Post by Sharon Collins, Microsoft Partner Network Manager and Competency Lead, U.S. Partner Team.

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Last week, we put the final touches on the new Microsoft Small Business competency, and Julie Bennani announced its official availability on her blog. The Small Business competency helps partners build on their experience in the small business segment and gain advanced cloud technology expertise. If you’re already selling Windows, Microsoft Office 365, Windows Small Business Server, and Windows Intune, this competency will extend your capabilities to help your customers reduce costs, bring their businesses online, and efficiently manage their cash flow and sales pipeline. image

The Partner Opportunity

Small businesses face unique challenges. They need enterprise-grade technology, but their capital resources are stretched and their technical knowledge is limited. Many small businesses are eager to shift their IT to the cloud, and over two thirds of small businesses are expected to use Software as a Service. According to a recent Microsoft survey conducted by Edge Strategies, 50 percent of small and medium businesses (SMBs) say cloud computing is going to become more important for their operations, and 58 percent believe working in the cloud can make companies more competitive.

Information about the Small Business competency on the U.S. partner portal.

Small Business Competency Benefits

The benefits of attaining a Microsoft competency include software internal-use rights, targeted training, market recognition, and sales support. Earn the Small Business Competency to take advantage of deeper engagement with Microsoft, and receive rich benefits to help grow your business, like: 

  • Branding differentiation using the Gold or Silver Small Business competency logo
  • Access to Internal Use Rights for relevant software and subscriptions
  • Priority listing of your expertise in Microsoft Pinpoint and appropriate marketplaces
  • Access to marketing resources
  • Designated Microsoft point of contact (for Gold Small Business competency)
  • Technical Presales Assistance and other support resources

See all Small Business competency benefits.

How to Earn the Small Business Competency

The requirements for the Small Business competency are designed to closely align with customer needs, with a mix of both on-premises products and cloud technologies. The silver Small Business competency requires one Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) who has passed the required exams, and the gold Small Business competency requires two (MCPs) who have passed the required exams. image

Resources:

  • If you’re ready to get started or have questions about requirements, reach out to the U.S. MPN Experts. They have experience with the Microsoft competencies and can help you build a plan to guide your company to competency attainment.
  • For role-specific training to pass the exams, the licensing assessment, and the sales assessment that are aligned with the Small Business competency, visit the Learning Plan Tool.