Small businesses face unique challenges: they need enterprise-class technology, but their capital resources are extremely stretched and their in-house technical capability tends to be limited. According to a recent Microsoft SMB research survey conducted by Edge Strategies, many SMBs are eager to shift their IT to cloud offerings. Despite a sluggish global economy, 50 percent of SMBs say cloud computing is going to become more important for their operations, and 58 percent believe working in the cloud can make companies more competitive. There are over 148 million SMB businesses worldwide needing relevant technology solutions, out of which approximately 50% are Small Business organizations - this areas is a huge opportunity for our Microsoft partners to tap into as trusted advisors and quality technology providers to this customer base.
In order to build a capable cloud partner ecosystem that drives awareness and adoption of Microsoft cloud solutions in the marketplace, the Small Business Competency will be launched in June 2012. The competency will lead with the Cloud and be a key differentiator for partners focused on the small business segment. We believe this competency will be one of the biggest levers to accelerate cloud partner activation in the small business segment and anticipate it will grow into the largest competency within the Microsoft Partner Network. As a deliverer of Microsoft technology solutions to small businesses, this is a unique opportunity for your company to earn the Gold or Silver Small Business competency designation and differentiate yourself as a trusted advisor to small businesses.
For Microsoft Partners serving Small Business customers and demonstrating “best-in-class” capability with Microsoft solutions based on Windows, Office 365, Windows Server/Small Business Server (SBS), and Windows Intune, the Gold Small Business competency can provide the greatest differentiation for your company in the marketplace. Gold attainment will also enable your business to capitalize on the vast Small Business market opportunity by providing the highest level of tailored benefits including usage of the Gold competency logo, eligibility for a named Microsoft contact to help you maximize your partnership with Microsoft and sales support, internal use rights for up to 30 licenses of on premise products, significant additional cloud offering license rights for internal usage (IUR), unlimited pre-sales advisory hours for deals >$3,000USD (50 hours if not deal related or post-sales oriented), bill-on-behalf capability for Office 365, and premier exposure on the Microsoft PinPoint and Office 365 marketplaces.
For Microsoft Partners serving Small Business customers and demonstrating consistent capability and solid expertise with Microsoft solutions based on Windows, Office 365, Windows server/ Small Business Server (SBS) and Windows Intune, the Silver Small Business competency can strongly differentiate your company in the marketplace. Silver attainment will also enable your business to capitalize on the vast Small Business market opportunity via tailored benefits such as internal use rights for up to 15 licenses of on premise products, additional cloud offering license rights for internal usage (IUR), usage of the Silver competency logo, access to Microsoft, 20 hours of pre- or post-sale technical advisory support, and prioritized exposure to customers on the Microsoft PinPoint and Office 365 marketplaces.
In order to acquire the MPN Small Business competency, Microsoft Partners will go through a straightforward process to prove their capability through technical exams, sales assessments and quality customer references, with Gold requiring additional expertise and customer references when compared to Silver – subsequently benefits that accrue to the partner will vary accordingly. In addition to the core requirements, Gold Small Business competency partners must also execute customer satisfaction surveys and commit to a minimum revenue target, attainment of which will go into effect on or after October 2013. For geographies where Microsoft cloud offerings are currently not available, the requirements for Office 365 exams and cloud related customer references are waived and substitute exams are defined for on-premise products.
We are very excited about what this opportunity represents for our partners and Small Business customers! Look forward to seeing the momentum as we go live.