Microsoft will relaunch its partner network as the new Cloud Partner Program from October 2022, with the aim of better reflecting the transition of business operations to the cloud, and how Microsoft intends to support partners.
The relaunch is designed for all Microsoft partners involved in building and selling services, software or devices and will focus on six areas aligned with the Microsoft Cloud: data and artificial intelligence, infrastructure, digital and app innovation, business applications, modern work, and security.
Microsoft has also changed its categorisations for partner capabilities and the metrics for measuring success. The ‘solutions partner’ level is based on meeting specific requirements across its partner capability score – a new framework for measuring partner performance based on certifications, customers, successful deployments and growth – for each solution area. ‘Specialisations’ and ‘expert programmes’ will provide partners with new ways to demonstrate their technical expertise and experience.
According to Microsoft, these designations will give customers an easier way to identify partners with technical capabilities, knowledge and experience of delivering solutions in specific areas.
Before the Cloud Partner Program comes into effect in October, there will be no impact to partners’ business or programme status and no reduction in benefits. Microsoft has also said that it is investing more in its benefits programme to “ensure that every partner has a chance to participate in the opportunity to grow and accelerate”.