partnernetwork Changes are being made as the Microsoft Partner Program completes its evolution to the Microsoft Partner Network in October 2010. Beginning in October, the Certified and Gold Certified Partner designations will be retired. In their place will be Communities, Partner Competencies and Subscriptions.

This blog post summarizes the changes for ISVs. Be sure to examine the details about the changes at Prepare for Upcoming Changes to the Microsoft Partner Network on the Microsoft Partner Network site.

You can also print out the Microsoft Partner Network Transition Checklist.

Branding and Logos

The new branding and logos will highlight your competencies and are designed to showcase your specialized capabilities as a first impression with your existing and prospective customers. The new brand name and partner logos will be available after October 2010.

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Partner Changes

New membership opportunities replace Registered Member, Certified Partner and Gold Certified Partner levels which will be retired. Partner Points will also be retired.

Microsoft Partner Network is evolving to market your specialized skill set. Your customers will more easily recognize you and your company as experts in your field. New membership opportunities provide a place for partners of all sizes, so you get the most out of the new network.

New Membership Opportunities

We redesigned our membership opportunities for improved interaction with your peers and to provide you with the tools you need to communicate your expertise to customers.

Communities

Everyone who enrolls in the Microsoft Partner Network is a valued member of a vibrant community. Whether you are an established or a new partner, you can engage with the network and take advantage of community support.

Subscriptions

With Microsoft Partner Network subscriptions, you receive savings on software licenses and development tools, and you gain access to training, market visibility, and support.

Competencies

Microsoft competencies help your business showcase its expertise by aligning to your customers’ needs and making certifications more recognizable to prospective customers. The new competencies have been carefully designed based on up-to-date industry terminology and forward-looking market trends. They are also more closely aligned to your customers’ needs while differentiating your strengths in the marketplace.

See the PDF file, Value of Earning a Microsoft Competency Full Version.

ISVs can earn the ISV Competency with one software application or solution that has passed Microsoft-approved product tests and get customer references. See Exam and Reference Details.

There are also 30 or so other competencies that you can earned through individuals in your organization passing exams. Some have certain minimum sales requirements.

ISVs will want to look closely earning the Software Development Competency and the Application Lifecycle Management Competency.

Advanced Competencies (Coming October 2010)

Partners with advanced competencies will represent organizations (and associated individuals) who have demonstrated the highest, most consistent capability and commitment within a specific business solution area. Additional benefits are offered for advanced competencies.

The specifics for earning the ISV Advanced Competency hasn't been announced.

Competency Benefits

Software Benefits

One of the major benefits for ISVs includes the software benefits. You can see what software benefits for each competency or advanced competency at Microsoft Partner Network License Calculator. Some of the key benefits for earning a competency include:

Internal-Use Software (25 licenses, 100 for advanced competency): Windows 7, Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007, Windows Server 2008, Business Productivity Suite (BPOS) 250 free seats, Microsoft System Center, Microsoft Office SharePoint, SQL Server 2008 Enterprise, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Enterprise Edition, and more.

Some competencies offer additional software benefits, such as for the ISV Competency.

Support Services

  • 20 total phone-based advisory hours, plus unlimited deal related support (Those with advanced competencies receive 50 hours of advisory hours.)
  • Online Support Experience (including Online Technical Community)
  • 5- Pack Break/Fix incidents
  • Unlimited Business Critical Phone Support

And much more, including marketing benefits.

Advanced competencies offer additional benefits.

See the PDF file Value of Earning a Microsoft Competency Full Version and Microsoft Partner Network License Calculator.

Next Steps

Check out Prepare for Upcoming Changes to the Microsoft Partner Network. At the bottom of that page, you’ll see steps to take for each partner type.

For example, Registered Partners should consider Microsoft Partner Network Subscriptions and engage with other partners in the network and take advantage of community support through the Microsoft Partner Network community site. Certified and Gold Certified Partners review the CSAT Quick Reference Card to better understand the step-by-step process to complete the requirement.

Individuals should update your certification exams.

ISVs should consult the Exam and Reference Details to see what application certifications are needed for the ISV Competency. In many cases, Certified and Gold Certified partners may have completed this requirement for the ISV Competency. Advanced Competency requirements will be announced before October.

In October 2010, build new logos in Partner Logo Builder and begin transitioning all marketing collateral to the new brand and new logos. The change must be complete by July 2011.

About the Microsoft Partner Network

Microsoft Partner Network supports partners of any business model can extend their market reach, reduce costs, increase profitability, and deliver innovative solutions to help customers reach their full business potential.

Enroll Today

Between July 2009 and October 2010, the enrollment process will remain the same. Partners enrolling in the Microsoft Partner Network select the membership option that best matches their qualifications and their business goals. Membership is valid for a full 12 months from your enrollment date.

See Microsoft Partner Network Enrollment Options.

Bruce D. Kyle
ISV Architect Evangelist | Microsoft Corporation

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