imageWinning a Microsoft Partner of the Year Award not only showcases the capabilities and solutions your company brings to the market, it also brings your company positive press coverage (including: being acknowledged in press releases, award logos, local press templates, and web banners), which can lead to even greater market recognition, as well as trophies, congratulatory letters from Microsoft executives, further recognition and acknowledgement throughout WPC 2014 in Washington, D.C., photo opportunities with Microsoft executives at WPC 2014, and being invited to an exclusive celebration during the conference with key Microsoft executives. Now, it is your chance to start preparing your entry for the 2014 Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards.

So how can you enter and win a Microsoft Partner of the Year Award? I’m glad you asked, since that is what I’m putting this post up for. Smile

Let’s start with some basics:

Timing: The Microsoft 2014 Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards entry period starts at 12:01 A.M. Pacific Time on February 7, 2014, and ends at 11:59 P.M. Pacific Time on April 11, 2014. During this time, you can enter, edit, and submit your entries for Partner of the Year Awards.

Submission: To enter, edit, and submit your entry, you can log into the Award Submission Tool and do so for your entries. Please note: When you r entry is in draft mode, you have the ability to edit the entry at any time until the close of the Award Submission Tool at 11:59 P.M. Pacific on April 11, 2014; however, after you have submitted an entry, you will no longer be able to edit the entry. Also, please make you have successfully submitted your award entry for it to be reviewed by the judging panels before the entry deadline of 11:59 P.M. Pacific Time on April 11, 2014. Any entries still in draft mode and un-submitted will not be included in the judging.

Categories: As in past years, there are several categories you can submit entries for in the Partner of the Year Awards, and yes, you can submit entries for multiple award categories and/or multiple entries for one award category. Here are the 2014 Partner of the Year awards you can submit entries for:

Application Developer Award

  • Office/SharePoint App Developer Partner of the Year
  • Windows 8 App Developer Partner of the Year

Citizenship Awards

  • Humanitarian Response Citizenship Partner of the Year
  • Innovative Technology for Good Citizenship Partner of the Year
  • YouthSpark Citizenship Partner of the Year

Cloud Awards

  • Cloud Excellence Partner of the Year
  • Cloud Partner of the Year - Enterprise Customers (CA and EPG)
  • Cloud Partner of the Year - Small and Medium Business (SMB)
  • Cloud Partner of the Year – Packaged Solutions

Competency Awards

  • Application Development Partner of the Year
  • Application Lifecycle Management Partner of the Year
  • Business Intelligence Partner of the Year
  • Collaboration and Content Partner of the Year
  • Communications Partner of the Year
  • Customer Relationship Management Partner of the Year (CRM)
  • Data Platform Partner of the Year
  • Devices and Deployment Partner of the Year
  • Digital Advertising Partner of the Year
  • Distributor Partner of the Year
  • Enterprise Resource Planning Partner of the Year (ERP)
  • Hosting Partner of the Year
  • Intelligent Systems Partner of the Year
  • Learning Partner of the Year
  • Management Virtualization Partner of the Year
  • Messaging Partner of the Year
  • Midmarket Solution Provider Partner of the Year
  • Mobility Partner of the Year
  • OEM Device Partner of the Year
  • Project and Portfolio Management Partner of the Year
  • Server Platform Partner of the Year
  • Small Business Partner of the Year
  • Software Asset Management Partner of the Year (SAM)
  • Volume Licensing Partner of the Year

Country Partner of the Year

Dynamics Awards

  • Microsoft Dynamics Industry Partner of the Year
  • Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Partner of the Year

Non-Competency Awards

  • Alliance Partner of the Year

Public Sector Awards

  • Public Sector: Education Partner of the Year
  • Public Sector: Government Partner of the Year
  • Public Sector: Health Partner of the Year
  • Public Sector: Public Safety and National Security Partner of the Year

Sales Excellence Awards

  • Presales Technical Specialist of the Year
  • Sales Specialist of the Year

For those of you looking at the categories above and asking, “I wonder what the ______ Award is?” You’re in luck. We have posted a Microsoft 2014 Partner of the Year Awards Guideline doc online that gives you in-depth information about each of the awards so that you can fully understand what it is and what the judges are looking for in a qualifying entry.

Yes, I know that it is not February 7th yet, which means the Award Submission Tool is not officially opened yet; however, I am giving you the inside scoop now so that you can get a jumpstart on your entries. Why? Well, unfortunately, every year there is at least one partner who has a sad tale to tell about how they were “going to get tot their award entry” but they put it off until “later",” and sure enough, something came up, they got sidetracked, and by the time they got back around to it, yep, you guessed it, they missed the entry window. Now while submitting an entry is no guarantee of winning an award (as there is always healthy competition among some great entries every year), not submitting an entry IS a guarantee that you won’t win a Partner of the Year Award. So take a look at the resources I have listed below, start thinking through some success stories you think would be great entries for your company, and get started on your entry now so that when the Award Submission Tool opens up on the 7th, you are ready to go.

Resources:

  • Something you will want to take a look at and read through: The 2014 official rules (PDF) for the Partner of the Year Awards
  • Another good resource is the Frequently Asked Questions document, which will provide you with answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the award process.
  • Want some inside tips on your entry? Check out the Guidance from the Judges document that we have available for you. That’s right, you can get some inside tips on your entry directly from judges of the awards themselves, and who better to give some tips than the people who actually judge the entries?
  • Speaking of tips for writing a winning entry, be sure to download and read through the “Writing a Winning Partner of the Year Award Entry” document by Gail Mercer-MacKay, who has worked with multiple Microsoft partners in the past and helped them win or become a finalist for a Microsoft award more than 100 times! Oh, and if you think the tips only work for the big guys, you’d probably be interested to know that some of those 100 winners came from organizations with less than 10 people.
  • There is also the WPC 2014 Awards webpage itself, which has information on it that you can use as well.

So there you have it, your inside scoop to getting started early on your 2014 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award entries. I can’t wait to see all of the amazing entries you all share again this year and good luck to each and every one of you!

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Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER, LinkedIn, and Facebook
Sales Excellence Manager
Microsoft Corporation
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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