What’s new for Microsoft partners: January 2022 edition

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In the past few months, we have seen new innovations in how Microsoft works with partners during all phases of the partner journey. We’ve launched new tools, resources, and engagement opportunities for you to take advantage of. These developments set the stage for future growth, and include:

Updates to PCI CBA and SMMCS competencies: For partners with Cloud Business Applications or Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions competencies, we communicated changes in October regarding the way PCI is calculated, moving from tenant-level association to subscription-level association. Make sure you understand what these changes mean for your organization with the information available here.

Consolidation of leads in Microsoft Partner Center: Managing your pipeline is now easier than ever, as all commercial marketplace leads have been consolidated into one location in Partner Center. Leads originating from Microsoft AppSource, Azure Marketplace, and Azure portal can be managed in Partner Center, in the Leads tab of the Referrals workspace.

Partner Innovation Experience: As our engagement with partners becomes increasingly digital, we are developing new ways to reach audiences with the latest partner innovations. We have developed and launched a new website, the Partner Innovation Experience, to showcase partner solutions across all forms of technology.​ You can submit your examples to be featured here.

Modern Workplace announcement: In December, we announced and made available on the CSP Pricelist a new Microsoft Teams offering for small businesses. Learn more about Microsoft Teams Essentials by visiting the Microsoft 365 Partner Portal for training content, to-customer assets, and more.

Availability of the Microsoft Viva Suite: In support of deeper employee engagement, we’ve launched the new Microsoft Viva suite—one plan that includes all four modules: Viva Connections, Viva Insights, Viva Topics, and Viva Learning. This suite enhances employers’ ability to capture feedback and empower people across workflows.

New security promotions and features: We are offering service providers a free two year subscription of Azure Active Directory Premium Plan 2 to help them manage and get reports on access privileges. Registered partners can log onto Partner Center to take advantage of this offer. Azure AD Premium Plan 2 provides extended access to sign-in logs and premium features such as Azure AD Privileged Identity Management (PIM) and risk-based Conditional Access capabilities to strengthen security controls.

To further secure the ecosystem, we are implementing resources for delegated administrative privileges (DAP) and granular delegated admin privileges (GDAP). New live reporting tools display active DAP connections and allow partners to turn off unused DAP connections. Additionally, we will soon be releasing a technical preview for GDAP so partners can test granular and time-bound access to workloads in production and sandbox environments. Partners can use these tools to better control access and privileges.

Azure Synapse One-Click proof of concept: We understand the value of being able to quickly demonstrate the power and advantage of Azure Synapse to your customers. We’re excited to have launched the Synapse One-Click Test Drive which will give you a full proof of concept environment in just 20 minutes. This resource, the first of our new consumption motion IPs, comes pre-populated with all the necessary capabilities and simplifies and accelerates crucial customer conversations. A more detailed overview is available here.

We offer Azure Synapse assets on GitHub for both CosmosDB and Dataverse. The Cosmos DB deployment allows users to directly connect to Azure Cosmos DB containers from Azure Synapse Analytics and access the analytical store with no separate connectors. With the Dataverse deployment package, users can deploy a Proof-of-Concept environment of Azure Synapse Analytics Link for Dataverse with a Spark notebook to ingest, merge, aggregate and/or transform datasets.

New Azure campaigns now live: Azure Virtual Desktop is a powerful tool for customers to empower hybrid work or generally improve connectivity. To help partners accelerate sales of AVD solutions, we now offer ready-made campaign tools and resources in the Partner Marketing Center (PMC) and Digital Marketing Content OnDemand (DMC). Visit the Microsoft Partner Blog to learn more about maximizing these resources and creating your own sales materials.

Azure Arc and Azure Stack HCI are also helpful assets for partners delivering hybrid infrastructure. Campaign resources for both are now live, offering valuable guidance—from thought leadership to LinkedIn campaigns—for partners to connect with customers in a variety of ways.

Cloud Weeks for partners: Registration is now open for three upcoming Cloud Week events. Exclusive to partners, these are virtual skilling events designed to help learners build solution area-specific skills through instructor-led courses, on-demand labs, and more:

Co-sell deal registration improvements: We’ve enhanced Partner Center with automation and new features to improve the IP co-sell deal registration process. These updates will move IP Co-sell deal registration submissions through the system faster and provide immediate insights into the eligibility status of each deal for registration. This new process will result in an easier, simplified experience for partners in working with Microsoft. Partners can reference an overview of the improvements here, and find more information on co-sell deals registration validation here.

The updated Partner Center also features a dashboard to provide insights to partners on how  their Referrals (leads and co-sell opportunities) are performing. By referencing this summary, partners may access reports to identify trends and actions for driving toward your business goal.

Redesigned support experience: We’re pleased to be implementing a new support experience that allows partners to schedule time with customer support agents. The goal of this new system is to enable you to get the help you need at the day and time that’s most convenient for you. Partners can easily schedule an appointment assigned to a case here

For partner-specific details on these and other announcements, visit the Partner Center Docs page.

We look forward to the way that these new capabilities will drive growth in 2022 as we continue to develop new resources grounded in partner feedback. Staying connected with us on MPN channels is the best way to receive timely partner news, and we’ll keep sharing quarterly blog roundups of the most pertinent announcements.