I have received a number of emails and a few phone calls asking me about the Small Business Competency. We are committed to “getting things right” for our SMB partners. It’s important to create valuable opportunities that allow our SMB partners to better align with their customers. Recent reports revealed to us that our partner membership plan of having both a Small Business Specialist Community and a Small Business Solution Provider competency could be confusing to partners and customers alike. While we want to provide our SMB partners with a way to differentiate in the market, this is not possible without customer recognition and understanding. Under the proposed plan customers were not clear about which type of small business partner to choose, and the value of the Small Business Solution Provider competency partner vs. the Small Business Specialist was also not clear.
Due to this feedback, we are postponing the launch of the Small Business Solution Provider competency to ensure that both partners and customers have a clear understanding of the value that each type of Microsoft partnership can offer them. More details will be provided as they become available.