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

by Jason Gumpert

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 now set, with further ...

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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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