The differentiator between you and your competition depends on the knowledge to quickly develop new technology, to retain and grow your customers and scale globally. You can do all of that and stand out from the crowd with the help of a trustworthy Microsoft Certified Partner with the right competencies.
In this article we answer your most frequently asked questions on what it means to have a Partner that is Certified by Microsoft. Learn the importance of searching for such a partnership, and how they can help you reach your full business potential. So, you will discover everything you need to consider before embarking on a journey like this. We will also emphasize on how you can reach scalable results.
What is a Microsoft Certified Partner?
A Microsoft Certified Partner status is a formal requirement from Microsoft for professional IT companies that have a proven record of software solutions, skills and growth plans. These should be aligned with Microsoft’s standards in order to acknowledge them as a trustworthy and capable Partner.
These specific companies are part of the Microsoft Partner Network and provide a wide array of services for Microsoft products, such as consulting, cloud migration, software implementation and cloud governance/management. A company that is Microsoft-Certified has the know-how to ensure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently and that the main focus is on the technologies that help a business grow.
What is Microsoft looking for when endorsing Partners?
To obtain or maintain the Partner status, a company has to prove it has both the technical prowess and practical experience within a solution area (scenarios deemed fundamental by Microsoft) or advanced experience in niche scenarios (called Advanced Specializations) and then pay a small partnership fee.
Microsoft created a competency Scoring system to keep a clean record of the Partners’ competencies. They also wanted to make sure that if you, or any other client, are looking into Microsoft technologies for your business, then a qualified Partner is definitely able to help.
What are the fundamental solution areas and how can Partners qualify to attain competencies?
There are 6 solution areas that Microsoft offers a certification for:
- Business Application
- Data & AI
- Digital & App Innovation
- Modern Work
In all of the above areas, there are 3 metrics where a Partner can score points: Performance, Skilling and Customer success. These metrics are checked on a quarterly basis or even more often.
⚠️ Performance. Each year, Partners have to demonstrate that new clients drive new consumption. This way, they are showing Microsoft that they have a healthy and up-to-date pipeline of clients that can scale your business and your client’s business.
⚠️ Skilling. In our opinion, this is the most relevant criterion, as it requires companies to have skilled certified individuals in their team (external consultants are not counted). As these individual certifications expire each year or every other year, companies have to make sure they always update their certifications to stay relevant and avoid losing valuable solution area points. This metric shows you that Microsoft encourages you to work with the best technically qualified people.
⚠️ Customer success. Scoring points here means gaining new clients each year, but also having the ability to deploy multiple services that help the clients grow their business. Hence, the Partner makes sure those services drive consumption.
If a Partner does all of that and if they exceed the threshold for all the 3 metrics, they have a qualification in their area of interest. However, if a Partner is inactive for 3 months, they lose points. And if the points go below the threshold, the Partner loses the qualification.
Needless to say, a qualification demonstrates that a Partner is always in touch with the technical standards set by Microsoft.
We, at Zitec, didn’t lose the opportunity to remain in the elite tier of Microsoft Partners and stand out from our peers. The reason for this is that we started working on our Qualifications as soon as we were notified about the change. Moreover, we were the first Partner in Romania to achieve the certified Digital & App Innovation Solution Partner designation.
What are the advantages of working with a Microsoft Qualified Partner?
The Qualifications are the differentiator that can tell you whether the potential vendor or Partner is indeed competent in the areas that are most valuable to you. If a provider is not accustomed to your business’ particularities and only offers generic services, this can limit the efficiency in satisfying your requirements. To point out more clearly the benefits of a Microsoft-qualified partnership, here are some key aspects you can take into account:
1️⃣ Expert assistance
A Microsoft Qualified Partner has recognized and certified experts who deliver innovative solutions built on various technologies. They can help and support you to achieve your business’ full potential and gain the edge against your competition.
2️⃣ Strategic and long-term goals
Once a Microsoft Partner understands your business, the team will make sure that your project and infrastructure align accordingly with your long-term strategic goals. This will help your business to rapidly adopt new technology. On top of everything, you will be able to unlock powerful advantages through that technology.
3️⃣ Quality and customized services
Through rigorous assessments, Microsoft guarantees that the services provided by the Partners are exceptional. This helps you reduce corporate risk, and propel your business towards success, while making it more agile and competitive.
4️⃣ Constant technical support
While tackling most of the issues by themselves, Microsoft Partners also have access to a quick support system. This is directly linked to Microsoft Tech experts within your region. So, instead of creating support tickets by yourself, a Microsoft Partner can offer you faster and safer ways to solve the issue.
5️⃣ Exclusive access to the latest resources and requirements
Microsoft technologies and software are constantly improved with enhanced features that ensure a better user experience. From a client’s perspective, the greatest benefit behind new technologies is the possibility to test that technology through incentivized PoCs by Microsoft. There is one condition. If the projects and the client’s business profile show a proven track record of successfully implemented projects. These project must show they already drove consumption in the past.
How can I differentiate between the certified companies and trust they will deliver the best measurable business improvements?
The ultimate way for Microsoft to show that certain Partners are highly proficient and have a lot of expertise in a particular area is by awarding them with the Microsoft Advanced Specialization. This is the very top tier, an elite level where Microsoft attests that a Partner they work with is an expert in the field. This is the only way you can truly differentiate between Advanced Specialized Partners, Qualified Partners and, simply, Partners.
The process for obtaining this Specialization is the most thorough and tough because Microsoft audits everything before awarding this status. The trick here is that this status also has an expiration date. Why? Because by going through an explicit audit every single time, only shows the team’s dedication, willingness and motivation to belong among the best.
In 2021, our team obtained their first Advanced Specialization. Zitec is now one of the few global Partners that has a Specialization on Linux and Open Source Database Migration.
To partner or not to partner with a certified company
Even if the decision is entirely yours to make, you owe your business an informed decision to ensure a clear vision for the next years to come. With a certified company like Zitec, you benefit from one of the most skilled Partners in the market today. And we aim to maintain that position.
Zitec focuses on technologies that complement strong business models. But, apart from this, we also concentrate on the scalability and efficiency of those technologies in order to achieve greater results with a TCO (total cost of ownership) second to none.
As the first Partner in Romania to deploy an application on Azure, our experience in the Microsoft Tech Stack can help you become not only a quality-assured business, but also the best in the field. Contact us and let’s talk further about this!