Greetings to all our fabulous Microsoft partners! In today’s WPC Value Keynote we shared some of the updates we are making to the Microsoft Partner Network to ensure that our competency model reflects changing customer needs and market conditions as well as our ongoing effort to simplify how we work with partners.  Besides calling out the new Small Business competency (see separate blog post), which we launched mid-June for partners focused on helping small businesses take full advantage of Microsoft cloud services, we announced the following competency changes, all of which will take effect in November 2012:

For ISVs, Application Providers and Developers – a streamlined approach and extension of application tracks
Customers need solutions that solve their specific business problems and look for partners with proven ability to provide those solutions – and they expect those solutions to be fully Web-enabled. For those reasons, and to simplify and focus your engagement in MPN, we are consolidating the ISV, Software Development and Web Development competencies into a single, new Application Development competency. All partners in these existing competencies will be automatically transitioned into the new competency at launch automatically. At the same time we will expand the number of other competencies with integrated Application Tracks to ensure they include benefits and requirements that are relevant for development focused partners, not only system integrators, and we encourage all ISVs to attain those competencies where relevant.
For our SharePoint-focused partners – simplification and cohesion
Based on continued SharePoint product evolution and full integration of FAST search capabilities into the core SharePoint product, we are merging the Portals and Collaboration, Content Management and Search competencies into a single competency to reflect that customers increasingly want an end-to-end solution for finding, sharing, managing, and collaborating on content, not separate solutions. The new Collaboration and Content competency helps highlight partners with the skills to provide exactly that, and the competency consolidation makes it easier and more cost effective for our SharePoint partners to engage with Microsoft. All partners in these existing competencies will be automatically transitioned into the new competency at launch automatically.
For our core desktop oriented partners – the world is evolving and we’re evolving with it
Over the last few years mobile devices have proliferated and computing is now done not only on traditional PCs and laptops, but also on tablets and smartphones. At the same time, employees have been bringing their personal devices to work, creating serious manageability and security challenges, a trend known as “consumerization of IT”. To reflect this market shift and our impending Windows 8 + Devices launch, the Desktop competency will evolve to become oriented around Devices and Deployment to recognize and reward partners who help customers select, configure, and manage range of secure, productive devices.
And finally, our network expands with a Digital Marketing revamp
The current Digital Marketing competency is focused primarily on partners who provide SharePoint-based websites utilizing the sharing features within that product. However, as many of you know, a digital marketing solution is much broader and customers are looking for partners that can create compelling end-to-end online experiences integrating their marketing campaigns across display and search advertising, on the fly, with demonstrable ROI. Our technology portfolio has evolved to support that broader definition and need so we are revamping this competency to include our Bing advertising tools and assets. This is significant as it opens the door to a whole new set of advertising and agency organizations to formalize their partnership and connection with Microsoft via MPN.  But that is not all – we are also taking advantage of this revamp to offer Bing advertising credits to all partners in the Small Business competency, the Application Development competency and to partners who subscribe to the Microsoft Acton Pack – Development & Design! 
If you want to know more about these changes, please take a look at the recording of our WPC Value keynote from July 9, 2012 available on