Blog Post

What Is the New Microsoft Cloud Partner Program? And Other Questions Answered

In October 2022, Microsoft launched the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program – but what exactly does that mean for Tisski and our customers? Here, we explore what the new partner programme is and how our Microsoft partner status has changed as a result.

What is the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program?

Microsoft has thousands of partner organisations around the world, and these partners work to deliver Microsoft solutions and services to their customers.

The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program is a new initiative introduced to help recognise partners for their solution-specific expertise and breadth of technical capability. For ease of understanding, you may want to think of it as a way to differentiate between partners and what they each have to offer.

How does the new Cloud Partner Program work?

Under the new partner programme, Microsoft partners will now commonly be referred to as Microsoft Solutions Partners. ‘Designations’ have been introduced to help identify a partner’s area(s) of expertise. At the time of writing, there are available six solution designations:

  • Solutions Partner for Security
  • Solutions Partner for Modern Work
  • Solutions Partner for Business Applications
  • Solutions Partner for Data and AI (Azure)
  • Solutions Partner for Infrastructure (Azure)
  • Solutions Partner for Digital and App Innovation (Azure)

If a partner obtains all six of these designations, they will receive a Solutions Partner Designation for Microsoft Cloud. This demonstrates full partner capabilities across the Microsoft Cloud.

As well as designations, partners earn ‘specialisations’. These demonstrate a partner’s commitment to expertise in specific technical areas. There are currently 26 specialisations available for partners to earn, and each can be mapped back to a relevant designation.

What designations and specialisations do Tisski have?

With the launch of the new partner programme, Tisski immediately gained two designations: Solutions Partner for Business Applications and Solutions Partner for Digital and App Innovation. We’re close to getting a third designation under our belt, too: Solutions Partner for Data and AI.

We have also earned two specialisations: Low Code Application Development (which maps back to both our Business Applications and our Digital and App Innovation designations) and Small and Midsized Business Management (which links back to our Business Applications designation).

This handy blog from Microsoft shows in full which specialisations map back to which designations.

How do partners earn designations and specialisations?

Each designation has three categories that sit underneath it: performance, skilling and customer success. Together, these categories generate a Partner Capability Score. A designation is only given to partners who receive a score of 70 or more out of 100 (and at least one point in each category).

Performance is based on the number of new customers; skilling is based on the team’s certifications which are earned by passing technical exams; customer success is measured by usage growth and the number of solution deployments.

Specialisations are also earned through a demonstration of skill level and performance. Find out more about how partners can earn specialisations.

Is Tisski still a Microsoft Gold Partner?

No, we will no longer be referred to as a Microsoft Gold Partner. The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program has replaced what was known as the Microsoft Partner Network, which saw partners like Tisski typically sitting within one of two categories: Microsoft Gold Partner and Microsoft Silver Partner.

With the introduction of the new partner programme, Gold and Silver status have been replaced with designations.

Can a partner’s designations and specialisations change over time?

Yes, a partner may earn new designations and specialisations over time. If a partner works to boost their Partner Capability Score in a specific area, they can gain that designation as soon as they meet the requirements outlined above.

When does the new programme come into effect?

The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program came into effect in October 2022. We will be phasing out any branding that references our former status as a Microsoft Gold Partner.

To reassure our public sector customers who require a Gold Partner to fulfil their contract – Tisski is still a valid partner in this capacity.

Does the change to the partner programme impact Tisski’s customers in any way?

The changes to the Microsoft partner programme won’t have any detrimental impact on our customers or the service we provide.

What we will be doing is working hard behind the scenes to prove our commitment to our customers and demonstrate our skills and expertise in order to earn further designations and specialisations.

It’s business as usual!

Contact us

It’s business as usual!

We’re still working hard to deliver the very best outcomes for our customers – but if you have any questions about the changes to Microsoft’s partner programme, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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