Earn a specialization to showcase your validated capabilities

Appropriate roles: Global admin | MPN Partner Admin

Note

Starting October 3, 2022, advanced specializations are now called specializations.

Microsoft specializations build on the related Solutions partner designations that partners can earn. Earning Solutions partner designations and related specializations enable partners to further differentiate their capabilities to customers.

Note

To learn more about specializations, see the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program Specializations.

To earn a specialization, a partner often must fulfill demanding requirements, such as:

  • Obtaining customer references
  • Undergoing a third-party audit
  • Proving attainment of a relevant skill set
  • Meeting certain performance measurements

By meeting these strict requirements, partners can validate their deep knowledge, extensive experience, and proven success at delivering tailored customer solutions for areas of high customer demand and relevance.

Partners who earn a specialization obtain a customer-facing badge they can display on their business profile in the Microsoft solution provider finder. This badge further validates the partner's capabilities while giving them access to associated benefits, expanded customer reach, and greater customer confidence.

Note

To learn more about specializations, see the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program Specializations page.

Specialization areas

Each specialization corresponds to a solution area:

  • Azure
  • Business Applications
  • Modern Work
  • Security

Azure specializations

Azure specializations include:

  • Analytics on Microsoft Azure
  • Data Warehouse Migration to Microsoft Azure
  • Infra and Database Migration to Microsoft Azure
  • Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop
  • Modernization of Web Applications to Microsoft Azure
  • SAP on Microsoft Azure
  • AI and Machine Learning on Microsoft Azure
  • Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure with Microsoft Azure Stack HCI
  • Hybrid Operations and Management with Microsoft Azure Arc
  • Microsoft Azure VMware Solution
  • DevOps with GitHub on Microsoft Azure
  • Networking Services in Microsoft Azure

Business Applications

Business Applications specializations include:

  • Microsoft Low Code Application Development
  • Small and Midsize Business Management

Modern Work

Modern Work specializations include:

  • Adoption and Change Management
  • Calling for Microsoft Teams
  • Custom Solutions for Microsoft Teams
  • Meetings and Meeting Rooms for Microsoft Teams
  • Teamwork Deployment
  • Modernize Endpoints

Security

Security specializations include:

  • Identity and Access Management
  • Threat Protection
  • Information Protection and Governance
  • Cloud Security

Specializations evaluation

Starting October 3, 2022, Gold and Silver competencies are retiring and will be replaced with Solutions Partner designations. Specialization requirements will now be associated with your achievement of a required Solutions Partner designation. You'll have until the anniversary date of your specialization to attain the required Solutions Partner designation along with the other specialization requirements. You can view the anniversary date on Specializations overview page. You won't be allowed to renew your specialization if you haven't attained the aligned 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
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
Infra and Database 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

Specialization renewal

The renewal process will be triggered based on the anniversary date of your current specialization. The specialization renewal process is set to start year 1 in 2023. Check your Specialization anniversary date in Partner Center.

  • Year 1 (First anniversary of specialization): To renew the specialization, you'll need to meet telemetry-based requirements (such as eligibility, performance, certifications, offer publishing) only. The telemetry-based requirements are valid for one year and revalidated annually. Telemetry requirements will be reviewed for all anniversary dates beginning February 2023. Renewing your specialization during the first renewal cycle doesn't require any action outside of monitoring that your organization meets the requirements. Should your organization meet the telemetry requirements; you'll be auto enrolled upon your renewal window opening.

  • Year 2 (Second anniversary of specialization): To renew the specialization, you must meet the telemetry-based requirements and complete the manually validated requirements (such as audits or providing customer references depending on the specialization). The audits and customer references requirements are valid for two years and revalidated every other year. This will start with anniversary dates beginning February 2024.

  • Year 3+: Following years will follow the same process with telemetry requirements annually and telemetry + manually validated requirements every other year.

  • Reminder notifications: You'll receive a minimum of three emails to remind you about the renewal of the specialization. Emails are sent at multiple points in time, such as 120 days, 90 days, 60 days, 30 days before the anniversary date, on the anniversary date and 30 days after the anniversary date. These notifications are received by the person (s) from your organization who has either the "Global admin" or "MPN Partner admin" roles. Also, you can see these notifications within Partner Center.

  • The renewal window will open 60 days before your anniversary date and close on your anniversary date (with a 30-calendar day grace period). Partners must meet the published requirements within the 90-day period to renew their specialization.

  • For the first, third, fifth anniversaries of your specialization (and subsequent odd years), once the telemetry requirements are met, the specialization would be automatically re-enrolled.

  • For the second, fourth, sixth anniversaries of your specialization (and subsequent even years), once the telemetry requirements are met, manually validated requirements such as audit or customer references must be met for the successful re-enrollment.

Specialization benefits

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, visit the section titled Illustrative example in the Solutions Partner Benefits Guide.

Note

To learn about each specialization, along with its prerequisites and requirements, see the Partner website Specializations page. When you're ready to apply for a specialization, check your progress in the Partner Center. To learn more about accessing this area of Partner Center, see Apply for a specialization.

Next steps