imageAt the beginning of March, we officially announced the Small Business Competency in the Microsoft Partner Network. If you looked at the comments from that post, you also saw that I said, “We will announce more program details in April,” in response to questions I received over the the Small Business Competency it might look like when launched. Now, additional details have been released on the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency on Julie Bennani’s Partner Perspectives blog, and here are some of the highlights:

Here are a few of the benefits of Gold Small Business competency for partners:

  • Gold competency logo
  • Eligibility for a named Microsoft contact to help you maximize your partnership with Microsoft and sales support
  • Internal use rights for up to 30 licenses of on premise products
  • Significant additional cloud offering license rights for internal usage (IUR)
  • Unlimited pre-sales advisory hours for deals >$3,000USD (50 hours if not deal related or post-sales oriented)
  • Bill-on-behalf capability for Office 365 (4/18/12 correction: Admin-on-behalf of for Office 365)
  • Premier exposure on the Microsoft PinPoint and Office 365 marketplaces

Here are a few of the benefits of Silver Small Business competency for partners:

  • Internal use rights for up to 15 licenses of on premise products
  • Additional cloud offering license rights for internal usage (IUR)
  • Usage of the Silver competency logo
  • Unlimited pre-sales advisory hours for deals >$3,000USD (20 hours if not deal related or post-sales oriented)
  • Prioritized exposure on the Microsoft PinPoint and Office 365 marketplaces

Looking for the requirements to attain the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency? Here you go: What are the requirements to earn the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency?

As stated before, the Small Business Competency will be launched in June of 2012, and like the other competencies, it is designed to be a key differentiator for partners, this time focused on the small business segment. From a solutions standpoint, the Small Business Competency is designed for Microsoft partners serving Small Business customers and demonstrating capabilities with Microsoft solutions based on Windows, Office 365, Windows Server/Small Business Server (SBS), and Windows Intune. For geographies where Microsoft cloud offerings are not currently available, the requirements for Office 365 exams and cloud related customer references are waived and substitute exams are defined for on-premise products.

If you haven’t read Jon Roskill’s blog post about Why you should care about the Small Business competency yet, I would highly suggest giving that a read. In it, Jon talks about the opportunity that Small Business presents (such as there being 148 million small business customers around the world), and how Microsoft partners should think about the new Small Business Competency in their strategy to go after this huge opportunity. In fact, Jon sums up his point of view on how impactful the Small Business Competency is going to be in this statement, “I have no doubt the Small Business competency will be our most sought after competency.” Now that is saying a lot!

As we get closer to the June, 2012 launch of the Small Business Competency, we’ll be bringing you more information about it that you can utilize. Have thoughts and feedback on this? Let me know below or ping me through any of my social media presences to let me know.

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Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER, LinkedIn, and RSS and see “What I’m thinking
Director, Worldwide Partner Experience
Microsoft Corporation
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