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A "Cloud First" Microsoft Plans Retirement, Replacement of Some MPN Competencies

by Dann Anthony Maurno
Assistant Editor, MSDW

A "sunset into the clouds" sounds downright pretty. Or, for Microsoft partners, including those with the CRM competency, it may sound like more changes ahead. Microsoft announced on its partner blog that it will sunset 12 of its Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) competencies in favor of cloud competencies.

The moves are aimed at "[helping] partners find greater success," wrote Gavriella Schuster, general manager of the Worldwide Partner Group. She remarked that Microsoft has evolved as a company in pace with the evolution of technology, and:

Nowhere is this evolution more apparent today than in cloud services. Customer expectations of technology have changed. They're looking for instant, on-demand delivery that's cost-effective and provides a fast ramp to results without compromising quality. Customers are turning to the cloud to meet these expectations.

Thus, Microsoft is streamlining its Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) and "[focusing] our efforts and investment on building successful cloud practices together."

Over the next 18 months, Microsoft will retire some competencies, including Customer Relationship Management, and add new ones, leaving a list of competencies that will "better align your Silver and Gold competency recognition with the current and future needs of our shared customers."

Microsoft has allowed for an 18-month transition. Competency changes won't take effect until January 30, 2018. According to an FAQ document released by Microsoft, partners must renew the retiring competencies on or before their anniversary dates or before October 30th, 2016 (whichever comes first). July 30th, 2016 is the last day to sign up for a retiring competency. For a retiring ...

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About Dann Anthony Maurno

Dann Anthony Maurno is a seasoned business journalist who began his career as International Marketing Manager with Lilly Software, then moved on as a freelancer to write for such prestigious clients as CFO Magazine; Compliance Week;Manufacturing Business Technology; Decision Resources, Inc.; The Economist Intelligence Unit; and corporate clients such as Iron Mountain, Microsoft and SAP. He is the co-author of Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives(CRC/Productivity Press, 2010).