From Microsoft Gold Partner to Solutions Partner in the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program
Azure DevOps, Data & Analytics, IT & Management Consulting, Microsoft Power BI, Modern Work
Since October 2022, Microsoft has consistently reflected its current market strategy in the "Cloud Partner Program" - after more than 30 years, this is both an opportunity and a challenge for Microsoft partners.
For more than 30,000 small and large IT companies in Germany alone, Microsoft Silver or Gold Partner status was the desired and necessary proof of quality for decades. By certifying their employees in 19 fields of competence, this proof could be provided and was certified accordingly in many ways. On the third of October 2022, the "Microsoft Partner Network" was replaced and switched to the new "Microsoft Cloud Partner Program" (MCPP). In future, IT companies will be able to demonstrate their expertise in six areas of competence. Three different "Partner Capability Scores" are available for this, in which companies must prove themselves: Performance, qualification and customer success.
Cloud technology is the new "normal" for manufacturers and customers
The IT industry is driving the global economy with new innovations. Microsoft is one of the big players in digitalisation and new technologies. The growing use of cloud technologies by companies of all sizes also puts the cloud at the centre of the new Microsoft partner programme. The Microsoft Azure cloud is one of the big players and the advantages for users of Microsoft products are obvious. Software, IT infrastructure and expertise in implementation and use - all from a single source. With the MCPP, Microsoft thus takes into account the changing role of IT at customers and makes it easier to find the right Microsoft partner.
Partners must prove their expertise in a new and more detailed way
The new partnership model is based on six areas of competence, so-called designations. These replace the Microsoft Gold Partner status. Lower partner levels, such as Silver Partner, will no longer exist. This raises the bar for a partnership.
Microsoft has not only changed the name of the partnership model, but also the conditions that must be met in order to achieve this partnership.
Each individual designation is divided into three categories: Performance, Skilling and Customer Success. Performance measures new customers in the last 12 months, Skilling measures the expertise demonstrated by certain certificates (similar to the old partner model) and Customer Success measures the successfully implemented customer projects.
This makes the customer and his satisfaction an integral part of the partnership process. It is plausible from Microsoft's point of view that sales (of Microsoft products) will also be taken into account for a partner certificate in the future. For IT consultancies in particular, however, this requirement means a complication, since product independence for consultancies represents a large part of their market quality.
One consolation may be that Microsoft partners have to achieve at least 70 out of a possible 100 points to receive the title "Solution Partner" for a competence area. So Microsoft allows some leeway here.
Solution competence is the key of the future partnership model
It is significant that the future relevant fields of competence for a partnership all appear as "solution". This puts the product certifications (for individual Microsoft products), which have been in the foreground up to now, somewhat in the background and focuses on the thematically structured solution competence of the partner companies. The fact that behind each "solution" the corresponding Microsoft products are also waiting to be used does not detract from this. Partners can distinguish themselves as specialists and customers can pick them up exactly there.
Microsoft Gold Partner noventum - in future Solution Partner. Prospects for our customers
Questions for Andre Thiemann, Microsoft Partnership Officer at noventum consulting.
What changes do our customers have to expect?
Basically nothing. We at noventum consulting will continue to make projects a success for our customers at the highest level in our usual subject areas such as Azure Cloud, Modern Work, Security and Business Intelligence.
Our offer in the Microsoft Cloud ranges from the accompanied, agile introduction of Microsoft 365 and training in the licensed tools to data migration and the digitalisation of business processes.
What does this mean for product-independent counselling?
We have successfully accompanied our customers on their way to the Azure Cloud for years. We analyse your systems with the IT managers and develop concepts for the migration of data, processes and applications. In doing so, we draw on know-how from over 25 years of IT consulting and develop correspondingly well thought-out cloud strategies. Whether our customers then want to set up a pure Azure environment or rely on a multi-cloud environment is not decisive. The reasons for choosing Azure or a competitor such as AWS or even a national player often lie in the company history, the legal requirements or the technical environment. As consultants, we analyse these reasons in order to build an optimal environment with our client or to expand the existing one.
But as a Microsoft partner, you explicitly rely on Microsoft and thus on Azure?
There are consulting fields where the market-leading quality of Microsoft products naturally suggests Azure. Let's just take the complete Microsoft 365 world, which can be seamlessly mapped in Azure. But this is also a decision for Microsoft products and not just for the Microsoft cloud.
Our consultants from the "Data & Analytics" environment have also specialised in the services of the Microsoft Azure environment - and that is then also a clear commitment. For noventum, BI means Microsoft BI! This is not only the basis for our own product noventum HR-Analytics, as a solution for HR reporting, analysis and planning. This also explicitly includes the Azure infrastructure. Services such as Azure SQL Database, Azure Data Factory and Azure Analysis Services are tools we rely on with our customers.
Similar to the use of the Azure Cloud, we also have AWS experts at noventum. These are also listed as Selected Partners with AWS and so we can develop the best solutions for our customers at a high level in mixed teams.
Is the end of on-premises near?
No, not in general, perhaps as little as the end of cash. The cloud is not always the first choice for many of our customers. For reasons of security, compliance and governance, they are often initially reluctant. Our experts help them to ensure that their internal and external guidelines are adhered to, data protection and security are guaranteed and high availability of their systems is achieved. And that in the cloud or, of course, on-premises.
With which solutions does noventum start its way into the new Microsoft partner world?
As a first step, we are striving for recognition as a solution partner for the areas of Data & AI and Infrastructure. We are traditionally particularly strong in these areas and have already proven in the past that we are the right choice for our customers' projects as a "Gold Partner".
noventum consulting GmbH