Microsoft Partner Network Program Updates Arrive

Microsoft is making changes in response to partner and customer feedback regarding business operations and the pandemic.

Lynn Haber

April 2, 2020

3 Min Read

Microsoft on Thursday announced new incentives and adjustments to its Partner Network Program. They come as the company responds to partner and customer feedback related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are seven adjustments in the Microsoft Partner Network that are part of the revisions. These are in addition to the initial steps the company took in mid-March.


Microsoft’s Gavriella Schuster

“We have been carefully considering how our partner programs can serve our partners best, as this situation evolves. We understand that some partners may want to accelerate their pace, while other partners may want to slow things down. Regardless, what is most important for you to know at this moment in time is that we’re listening to feedback from you, our partners, and doing what we can to help,” wrote Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president for One Commercial Partner at Microsoft, in a blog.

Here are some of the changes:

  • From April 1-Sept. 30, Microsoft will offer a Teams Online Services Usage M365 incentive. The increased incentives pay out at the 15% milestone for all qualified entitlements for non-FastTrack partners. There’s a new incentive payout at the lowest qualified entitlement level for FastTrack partners.

  • Microsoft is offering a competency extension. For partners whose competency anniversary date is between Jan. 1 and June 30, the company is extending existing competencies through partners’ next anniversary date in 2021. Partners will need to take action in the Partner Center to take advantage of the extension.

There are several changes for Azure Expert MSP extensions:

  • Azure Expert MSP partners with an audit date before June 30 will have their program anniversary date extended, and will be audited against the Spring 2020 Progress Audit Checklist due by Dec. 31, 2020. Partners must visit Partner Center for more information.

  • For Azure Expert MSP partners due to renew between July 1 and Dec. 31 against the Fall 2020 Progress Audit checklist, the program anniversary date will be extended to allow audits on or before Dec. 31. Additionally, partners will be audited against the Spring 2020 Progress Audit Checklist, not the Fall Progress Audit checklist. Partners must visit the Partner Center for more information.

  • Newly applying partners for the Azure Expert MSP program, will have until Dec. 31 to complete an audit against the Spring 2020 Audit Checklist.

  • The published program-requirement increases in Azure Consumed Revenue (ACR) planned for July 1 will now take effect on Jan. 1, 2021. The Fall 2020 Audit Checklist and Progress Audit Checklist will also take effect from Jan. 1, 2021.

Microsoft also is offering Azure advanced specialization extensions. Extensions also address the Cloud Business Applications competency.

Other areas Microsoft is addressing include: training, exams and certifications; software deployment planning and training vouchers, new go-to-market resources; and Microsoft Inspire virtual event planning.

Regarding the Microsoft partner agreement: 

We previously communicated that we would begin the next phase of implementing the Microsoft Partner Agreement – enforcement – in April 2020, and that partners that had not accepted the agreement would no longer be able to transact. To help prevent disruption to partner and customer businesses, we are postponing the enforcement date until later this year and will update you when we have set a new date. If you have not accepted the agreement, please review the Microsoft Partner Agreement resources and do so as soon as possible. 

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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