New ways to differentiate your Business Applications practice - Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program

New ways to differentiate your Business Applications practice

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The cloud is at the heart of our modern business world. Given the rapid pace of digital transformation, businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to depend on on-premises solutions alone to meet their evolving needs. Following the widespread shift to remote work last year, it’s more critical than ever for organizations to be able to provide a seamless, consistent experience for their workforce and customers anywhere and at any time. Due to these pressures, adoption of Microsoft Azure has continued to increase rapidly, with 47 percent year-over-year growth reported last quarter alone.

As organizations move to the cloud, they’re empowered to adopt powerful, scalable applications to help manage their business. Microsoft Business Applications helps companies unleash their potential by breaking down data silos to connect customers, products, people, and operations. Solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform allow your customers to improve their CRM and ERP approaches while up leveling analytics and business intelligence capabilities.

We’re committed to supporting you through this global transition to the cloud, which is why we’re continually working to give you access to the resources and technical capabilities you need to meet your customers’ evolving needs and provide you with opportunities to differentiate your business. With this in mind, I’m thrilled to share that we are offering a new competency option and two new advanced specializations that partners can earn to highlight their capabilities around Microsoft Business Applications. These new programs are specifically designed to support our partners who are serving the small and medium-sized business cloud applications market.

Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions competency option

We’ve added a new option—Cloud Business Applications SMB option—for attaining the Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions competency. This option is intended for partners with Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions who serve small and midsize business (SMB) customers.

With this competency, partners can demonstrate their technical competency in serving SMB customers and unlock powerful go-to-market offers and programs to help them expand and grow their business. 

Small and Midsize Business Management advanced specialization

The new Small and Midsize Business Management advanced specialization helps partners demonstrate their experience within the SMB partners segment that focuses specifically on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Before partners can earn this advanced specialization, they need to first attain either a gold Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions competency or a gold Cloud Business Applications competency. Then you must demonstrate your skillset implementing Dynamics 365 Business Central by passing a certain number of Business Central Consultant certifications, demonstrating your ability to deploy a number of Business Central solutions, demonstrate active user growth and having a Consulting Services offering with Business Central as the primary product published on Microsoft AppSource.

Low Code Application Development advanced specialization

The Low Code Application Development advanced specialization allows partners to validate their experience in helping customers adopt custom and flexible line-of-business low code solutions to streamline their businesses. Partner organizations’ capabilities will be verified through customer deployments and Microsoft certifications, ensuring skilled partners deliver high quality implementations.

Microsoft Power Apps and Microsoft Power Automate are two solutions that help customers capture the low code market opportunity. Power Apps enables rapid end-to-end app development, and Microsoft Power Automate enables the automation of repetitive tasks. These solutions help drive innovation and efficiency throughout your customers’ entire organization with connectivity across the Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Azure, and hundreds of third-party apps.  

Before you can earn this advanced specialization, partners are required to have one of these gold competencies: Cloud Business Applications, Cloud Platform, Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions, Cloud Productivity, or App Integration.

While attaining a competency or earning an advanced specialization requires an investment of time and resources, it can pay dividends for your organization. Customers will be able to see your gold competencies and advanced specializations in your business profile on the partner directory, which in turn will help them identify partners that are best suited to meet their specific needs.

The mass shift to the cloud equates to an incredible opportunity for our partner ecosystem. We will continue to evolve the resources and guidance we offer so you can master in-demand capabilities and ultimately meet your customers’ changing needs. I recommend learning more about the Cloud Business Applications SMB option to see if it’s a fit for your organization, and I encourage all of our partners to work towards an advanced specialization in Small and Midsize Business Management and Low Code Application Development. As you do, I’m confident you’ll develop the abilities and differentiation you need to stand out in the competitive marketplace.

You can review a list of all advanced specializations currently offered for Microsoft partners here.


  • Dan Truax
    General Manager, Global Partner Solutions

    With more than 23 years at Microsoft managing internal and customer facing, at-scale, online digital marketing solutions, Dan Truax leads the Partner Digital Experiences and Programs team within Microsoft Global Partner Solutions (GPS). He is focused on delivering innovative, engaging digital and programmatic experiences to enable success and growth for our partner ecosystem.