A Microsoft Certified Training Partner is an IT training company, independent of Microsoft, which is approved by Microsoft to offer training and expertise for Microsoft products.
The content of the IT training courses, provided by Microsoft Certified Training Partner companies, are certified by Microsoft regarding the accuracy of the instruction. To receive certification, a Microsoft Certified Training Partner must demonstrate a wide range of knowledge in Microsoft products. Microsoft Certified Instructors must have real-world expertise with Microsoft applications, in addition to holding Microsoft IT Certifications.
A Microsoft Certified Partner (MCP) is a firm that provides Microsoft-related products, services, or support; and is part of the Microsoft team network.
After becoming a certified partner, the company is confirmed by Microsoft to be official. This means they work effectively, helping customers with a range of IT projects and services. While they are not authenticated to provide the same level of support as a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, many MCPs offer support as part of their services.
How to become a Microsoft Gold Partner
Microsoft Gold Certified Partners are Microsoft's most trusted and reputable IT support providers. To become Gold, they must offer support for data management and software development.
A Partner who has achieved Gold Certification is among the top 1% of Microsoft Partners worldwide in their specific region. This means that they offer a highly specialized skill set to their customers and are a leader in innovative technology solutions.
To receive a certification for Gold, a Partner must go through a rigorous auditing process. They are audited regularly to ensure continued commitment to Microsoft’s high standards for skills, experience, and proficiency.
In addition, Microsoft Gold Partners are required to use Microsoft technology as the main platform for the firm. What you are using, so will they.
The two promotions of Microsoft Partner, Silver and Gold, are the markers of experience with the service. The Microsoft Certified Partner tiers are designed to recognize the level of business that the partner is functioning at; along with the specific skills accumulated during the time of providing the service.
PARTNER CERTIFICATION LEVELS
Upon first evaluation of a company, a vital area to look at is the level of their certification. There are three levels that partners can reach: Microsoft Certified Partner, Microsoft Silver Certified Partner, and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.
The lowest tier of partnership is a Microsoft Certified Partner. A partner must register on the Microsoft Partner Network website to qualify as a Microsoft Certified Partner. After attaining Certified Partner status, a partner must choose specific focus areas; and demonstrate competency within those focus areas to gain a higher ranking. If a partner displays that they are a Microsoft Certified Partner, it means that they have only registered with Microsoft and paid a fee. It does not ensure that they have any experience with the software or services they sell.
To attain a Silver status, a Certified Partner must demonstrate a higher level of expertise within a specified area. That expertise requires a partner to have met an annual license, customer additions, or revenue threshold within a competency area.
Areas of competency require employees to pass tests that Microsoft provides about the related product or service. For example, to become a Silver Cloud Productivity Partner, a partner must have at least one person on staff pass four competency tests related to Cloud Productivity.
Finally, the Gold Partnership status requires a higher level of demonstrated competency than the Silver status. The way to upgrade from Silver to Gold is accomplished by reaching benchmarks of revenue generated by the firm.
For example, a Gold Certified ERP Partner must have made either $350,000 more revenue than the Silver competency if they’re an ISV, or $100,000 more revenue if they’re a reseller. Values like these ensure that the partners are able to provide for enough clients to reach their thresholds. They have demonstrated a large sample of experience and reliability in their given focus area.
Requirements for a Microsoft Gold Partner
Microsoft Gold Partners have been recognized as having the capabilities to:
Offer Microsoft based IT services and products
Provide continuous customer support and be first in line for updates and news
Provide smarter training tools and programs
Utilize expanded reach to be able to provide 100 licenses for Microsoft products
Provide consultative expertise with the highest level of Microsoft implementation and deployment
Have been recognized as a leader within the partner community
All certified Microsoft Partners can offer regional service centers, get all the latest product training materials, as well as having a hands-on advisory service for pre-sales and deployment.
Microsoft Gold Partner Requirements
Participation in the Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) index
Five customer references that verify a high standard of service delivery
At least Four Microsoft Certified Professionals: two with business–focused competency and two who have passed a technical competency assessment
Three customer references to verify a high standard of service delivery
Two Microsoft Certified professionals – one with business-focused competency and one who has passed a technical competency assessment
A licensing overview assessment
A sales and marketing competency assessment
Another dimension of partner certifications are the areas of focus of the certifications themselves. An organization’s area of competency is highlighted to show what they are proficient in. For example, a company can be Gold in Communications while being Silver in Data Analytics. This comes down to factors like how much revenue a company has generated, and what areas its employees are proficient in.
There are a total of 18 Microsoft competencies which land in 4 categories:
Applications and infrastructure
Data and AI
Modern workplace and security
Category 1 (Applications and Infrastructure) includes: Application Development, App Integration, Cloud Platform, DevOps, and Data Center
Category 2 (Business and Applications): Cloud Business Applications, Enterprise Resource Planning, Project and Portfolio
Category 3 (Data and AI): Data Analytics and Data Platform
Category 4 (Modern Workplace and Security): Collaboration and Content, Communications, Cloud Productivity, Enterprise Mobility Management, Messaging, Security, small and mid-market cloud solutions, Windows and Devices
Datalink’s Areas of Gold Competency
This competency signals that a partner can help customers deploy and manage applications; including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Teams and Skype for Business. Managed service partners in developed markets can qualify for silver-level competency with 2,000 monthly active usage in any Microsoft Office 365 workload. One individual at the company must also pass Exam MS-100.
Monthly active usage represents the unique number of users taking an intentional action on a specific service on a rolling 28-day basis. Partners must be an Office 365 Delegated Administrator, CSP direct-bill partner, CSP indirect reseller, Transacting Partner or Digital Partner of Record or Claiming Partner of Record (CPOR).
For Gold, managed service partners need a monthly active usage of 4,000 and two individuals who pass the exam.
For silver-level, one individual at the company needs to pass the Practical Guidance Assessment for Voice. Two people need to pass the Microsoft 365 Teams administrator associate exam. For Gold, two people need to pass the voice assessment and four need to pass the Teams administrator associate exam.
Project and Portfolio
Partners competent in project and portfolio are involved in designing, building, and deploying project management services through “Project for the Web,” which was built with Power Platform. For silver-level competency, two individuals must pass the Teams Administrator Associate certification. The number increases to four for Gold competency.
Partners that show an ability to operate customer database systems, secure data from unauthorized access, and categorize data for insights may look to this competency. SQL Server specialists can achieve Silver competency if one person from the company passes the Azure data fundamentals exam; and either the Azure database administrator exam or the Azure data engineer associate exam. Gold-level increases the number of individuals to two, and “big data” partners can achieve Gold if four individuals pass the exams.
This competency indicates that the partner can deploy, migrate and maintain cloud applications and services on Microsoft Azure. Partners in developed markets can attain silver-level competency by showing $15,000 in Azure customer consumption. For Gold, the amount increases to $100,000. Silver-level Azure consumption competency also requires one individual from the company to pass the Microsoft certifications for Azure developer associate, Azure administrator associate, Azure solutions architect expert or Azure data engineer associate. For gold, two individuals from the company must pass the exam.
Collaboration and Content
Proficiency in SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams is needed for this competency. Partners must have two individuals pass Exam MS-100: Microsoft 365 Identity and Services and the Microsoft 365 Teams administrator associate exam for Silver level competency. For Gold, the number increases to four.
Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions
This competency shows an expertise in cloud productivity and security services for small and midsized customers using or migrating to Office 365.
Partners can achieve Silver status by increasing their customer base by four new 365 customers in the past 12 months. Partners must be an Office 365 Delegated Administrator, Transacting Partner, or Digital Partner of Record. For Gold, the number of new customers increases to 25, and two individuals must pass Exam MS-100.
Companies can achieve Silver status by completing the following requirements:
at least 35% monthly average usage growth
10 new deployments with a minimum of five monthly active user thresholds in the same period
10 net new customers
30k in new net revenue
2 people on staff with Microsoft Dynamics Certifications
How to Continue with Datalink Networks
Datalink offers a free consultation, called a Health Check, where we analyze your Office 365 tenant and provide recommendations on license optimization, tenant security, and administrative roles. Through our Microsoft 365 Health Check, Datalink Networks uncovers savings, provides additional security, and eliminates admin rights to the IT personnel that don't need them. This service alone has saved our existing clients an average of $7,100.
What our Health Check will do for your organization:
optimize your licensing
review your security settings
adjust administrative roles within the company
provide documentation and a full report of your MS stats and new plan
Schedule your free 30-minute consultation to start saving today!