Solutions Partner: overview of the updates to designation requirements
Last year, we launched the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program – a program with a portfolio of tools, resources, and offerings to help partners meet evolving customer opportunities, innovate for any cloud scenario on an extensible platform, and deliver successful solutions to industries and markets worldwide.
We also introduced Solutions Partner designations – each anchored on the Microsoft Cloud in six solution areas: Business Applications, Data & AI (Azure), Digital App & Innovation (Azure), Infrastructure (Azure), Modern Work, and Security – providing a way for partners to demonstrate their proven capabilities and experience across performance, skilling, and customer success.
We’re committed to supporting you as you grow your business, and continue to make investments to encourage business development, increase customer reach, and expand technical skilling and enablement to ensure our partners have the necessary skills and knowledge to align with customers’ needs and your business objectives.
Today, we’re providing an overview of the updates we’ve made to the requirements for Solutions Partner designations, including broadening performance requirements for Modern Work to include Microsoft Viva workloads, and updates to skilling requirements for certifications across five of our six solution areas.
Here is an overview of the Solutions Partner designation updates.
Microsoft Viva added as eligible workload for Modern Work
Microsoft Viva is now an eligible workload for Modern Work under net customer adds, deployments, and usage growth. If you sell or manage Microsoft Viva Connections, Viva Insights, Viva Learning, or Viva Topics for your customers, you may begin earning points for those workloads as soon as June 5, 2023.
Solutions Partner designation skilling requirement updates
When certifications retire, there is no immediate impact. Certifications identified for retirement continue to count toward your partner capability score for one year after retirement or until your individual certification expires, whichever is sooner, in an effort to give you time to adjust. You can continue to take these retiring exams until their retirement date if they are the right fit for your business.
Solutions Partner for Security
We updated the way we validate partners’ capabilities with adjustments to Solutions Partner for Security designation requirements. These changes include new prerequisites and a more flexible approach to meeting Security designation skilling requirements.
- Mirroring Azure designations’ skilling structure, you’ll now see two prerequisite certifications that must be met before you start earning points. However, we’ve moved away from the requirement that those prerequisites be held by the same individual. Your prerequisites may now be earned by the same or different individuals. We’re shifting to this new model to give you more flexibility in how your business achieves prerequisite targets.
- From now until December 2023, you can meet the prerequisites with one individual certified in Azure Security Engineer Associate (AZ-500) and one individual certified in either Security Operations Analyst Associate (SC-200) or Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate (MS-500).
- From now through December 2023, we will also count Security Operations Analyst Associate (SC-200) toward your scoring certifications. One individual will count toward your prerequisite and scoring certifications if they hold this certification during this time period.
- Starting in December 2023, the prerequisites will need to be earned by two individuals each, and Security Operations Analyst Associate (SC-200) will no longer count as a scoring certification, only as a prerequisite.
- Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate (MS-500) will remain a prerequisite but will retire June 30, 2023. It will continue to count toward your prerequisites through June 30, 2024, or until your individual certification expires, whichever is sooner. Between now and June 2024, this certification will be an alternative to earning Security Operations Analyst Associate (SC-200) as a prerequisite.
- Microsoft Certified: Cybersecurity Architect Expert (SC-100) is now an eligible scoring certification; you can earn points for this certification once the prerequisites have been met.
- There are no longer restrictions on which individuals on your team can earn certifications in order for those achievements to qualify toward points needed to meet Solutions Partner for Security designation requirements. The individuals who earn these certifications can be the same as or different from the individuals who earn the prerequisite certifications. There are also no restrictions on which certifications in this category need to be achieved.
Solutions Partner for Business Applications
- Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Commerce Functional Consultant Associate will retire June 30, 2023.
- Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Functional Consultant Associate will retire June 30, 2023.
- Microsoft Certified: Power Platform App Maker Associate is not retiring but will be removed from eligibility for intermediate certifications on November 1, 2023. If you have individuals holding this certification, they will not earn points toward your score as of November 1.
- Microsoft Certified: Power Apps + Dynamics 365 Developer Associate is a legacy certification retired over one year ago and has been removed from the list of eligible intermediate certifications.
- Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 + Power Platform Solution Architect Expert is a legacy certification retired over one year ago and has been removed from the list of eligible advanced certifications.
Solutions Partner for Data & AI (Azure)
- No changes for this solution area.
Solutions Partner for Digital & App Innovation (Azure) designation
- Microsoft Certified: Azure IoT Developer Specialty will retire July 31, 2023.
Solutions Partner for Infrastructure (Azure)
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Stack Hub Operator Associate will retire July 31, 2023.
Solutions Partner for Modern Work
- M365 Certified: Collaboration Communications Systems Engineer Associate is now an eligible certification for the intermediate certification subcategory.
- M365 Certified: Teams Application Developer Associate is still available for partners only. You can find the registration code for the exam in Partner Center.
- On July 1, 2023, the names of two certifications will change:
- M365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate certification is changing to M365 Certified: Endpoint Administrator Associate.
- M365 Certified: Enterprise Admin Expert certification is changing to M365 Certified: Administrator Expert.
- You will see these name changes in Partner Center ahead of July 1; however, they will not impact your partner capability score.
To learn more about the training and certification resources available to Microsoft partners, visit the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program training webpage to build the skills you need today – and the expertise to achieve more tomorrow.