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January 14, 2016
Under the previous version of the program, the Digital Partner of Record, also known as the prime contractor, received both incentive credit – i.e. monetary credit – as well as competency credit that went toward toward achieving gold cloud competency status with Microsoft. Subsequent partners, however, did not receive any kind of credit for their contributions to the partner.
Under the revised program, all subsequent partners will also receive competency credit toward earning the rank of gold cloud partner for their work with customers, even if they are not designated as the Digital Partner of Record, according to Gavriella Schuster, general manager of Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group.
“Our primary goal is to get the right partner for the customer so that we’re all clear who’s on first [base] and that we’re rewarding everyone who’s helping those customers to actually use the services,” said Schuster, in an interview with The VAR Guy.
Microsoft introduced the Digital Partner of Record process in March as the company transitioned away from using paper-based contracts to keep track of its resellers. The new program allows customers to designate which partner is their prime contractor via an online form so Microsoft can monitor partner activity and award monetary incentives to the correct reseller.
But since customers often work with several different partners to manage all of their Microsoft cloud services, resellers who were not designated as the Digital Partner of Record were not eligible to receive any form of compensation for their services, which created a problem for Microsoft.
“If someone is a great reseller but not a great systems integrator (SI), what they were doing before we [switched over to] DPOR was they were just subcontracting the SI to go work with the customer and get them going,” said Schuster. “Then we noticed that we were starting to see conflicts where the services partners didn’t want to work with the transacting partners because then only one of them could get competency credit for the work.”
Going forward, Microsoft will monitor all partner activity and award resellers with competency credit through the following sources:
Microsoft Sales (for the transacting partner of Enterprise Agreements and Open licenses)
Commerce Platform (for CSP subscriptions)
FastTrack Onboarding Center
Delegated Admin Privileges (per workload)
By providing all participating partners with compensation for their services, Schuster said she hopes Microsoft can encourage partners to work together toward serving their customers. And by creating a digital database of partner interactions with customers, Microsoft can more easily track and monitor customer usage and advise partners on how they can introduce new services to their end users.
Partners still utilizing the previous Online Services Advisor form will no longer receive payment after Jan. 1, 2016, and only the DPOR on the subscription will be eligible for payment, according to Microsoft.
“It [the DPOR] is to make sure we all play well enough together that we don’t mess each other up,” said Schuster. “And ultimately the customer wins because they get the best service possible from the most qualified person.”
Associate Editor, Penton Technology Group, Channel
Michael Cusanelli is the associate editor for Penton Technology’s channel properties, including The VAR Guy, MSPmentor and Talkin' Cloud. He has written articles and produced video for Newsday.com and is a graduate of Stony Brook University's School of Journalism in New York. In his spare time Michael likes to play video games, watch sci-fi movies and participate in all things nerdy. He can be reached at [email protected]
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