The new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program: Everything MSPs need to know

For more than 30 years, the Microsoft Partner Network has been helping partners to provide innovative and unique solutions across a huge range of industries, helping their customers to evolve and adapt in our rapidly-changing world.

To ensure they continue to meet what you need to innovate, grow your business and deliver for your customers, the Microsoft Partner Network is changing.  To help you understand and navigate the new system, we’ve got the lowdown on what these changes mean for you and your customers.


Introducing the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program

Microsoft has launched its new program in order to better align partners’ go-to-market motions with the way customers buy and in fact the way Microsoft have been categorising and marketing with their own solutions over the last few years. Its primary aim is to make it much easier for customers to identify partners with the technical capabilities, knowledge and experience they need.

The new program is now known as the “Microsoft Cloud Partner Program” (MCPP). The MCPP streamlines the existing 18 competencies into a new model focusing on proficiency in 6 solution areas:

  • Modern Work
  • Security
  • Infrastructure (Azure)
  • Data & AI (Azure)
  • Digital & App Innovation (Azure)
  • Business Applications


There will be 2 qualifying levels:

  1. The solutions partner level involves meeting specific requirements across what partner capability score (see below) for each solution area.
  2. Specialisations and expert programs will give solutions partners a way to differentiate and demonstrate deep technical expertise and experience in specific technical scenarios under each solution area.

The Solutions Partner designations will combine the current silver and gold tiers. By attaining these designations, you can demonstrate your organisation’s ability to meet customer demand.

Please note – if you have existing silver or gold competencies, you’ll have time to learn more and assess how the new designations will fit into the strategic plan for your business.


How are points achieved?

Points are achieved across 3 separate areas:

Performance: measured by net customer adds in the specified solution area.

Skilling: points are awarded for each person on your team with specified certifications.

Customer success: measured by usage growth and number of successful deployments.

To achieve the Solution Designation, partners must score at least 1 point within each metric.


Capability scoring explained

Partner capability scoring is a framework designed to measure partner performance, skill and customer success. Each partner is evaluated based on their certifications, number of customers, successful deployments and overall growth.

To attain a Solutions Partner designation, partners must earn a capability score of at least 70 (out of 100) points across the 4 areas of measurement. You can see your progress towards your solutions partner designation by accessing your dashboard in the Partner Centre.

How existing competencies track onto Solutions Partner designations

Here’s exactly how the existing competencies fit into the Solutions Partner designation framework.




Existing Competencies
New Solutions Partner designation
- Cloud Platform
- Datacentre
Solutions Partner for Infrastructure (Azure)

Solutions Partners for Infrastructure are able to demonstrate broad capability to help customers accelerate migration of key infrastructure workloads to Microsoft Azure.
- App Integration
- Data Analytics
- Data Platform
Solutions Partner for Data & AI (Azure)

Solutions Partners for Data and AI are able to demonstrate broad capability to help customers manage their data across multiple systems to build analytics and AI solutions.
- Application Development
- App Integration
- DevOps
Solutions Partner for Digital & App Innovation (Azure)

Solutions Partners for Digital and App Innovation are able to demonstrate broad capability to help customers build, run and manage applications across multiple clouds, on premises, and at the edge, with the tools and frameworks of their customer’s choice.
- Cloud Productivity
- Collaboration and Content
- Communications
- Messaging
- Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions
- Windows and Devices

Solutions Partner for Modern Work

Solutions Partners for Modern Work demonstrate broad capability to boost their customer’s productivity and make the shift to hybrid work using Microsoft 365.
- Enterprise Mobility Management
- Security
Solutions Partner for Security

Solutions Partners for Security demonstrate broad capability to provide customers with the holistic, industry-leading security solutions they need to keep their business safe.
- Cloud Business Applications
- Enterprise Resource Planning
- Project Portfolio Management
Solutions Partner for Business Applications

Solutions Partners for Business Applications demonstrate broad capability to deliver solutions with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform.


Specialisations and expert programs explained

Partners can continue to validate their enhanced knowledge by earning specialisations aligned to solution areas, or by becoming Microsoft Azure Expert MSP.

Your dashboard will show you how close you are to earning a specialisation within a particular designation. Specialisations showcase your technical expertise and make it easy for customers to identify you as a trusted partner.

Becoming an Azure Expert MSP or Specialisation Partner will help you drive revenue for yourself and your customers. The process involves a pre-audit and on-site audit, and while it can take considerable time to pass these and become an expert in a certain solution area, the accreditation has many benefits designed to help you stand out and excel as a partner. These include an exclusive Azure Expert MSP or Specialisation badge, top priority in the MCPP referral engine and prioritisation for co-sell engagement and leads, and ongoing support to develop new practices.

For more detailed information on these changes and how you can prepare for these accreditations click here.


Will my existing legacy benefits be lost?

Don’t worry. Microsoft isn’t removing any existing benefits you’re receiving aligned to competencies that you’ve already attained. Instead, they are introducing new benefits aligned to the Solutions Partner designations and you’ll have the choice of whether to move to these new benefits or keep your existing legacy ones. The new benefits package includes product benefits including IUR’s, cloud licences and Azure credits, go-to-market services, customer-facing badges, technical presales and deployment services, technical support, and eligibility to earn incentives.

Get support from intY

If you’re feeling unsure about how the transition to MCPP affects you, please get in touch. We know it can take time to get used to changes, so we’re on hand to support you with any concerns or difficulties that come up.

If you have questions about any of the information contained in this blog, please reach out to our experts at intY’s Azure Practice or Modern Workplace teams who will be happy to help.

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