Microsoft has added four new competencies to its partner programme in a move it has claimed is based on channel feedback.
The new competencies (see box) bring the total number available to 13. Existing Business Intelligence and Integrated E-Business competencies were renamed Data Management and Business Process Integration while Microsoft’s seven other competencies remain unchanged.
Karl Noakes, head of channel development at Microsoft, said: “To gain a competency each partner must have two internal people qualified in the relevant certification exam and supply three pieces of satisfactory customer sales evidence,” he said.
Microsoft has also introduced a Partner Membership Centre to make it easier for partners to enrol in and manage their participation in the partner programme, including a halving in the number of emails sent to partners, simplification of customer reference submission and greater visibility of point accumulation.
Ross Miller, chief executive of Trustmarque Solutions, which last week became Microsoft’s first UK VAR to be awarded Gold status, said: “We have been pushing VAR competency for some time so that end-users can be reassured that we know what we are talking about and can receive expert advice from us.”
Ian Jenner, Microsoft business manager at distributor Enta, said: “If I were an end-user then I would be reassured by a proof of competency certificate, even if that meant the solution ended-up costing more. I can see the benefit and it enables partners to give themselves a competitive edge,” he said.
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