The Importance of Microsoft Solutions Partner Designations

The Importance of Microsoft Solutions Partner Designations

This year, Microsoft has decided to move away from their previous partner program towards new Microsoft Solutions Partner designations. These new badges Microsoft provides to partners to designate technology providers achieving the new Microsoft Solutions Partner statuses. This change was announced in 2022, but the rollout of the badges has been gradual. There may still be Microsoft Partners displaying the phased-out Gold or Silver Partner Status badges, but these badges were no longer valid as of September 30th, 2022. 

What is the Solutions Partner Designation program replacing?

The previous partner statuses had 18 Gold or Silver legacy competencies that partners could achieve. These competencies were specific to various technology areas and services. The new model simplifies things by introducing six solution areas aligned with how Microsoft goes to market. This revamped partner accreditation program helps identify expertise across various Microsoft solution areas such as Business Technologies, Data & AI,  Digital & App Innovation, Infrastructure, Modern Work, and Security

These Solutions Partner Designations help Microsoft develop trust in its network of Partners, and prove to Microsoft and end users that their partners have met key criteria in order to achieve certain Partner Designations. The end users benefit from this by being able to work with Microsoft Partners they know can deliver a great result. The Partners can benefit from this by being able to demonstrate their expertise and differentiate from the competition. And Microsoft benefits knowing that its users are in safe hands. 

How do partners achieve Solutions Partner Designations?

In order to obtain a Solutions Partner Designation, partners must now demonstrate a high level of competence in one of the six key service areas (Business Technologies, Data & AI, Digital & App Innovation, Infrastructure, Modern Work, and Security.) The new Solutions Partner Designations are more difficult to achieve than the previous Silver and Gold Partner Statuses. Each of the six designations is based on demonstrating expertise not only through qualifications and accreditations, but also by proving how the partner has contributed to their customers’ growth and success.

To achieve a Solutions Partner Designation, partners need to meet specific qualifications aligned with their chosen solution area. Here are the general steps:

Skills and Certifications:

Partners must demonstrate expertise by having certified individuals in relevant Microsoft technologies. These certifications validate technical skills and knowledge. The exact certification requirements vary based on the solution area (e.g., Azure, Business Applications, Modern Work, etc.). 

Customer Success:

Partners should have a track record of delivering successful projects for customers within their chosen solution domain. Customer references and case studies play a crucial role in showcasing this success. 

Performance Metrics:

Microsoft evaluates partners based on performance metrics related to customer satisfaction, project delivery, and solution adoption. Partners need to maintain a certain level of performance to qualify for the designation.

Partner Capability Score:

Partners are assessed using the Partner Capability Score, which considers factors like skills, certifications, customer success, and business performance. A higher score indicates a stronger partner capability.

Business Commitment:

Partners must demonstrate a commitment to growing their Microsoft practice in the chosen solution area. This includes investing in marketing, sales, and technical resources.

Apply and Validate:

Partners apply for the designation through the Partner Center. Microsoft reviews the application, validates qualifications, and assigns the appropriate designation.

In order for Partners to achieve designations in multiple fields, they not only need to have the skill in-house via certifications in that specific area, but they also must already have demonstrated that they have successfully delivered those projects to customers with a high level of customer satisfaction. Thus, these Solutions Partner Designations demonstrate a partner’s expertise and commitment to delivering excellent solutions in that Microsoft Solution space. 

Why is it important to work with a Microsoft Solutions Designated Partner?

Choosing partners with Microsoft Solutions Partner Designations is crucial for several reasons:

Expertise and Specialization:

Partners with designations have demonstrated expertise and experience in specific solution areas (for example, Microsoft 365 solutions or Microsoft Azure). They specialize in delivering solutions aligned with Microsoft’s strategic focus. Their knowledge ensures better project outcomes and customer satisfaction. 

Quality Assurance:

Microsoft rigorously evaluates partners before awarding designations. Partners must meet strict criteria related to skills, certifications, and customer success. Choosing a designated partner provides a level of quality assurance.

Access to Latest Insights and Resources:

Designated partners have access to exclusive resources, including training, workshops, and early product insights. They stay up-to-date with the latest Microsoft technologies and best practices and are able to share these technologies and resources with their customers.

Tailored Solutions:

Solutions Partner Designations allow you to find partners aligned with your specific needs. Whether you’re looking for cloud solutions, business applications, or security services, designated partners can tailor their offerings accordingly. 

Efficient Problem-Solving:

Designated partners understand the intricacies of Microsoft solutions. They can efficiently troubleshoot issues, implement best practices, and optimize your technology stack. They have a proven track record of customer success stories in that designated Microsoft Solution area.

Strategic Alignment:

Microsoft’s focus areas align with market trends and customer demands. Choosing a designated partner ensures alignment with these strategic priorities. 

Wrapping Up

To summarize, it is worth looking out for these new designations. Partners that have received them have demonstrated a successful track record of implementing Microsoft Services that have improved business outcomes. As you may have already guessed, Gibraltar Solutions has a Microsoft Solutions Partner Designation in both Infrastructure and Modern Work, and are close to achieving our third Solutions Partner Designation in Security at the time of this blog post.