Last week, we counted down to the final stages of transitioning to the “new” Microsoft Partner Network. Thanks for your positive feedback about the Daily Double posts, where I covered tools and resources to help you assess where you are and decide where you want to be in the new Network. With the arrival of the new Microsoft Partner Network comes a fresh approach to program membership, and some new ways to engage with Microsoft have been added.
The labels “Registered Member,” “Certified Partner,” and “Gold Certified Partner” are so last Friday. Instead, you’ll hear us talking about these layers of participation.
- Participate in Communities. There are two aspects of community in the Microsoft Partner Network—think of them as not structured vs. structured.
- Join the conversation with Microsoft and other partners through a variety of social media and networking activities. The U.S. Partner Team has this blog and the @msuspartner Twitter feed, and we recently launched a U.S. Partner Community on Facebook and LinkedIn. On the Community tab of the U.S. partner portal, we list some other social media/blogs/groups that you may want to check out.
- There are also communities that have requirements to join, and in return provide community-specific benefits. The most prominent of these is the Small Business Specialist Community, but this also includes the “Sparks”—BizSpark and WebsiteSpark, as well as the new Microsoft Cloud Accelerate.
- Join the Microsoft Partner Network. Complete a short profile and become a member to take advantage of core benefits, like access to low-cost/no-cost online business and technical training; customizable marketing campaigns; and no-charge, online technical support. You can also list your company’s solutions on Microsoft Pinpoint to help make your company known to thousands of potential customers.
- Purchase a Subscription. The Microsoft Action Pack, which comes in two flavors, Solution Provider (SP) and Develop & Design (DD), and the new Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack, which became available today, all provide internal-use rights and other business, sales/marketing, and technical benefits.
- Earn a Silver Competency, or Attain a Gold Competency. The new competencies are aligned to how your customers buy, and are mapped to Microsoft campaigns to drive customer awareness and respond to their needs. Partners asked us to help them better differentiate themselves and demonstrate their specific areas of expertise to customers, and the new competency structure does both. Eric Ligman, in the Worldwide Partner Group that is responsible for the global structure of the Microsoft Partner Network, articulates several of the nuances of the competencies in his blog post announcing the new Network.
We’re excited to finally be able to say that your new Microsoft Partner Network is here.
- Jon Roskill, the Corporate Vice President of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, shares his thoughts about the changes and what all Microsoft partners should be aware of when considering their membership on his blog, Partner Perspective.
- Jenni Flinders, the Vice President of the Microsoft U.S. Partner Strategy and Programs team, offers her insights about how these changes for partners also benefit our mutual customers.
Sr. Marketing Manager, U.S. Partner Team
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