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The message that Gavriella Schuster, general manager of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Programs, is sending to partners this month is all about connecting partners with customers. Today, the vendor announced it's streamlining the nomenclature of competencies, so customers know they're connecting to the right channel companies for cloud technology services.
While Schuster couched this move as part of the evolution of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN), it involves the retirement of a dozen competencies and boils down to Microsoft nudging partners along with business transformation to cloud.
"We recognize that some partners need time to adapt to change like this and that not all partners are making the move toward the new competencies -- so, we're giving them 18 months to do so," Schuster said.
She also said the simplification of competencies is necessary, so they more clearly speak to customers; are more understandable in terms of what they mean, as well as the investment partners have made to build up expertise; and explain why the partners Microsoft is connecting them to are the best partners to service their business needs.
The retiring competencies include: Customer Relationship Management, Devices and Deployment, Digital Advertising, Distributor, Hosting, Identity and Access, Intelligent Systems, Learning, Midmarket Solutions Provider, OEM, Software Asset Management and Volume Licensing.
As customers drive Microsoft to change the way it does business, Microsoft in turn needs channel companies to evolve their businesses, as well. Schuster cited recent IDC research that predicted greater cloud spending will exceed $500 billion by 2020. The research company has also found that 48% of partners have adapted their business models to offer project services, managed services and intellectual property, while others are in the process of making the transition.
Gavriella Schustergeneral manager, worldwide partner group, Microsoft
By giving channel companies an 18-month lead time on the competency retirements, partners can take advantage of new Microsoft resources designed to help understand what this change means to their business, to adjust their timelines, renew existing competencies for another year and have time to make changes.
The vendor is making a number of investments in tools and resources to help partners affected by the change. Examples include:
- A new interactive tool -- the Interactive MPN Evolution Guide -- to help partners create a roadmap for change.
- A Live Chat feature will be available on the new MPN Evolution Page, which provides details on the changes being made, as well as on the new Interactive MPN Evolution Guide. Both resources will be available on the MPN portal.
- An MPN Competency Value Pack Offer that includes offers to help partners get the training and certifications.
Also, on April 18, the new Windows and Devices competency that targets Windows 10 and mobility, announced at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2015, becomes available.
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