Microsoft is to roll out a series of sweeping changes to its Business Applications channel competency program in an effort to make partners “keep pace” with cloud technology advances.
From 1 July, partners looking to qualify for Microsoft’s Cloud Business Applications competency will no longer have their on-premises revenue recognised.
Instead, only revenue from Dynamics 365 cloud will qualify as the vendor encourages partners to “drive cloud transformation” for their customers, especially in finance and operations.
New exam requirements for functional and technical expertise will be effective from July, the start of Microsoft's 2020 financial year.
In addition to Cloud Business Applications competencies, other changes are to be made to Microsoft’s CRM and ERP competencies.
At the same time, Microsoft also plans to launch a new “security competency” so partners have “the knowledge and capabilities to deliver security-related services on Azure and Microsoft 365”, protecting customer identities, data, apps and endpoints from cyber threats.
In addition, the vendor will introduce “more advanced” specialisations over the coming months across Azure Stack, server migration, security, teamwork. These come on the back of Microsoft's SAP on Azure advanced specialisation for the Cloud Platform competency.
“We are changing our approach to the benefits that are included with competencies,” Microsoft’s global leader of partner programs Toby Richards said in a blog post.
"We are increasing our investments in benefits that help you build technical capabilities and strengthen your marketing."
Although Richards said partners’ silver or gold competency “will still include some product licenses” to build “innovative apps and services”, he said the vendor would add more “access to enablement and go-to-market services” to the competency benefits, which may make them eligible for the co-sell program.
"Partners that provide value-added services will see strong margins when they focus on specialised business applications deployment and projects that require planning, implementation, integration, security, and compliance," Richards added.