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Microsoft cancels Dynamics ERP SMB exam requirements, sparking partner speculation

by Jason Gumpert
August 20 2014

Microsoft announced last week that it is eliminating several certification exams for Dynamics GP, NAV, and SL that partners had been required to pass for certifications. The move, which partners have described as a sudden and unexpected change, has generated a range of responses, from optimism to wariness to deep suspicion.

Microsoft made a brief announcement on August 13 on PartnerSource. Here's an excerpt:

"Effective August 13, 2014, Microsoft is announcing the elimination of certification/exam requirements for Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics SL, Microsoft Dynamics RMS and Microsoft Dynamics C5.  This includes pre-sales and sales assessments as well as implementation methodology and technical certifications and covers both SPA and MPN."

Dynamics AX and CRM are not impacted, Microsoft clarified. And one partner told us they found out that some exams related to Gold or Silver status for Dynamics NAV remained in place (and they recommended partners verify the updated requirements for themselves).

Microsoft's position

The Microsoft Dynamics Danmark Partner blog has the most specific explanation of what is behind the move. The author identifies four reasons why the change was being made.

The first reason is that partners need to shift their focus to the cloud, meaning being "on Azure" and "in Office 365". Second, that new priority means that Microsoft "[wants] to give partners the flexibility to use their readiness time and money on the investments in those areas most impactful to their individual businesses" like Office 365, ISV solutions, or other Microsoft training. Third, Microsoft decided to "...

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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 cn on Sat, 08/23/2014 - 19:31 Permalink

Since presumably Microsoft only cares about cumulative user count generated by sales, perhaps this is truly to widen the field on the SMB side. Now in theory, every IT company selling Windows and SQL and every accounting company can also sell NAV/GP/SL. That should/could translate in a lot more sales for MS ... So not necessarily taking support away: just simply making NAV/GP/SL as Office and Windows and ... dare I say "QuickBooks"? Better for current partner ecosystem's business? Definitely not. But then Microsoft will point out that there is always NetSuite and others ... Better implementations for customers? Doubtful. But "Buyer Beware" has always been their mantra hopefully ... If I am even close to being right, I frankly will welcome the implied minimal intervention (read meddling) from MS even if it comes with the price of less support from MS (which frankly was non-existent anyway ... AX for a 5 users system anyone?)

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Submitted by MSPartnership on Wed, 08/27/2014 - 08:12 Permalink

The GP in the Cloud initiatives nixed GP salespeople and significantly reduced aggregate consulting hours. It seems this is yet another move towards absconding with Partners' slice of pie. That gong ringing in the back of your head is the sound the SPA death-knell. Prepare for it... Methinks it is all great news for customers until they find themselves calling for support and finding the days of when that GP person on the other end knew every nuance about that customer's business, processes, and quirks has been replaced by a call center. Mc-sales, Mc-implementations, and Mc-support seem to be the future direction. Fries with that? To survive the coming changes, Partners are going to have to be very big or very small. Change is good...unless it is managed ineptly...

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Submitted by will99 on Thu, 09/11/2014 - 18:57 Permalink

Perhaps Microsoft's long term strategy is to discontinue both NAV & GP and "force" us all onto AX. Why have the AX exams not been discontinued? Food for thought.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)