Microsoft says it will work closely with local partners in the next 12 to 18 months, as they move to new competency areas introduced as part of the revised Partner Network programme.
The membership levels have changed from Gold, Certified and Registered, to Community, Subscription, Competency and Advanced Competency.
The number of competencies and specialisations has been halved from about 60 to 30, with four new competencies among the 30 being Application Lifecycle Management Solutions; Authorised Distributor Solutions; Digital Home Solutions; and Digital Marketing Solutions.
“Microsoft knows that customers are looking for confidence in partners’ technical capabilities in specific areas,” Microsoft New Zealand said in a statement. “The Microsoft Partner Network provides greater visibility and transparency of partners’ expertise in specific competencies, which provides added reassurance for customers.”
From 31 October, existing or new gold partners need to have participated in Microsoft’s Customer Satisfaction index in the past 12 months, the company says. The index is available to all partners free and is run by research firm TNS. The index surveys are run quarterly.
Microsoft is also changing the partner programme for those who resell its Dynamics CRM software, introducing marketing, sales, project management and solution delivery training specific to this area. The software giant told partners at this year’s Worldwide Partner Conference in the US there was greater demand for products built on Dynamics that target particular market verticals. It is encouraging partners to develop these specialised Dynamics offerings.
In the statement, the local subsidiary says partners at the higher levels of programme membership will be offered one on one joint marketing planning, campaign services and co-funding, along with opportunities to market vertical services.
It says the company has been “focused on driving vertical solution areas with our key partners for the past two years”.
This has resulted in “a number of key wins” in the retail, process manufacturing, wholesale distribution and professional services industries.
“The enhanced partner programme will enable partners to offer niche industry solutions based around each of the Microsoft Dynamics products, without compromising their current customer offerings,” the local subsidiary said in the statement. As well, it says a number of local Microsoft partners would be considered top tier.