Partners who have earned the distinction of an Azure Expert MSP have demonstrated that they have high-caliber talent, processes and technologies in place to manage the ongoing needs of customers and help them fully realize the potential of their digital transformations. The repeatable processes created are highly automated, meaning they can scale enterprise cloud managed services to many of our small and medium business customers, giving us and them the ability to scale and grow.

Since our Azure Expert MSP program is so rigorous, it allows partners that meet its requirements to stand out as a true expert in the strategic deployment of our services, and can rapidly accelerate their growth. Partners gain access to private previews and pilots and other benefits. There are fewer than 70 partners globally who have demonstrated their expertise on Azure to earn an Azure Expert MSP, and partners need to renew annually to ensure they are up-to-date and continue to meet requirements which may also evolve.

As part of our commitment to grow together with our partners, we are continuing to evolve the programs, and expect to release more options for partners to differentiate themselves over the coming months.


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