US Partner Experience Lead
As you plan and set your business goals for 2016, keep your Microsoft Partner Network membership in mind. Renewing an existing competency or attaining a new competency takes planning and forethought. Even if your next anniversary date is several weeks or even months away, considering a few things now, and taking a few minutes to prepare, will help smooth out the process.
Determine your anniversary date
You’ll want to know the timeline for your renewal. Sign in to the partner portal with your Microsoft account (formerly Live ID) that is associated to your MPN membership. Once you’re signed in, click on the welcome message at the top right corner, and you’ll see the date that your membership expires. This is also called your anniversary date.
- If your date is fewer than 90 days away, you should start the renewal process. Review and use the online competency renewal guide.
- If your date is more than 90 days away, add a reminder to your calendar. I’ve created a calendar template that includes a renewal checklist. Set the date to three months out from your anniversary date, as 90 days is the point at which you can begin your online renewal. Download the 90-day renewal calendar reminder template
Identify your company’s Microsoft account administrator
Your company’s Primary Program Contact is typically the person authorized to update your organization’s membership profile and manage the renewal in the Partner Membership Center. The name of your company’s Primary Program Contact is listed in the Organizations tab on your Individual Account home page in the Partner Membership Center.
- If you are the Primary Program Contact and authorized to renew your company’s membership, use the online competency renewal guide and recommendations below to get started.
- If you are not the Primary Program Contact, share this post and the online competency renewal guide with him or her.
- For assistance at any time with your renewal, contact MPN Support. Sign in to the Support page on the MPN portal to see your options for obtaining support from the MPN Support team. There is also a list of top partner questions on that page that may be helpful.
Review and understand competency requirements
Cross-competency requirements update
Here are competency-related changes to be aware of that were announced at WPC 2015. These are documented on the What’s new page, which is frequently updated to reflect program changes and updates:
- For the cloud competencies, performance measurement has moved from seats sold and revenue to active use and consumption (for more about this, read my blog post, Getting started with the cloud competencies)
- 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
- For gold competencies, the Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) requirement is removed as of January 2016
Specific competency requirements update
In addition to the broad changes across most or all of the competencies, specific competencies may have updated or new requirements. Starting on the Competency partners page, review the requirements for the competency or competencies you currently have (once you’re on the specific competency’s page, select Requirements, then Silver or Gold, from the column under “Competency details”).
If your anniversary date is within 90 days, the Primary Program Contact will also be able to see the requirements in the Partner Membership Center.
Cloud competency performance requirements
The five cloud competencies are performance-based, and we are shifting performance requirements from seats sold and revenue to active use and consumption. Details about meeting the performance goal for each of these competencies is in the Requirements section of the respective competency page (be sure to select Silver or Gold):
- Cloud Platform – for partners that specialize in delivering infrastructure and SaaS solutions on Microsoft Azure
- Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions – for partners selling Microsoft Office 365 to small and midmarket customers
- Cloud Productivity – for partners deploying Microsoft Office 365 for enterprise customers
- Cloud Customer Relationship Management – for partners deploying cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online solutions
- Enterprise Mobility Management – for partners deploying one or more of the components of Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), Microsoft Intune, or Azure Active Directory Premium
Customer evidence requirement
Customer evidence is a core requirement for all competencies, and customer references expire after two years. Check the status of your customer references in the Partner Membership Center, and identify new customer references if necessary—an expiring customer reference may delay your renewal, even if you have met all other requirements.
Technical assessments, exams, and certifications requirement
Technical credentials are a core requirement for all competencies, and vary according to each competency. Find the specific technical requirement details for each of your competencies. If your employees or contractors pass the eligible competency exams for multiple competencies, you can count those exams toward attaining multiple competencies. This requirement can take time to complete, and I recommend working with your technical team as early as possible to understand and plan to meet these requirements.
- Learn more about exams and certifications
- Find IT training by technology
- Use partner learning paths to get training and prepare for exams
Tools to help you plan ahead
As your company approaches its membership anniversary date, your company’s Primary Program Contact will receive email notifications from Microsoft with information about renewal, and should see renewal information in the Partner Membership Center starting at 90 days from the anniversary date. Additionally, throughout the year, if there are changes to a competency your company has that affect requirements and/or benefits, you will receive email notifications and see notifications in the Partner Membership Center.
I have created two calendar reminder templates that you can customize according to your anniversary date:
- 90-day calendar reminder to start your renewal. This template includes a checklist to prompt you to review competency requirements, review notifications in the Partner Membership Center, schedule time for technical assessments/exams, budget ahead to pay any applicable competency fees or exam fees. If you’re already within your 90 days, it’s time to start the renewal process for 2016, but you can set a reminder for 2017. Download the template
- 2-week calendar reminder to complete your renewal. This template prompts you to complete the online renewal early so that you can address any unexpected issues and renew your internal use license keys. Once you’re done, you can update this reminder for 2017. Download the template
Join our new MPN 101 Cloud Competency Attainment call series (starts January 13)
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.
- Small & Midmarket Cloud Solutions competency – Wednesday January 13 at 9:30AM Pacific Time
- Cloud Productivity competency – Wednesday January 27 at 9:30AM Pacific Time
- Cloud Platform competency – Wednesday February 3 at 9:30AM Pacific Time
- Cloud CRM competency – Wednesday February 10 at 9:30AM Pacific Time
- Enterprise Mobility Management competency – Wednesday February 17 at 9:30AM Pacific Time
How to get support during your renewal
For assistance at any time with your renewal, contact MPN Support. Sign in to the Support page on the MPN portal to see your options for obtaining support from the MPN Support team. There is also a list of top partner questions on that page that may be helpful.
If you have trouble signing in to the MPN website, follow these troubleshooting suggestions.