Bryan Von Axelson 2010

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In today’s competitive environment, a Microsoft gold or silver competency can help set your company apart from the competition by demonstrating a specific, proven skill set to your customers. Did you know that there are over 650,000 partners in Microsoft’s channel alone, but only 30,000 (5%) partners worldwide can distinguish themselves with a Microsoft silver competency as having attained a high degree of proficiency? This differentiation becomes even more apparent as you spread this number across the Microsoft competencies.  Silver competencies offer a clear path to help you showcase your skillset in today’s competitive environment.  Earning a silver competency can distinguish your business by placing it among the top 5 percent of Microsoft Partners worldwide. 

Gold competencies demonstrate your best-in-class expertise within Microsoft’s marketplace. Earning a gold competency is evidence of the deepest, most consistent commitment to a specific, in-demand, business solution area, along with the distinction of being among only 1 percent of Microsoft partners worldwide that have attained this outstanding degree of proficiency.
“Having a Microsoft competency is a great foundation for our business. It grants us the ‘mission critical’ vendor status our clients need and helps us remain a strong competitor in the marketplace. When working with Microsoft, we’re always ‘in the know.’ We’re able to pass along knowledge to our engineers and maintain high-touch customer relationships.“ – Jason S. Hagens, CEO SWAT Systems, Two Silver Competencies.
Competency Benefits Overview:
Attaining competencies makes you eligible for valuable benefits that are related to the stages of your business life cycle. When you earn your first silver or gold competency, you are entitled to a set of core benefits, along with benefits that are tailored to the specific competency you have earned. And as you invest more in your Microsoft partner relationship by earning additional competencies, you receive additional, higher-value benefits to help you run and grow your business.
Here is a sampling of the benefits you will receive:
  • Early access to the latest internal-use software to run your business and test compatibility with your solutions, strengthen staff expertise with business and technical training, and gain competitive advantage.
  • Business modeling tools and roadmaps to help you plan and evaluate prospective investments.
  • Marketing campaigns, directories, and a recognizable logo that uses the Microsoft Partner Network brand to help you create interest and demand with customers.
  • Compelling presentations, demos, financing, and incentive programs to help you increase sales and close them more quickly.
  • Deep technical support and advisory services to help you serve customers better and accelerate the sales cycle.
  • Online surveys to provide feedback that can help you retain customers and improve satisfaction.
Competency Requirements Overview:
The following table summarizes the general requirements that apply to most competencies. However, requirements vary by competency, so be sure to review individual competencies for specific details.
 
MPN Competency
1 Partners can attain multiple silver competencies. If your employees or contractors pass the eligible competency exams for multiple silver competencies, your organization can count those exams toward multiple silver competencies.
2 Partners can attain multiple gold competencies. When your employees or contractors pass the applicable gold competency exams, your organization can count those exams toward only one gold competency.
3 Qualifying application tests refers to products that pass Microsoft hardware and software tests, and applies to the Independent Software Vendor (ISV)/Software competency or other competencies through the ISV/Software track. Qualifying application tests vary by product.
4 Partners must agree to meet a minimum Microsoft-related revenue commitment that is determined based on the partner’s geography and the competency the partner organization is working to attain. Both transacted revenue and influenced revenue count toward this commitment. Microsoft will begin to measure relevant partner revenue in October 2012, and partners must meet their revenue commitments the first time they renew their memberships after October 2013.
5 Requirements vary by competency.
6 Partners may use customer references from silver competencies toward gold competencies.
7Fees vary by geography. Partners must pay the silver competency fee or gold competency fee one time, per year—no matter how many competencies they have attained. If a partner attains a gold competency after first attaining a silver competency, then the partner pays only the difference between the two membership fees, unless the partner is within the 90-day renewal period, in which case the full membership fee is due.