Introduction to the Solutions Partner designation

Appropriate roles: Global admin, MPN Partner Admin

Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) is evolving, and we've launched a digital badging program, Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, for all our commercial partners.

This article (and the five articles below it in the table of contents) describes the requirements, benefits, and business rules for each of the Solutions Partner designations.

For a detailed learning path about the new Solutions Partner designations—including videos, a benefits guide, a timeline, and an FAQ—see Evolving the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program programs.

Simplifying partner programs

There are six Solutions Partner designations:

Each of the six designations is mapped to a Microsoft solution area, simplifying partner programs from the 18 legacy competencies.

Mapping legacy competencies to Solutions Partner designations

The following table maps legacy competencies to the new Solutions Partner designations.

Legacy competency Solutions Partner designation
Cloud Business Applications Business Applications
Enterprise Resource Planning Business Applications
Project Portfolio Management Business Applications
App Integration Data & AI (Azure)
Data Analytics Data & AI (Azure)
Data Platform Data & AI (Azure)
Cloud Platform Infrastructure (Azure)
Datacenter Infrastructure (Azure)
Application Development Digital & App Innovation (Azure)
App Integration Digital & App Innovation (Azure)
DevOps Digital & App Innovation (Azure)
Cloud Productivity Modern Work
Collaboration and Content Modern Work
Communications Modern Work
Messaging Modern Work
Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions Modern Work
Windows and Devices Modern Work
Enterprise Mobility Management Security
Security Security

Eligibility based on holistic measurements

Eligibility for Solutions Partner designations is based on your partner capability score.

A partner capability score is a composite score that quantifies the performance of a partner in three categories:

  • Performance
  • Skilling
  • Customer success

The score is calculated through measurements based on information that is already captured in Partner Center.

If you're a partner with the MPN admin role, you can track your progress toward attaining any Solutions Partner designation at Partner Center at Solutions Partner | Overview.

Attaining the Solutions Partner designation and customer facing badge

If you were a Gold or Silver Partner as on September 30, 2022, and starting October 3, 2022, if you meet the requirements and earn the required partner capability score, you immediately attain a Solutions Partner designation and the new customer-facing badging. Legacy competencies and associated badges will no longer be valid after September 30, 2022. However, you will retain your legacy benefits (benefits you received based on the competency you held on September 30, 2022), until your next anniversary date.

On the next anniversary date

  • Qualifications for designation at the time of anniversary:
    • Maintain a Solutions Partner designation if you have attained one. Partner will have two options relating to benefits, they can only pick one option. A partner must choose option #1 or #2 in order to keep the Solutions Partner designation.
    • Option #1: To receive the Solutions Partner designation benefits you will pay the annual fee. Annual fees for Solutions Partner designation will be aligned to the legacy gold competency fees. OR
    • Option #2: Retain your legacy silver or gold competency benefits and pay an annual fee. Annual fees for legacy silver or gold competency benefits will be aligned to the legacy silver and gold competency fees.
  • Does not qualify for designation at the time of anniversary: Retain your legacy silver or gold competency benefits and pay an annual fee. Annual fees for legacy silver or gold competency benefits will be aligned to the legacy silver and gold competency fees.
  • During the renewal window, if you do not purchase legacy Gold or Silver benefits, you will never be able to again opt for legacy gold/silver benefits again.

Impact on Specializations

Starting October 3, 2022, Gold and Silver competencies are retiring and replaced with Solutions Partner designations. Specialization requirements will now be associated with your achievement of a required Solutions Partner designation. You will have until the anniversary date of your specialization to attain the required Solutions Partner designation along with the other specialization requirements. You will not be allowed to renew your specialization if you have not attained a Solutions Partner designation.

Mapping Specializations to Solutions Partner designations

Specialization Solutions Partner designations
Azure
AI and Machine Learning on Microsoft Azure Data & AI OR Digital App & Innovation
Analytics on Microsoft Azure Data & AI
Data Warehouse Migration to Microsoft Azure Data & AI
DevOps with GitHub on Microsoft Azure Digital App & Innovation
Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure with Microsoft Azure Stack HCI Infrastructure OR Data & AI OR Digital App & Innovation
Hybrid Operations and Management with Microsoft Azure Arc Infrastructure OR Data & AI OR Digital App & Innovation
Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure Data & AI OR Digital App & Innovation
Linux and Open Source Database Migration to Microsoft Azure Infrastructure OR Data & AI
Microsoft Azure VMware Solution Infrastructure
Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Modernization of Web Applications to Microsoft Azure Data & AI OR Digital App & Innovation
Networking Services in Microsoft Azure Infrastructure
SAP on Microsoft Azure Infrastructure
Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure Infrastructure OR Data & AI
Modern Work
Adoption and Change Management Modern Work
Calling for Microsoft Teams Modern Work
Customer Solutions for Microsoft Teams Modern Work
Meetings and Meeting Rooms for Microsoft Teams Modern Work
Teamwork Deployment Modern Work
Modernize Endpoints Modern Work
Security
Cloud Security Security
Identity and Access Management Security
Information Protection and Governance Security
Threat Protection Security
Business Applications
Low Code Application Development Business Applications OR Digital App & Innovation
Small and Midsize Business Management Business Applications

Benefits of Solutions Partner designations

To support you as you grow your business, go to market, and reach more customers, we've updated our benefits and aligned them with the six Solutions Partner designations.

When you attain a Solutions Partner designation, you're eligible to receive the new benefits package associated with that designation.

The Solutions Partner benefits packages include:

  • Product benefits
    • Internal use rights (IURs)
    • Cloud licenses
    • Azure credits
  • Go-to-market services
  • Customer-facing badges
  • Technical pre-sales and deployment services
  • Technical support
  • Eligibility to earn incentives.

To learn the details of the benefits provided as part of this change, download the Solutions Partner Benefits Guide. (The 23-page guide is sent to your default download folder when you select the link.)

Benefits for specializations and expert programs

We have also introduced product benefits aligned to specializations and expert programs. These benefits increase value for partners who invest in demonstrating deep technical expertise and experience in specific technical scenarios aligned to the solution areas.

If you already have the relevant Solutions Partner designation and have opted to select the Solutions Partner benefits (and pay the fee) incremental specialization benefits are received when the specialization is earned and will be available through your next Solutions Partner designation anniversary date. The total number of specializations or expert program associated benefits must be within the respective maximum benefit cap amounts for each category of specializations and expert programs. To view an example of the timeline and maximum benefit cap amounts for receiving the benefits associated with specializations and expert programs, please visit the section titled ‘Illustrative example’ in the Solutions Partner Benefits Guide.

Note

You can continue to use and renew the existing benefits that you get from legacy competencies.

Next steps