Microsoft has extended and streamlined its partner programme worldwide, introducing new levels of service and specialisation. To underline the changes to the nine-year-old Microsoft Certified Service Provider programme, Microsoft has also rebranded it as the Microsoft Certified Partner programme.
The revamped programme will offer new partner certification choices to customers based on the services, applications and hosting capabilities provided by companies that design, develop, deploy and manage technology.
The new structure gives partners the resources to help them build solutions around Microsoft's .NET enterprise servers and other Microsoft technologies and provides enhanced support for vertical industry applications and hosting. It is also simpler for partners.
It allows application service providers (ASPs), independent software vendors (ISVs) and support centres to join, replacing their product and platform certifications and providing them with access to the Microsoft Certified Partner programme and brand.
Introducing Microsoft Gold Certified Partners
The new programme also offers a new level of certification, Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, for partners with proven expertise in their areas of specialisation. Gold certification will be based on customer references and requirements for deep technical competency in complex business solutions.
This track record in the provision of innovative solutions, application development and project management represents extra value to customers through mitigating risk and accelerating time to market.
Microsoft Gold Certified Partner areas of certification will include:
- Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for E-Commerce Solutions
- Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for Hosting and Application Services
- Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for Enterprise Systems
- Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for Support Services
Additional Gold Certified Partner tracks will be announced later.
Microsoft continues to invest heavily in partner programme
Partners will also receive increased benefits focused in two key areas: market readiness and technical readiness. Gold Certified Partners will receive incremental benefits related to their areas of specialisation. In all, Microsoft will invest more than US$1 billion in partners worldwide in 2001. Microsoft currently has 80 certified partners in Singapore who have renewed from the MCSP programme.
Partners will receive a variety of new and expanded technical and market readiness benefits based on their business needs. New offerings will include:
- Enterprise Service Offerings, which deliver prescriptive architectures developed by partners
- Microsoft Consulting Services to help guide technology customers through the IT life cycle.
- A simplified ASP licensing programme
- Microsoft Official Curriculum for partners wanting to offer customer training.
- New .NET readiness materials that will prepare partners to deliver .NET solutions to customers, enabling truly distributed Web services.
The new programme structure will also help and encourage partners with varying areas of specialisation to network with their peers and explore ways of building end-to-end customer solutions together.
Requirements for basic membership in the programme will remain the same as for the MCSP programme, and MCSPs will be migrated to the new programme as long as they continue to employ a minimum of two Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs).
The Association of Microsoft Solution Providers (AMSP) and Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centers will also undergo a related brand update.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft provides software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing internationally. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through software.