Microsoft is once again extending partner competencies as the global channel ecosystem continues to face down challenges thrown up by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, if a partner’s competency anniversary date is between 1 July and 31 December 2021, Microsoft will extend the existing competency or competencies through to the next anniversary date in 2022 – with the exception of the Cloud Business Applications competency.
According to Dan Truax, Microsoft partner digital experiences and programs general manager, information specific to individual partners will be available in the Microsoft Partner Centre starting this month, aligned to partners’ renewal timeframe.
“You will need to take action in Partner Centre to pay the competency fee and complete your renewal,” Truax said in a blog post. “If you are approaching the end of your 30-day competency renewal timeframe and are unable to renew in Partner Centre, please contact partner support for assistance."
For partners with the Cloud Business Applications competency, Partner Contribution Indicators (PCI) scoring took effect on 1 April 2021; if a partner’s anniversary date for the Cloud Business Applications competency is between July 1 and December 31, 2021, it will be granted the 15 points for the Functional Consultant Growth metric. This update will be reflected in the July reporting refresh in the Partner Centre.
According to Truax, partners with the Cloud Business Applications competency will need to meet the remaining requirements as published in Partner Centre and pay the competency fee to complete their renewal.
The move to extend competency deadlines to 2022 comes more than a year after the vendor first told partners it would extend competencies with an anniversary date between 1 January and 30 June 2020 through to the next anniversary date in 2021 – one of many responses to the pandemic taken by the vendor.
“Over the past year, many businesses and organisations around the globe have accelerated their digital transformation plans and Microsoft partners have been at the forefront, helping them by delivering innovative solutions through services, apps and devices,” Truax said.
“We have heard from partners that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect their businesses, and that there are still some challenges for many partners to meet the requirements to renew existing competencies.
“We’re committed to your success, and we recognise the importance of helping you deepen your technical capability aligned with the needs of our customers. Microsoft Partner Network competencies are one way you can differentiate with customers and build customer attention and engagement. We encourage you to maintain the certifications for the competencies you have,” he added.
Last year, Truax noted, Microsoft introduced a new approach to help partners and their Microsoft experts stay current.
“Those who have an active certification expiring within six months can renew their certification annually – at no cost – by passing a renewal assessment on Microsoft Learn,” he said.
“Individuals can check their certification dashboard to find out which of their certifications are available for renewal, and your organisation’s MPN Admin can now review and manage the certifications your team has, using Partner Centre Insights Reporting."