Microsoft is set to make a tranche of cloud-fuelled changes to dozens of its competencies at the end of next month, including axing some and adding additional requirements to others.
The software giant unveiled its plans – which it claims are designed to help partners better take advantage of cloud – on a 5,000-word blog post last night.
More than 40 competencies will be affected by the changes, many of which involve extra exam options and increased internal use rights for products. But other key partner competencies are set to undergo bigger changes.
As of 30 September, when the vast majority of the changes come into play, Microsoft's Small Business competency will become Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions (SMCS) in order to become more cloud focused, the vendor said.
To achieve the new badge, partners must provide customer references as well as meet specific sales-performance requirements around Office 365.
Partners that meet the new requirements by 29 September will immediately be granted the competency, but if not, they will have until their MPN anniversary date to get up to speed or risk having to buy an Action Pack subscription to retain their benefits.
As the vendor previously announced, its Cloud Accelerate and Cloud Essentials competencies will be retired from the end of September and will be replaced by SMCS and Cloud Productivity badges instead.
Microsoft insisted the sweeping changes have partners' best interests at heart.
"The cloud market opportunity will reach $108bn (£65.04bn) by 2017, and the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) wants to help you take advantage of that future," it said on the blog post.
"In order to achieve this, we're refreshing our programme to incorporate a greater hybrid and cloud focus.
"These MPN programme changes are designed to help you maximise the cloud and hybrid services opportunity by selling the most connected and comprehensive set of solutions."
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