image For those of you who joined us for Tuesday’s Microsoft Partner Network for Small to Midsize Business (SMB) Partners webcasts where we shared the roadmap for Partners serving the Small Business segment in MPN, you probably noticed that our strategy since my “Can you believe it? The end of SBSC and a shift away from the SMB market” post here on the blog has been refined. Now that the webcasts are completed, I am putting up this post to bring you the information you have been asking for to ensure everyone is clear on where we are, how we got here, and where we are going.

As you know, we constantly look for input and feedback from our customers and Partners on many items, including this one, and have been for some time. In fact, many of you received personal outreaches from me directly since the “Can you believe it? The end of SBSC and a shift away from the SMB market” post looking for even more direct input from you. In my earlier post I mentioned, “We’ve worked diligently to ensure that we have solid opportunities for our SMB focused Partners to partner with Microsoft, no matter their size.” This guiding principle, combined with our continued focus on customer and Partner feedback led to these further refinements.

Here is what we have heard and what we know:

  • Small business is a huge market and growing in size and opportunity every year
  • Small businesses have unique needs and are looking for technology providers who understand them
  • Partners who serve the small business segment want a way to distinguish themselves and small business customers want a way to be able to identify Partners who focus on their needs
  • Many of our current SBSC Partners are small businesses themselves, with many being one or two person companies
  • We designed SBSC to ensure we have solid opportunities for our SMB focused Partners to partner with Microsoft, no matter their size
  • We have very strong traction with the Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC) designation around the world already
  • Having both a Microsoft Small Business Specialist and a Microsoft Small Business Solution Provider Competency offering for small business owners could lead to more confusion than clarity in this specific segment
  • We need to be sure that our Partners serving the needs of small businesses today have the skills to provide the latest technology solutions to help small businesses succeed

Decisions we have made based off the information above:

  • In the small business segment, we are “doubling-down” on the SBSC designation by making it our lead MPN offering for Partners serving the needs of Small Business
  • We are postponing the launch of the Small Business Competency and Small Business Advanced Competency in the upcoming year to further evaluate the need to have a separate offering outside of SBSC in the small business segment
  • We are introducing the Midmarket Solution Provider Competency and Midmarket Solution Provider Advanced Competency for those Partners serving the needs of customers in the Midmarket segment.
  • We are raising the SBSC exam requirements in October to require current version technology exams to obtain/renew your SBSC enrollment. (Be sure to read my SBSC exam requirements post to see what exams you need to take since the older technology ones will no longer qualify!)

As I stated in my April 20th post, “The Microsoft SBSC designation is absolutely living on and Microsoft’s commitment to the SMB Market, and the Partners around the world that serve this market, is as strong as ever, if not stronger!” This remains unchanged and hopefully you can see that our refinements above are being made to embrace this principle even more.

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Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER, LinkedIn, and RSS and see “What I’m thinking
Global Partner Experience Lead
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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