Investing in partner success and growth

Executive working on laptop


Update July 12, 2019: The latest on the announced program changes can be found here.

Today’s customers expect more from technology providers than ever before. They want products and services that accelerate their business transformation. When choosing a partner, they look for specialists with deep skills, understanding of, and experience in their industry. Customers are asking Microsoft to help them connect with the best partners and to help them find, try, and buy the apps and services that best meet their needs as they continue moving to the cloud.

The market opportunities in this changing landscape are significant. The global market for cloud migration services is forecast to grow to US$9.4 billion by 2022. Partners that provide value-added services will see strong margins when they focus on specialized business applications deployment and projects that require planning, implementation, integration, security, and compliance.

To prepare you for new opportunities today and into the future, we are making large investments in many aspects of our partner business, with the Microsoft Partner Network as your entry point for partnership with Microsoft and with other partners.

These investments will offer partners:

  • New ways to differentiate so customers understand your areas of expertise and specialization;
  • Increased access to marketing and enablement resources and services;
  • More ways for you to reach customers and sell your services and apps.

Differentiate your services business

Customers want to understand the unique capabilities and specializations of partners when making decisions about the companies they choose to work with. In the Microsoft Partner Network, gold and silver competencies let you demonstrate your capabilities. Last year, we introduced new ways to differentiate your business beyond a gold competency – advanced specializations and expert managed service provider programs.

Advanced specializations. Partners with a gold competency can showcase their proven, verifiable expertise in a product, solution area, or service by earning an advanced specialization. We recently released the SAP on Azure advanced specialization for the Cloud Platform competency. More advanced specializations are being prepared for release in the coming months in areas such as Azure Stack, server migration, security, teamwork, and more.

New Security competency. Gartner predicts that worldwide information security spending will exceed US$124 billion by the end of 2019. In the first quarter of our 2020 fiscal year that starts in July 2019, we’ll introduce a new Security competency for partners with the knowledge and capabilities to deliver security-related services on Azure and Microsoft 365 and help customers protect identities, data, apps, and endpoints from cyber threats.

Alignment of competencies to customer needs. As cloud technologies advance, partner capabilities must keep pace. With this in mind, we are updating the requirements for several competencies to better reflect the market and more demanding customer expectations. In April, we announced updates to our Business Applications competencies that will take effect starting in July. In the first quarter of our 2020 fiscal year that starts in July 2019, new requirements for other competencies will take effect. If you’re in an affected competency, you’ll receive notifications about what is changing, when, so you can prepare.

New benefits for business growth. We are increasing our investments in benefits that help you build technical capabilities and strengthen your marketing. We are changing our approach to the benefits that are included with competencies. Your silver or gold competency will still include some product licenses so you can build innovative apps and services. We are adding access to enablement and go-to-market services to your competency benefits, and you may be eligible for the co-sell program. The updated benefits packages will take effect in the first quarter of our 2020 fiscal year that starts in July 2019. We will begin notifying partners that are affected by these changes in June.


Supporting ISVs in the Microsoft Partner Network

In April, we announced a new program for ISVs that build line-of-business applications using Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform. This program will be generally available in July, and is the first of several offerings in the Microsoft Partner Network that we are bringing to the market later this year to help ISVs speed up application delivery and reach customers by selling with Microsoft and other partners.

These offers will exist alongside the services-oriented competencies, with requirements and benefits that align to the needs of ISVs.

If your application is in development—whatever the focus—the ISV resource hub guides you to the tools, content, and services such as dev chat that will help you finish your app. Once it’s ready, start by publishing your app in marketplace. We’ll provide you with go-to-market services that help you optimize your listing. At Microsoft Build, we announced new revenue opportunities for partners that are a result of our marketplace investments.

You can catch up on all of the news from Microsoft Build 2019 and watch the keynote highlights with Satya Nadella and other top executives here.


Marketing with Microsoft

You’ve told us that you want more connection to customers, to other partners, and to Microsoft sales teams. To help you strengthen your go-to-market plan, we’ve made investments across Microsoft to increase partner access to referrals and leads, to marketing resources and services, and to opportunities to sell with Microsoft. Our go-to-market services comprise best-in-class marketing content and programs that that help you speed up your time to market, drive demand, accelerate your pipeline, and spur business growth.

Go-to-market services are now a benefit you receive for these activities:

  • Create your business profile in partner center for referrals
  • Publish and transact your app or service in marketplace
  • Attain your first competency or renew your existing competency

The go-to-market service or services offered for each of these varies, with a common goal of accelerating your success and enabling a more consistent go-to-market plan throughout your partnership with Microsoft.

Collaborating with other partners to deliver integrated solutions that address unique customer needs can increase your revenue by up to 20 percent (IDC) and uncover new business growth opportunities. Starting in July, we’re enabling these connections for ISVs through marketplace, connecting them to partners in the Cloud Solution Provider program. More options will surface through referrals and co-sell in the months ahead.

Managing your relationship with Microsoft

If you’ve been invited to move to your Microsoft Partner Network program membership to the new partner center experience, I encourage you to make the move as soon as possible. Partner center offers you more than just membership—we’re investing in partner center as the single destination for managing your relationship with Microsoft as a partner.

Review the readiness information for moving to partner center.


Join us at Microsoft Inspire

We’ll talk more about the opportunities for our partnership at Microsoft Inspire in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA from July 14–18. Join me for a featured session about your differentiation and go-to-market opportunities with Microsoft and visit us at the Partner Network booth in The Hub, where you can talk to members of my team to learn more. If you haven’t registered to attend yet, do it before May 31, when the price of an all-access pass will increase.