Sarah Broadbent, US Partner Incentives
As a Microsoft partner, you work hard to earn incentives across a variety of programs when working with customers. To ensure you receive earned Microsoft incentives, it’s critical to follow good business practices and maintain accurate records of business transactions. Being disciplined and following good business practices will help save you time and ensure that you receive the incentives you earned quickly.
Microsoft values integrity and compliance in its partner ecosystem. One way to maintain this is to audit partners that are eligible to receive incentives. Specifically, Microsoft regularly asks partners eligible for Microsoft Azure and Online Services Usage incentives to provide Proof of Execution (POE). POE is important to ensuring that Microsoft pays incentives only to partners who have earned them.
POE: What is it and why does Microsoft ask for it?
When Microsoft asks a partner to provide POE, the partner must provide documentation to validate that they have performed the services for a customer in connection with the incentives that the partner is eligible to earn. Partners must pass POE to earn Azure and Usage incentives. The selection of partners for POE is random and POE can be requested at any time. Please note that if a partner does not pass POE, they do not lose their attachment as Digital Partner of Record (DPOR) to the customer – they only are ineligible to earn incentives related to the engagement with the customer.
A partner receives a POE request. Now what?
When responding to a POE request, there are two key details to remember: provide detail in the services being performed and explain how and why the work is being performed.
For Azure POE, consider the following questions:
- What is the customer’s business need?
- How will the Azure solution architecture expand or replace existing infrastructure?
- What are the relevant benefits of the Azure solution to the customer?
For Usage POE, think about the following:
- Did the partner act in an advisory role for the customer through the deployment of Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics, AADP, AIP or Microsoft Intune on the EA, EAS or CASA/EES?
- Did the partner assist in and is able to show evidence of a managed service or support or change management shift when assisting the customer in using these online services?
If a partner is audited, they are required to submit documentation proving that the goods and services that drive consumption and usage have been delivered by the partner for the customer. There are several documents in which you can answer these questions and provide POE to Microsoft:
- Statement of Work (SOW) – Most common
- Proof of Concept completion report
- Purchase order (if it contains all the appropriate details and customer acknowledgement)
- Quotation with Implementation Plan
- Email communication between Partner and Customer (if it contains all appropriate details and customer acknowledgement)
- Master Service Agreements with an Amendment or Addendum attached
- Any other type of contract/document between a Partner and customer describing work being performed
Remember! These documents must describe the work completed for the customer in detail.
In July 2017, Microsoft standardized the POE process across all subsidiaries. The selection of partners, process and requirements did not change. For Azure, we introduced a new template for partners to complete and that serves as acceptable documentation. The purpose of this template was to reduce communications between Partners and Azure Support as well as expedite incentive payment. You can download a version of the completed template here to see what a “good” Azure POE template submission looks like.
Learn more, pass POE, and get paid faster
POE is an important part of the checks and balances that Microsoft uses to reward its channel partners fairly. Study the resources about POE below and have them ready if you are audited. Train your team on what is required to pass POE so that you can receive approval quickly and see the incentives that you worked hard for.