The Value to Earning a Competency Guide has been updated. The key changes to the guide are below. Please visit the Partner Portal to get your latest copy of the guide.

Licensing assessment:

Volume Licensing Exam: For some competencies, we had been allowing the substitution of one MCP to pass a Volume Licensing exam in lieu of having one individual pass the licensing assessment. While this deep licensing expertise is needed for the Software Asset Management and Volume Licensing competencies and advanced competencies, it is not needed for other competencies and is no longer valid as a substitution. If you have MCPs on staff with licensing expertise, it is recommended you have one of them complete the Microsoft licensing assessment requirement.

This assessment is now live in the English language. Training materials will be available by July 2010. If you take the assessment before October 2010 we will credit your organization but you will not be able to see the credit within the Partner Membership Centre until after October 2010.

Small Business Solution Provider competency: The Small Business Specialist Community will remain a membership opportunity for partners serving small and midmarket customers. Small Business Specialists gain access to resources to help grow business, find new revenue streams, and capitalize on market opportunities. From using the Microsoft Small Business Specialist logo on marketing materials to a special edition of the Microsoft Action Pack Solution Provider subscription, the Small Business Specialist Community can help you accelerate your business.

In addition, partners serving larger customers may want to consider earning the Midmarket Solution Provider competency to take advantage of additional tools and resources. Review the details for that competency within this guide.

Advanced competency changes

Substitution allowances: We have removed the option to substitute a person who has attained a Master or Architect Certification for two Microsoft Certified Professionals with advanced credentials. This change was made to ensure that partners are staffed appropriately to meet customer demand.

ISV Advanced Competency requirements: For developers, beginning October 2010, partners will need to pass both a standard and an advanced product test to qualify under ISV “tracks” within each advanced competency.

Revenue commitment*: Starting October 2010, partners will need to commit to a minimum revenue bar based on their respective geography and competency. After October 2011, to maintain a Microsoft advanced competency, partners will need to meet the revenue bar by their next reenrolment date.

After achieving a Microsoft advanced competency, partners may be required to complete a simple business plan detailing the activities that will support their plan. If applicable, a Microsoft representative will contact the partner to support the creation of this business plan. Revenue thresholds will be published by September 2010.

Competency changes

Capability recency: To ensure Microsoft partners can deploy, recommend, sell and service the latest Microsoft technology in market to meet customer demand, beginning October 2010, partners who choose to attain a competency will need to pass exams based on the latest Microsoft product version in market (unless otherwise noted). Partners can expect exams based on older product versions to be retired after a replacement exam is published in our available language set. Partners will be provided adequate notification prior to retirement. After an exam is retired, partners have until their membership renewal date to take and pass new exam(s) in order to maintain their competency or advanced competency.

*Revenue commitment is also required for the Microsoft CRM competency and Microsoft ERP competency, as well as their associated advanced competencies.

Sarah Arnold