In his last blog post, Jon Roskill talked about delivering on commitments made at WPC 2012 around a new era of the Microsoft Partner Network. He talked about working to create new opportunities for partners to take advantage of and how to succeed in key technology areas such as mobility, the social enterprise, big data, and cloud computing. Specific to MPN competencies, Jon highlighted changes directly linked to these technology areas in the Devices & Deployment competency (to support the trend towards mobility and shift to new form factors in the work environment), the Collaboration and Content competency (to better support SharePoint solutions and the emergence of social in business) and the new Application Development competency (to best reflect the evolution of the application development world and the seamless development experience we’re landing in market).

I’m thrilled to announce as well that as of November 19th the latest wave of planned updates are live! In addition to the updates described by Jon, there are some additional competency changes that have gone live, also announced at WPC
  • The Digital Marketing competency has been revamped to focus more clearly on Microsoft’s digital marketing technology solution and to better serve our digital agency and design partners that serve the rapidly growing market for integrated advertising and online relationship marketing solutions. This revised competency provides partners with the tools and resources needed to help customers take full advantage of Microsoft’s digital marketing and advertising solutions, including search advertising on Bing and display and other advertising solutions from Microsoft Advertising.
  • In parallel to the evolution of the Application Development competency, the Application Lifecycle Management competency has also been updated with the launch of Visual Studio 2012 given the significantly enhanced ALM component in this product release. With Visual Studio 2012, Microsoft provides a holistic solution that not only addresses pure code development, but also the entire development process to help break down team barriers, reduce cycle times and deliver continuous value. New exams and a new sales assessment will allow partners to prove their expertise in this high value solution area and get access to specific benefits (e.g. MSDN ultimate subscription).
  • The Identity and Security competency has been renamed the Identity and Access competency to reflect the evolution of Microsoft’s strategy in this area – security features are now completely embedded across different Microsoft products (Exchange, Sharepoint, etc.). In the future, key challenges our partners will address with our customers will be about adequately identifying users and their access rights to enterprise network resources from multiple entry points and providing them with the appropriate rights while simultaneously ensuring the sound resource security for the enterprise. As our customers continue to rapidly move to cloud-based solutions, an integrated identity solution will enable seamless single sign-on privileges between on premise and cloud applications, and enhanced security and compliance through automated, policy-driven identity management and self service capabilities.
  • Finally, qualification paths for the Server Platform, Mid-Market Solution Provider, Small Business, and Devices and Deployment competencies have been updated to include the latest content and exams for Windows 8 and Windows Sever 2012. Exams focused on the next version of Office are scheduled to be released over the next few months and will apply to the applicable business productivity competencies in the first half of 2013.
We planned these changes to ensure that the Microsoft Partner Network continues to best address customers’ changing needs and our technology direction with the latest software, services, and devices. We always strive to balance the amount of change we make to MPN while at the same time ensuring we are supporting current market conditions and helping you, our partners, be more successful. To find out more details about the competency changes, please visit the Microsoft Partner Network competency pages.
We would love to get your feedback as these changes roll out in market to ensure we’re continuing to provide you with the tools, content and resources you need to be successful with our mutual customers – send me email anytime ( Let’s go out and transform our customer landscape with all this great innovation, helping customers unlock value to improve their growth and business performance!