I love July! For one, it brings a new financial year, but perhaps more importantly, it is the eye of the storm. A short period of reflection before the cyclonic winds kick up again. My inbox is back to a manageable size and I can catch up on reading, training and skilling up on all the new technology that is out since I last looked.
If you aren’t a microsoft partner or interested in becoming a microsoft partner, the rest of this post will be pretty boring.
Today, I have been catching up on the announcement that the Microsoft Partner Program will morph into the Microsoft Partner Network. It seems like quite a big change, with everything from more marketing campaigns, more access to technical resources and some new (and some improved) competencies.
One of the interesting things I found in reading about the IW competencies was a breakdown of which service opportunities had the biggest market, the results are quite surprising.
According to Microsoft Partner Capacity Research, partner service opportunities for SIs and VARs around consulting development, integration, and maintenance for each specialization are expected to reach:
The sorts of partners I will predominately work with over the next 12 months are the ones with Office Deployment and Office Solutions Development specialisations (or are trying to achieve them).
So what does it take to become one of these partners? Apart from 3 customer references, it comes down to Microsoft certifications:
Office Deployment Specialisation
To qualify, your organization must employ or contract with two individuals, each of whom must have passed one of the following Microsoft exams:
Exam 74-139 : Deploying Business Desktops with Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Office 2003
Exam 70-270 : Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Exam 70-620 : TS: Microsoft Windows Vista, Configuring
Exam 70-621 : Pro: Upgrading your MCDST Certification to MCITP Enterprise Support
Exam 70-624 : TS: Deploying and Maintaining Windows Vista Client and Microsoft Office System Desktops
Office Solutions Development Specialisation
Exam 74-137 : Developing Microsoft Office Solutions using XML with Office Professional Enterprise Edition 2003
Exam 70-541 : TS: Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 - Application Development
Exam 70-542 : TS: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 - Application Development
Exam 70-543 : TS: Visual Studio Tools for the 2007 Office System
Obviously these certifications continue to evolve as new products are released and old products are retired.
If you are a partner and have these specialisations, or are interested in attaining them, please let me know – we should be working together closely in 2009 and 2010!