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How to Achieve Azure Solutions Partner Designation in the New Microsoft Cloud Partner Program

July marked the start of Microsoft’s new fiscal year. Among a long list of new product features, integrations and initiatives that are expected in the year ahead, the evolution of the Microsoft cloud partner program is one that we are thrilled to see come to fruition.  

We have talked many times at Nerdio about the need to become a modern, cloud MSP (managed service provider) and move your practice and clients to the cloud. Well folks – the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program is the big neon sign, from the most influential vendor in the small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) market, echoing and amplifying that message.   

Our new white paper helps partners fully comprehend how they can fast track their Azure Infrastructure solution provider designation and obtain a competitive advantage in the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program much quicker by leveraging several out-of-the-box Nerdio Manager benefits. 

Download our white paper for the comprehensive guide or read below for key need-to-knows regarding the new partner program changes and Solutions Partner designations.  

What Are the Benefits of Being a Microsoft (Cloud) Partner? 

Microsoft has one of the largest, and most comprehensive partner programs in the software landscape. Over 400,000 partners from all over the world benefit from their partnership with the Redmond-based giant. If you are looking for a place to sign up to become a Microsoft partner, check out Microsoft’s site.  

Becoming part of Microsoft’s new Cloud Partner Program will allow you to stand out from other MSPs who are still living in the on-premises world and who have not committed to building a cloud MSP.  

As part of the program, you also will qualify for benefits including Azure Production and Dev/Test credits and Product Benefits (formerly known as Internal Use Rights (IUL)) for important Microsoft cloud products including Microsoft 365, Power BI, and more. 

Microsoft Silver and Gold Competencies Shift to Solutions Partner Designations  

One of the biggest changes in the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program is the shift from the well-known silver and gold competencies to Solutions Partner designations.  

Microsoft introduced silver and gold competencies in 2009 to help Microsoft partners grow faster and highlight their unique expertise among the competitive market of providers leveraging Microsoft technologies. When comparing two potential providers, SMBs could use these competencies to easily tell which were experts in the specific technology area they needed assistance with, be it cloud platform and datacenter, business application integration, etc. The same goes for the new Solutions Partner designations that also reinforce that your MSP is an expert in cloud aka the future of IT.  

The new Solutions Partner designations can be obtained on October 3, 2022. However, September 30, 2022 is the last date to renew legacy silver and gold competencies. 

How Do I Attain a Solutions Partner Designation? And Which Designation Should My MSP Pursue?   

The Solutions Partner designation most relevant to Nerdio partners and MSPs who understand the value of having their clients and operations in the cloud is the Infrastructure (Azure) designation. The Infrastructure designation showcases your MSP can help customers accelerate their migration of key infrastructure workloads to Azure. You can find a list of other designations linked here.  

To qualify for any Solutions Partner designation, you must obtain a minimum Partner Capability Score of 70 (of 100 points maximum) across five metrics – Performance, Skilling (Intermediate), Skilling (Advanced), Customer Success (Usage Growth) and Customer Success (Deployments). 

Resources to Help Understand New Microsoft Cloud Partner Program Requirements and Benefits 

In addition to our white paper, explore additional resources including those from our partners Microsoft, Pax8 and Sherweb that help explain the new program benefits and associated partner opportunities. 

Are You Ready for the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program?  

Contact us today to discuss your Azure needs and how we can help you grow your Azure practice and achieve important distinction in the Microsoft partner ecosystem. And don’t forget to download Nerdio Manager for MSP for 30-days free from the Azure Marketplace!