As one of the world’s leading business software companies, tech giant Microsoft has maintained certification programs for its implementation partners for over 30 years. These certification programs mutually benefit Microsoft, its partners, and its end users.
- Partners act as an extension of Microsoft sales and support.
- Certification badges establish partners’ credibility in the marketplace. Partners also receive perks from Microsoft that enable them to better serve their customers.
- Businesses can work confidently with Microsoft partners, knowing they’ve demonstrated expertise with Microsoft solutions through in-depth exams and a track record of customer success.
On October 3, 2022, Microsoft ended the 15-year run of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) program (including the Microsoft Gold Partner designation) and initiated the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program.
The old MPN program operated in three tiers:
- Partner, the most basic certification
- Silver Partner, representing the top 5% of all partners
- Gold Partner, representing the top 1% of all partners
Under the old program, Stoneridge Software achieved elite status:
- A Gold Partner for Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions
- A three-time recipient of the Microsoft Partner Inner Circle award (Stoneridge still has Inner Circle status under the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program)
- Microsoft Partner of the Year for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central in 2022
Although Microsoft’s partner program has changed, our focus at Stoneridge Software remains the same: Partnering with client companies to implement Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions that support their growth and optimization. Contact us today to learn more about how a strategic partnership with Stoneridge can benefit your company.
Work With Stoneridge Software, a Certified Microsoft Partner
Reach out to Stoneridge today to discuss your company’s needs.Contact Us
What Is a Microsoft Partner?
At first glance, the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program may seem like little more than changes in terminology. However, when announcing the changes in March 2022, Microsoft wrote, “This announcement is about more than a name; this change better reflects the enormous and ongoing transition of business operations to the cloud.”
Consequently, the 18 certification categories available in the old program have been narrowed down to six categories that match the six solutions areas in the Microsoft Cloud ecosystem.
The first three categories are related to Microsoft Azure:
- Data and AI
- Digital and App Innovation
The remaining three categories align with other solution areas:
- Business Applications (Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform)
- Modern Work (Microsoft 365)
- Security (Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure)
Because these new competencies match how customers shop for Microsoft services, Microsoft expects the new designations to help companies connect with partners with the expertise to provide them with top-notch solutions.
Under the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, Stoneridge is a certified Microsoft Solutions Partner for:
- Business Applications
- Modern Work
Microsoft Partnership Levels
In place of the old Partner, Silver Partner, and Gold Partner designations, the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program has only two levels:
- Solutions Partner
Microsoft Partner Requirements
Although Solutions Partners pay an annual fee to participate in the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, the Solutions Partner and Specialist/Expert designations are earned, not bought.
Microsoft certified partner requirements are fulfilled by accruing points to what Microsoft calls the Partner Capability Score (PCS). Service providers earn points by demonstrating their capacity in three areas:
- Performance: This category measures the net number of customers a provider has added to the Microsoft family over the previous year.
- Skilling: Multiple individuals working for a service provider must pass intermediate and advanced certification exams.
- Customer success: This category tracks customer usage growth and tallies a provider’s successful Microsoft solution deployments.
Service providers that earn 70 out of a possible 100 points in a solution area qualify as Solutions Partners.
According to Microsoft, service providers must “demonstrate deep technical expertise and experience in specific technical scenarios” for a given solution area to earn a Specialist or Expert designation. This is accomplished through additional certification exams.
Microsoft requires its Partners to keep their skills up to date through annual recertification. Consequently, working with a Microsoft certified partner ensures that you have a provider that’s on top of the latest developments in Microsoft business solutions.
Stoneridge has already earned the Specialist in Small and Midsize Business Management badge as a Microsoft Solutions Partner for Business Applications.
Microsoft Solutions Partner for Business Applications
Stoneridge was awarded the Microsoft Solutions Partner for Business Applications designation because of our proven ability to create and deploy business solutions for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform.
If you need a new ERP or CRM system or optimization, development, or support with an existing system, Stoneridge is ready to partner with you. Our Solutions Partner for Business Applications certification identifies us as a provider with demonstrated expertise and a history of successful deployments.
Microsoft Solutions Partner for Modern Work
Stoneridge earned the Microsoft Solutions Partner for Modern Work designation through its demonstrated ability to build productivity solutions with Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 includes the well-known Office applications and Microsoft Teams.
The Microsoft Modern Work certification recognizes and supports the latest trends in the modern workplace. Microsoft productivity software enables remote and hybrid work and developing engagement methods for distributed teams and customers.
Stoneridge’s dual expertise in Business Applications and Modern Work is a powerful combination, enabling tight integration of ERP and CRM systems with daily productivity software like Outlook, Excel, and Teams.
What Happened to the Microsoft Gold Partnership System?
As mentioned previously, Microsoft is phasing out the Microsoft Gold partnership system. The new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program system launched on October 3, 2022.
Microsoft changed the partner system to better reflect the new realities of the business solutions marketplace—more and more companies are shifting IT infrastructure and ERP and CRM services to the cloud. The partner designations under the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program align with the six service areas offered in the Microsoft Cloud.
Work With a Certified Microsoft Partner: Stoneridge Software
Microsoft’s program for certifying Solutions Partners may be evolving, but Stoneridge remains a recognized leader in creating, customizing, optimizing, deploying, and supporting Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM solutions for small, midsize, and enterprise-level businesses.
Stoneridge’s Microsoft certifications are a boon to your company, providing:
- Assurance of our technological expertise, experience, and track record of success
- Access to higher levels of Microsoft support
- Flexibility to create demos that show how your solution will work
Reach out to Stoneridge today to discuss your company’s needs.
“Few other players offer a common platform and data model for CRM and ERP – and none bring in the Office productivity capabilities as Microsoft can.”Nucleus Research
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