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Microsoft Partners Caught Off Guard by New Program, Scoring Requirements

Partners say Microsoft’s new scoring requirements give them little time to make critical decisions.

Jeffrey Schwartz

March 22, 2022

5 Slides

Most Microsoft partners were aware that changes to the MPN program were inevitable at some point. But many were caught off guard last week by the wholesale changes announced by Microsoft.

Some welcome the replacement of MPN, and Microsoft gold and silver status with the new Expert and Solution partner designations. Others fear that the changes will force them to specialize in fewer Microsoft solution categories. Many are concerned because of the partner capability score (PCS) requirements associated with the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program.

The new program requires partners to achieve a PCS of 70 out of 100 in each of six solution categories. Microsoft has broken out all its products and offerings into those six categories. Among them are Azure Data & AI, Azure Infrastructure, Azure Digital & App Innovation, Business Applications, Modern Work and Security.

Tough Choices

These new guidelines could force many partners to make some difficult choices. Current Microsoft gold partners must invest in multiple categories if they want to be considered solution partners in multiple areas. Many expect they’ll instead have to focus on fewer categories because of the investment in certifications and other requirements associated with achieving Microsoft’s new scoring. Those partners instead will have to specialize in fewer areas.

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Microsoft’s Rodney Clark

But that is what Microsoft wants — for partners to specialize. Microsoft channel chief Rodney Clark described the scoring as “a robust, objective measurement of progress against a partner’s chosen solution areas.” Clark also described it as “a holistic framework for measuring partner performance, skilling and customer success.”

PSC scoring is based on four measurement areas associated with partners’ certifications, new customers, successful deployments and growth, Clark noted.

See our slideshow above for what Microsoft partners and analysts like and don’t like about this shake-up.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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