MPN 101: The four steps to attain a cloud competency

Chinmayi Bhavanishankar - US Partner Experience Lead

Competency is an earned designation within the Microsoft Partner Network that partners can attain, at a gold or silver level, by fulfilling the requirements. The Microsoft partner program keeps evolving and as part of that evolution last year, there were 12 competencies that were retired. These 12 competencies have been closed for new enrollment or renewal and will no longer be supported as of January 30, 2018.

Today, there are 17 different competencies in the Microsoft partner program and of those, there are five cloud competencies. Each of the cloud competencies is based on a Microsoft Cloud product offering.

There are four steps to attaining a cloud competency:

Demonstrate sales performance

Every competency has its own requirements and depending on the path that you take, you are required to show the cloud consumption you are driving. There are two ways to get credit for the cloud consumption you drive with your customers:

Digital Partner of Record associates servicing partners to customer subscriptions. By being digital partner of record, partners can qualify for incentives and for competencies if they drive the required amount of cloud consumption.

Partner Association associates partners that are not digital partner of record to customer subscriptions by allowing a customer to assign a partner as the delegated administrator for a subscription. Partners can qualify for competencies by being the delegated administrator.

Pass technical assessments or exams

Technical credibility is extremely important for Microsoft to endorse partners with a silver or gold competency. Every competency has a different set of options comprised of assessments, exams, and certifications that partner individuals are required to complete. These technical requirements change as product offerings are updated and as business requirements change. Training content for the exams and certifications can be found on the Learning Portal.

Once someone completes a Microsoft exam or a certification, they become a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and have an ID associated with them. It is important for the individual’s MCP ID to be associated with the organization’s Microsoft Partner Network ID for the partner organization to get credit for the exams passed. Find instructions to associate yourself to your organization on the MPN 101 Yammer group here.

Provide customer references

Part of earning the competency designation is earning a customer’s trust. Microsoft requires partners to submit referrals from customers who have worked with the partners and endorse them for the work completed. Partners can submit customer contact information and Microsoft solicits a reference from the customer. After a reference has been approved by both, your customer and Microsoft, it can be used toward earning or renewing your competency for up to two years. Typically, a silver competency requires three customer references and a gold competency requires five. Please note that Microsoft may not contact all your submitted customer references and some of these may be auto-approved by the system.

Pay the competency fee

Competency fees are due one time per year – no matter how many competencies your organization earns. Cloud competency fees were subsidized last year (US$1,530 for Silver and US$3,940 for Gold cloud competency). Starting October 1, 2017 the cloud competency fees will be the same as all other competencies (US$1,670 for Silver and US$4,730 for Gold). This price change will apply to partners at the time of their membership renewal.

In return for completing these four steps to attain a cloud competency, partners get the following benefits, in addition to the core benefits that come with a competency:

  • Unlimited cloud support
  • Additional internal use licenses
  • Guaranteed account coverage
  • Eligibility for incentives/ investments

If you are thinking about attaining a cloud competency, nominate yourself to the Cloud Enablement Desk to get up to six months of guidance from a Cloud Program Specialist. This is a free program and is focused on ensuring that partners that want to get a cloud competency can understand the requirements, and that there are no roadblocks on their way to attain it.

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