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Microsoft Azure Solutions Partner Designations Guide: What’s New in 2024

Customers across all industries – from healthcare to fintech  – are seeking solutions to drive digital transformation. That’s why the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program for ISVs decided to change the way Azure approached Solutions Partner Designations

Today, the Solutions Partner Designations honor ISVs for their specific competencies, performance, and advanced technical skills. For ISVs, this is just table stakes (like becoming transactable). A designation is a foot in the door – the real difference comes from identifying and expounding upon your unique value proposition. 

Here’s your guide to the Azure Partner Designations, including changes that will be introduced in 2024. 

 

What are the Microsoft Azure Partner Designations?

 

The Microsoft Azure Partner Designations is a recognition awarded to ISVs with achievements across 7 areas, including Infrastructure, Data and AI, Digital and App Innovation, Modern Work, Security, Business Application, and Certified Software. Training Services and Support Services will also be added this year. 

In 2022, Azure introduced these new Solutions Partner Designations to make it easier for customers to sort through solutions on the marketplaces. 19 Silver and Gold competencies were simplified into 6 Solutions Partner Designations. 

 

What are Microsoft Azure Specializations? 

 

To further differentiate themselves, ISVs can also earn a Specialization within a given Designation. Specializations highlight ISVs unique capabilities, such as Threat Protection in the Security Designation and Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop in Infrastructure Designation.  

 

2024 Microsoft Azure Partner Designation changes

 

  • 3 new Designations, including Support Services, Training Services, and Certified Software 
  • Industry AI distinction in Certified Software Designation, which is available to solutions across a number of verticals, including retail, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, and sustainability 
  • New avenues to earn a Designation for Security 
  • More training programs in AI 
 

How to qualify for Solutions Partner Designations


  • Get started – Become a member of the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program and access free marketing resources 
  • Build – Improve your solution with the help of Mcirosoft’s tech, support, and GTM tools
  • Start selling – Prove that your solution has the right capabilities to meet customer needs, as according to by the specific Solutions Partner Designation
  • Differentiate and scale – Meet the requirements to participate in Microsoft Cloud Partner Programs and unlock new benefits 

Your Partner Capability Score is based on your proven track record of success in Performance, Skilling and Customer Success. You will need to earn 70 points within one of those categories to qualify for a Designation. Each category has various weights and thresholds, and you can get partial parts for progress on a metric. Once you reach a threshold, you max out on points for a given metric.

Performance

The Performance Category in the Solutions Partner Designation quantifies the ability to expand your customer base, as well as Microsoft’s. Points are added when you sign a new customer, and subtracted when your churn one. The customer must be new to the partner, so upsells won’t move the needle here. 

Skilling

The Solutions Partner Designation’s Skilling Category measures how many people in your organization are certified in certain skills. The more skills earned and more people certified, the higher your organization’s score will be. 

Intermediate certifications measure success in 1 of 6 general Designations, while advanced certifications focus on a Designation’s specific subcategory. 

You can keep up with certification opportunities here.

Customer success

Customer Success measures how you enable your customers to drive growth with Microsoft products, services, and workloads. You will earn more points when customers deploy and use Microsoft products. 

Microsoft provides an in-depth article on how to calculate this score in their Partner Center here.

 

How your claim points and check your Partner Capability Score 

 

There are two approaches to start claiming your points and reaching a Designation Status:

  • Option 1: Partner associations
  • Option 2: Certified Professional associates 

You can check your score on the Azure Partner Dashboard, located in the Partner Center. For more information, check out Microsoft’s documentation here.

Before you start earning points, you will need to make sure your internal team syncs their Microsoft IDs with your organization. Otherwise, Microsoft won’t be able to calculate your score. 

 

Benefits of Microsoft Solutions Partner Designations

 
  • Azure credits
  • Additional product licenses to build, test, demo, and pilot
  • Co-sell opportunities 
 

Solutions Categories

 
  • Solutions Partner for Infrastructure (formerly Cloud Platform and Data Center)
  • Solutions Partner for Data and AI (formerly App Integration, Data Analytics, and Data Platform)
  • Solutions Partner for Digital and App Innovation (formerly Application Development, App Integration, and DevOps)
  • Solutions Partner for Modern Work (formerly Cloud Productivity, Collaboration, Communications, Messaging, Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions, Windows and Devices)
  • Solutions Partner for Security (Enterprise Mobility Management and Security)
  • Solutions Partner for Business Applications (formerly Cloud Business Applications, Enterprise Resource Planning/ERP, and Project Portfolio Management)
  • Solutions Partner for Certified Software (Industry AI, available for solutions in healthcare, retail, financial services, manufacturing, and sustainability)
  • Solutions Partner for Training Services (coming April 20, 2024)
  • Solutions Partner for Supporting Services (coming later this year)
 

Mapping Azure Specializations to Designations


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