Boost your profile and bolster customer interactions
The multitude of resources that come with membership in the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program are designed to not only help you develop the best solutions possible, but to assist in communicating their value to potential customers. While I am confident that that Microsoft partners are the best-equipped organizations to develop our industry’s most cutting-edge solutions, we still must work to ensure that customers know it too. That’s why, whether you build and sell services, software solutions or devices, we are committed to helping you differentiate yourself from competitors.
Of all the benefits that the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program offers in market today, the most robust method for services partners to set themselves apart is attaining one or more Solutions Partner designation. Because these designations — and the path to earn them — will differ for each individual partner, I thought it would be helpful to have a partner share their experience making Solutions Partner designations a part of their business strategy. In this blog, we’ll be following along with Systemfarmer, a cloud consulting firm that has been a Microsoft partner for 12 years, as László A. Földesi, CEO, shares their experience as a Microsoft partner.
Selecting the right Solutions Partner designation
Systemfarmer holds the designations for both Modern Work and Infrastructure (Azure), and has plans to pursue Data & AI (Azure) and Digital & App Innovation (Azure) this year, as well as Security and Business Apps in the near future. They have achieved this through a carefully crafted strategic plan set at the beginning of each year. Because the Solutions Partner designations have thorough requirements to ensure the recipient’s proficiency, efforts to earn them should align with the established direction in which the partner and their employees hope to grow.
The Systemfarmer leadership team puts this into action by following their company-wide presentation of annual plans with individual employee meetings. In these check-ins, they talk through team members’ personal goals and interest areas, and explore how those can fit in with and support the company’s larger journey. These 1:1 connection points help leaders identify opportunities for study and certification that can lead to partner designations. As Földesi sees it, “earning a partner designation means that you put in effort in your people and company,” and open communication allows them to invest with intention.
Leveraging your expertise
This demonstrated focus on their solution area(s) adds another layer of differentiation beyond the recognition of being a Microsoft partner (learn more about those benefits from my blog with TechQuarters here). Displaying a Solutions Partner designation represents a closer connection to the Microsoft ecosystem and legitimate value for customers — proving that they can really trust partners who call themselves “experts.”
“I was able to say that everybody I can assign has at least an expert certification on the specific area, and we also have the [Solutions Partner] designation as a Microsoft Partner.”
— László A. Földesi, CEO, Systemfarmer
Partners with a Solutions Partner designation may also seek to earn a specialization, which further demonstrates their technical expertise within a solution area and contributes to incremental partner benefits. Each designation has several corresponding specializations that address the specific capabilities or relevant roles and products. Systemfarmer is currently enrolled in the Meetings and Meeting Rooms for Microsoft Teams track under the Modern Work designation, which will denote their deep knowledge in delivering Meetings and Meeting Rooms services and solutions that respond to customers’ needs for operating a hybrid business. As our industry increases in complexity, specializations are vital in connecting customers with partners who have the particular abilities to unlock the most value for them.
Engaging the power of the marketplace
When it comes to standing out in the marketplace, your status as Microsoft partner gives you assets for differentiation — whether generally or related to specific accreditations. Accessorize your logos on email, web, Microsoft commercial marketplace offers, and more with exclusive badges that highlight your status as a Microsoft partner and your areas of expertise.
Systemfarmer further sets themselves apart by connecting with local and regional Microsoft teams to plan and deploy joint campaigns that bring together our strengths for something even greater. Together, we have successfully executed joint marketing campaigns, customer education efforts, workshops, and other connected activities — even performing customer demos for specialized tools like the Surface Hub. Working collaboratively in this way demonstrates a partner’s ability to access the depth of the Microsoft resource library to connect customers with what they need.
Within the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program, Systemfarmer also collaborates with other Microsoft partners to innovate and drive customer success. Földesi tells me about three long-time partners that they work with to provide expertise in areas they do not cover in-house. This spirit of community is central to the value proposition of the partner program and is why I believe our marketplace is the premiere destination for customers.
The team at Systemfarmer is a great example of how you can personalize your experience with the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program to achieve the greatest results. Their strategy behind how they attain and leverage the Solutions Partner designations is so instructive, and I hope it will inspire you to think about your own growth trajectory in a new way. Hearing stories like this is valuable for our ability to offer new resources that build on past success, and I’m grateful to László for sharing his team’s experience. All our partners are valued collaborators in driving innovation each and every day.