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As New Certification Levels Take Hold, Microsoft Dynamics Partners Seek to Fit In

by Jason Gumpert
July 19 2011

Microsoft is pushing ahead with its new partner levels to reduce the number of gold partners and gain broader buy-in to its new silver level.

Coming out of Worldwide Partner Conference 2011, Microsoft wants Dynamics partners to know that it is committed to the new gold, silver, and baseline partner levels that it has designed over the last two years, that there will be no more delays for certification beyond the current deadlines, and that the new requirements are resetting the partner competency and revenue expectations to a level Microsoft is satisfied with. 

The new standards are already having an effect on new certification rates, according to Jeff Edwards, director of channel strategy for Microsoft Business Solutions. "We've gone from 3,000 to 680 Gold partners.  From more than 70% of the active channel to less than 20% qualified for gold for both ERP and CRM.  About 400 ERP and 250 CRM, and that was exactly the plan.  You can't have a premium partner brand where 70% of your channel are gold. All of those [levels] have been in force for a while and we're tracking against those well."

While the new levels of gold partners are on track to Microsoft's expectations, silvers are still lagging.  Edwards concedes that partners might not have fully bought into the value of the new silver level.  "Because so many had gold before, it's a mental jump to say ‘yeah I'm silver now and it's still good.' Silver comes with tens of thousands of dollars of free software and tens of thousands of dollars of free support. For a $2,000 price tag it's an awesome value proposition."

The deadlines for various aspects of the revamped program have either passed or are ...

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About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of, Jason oversees all editorial content on the site and at our events, as well as providing site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Prior to co-founding, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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Submitted by emxgarcia on Wed, 07/20/2011 - 09:33 Permalink

Our main frustration had nothing to do with the increased requirements, but rather Microsoft extending the deadline for partners to achieve the requirements after we had worked really hard to get our organization certified prior to the original deadlines, But, as many times before, sales rules. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Submitted by jeffreyfletcher on Thu, 07/21/2011 - 04:53 Permalink

I should not complain as I will personally benefit from the new policy in the short term however I doubt the effect will be what is intended. Sales ultimately are done by the best party for the job, strong partners make more sales and weak partners less no matter what certificate hangs on the corporate office wall. More partners (as long as they are competent) ultimately expand brand reach and generate demand expanding the size of the pie, with less partners less demand generation occurs and ulimately the size of the pie shrinks. How many people used to take airline flights 50 years ago when their was limited flights, how many take flights now. Yes each airline was more profitable 50 years ago than they are now but the guy selling the planes (metaphor for software developer) doesnt care about that! I would suggest a basic economics course may be in order for a few policy setters before you implode your own brand.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Submitted by rblechner on Thu, 08/04/2011 - 08:57 Permalink

Tiers always end in tears. The industry is littered with examples. Many good people and companies will move on and do other things. The remaining companies may get bigger and bigger by default, but will the best talent want to work for them? will the creativity and specialisms that gave Navision its original success slowly wither under the mantle of certified 'excellence' and, oh yes, how much you spend every year?

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)