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What are the requirements to earn the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency?

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What are the requirements to earn the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency?

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Earlier this month we announced Details on the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency that talked about what it is, some of the benefits of the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency, etc. and this morning on today’s MPN Live, the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency was touched on again. One question that I received after both the initial blog post earlier this month and again after today’s MPN Live show was: “Hey, Eric. What are the actual requirements to get the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency?”

NOTE: Please also be sure to read the Some additional information, a Q&A, on the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency post, which is a follow-up to this one, that answers several questions about the Small Business competency itself in further detail.

Well, here are the requirements for the Microsoft Partner Network Silver Small Business Competency and the Microsoft Partner Network Gold Small Business Competency:

To earn the Microsoft Partner Network Silver Small Business Competency, you will need to achieve the following:

  • Exam Credentials:
    • 1 MCP must pass 2 exams:
      • Required: 70-323 - Administering Office 365
      • And another exam from:
        • 70-321 - Deploying Office 365
        • 70-680 - TS: Windows 7, Configuring
        • 70-169 - TS: Windows Small Business Server 2011, Configuring
  • Business Assessments:
    • Sign and complete: MOSPA (Microsoft Online Services Provider Agreement)+ Assessment
    • 1 person must complete Licensing assessment
    • 1 person must complete Business focused small business assessment
  • Evidence:
    • Must have 3 submitted customer references
  • Fees:
    • $1,850 (based on country)

To earn the Microsoft Partner Network Gold Small Business Competency, you will need to achieve the following:

  • Exam Credentials:
    • 1 MCP must pass 2 exams from:
      • 70-321 - Deploying Office 365
      • 70-323 - Administering Office 365
      • 70-680 - TS: Windows 7, Configuring
    • 1 MCP must pass 2 exams from:
      • 70-321 - Deploying Office 365
      • 70-323 - Administering Office 365
      • 70-169 - TS: Windows Small Business Server 2011, Configuring
      • 70-680 - TS: Windows 7, Configuring
      • 70-642 - TS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring
  • Revenue Requirements:
    • Meet a minimum revenue requirement (after renewal date after October 2013)
      • The revenue requirements differs per geography
  • Business Assessments:
    • Sign and complete: MOSPA (Microsoft Online Services Provider Agreement)+ Assessment
    • 1 person must complete Licensing assessment
    • 2 people must complete Business focused small business assessment
  • Evidence:
    • Must have 5 submitted customer references
    • CSAT Index
  • Fees:
    • $3,800 (based on country)

You may also want to check out the Some additional information, a Q&A, on the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency post I have added to my blog, which includes answers to several questions if have received, seen, and figured people may have regarding the Small Business competency.

Now you have visibility into not only the competency itself, but also the requirements. Also, I think you will see included above why I mentioned, “We will announce more program details in April but, no need to fear. We've adjusted the requirements for small partners to be eligible for this competency as well,” in reply to the question posted to my Officially announced: Small Business Competency in the Microsoft Partner Network post earlier.

It is fantastic to see all of the excitement and enthusiasm around the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business Competency and thank you again to all of you that have been sharing your input, feedback, thoughts, and more with us on this topic as we have made this journey together.

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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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  • Thanks for this Eric.  Any ETA on test prep materials for the 70-323?

  • As a Microsoft Small Business Specialist I was looking forward to starting out earning the Silver Small Business Competency for my business.  At $1,850 though?!?!  Do I still have to pay $300 for the Action Pack as well on top of this outrageous fee?  

  • Not sure I can see the value in such a huge fee (+MAPS), Pinpoint - useless, Support forums - generally very slow and patchy skills, critical business system down has been valuable.

    Seems to me that Microsoft's big partners have need of a new market segment and we're paying the price.

  • @ Bill - I haven't seen it yet, but will let you know.

  • @ Peter - As you will notice above, unlike SBSC, Action Pack is not a requirement for the Small Business Competency. So to answer your question, no, there is no requirement to spend the $300 for Action Pack to attain the Small Business Competency. As with all other competencies, the Small Business Competency will include a list of benefits it provides to those who achieve it, including Internal Use Rights software that you can utilize within your business. We'll be publishing the full list of benefits included in the Small Business Competency in the near future, where you will be able to see the software included with this. Net, net, you will not need the Action Pack anymore if you achieve this competency, and in fact, competency partners aren't allowed to subscribe to Action Pack anyway.

  • Microsoft - you've lost your mind.  

    $1850?????  

  • Hi Eric, is the SBSC still active or is that going away? That's a lot to handle for sole owners.

  • I assume if you are already have a silver competency you will not need to pay the $1850 again?

  • As a small business owner of an IT business that only looks after small business, why do I need O365 certificates when not 1 of the 500+ machines we support use it?

    I know a lot of small businesses like mine would be in the same situation.

    The fee and everything else seems fine.

    Just the O365 exam requirements are unreasonable. Sure put it in as a option for exam - just not a requirement.

  • Thank you very much for all of the great questions about the Microsoft Partner Network Small Business competency. To better answer all of these, as well as others I have seen and/or anticipate people may have, I just posted a full Q&A to help address these. You can view it on my blog (www.MSPartnerBlog.com) and here is the direct link to the post: http://ligman.me/KMOnXa

  • I'm usually the biggest MS fan and we invest in ALL KINDS of MS resources, time, training, certifications but this is very disappointing and upsetting on many levels.  HUGE mistake...  Microsoft just went way down in how I view them....

  • @ Alan - Thanks for the comment. I would love to understand more about why you have the opinion you do about the Small Business competency. The Small Business Competency is the next step in the increasing importance of Small Business in the Microsoft Partner Network. SBSC is a "designation" and not a full competency like the other competencies in the Microsoft Partner Network. With the launch of the Small Business Competency, Small Business will now have the same status in the Microsoft Partner Network as all of the other competencies. Plus, if you recall, we launched the Microsoft Partner Network under the competency model to bring focus and highlight to the specific skillsets that partners bring to market for their clients. The idea of competencies is to elevate your skills and status within the Microsoft Partner Network and with your clients. By moving to a Small Business Competency, you will be able to utilize the full set of competency benefits and offerings associtated with it. This move to a Small Business Competency came after a long period of evaluating options, talking with partners, gathering input and feedback from the community, (including the SBSC PALs, which you can see a picture of that meeting here: http://ligman.me/wBwP9x) and much more.

  • Happy enough for the Small Biz award to be competency driven moving forward but I am a little annoyed that it only takes 2 MCPs to qualify for Gold.  We worked hard to get our business moved to the new Gold Competencies and use it as a difference factor when bidding for work - but now MS has lowered the bar, I think it de-values the Gold award.

  • Eric, when do you think the Small Business Competency for silver and Gold and all the internal right software will be released?

  • @ Lee - Thanks for the feedback. To be clear, the 2 MCP requirement for the Small Business Competency is ONLY for this competency. We are not lowering the bar for all gold competencies. Because the silver and gold are competency specific, a partner earning a Gold Small Business Competency will have no impact on your other competencies at all, since they are separate. Having a Gold Small Business Competency does not provide anyone with a "gold" anywhere else and is specific to the Small Business competency only.

    For instance, if you had a Gold Communications Competency, this demonstrates your organization's skillset and knowledge regarding communications technologies and offerings. Another company with a Gold Small Business Competency shows their skillset and knowledge in Small Business as a segment, it does not provide them with any "silver" or "gold" in any other competency, such as communications.

    With the Small Business Competency being the evolution of the current SBSC designation, which is designed for our partners of all sizes serving the small business segment, aligning the requirements appropriately for these partners to participate was one key piece of feedback we received and designed into the competency.

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