Getting started with the cloud competencies


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It’s been just over a year since the initial release of the Microsoft Partner Network cloud competencies. The importance of the cloud continues to grow, with customers spending more than half their IT budgets on cloud and managed services in the last year (IDC, 2015). We’ve learned a lot from partners over the past year about how we can make competencies more valuable, and recently implemented changes to competency requirements that help you meet cloud performance requirements more quickly, plus added a new cloud competency for enterprise mobility.

Fewer than 10% of our partners worldwide have attained a competency, and only a small percentage of those have met Gold competency requirements. A competency can help establish credibility with your customers and provide you with a way to distinguish your company from competitors.

“Competencies are a great way to demonstrate to current and potential customers both the scope of your expertise and the depth of your experience.” – Gavriella Schuster, General Manager, Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group

June 2016 update about competency attainment

If you are a Microsoft partner (network member or Microsoft Action Pack subscriber) that does not already have a competency, and your company has completed the requirements for a competency, the program admin who manages your company's MPN membership will need to complete the following steps:

  • Sign in to the Partner Membership Center
  • Look for the Attain button next to the competency you are working toward
  • Click on Attain, fill out the extended organization profile, and sign the legal agreement
  • Pay the fees, if applicable. Until June 30, 2016, there is no fee for a Silver cloud competency

New in 2016! Join our MPN 101 Cloud Competency Attainment calls

Make 2016 the year that your company attains a cloud competency. In this call series, I’ll tackle each cloud competency in depth, explaining the requirements and benefits, and providing you with information about how to get started, plus an estimated timeline. Members of the MPN Support team and competency subject-matter experts will join me to answer your questions.

The five cloud competencies

There are now five cloud competencies available, for partners with active practices around Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, and Enterprise Mobility Suite. Specific requirements for each of the cloud competencies differ, but there are three common requirements: cloud performance; customer references and satisfaction; and technical exams. To learn about a competency’s specific requirements, click the competency name in the list below to go to its portal page, then select Silver or Gold.

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Recent competency changes

At WPC 2015, Gavriella Schuster, General Manager for the Worldwide Partner Group, announced changes that allow for quicker achievement and accommodate the shift in focus from seats sold and revenue to active use and consumption:

  • Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions competency – Reduction in seats of Office 365 sold and new Office 365 customers for both silver and gold
  • Cloud Platform competency – Reduction in the performance goal for silver; additional licenses of MSDN and Visual Studio 2015; improved Internal Use Rights benefit for Azure, as a single bulk annual credit
  • Cloud Productivity competency – Achievement is now through Active Entitlements (active users); you can meet the active user requirement across any Office 365 workload (Exchange, SharePoint Online, etc.) or with Office 365 ProPlus
  • For all competencies, there is no longer a requirement for unique MCPs per competency
  • For all competencies, sales and presales assessments are no longer required
  • For many competencies, new technical exam and assessment options are available

Read the blog post by Gavriella Schuster

Go to the What’s new page on the partner portal

Meeting cloud performance requirements

For partners working toward attaining or renewing a cloud competency, one of the most important requirements to understand is how your cloud performance will be measured and tracked. If you are not yet familiar with Digital Partner of Record (DPOR), I encourage you to utilize the resources below to understand how it affects your competency status and eligibility for benefits like incentives, support, and internal use.

As the Partner of Record, you will also get visibility to your customers’ cloud consumption and usage through the Cloud Services Partner Dashboard, which can help you identify cross-sell, upsell, and new solution and service opportunities.

The Digital Partner of Record portal page provides you with an overview of DPOR, step-by-step guidance and videos to help your customers add you as their Partner of Record, frequently asked questions, and more.

Go to the Digital Partner of Record page on the partner portal

Sign in to the Cloud Services Partner Dashboard

Contact MPN Support for help with cloud competencies

Comments about this blog post, or questions about the topic? Let us know in the MPN 101 Yammer group.

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