Partner Center Technical Corner: September 2023 edition
Welcome back to Partner Center Technical Corner. In this month’s edition, we’ll cover the following key topics: Securing the channel spotlight, new commerce experience in CSP, membership, introducing the Surface Reseller Alliance Program, Co-sell, Microsoft commercial marketplace, and Partner Center roadmap.
Zero Trust Security remains our utmost priority. In today’s ever-evolving digital landscape, ensuring the safety of our systems, data, and interactions has never been more crucial. This edition takes a deep dive into the various ways in which we are actively addressing and enhancing security measures in Partner Center to provide you with valuable insights and updates.
In July, we restarted the Microsoft-led delegated admin privileges (DAP) to granular delegated admin privileges (GDAP) migration. Based on partner feedback, we added the “Global Reader” role to the GDAP roles list in May 2023. We highly recommend that you test the Microsoft-led created GDAPs, and if required, create another GDAP relationship with the additional required Azure Active Directory (AAD) roles before the DAPs are removed for a smoother transition. We are actively working on addressing DAP-to-GDAP parity features.
We continue to recommend partners self-migrate to GDAP using the bulk tool to remove DAPs and test their use cases with GDAP. Starting September 25, 2023, Microsoft will no longer grant DAP for new customer creation and will instead grant default GDAP roles.
Partner Spotlight: Pax8
It is critical for CSP partners to embrace the principles of zero trust to protect their assets, as well as their partners and customers’ assets from threats.
Pax8 has embraced the “least privilege” zero trust principle by completing the migration to granular delegated admin privileges (GDAP) from delegated admin privileges (DAP). The use of GDAP ensures that the right people are accessing the right things for the right duration. Pax8 is also embracing the “assume breach” zero trust principle by leading the adoption and codesign of the Microsoft Azure Resource Manager (ARM) Security Alerts as well as anomaly detection, including Azure cost and spending management. Pax8 closely monitors the consumption of Azure services across our user base for variances, anomalies, and indicators that may signal unplanned spending in customer environments or unauthorized third parties provisioning resources. As a best practice, we also encourage our partners and their customers to leverage tools like Azure Cost Management to proactively guard against unexpected expenses and deploy prevention solutions, such as Multi-Factor Authentication and Conditional Access, that will safeguard their environments against compromise.
Congratulations and thank you Pax8, for embracing zero trust!
As part of the Zero Trust security journey, we are continuing to push forward with features that will reduce Partner Risk.
- Use Least-Privilege Access: We are deprecating older authentication models and shifting to Microsoft Graph for authentication needs. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) Graph is being retired. All partners must take action to move to Microsoft Graph. There will be no further investment in Azure AD Graph, and new features will only be made available in Microsoft Graph.
- Assume Breach: Azure Quota Reduction: Partners can now reduce quota for Azure Services (Azure ML, Compute, and Batch) through a self-service API. This eliminates the need to contact support to change limits or allowances of Azure resources for subscriptions enabling faster quota updates. This capability is only available to partners, who should continue to make changes on behalf of their customers.
In August, we introduced three new features for Security alerts and notifications:
- Security Alerts “investigating” status: Partners can use the new “investigating” status to indicate that an event is being investigated. For more information, please see request example.
- Security Alerts activity log: Partners can also leverage the “activity log” to track who has modified the alerts.
- Security Alerts testing: Partners can now generate test alerts from Partner Center to validate the end-to-end process before encountering actual alerts. For more information, please see sample response.
New commerce experience in CSP:
Microsoft is making significant strides toward the retirement of the CSP legacy experiences. Early next year, we will begin to automatically migrate renewing commercial customers to the new commerce experiences. This ensures that customers with existing subscriptions in legacy commerce will automatically migrate to new commerce when their subscriptions reach the end of term. Also, public sector offers will soon be introduced in the new commerce landscape. These offers will empower academic, government community cloud (GCC), and not-for-profit (NFP) customers to purchase or renew their subscriptions in new commerce. Learn more about the journey to Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) new commerce.
We’ve enhanced the Azure spending (new commerce) page within Partner Center to provide an elevated user experience and improved performance. Loading speeds are four times faster and partners can now effortlessly set or update budget amounts for multiple customers at once.
Partners can now acquire Azure savings plans through the Partner Center portal and APIs, a capability previously limited to the Azure portal. Additionally, Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo add-on SKU for CSP new commerce is also available through Partner Center. This empowers customers to provision and securely store data in their preferred geographic location, ensuring strict compliance with vital data residency requirements.
In embracing these transformations, Microsoft continues to empower partners and customers on their journey towards enhanced efficiency, accessibility, and modernity. Thank you for your continued partnership as we navigate this exciting new commerce journey together.
We are excited to share the work we have done to enhance benefits redemption & efficiency:
- Streamlined Visual Studio user assignment: We have launched a new interface for managing user assignments for Visual Studio. This single-window approach empowers partners to effortlessly oversee and manage users, leading to substantial time savings. Click here to learn more.
- Azure credit benefits status integration: We have integrated the status of Azure credit benefits into the primary grid on the Azure credits page. This integration eliminates the need for manual searches for unused benefits. To help partners find unused credits and those close to expiring, we also added a handy filter.
To accelerate partner growth and to help them earn Solution partner designations, we have added contextual and tailored recommendations in our designation pages. These recommendations are uniquely tailored to each partner, guiding them on strategies to improve their scores in Skilling and overall scores. We will expand this to also cover performance and customer success metrics in the subsequent release.
Finally, at Microsoft Inspire we introduced three new specializations for Solutions Partners within Partner Center:
- Build and Modernize AI Apps with Microsoft Azure: Showcase your expertise in building intelligent apps across Apps, Data, and AI.
- Business Intelligence: Confirm your ability to help customers get the most out of their data and implement enterprise BI solutions with Power BI interactive reports, real-time dashboards, and powerful analytics.
- Intelligent Automation: Demonstrate expert capabilities delivering end-to-end business process transformation for customers with Power Automate.
As we look to the future, we remain committed to investing in both efficiency enhancements and further program launches in subsequent releases. Stay tuned for more exciting developments.
Introducing the Surface Reseller Alliance program:
We’re thrilled to announce the official launch of the Surface Reseller Alliance program to approximately 250 pilot partners within the membership workspace. This program offers partners distinct designations, ranging from platinum to gold and silver, achieved through predefined criteria. The next phase involves expanding this program to encompass all Surface partners in the upcoming semester.
We are also now live with Surface insights in the Partner Center Insights workspace for Surface Reseller Alliance Program users. Surface Insights is a unified report, which addresses much needed insights and reporting requirements for Surface partners. Eligible Surface partners will now be able to view their status in the Surface Reseller Alliance (SRA) incentive program through Partner Center. There is a new Insights page that will display a partner’s authorization status, tiering status, Surface revenue, and completed training (i.e., all program requirements).
We have improved the performance of the Referrals workspace experience in Partner Center, in addition to making it consistent with the co-sell opportunities page and enabling quick access to referral leads. You can still switch back to the old experience, but we recommend you try the new one and provide feedback using the smiley face at the top right of Partner Center. We have also launched a new wizard style experience for creating new co-sell opportunities.
We have also added two new enhancements to the Deal details page in Partner Center. You can now see more rows in the co-sell opportunities grid view, allowing you to review more deals at a time without navigating pages. We have also added a convenient way to navigate using Previous and Next buttons, which allows you to move between deals without coming back to the grid view.
Additionally, we have added two new filters to the Co-sell page in Partner Center to help you identify referrals where a customer intends to transact in the commercial marketplace and customers who are eligible for Microsoft Azure Consumption Commitment (MACC) at the time of referral. This will help you engage with customers early on who are interested in transacting with the marketplace.
Microsoft commercial marketplace:
Multiparty private offers (MPO) expands on the Private offer experience in Marketplace, allowing customers and ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) to include their preferred partner in deals. Currently available for United States customers and partners with US tax profiles, it empowers multiple parties including ISVs, partners, customers, and sellers to participate in marketplace deals that qualify for Microsoft Azure Consumption Commitment (MACC). For selling partners, it allows them to differentiate their offerings by adding ISV solutions to an offer, almost instantly. ISVs can now scale and unlock a completely new, repeatable revenue channel and achieve the flexibility needed to make and close deals quickly.
Additionally, we have expanded our Marketplace insights feature to include Azure managed apps, Container offers, and Multiparty private offers. You can access valuable data and analytics for all the offer types you publish and monitor and optimize your offer performance, purchases, usage, customers, revenue, and quality of service. This will help you grow your business and deliver better solutions to your customers.
With these new experiences, Microsoft continues to drive improved flexibility, scalability, and speed during the deal-making process. Learn more about the journey for Microsoft commercial marketplace.