At WPC 2015, I announced major upcoming changes to make our competencies more valuable for you, our partners. Competencies are a great way to demonstrate to current and potential customers both the scope of your expertise and depth of your experience, and I’m pleased to announce that we’ve made them even better:
Lower thresholds for quicker achievement
  • Microsoft Office 365 is our fastest-growing commercial product ever,* and the Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions competency (SMCS) makes it easier for you to leverage demand for cloud and hybrid solutions in the SMB marketplace. With SMCS performance requirements reduced to 40 seats of Office 365 sold and 4 new Office 365 customers for silver TTM (twelve months trailing), and 25 net new Office 365 customers and 250 Office 365 seats TTM for gold, reaching silver or gold levels becomes more accessible, and you have a powerful tool for growing your business and increasing your market value.

  • More than 57 percent of Fortune 500 companies are on Microsoft Azure.* 1,000 new customers sign on daily. That makes Cloud Platform a critical competency to have in your portfolio. We aligned it to the Azure pricing fluctuations and ensured SMB-focused partners can qualify by reducing the performance goal required for silver: demonstrate US$15,000 Microsoft Azure customer consumption in developed markets and/or $10,000 in developing markets. And because we want you to invest in the future of your business, there is no silver competency fee.

  • Goodbye, MCP tracking! You may remember at WPC, I promised an end to manual tracking of unique MCPs per competency. You told us this would save you time and overhead as you progress toward competency achievement, and we heard you.
Shifting focus
As adoption and usage become ever more central to success in the cloud, we’ve shifted our focus from seats sold and revenue to active use and consumption. We want to encourage and reward greater usage of cloud services, because we know the benefits cloud can bring our mutual customers: a wider range of solutions, more and better apps, stronger security, lower risk, the list goes on.
This is an exciting change that brings about more opportunities for all of us: driving customers to actively use our services increases customer satisfaction and loyalty and can increase your profitability. To help make that happen, we’re providing support and assistance to make the shift as straightforward as possible.
Here’s what’s new:
  • Cloud Productivity competency: we previously defined performance as seats assigned for Office 365. Now, achievement comes when you drive Active Entitlements (active users) for silver and gold. You can meet the active user requirement across any Office 365 workload (Exchange, SharePoint Online, etc.) or with Office 365 ProPlus.

  • Cloud Platform Competency: As with all the cloud competencies, being attached as the Digital Partner of Record (DPOR) is your path to earning the Cloud Platform competency and qualifying for Azure and deployment incentives, so be sure you’re listed as the DPOR for all your clients, new and long-term.

  • For Cloud Platform competency partners, there are additional licenses of MSDN and Visual Studio 2015. And improved Internal Use Rights benefits provide a single bulk credit (US$6,000/year for silver, US $12,000/year for gold). Don’t miss out on the incentives you’re earned: watch this brief video for a quick demonstration on how to attach as DPOR on Azure subscriptions. To make usage tracking easier, DPORs have visibility into customers’ consumption and usage via the Cloud Services Partner Dashboard.

  • As I said in an earlier blog, the dashboard gives you Azure consumption data and Office 365 Active Entitlement by workload data to provide you an end-to-end view of how your customers are engaging with your cloud services. The dashboard gives you great information like subscriptions, deployment opportunities, and upcoming renewals in easy-to-scan graphics; it also gives you access to a wealth of actionable data to help you focus your efforts.
Responding to opportunity
And finally, we are delighted to announce the new Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) competency we announced at WPC. The latest addition to our cloud competencies, the EMM will leverage many of the features outlined above, including alignment to active users and DPOR. If you’ve already been one of the pioneers around Enterprise Mobility Suite, we would love to see you become one of the first partners to achieve this exciting new competency.
We know you want information and resources that will help you grow your business – and we are committed to providing them to you. Thank you for sharing your ideas with us so we can continue to improve our offerings to you and our mutual customers.
*According to internal Microsoft research
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