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Microsoft is adding six new Solutions partner designations in place of legacy competencies. These industry-focused designations provide incremental benefits to help you stand out from your competition.

Use Solution Center to deploy solutions with a unified view of industry cloud capabilities. This includes checking licensing requirements and dependencies.
Cloud Solution Provider Program (CSP)

The Cloud Solution Provider Program (CSP) is a licensing model that allows businesses to procure Microsoft cloud services and software licenses directly from partners, who often bundle the products with their own managed IT solutions. This can help companies reduce upfront costs and focus on income-generating activities.

It offers a more flexible approach to purchasing and invoicing than traditional Microsoft licences and can be used in combination with the Standard Licensing Terms. It also includes support and infrastructure management from a partner. Choosing a CSP partner is an important decision that should be made carefully to ensure it aligns with your business goals and needs. To make an informed decision, you can consult with a SAM expert at SAMexpert.

The two types of CSP partnerships are Direct and Indirect. To become a Direct CSP partner, you need to have at least USD300K in trailing twelve-month revenue for each of the past two financial years. You can review your trailing 12-month revenue on Partner Center.
Partner Center

Partner Center is the central hub for managing your relationship with Microsoft. It includes functionality to manage your Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) account, including billing and pricing information, and maintain a record of your certifications and competencies. You can also use it to publish offers to the commercial marketplace.

Identify and collaborate on leads and opportunities with partners, both internal and external. Share feedback, ratings, and reviews and track your lead performance.

View recommendations for improving your performance, skilling, and customer success to drive revenue growth, and achieve solutions partner designations. Access a single analytics hub to analyze data on consumption growth, solution deployment, and customer satisfaction.

The new Solution Partner Designations are a major change to how Microsoft assesses their partners. They replace the Silver and Gold Competencies and include higher requirements for performance, skilling and customer success. You can check your score and get enrolled into the new program through your partner dashboard in Partner Center as of October 2022.
AI Cloud Partner Program

The AI Cloud Partner Program offers a variety of benefits to help partners build and deliver high-quality solutions. These include training resources that enable partners to leverage the power of AI to solve complex business problems and drive innovation. These training materials often include hands-on labs, workshops, webinars, and documentation.

The program also provides marketing support to help partners promote their solutions. This can be in the form of co-branded marketing materials or joint marketing campaigns. This can help partners reach a wider audience and grow their business.

The program is open to technology partners, solution providers, and developers. Its qualification criteria typically include a focus on AI and cloud services, technical expertise, and a commitment to collaboration with Microsoft. In addition to its broader benefits, the AI Cloud Partner Program provides its members with access to the company’s cutting-edge AI technologies. These technologies are based on the Azure cloud platform, which allows partners to develop innovative solutions and stay ahead of their competitors.
Partner Badges

Partner badges make it easy for customers to find a trusted Microsoft partner to help them transform their businesses. These new badges are based on how customers shop for solutions, and they align with how Microsoft validates partner capabilities. This update also simplifies the legacy silver and gold competencies into six Solutions Partner designations: Data & AI (Azure), Digital & App Innovation, Infrastructure (Azure), Business Applications, Modern Work, and Security.

On a partner’s anniversary date after October 3, 2022, they can choose to move to the updated Solutions Partner benefits or retain their legacy competencies. If they retain their legacy competency, they’ll need to pay the annual fee to retain their benefits.

Partners that attain a Solutions Partner designation can add the new customer-facing badges to their logo from October onwards through Logo Builder in Partner Center. Badge use guidelines are available here. For more information about the program changes, check out this practical guide solutions

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