In March 2022, Microsoft made the announcement that the Microsoft Partner Network would be rebranded as the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program on October 3, 2022. This is more than just a name change; it reflects the ongoing evolution of Microsoft’s business operations and the ways they intend to support partners in the future.

 

As we approach this date, Pax8 is working hard to prepare our partners for the changes the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program will bring. We are committed to delivering the latest changes and updates to the program so that you can maximize its available features, benefits, and opportunities.

 

Read below to learn more about how the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program can be a benefit to your business.

 

What is the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program?

The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program (MCPP) is Microsoft’s updated strategy for all partners in the ecosystem, whether they build or sell services, software solutions, or devices. MCPP aims to align go-to-market motions with the way customers are buying today. To achieve this, Microsoft is refining their partner program designations to focus on proficiency in six solution areas aligned with the Microsoft Cloud:

Each designation badge will allow your practice to stand out with customers who are looking for Microsoft solutions as a trusted expert in the respective solution area. This new model will be replacing the current Silver and Gold standards — Pax8 advises that any current Silver and Gold partners should begin assessing their current standing among the new solutions designations to determine the best path as we move closer to the official launch date of the MCPP.

Additionally, Microsoft is evolving the way they categorize partner capability and measure success. This will be done with two qualifying levels:

  • The solutions partner level is the core designation level (shown above), based on meeting specific requirements aligned to Microsoft’s new partner capability score for each solution area. The partner capability score is Microsoft’s framework for measuring partner performance, skilling, and customer success. To attain a solutions partner designation, partners will need to earn a partner capability score of at least 70 points across the measurement areas.
  • Specializations and expert programs exist within each of the solutions partner designations and will give partners a way to demonstrate deep technical expertise and experience under each solution area. To achieve this level, Microsoft will have different requirements in addition to the core solutions partner designation.

 

Solutions Partner Designations to Legacy Competency Map

Solutions Partner Designation

Legacy Competency

Solutions Partner for Infrastructure (Azure)
  • Cloud Platform
  • Data Center
Solutions Partner for Data and AI (Azure)
  • App Integration
  • Data Analytics
  • Data Platform
Solutions Partner for Digital & App Innovation (Azure)
  • Application Development
  • App Integration
  • DevOps
Solutions Partner for Modern Work
  • Cloud Productivity
  • Collaboration
  • Communications
  • Messaging
  • Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions
  • Windows and Devices
Solutions Partner for Security
  • Enterprise Mobility Management
  • Security
Solutions Partner for Business Applications
  • Cloud Business Applications
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
  • Project Portfolio Management

 

Dates and Deadlines

September 30, 2022: This is the last day to meet necessary requirements to have the option to renew legacy benefits for renewals dated after Oct 3, 2022. Associated Silver and Gold badges will no longer be valid regardless of the anniversary date.

 

  • NOTE: After September 30, 2022, there will be two options available for partners:
    • Option 1: If all prerequisite requirements are met by October 3, 2022, a new solutions partner designation can be attained.
    • Option 2: If all prerequisite requirements are not met by October 3, 2022, purchase a legacy benefits package to retain current benefits while working toward achieving a new solutions partner designation. This option will only be available to those partners who have attained or renewed their legacy competency prior to September 30, 2022.

October 3, 2022: Microsoft Partner Network becomes Microsoft Cloud Partner Program. New solutions partner designations become available and legacy competencies will be retired.

 

October 1, 2023: Participation in incentives and rebates programs will require a solutions partner designation.

 

Microsoft Announcements and Resources

 

Solutions Partner Designation for Business Applications — Updated as of Sept. 22, 2022

 

Solutions Partner Designation for Data & AI (Azure) — Updated as of Sept. 22, 2022

  • Microsoft has adjusted the skilling requirements for the solutions partner designation for Data & AI (Azure) designation by merging the advanced certification requirements into the intermediate certification requirements, making them a single category.
  • Points that were previously earned in the advanced certification subcategory will be added to the points earned in the intermediate certification category and reflected on the dashboard on Partner Center.
  • Please check the Learn docs for the updated details: Solutions Partner for Data & AI, Infrastructure, and Digital App & Innovation

 

The Pax8 Approach

On September 7, we hosted a webinar to prepare partners for the changes to the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program. Watch the webinar recording below to hear experts from Pax8 and Microsoft dive deep into the new program and answer questions about the expected changes. If you’d like to learn more, check out the FAQ document from the Pax8 Microsoft team and reach out to your channel account manager or schedule a call.