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Responding to COVID-19: Partner guidance and resources.

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Community Manager

Responding to COVID-19: Partner guidance and resources

As the world responds to the outbreak of COVID-19, our thoughts are with the people affected and the medical professionals working around the clock to help those most at need. At Microsoft, we’re working to do our part by ensuring the safety of our employees, striving to protect the health and well-being of the communities in which we operate, and providing technology, tips and resources to our customers and partners to help them do their best work while remote.  

 

Many of our partners and customers have asked us to share the details of how we enable remote work for such a large workforce. Read more from Gavriella Schuster in her March 16 blog here and her April 2 blog update here or post your questions and discussions below. 

47 REPLIES 47
Visitor 1

Hi Andra - I've checked/rechecked Partner Center and the expiration dates for Exams and Assessments for Gold - Silver Cloud Competencies continues to read June 30, 2020.  As this date is quickly approaching and will impact many facets of our MS Partnership - would you please confirm that the June 30, 2020 will not invalidate our Gold Cloud qualifications.  I understand renewal dates are extended and it is confusing to not see that information in the MPN Partner Center.  Thanks in advance. 

Community Manager

Hi @RR_II ,

 

Thank you for raising this.

When is your anniversary date?
If your competency anniversary date is between January 1 and June 30, 2020, we are extending your existing competency or competencies through your next anniversary date in 2021. You will need to take action in Partner Center to take advantage of the extension. 
Your Global Admin or MPN partner admin will see information specific to your company in Partner Center. 

 

Regarding certifications I believe those exams have been retired already and their availability has already been extended by end of June 2020.  See this example. So the validity will not be extended after this date.
According to the Cloud Platform competency page , however I see listed on this page other available exams, that are not being retired.


2 individual must pass all the exams of any one role:

Developer role

Administrator role

Architect role

Data Engineer role

 

 

Visitor 1

Thank you for the additional consideration during this time. Our competency anniversary is July 30th. If I pay for another year now, will I be able to take advantage of the extension without meeting any additional competency goals? 

Community Manager

Hello @eric_deviq  & @roman-s-v ,

 

If your competency anniversary date is between January 1 and June 30, 2020, we are extending your existing competency or competencies through your next anniversary date in 2021.

If your anniversary date is later than June 30, the competency extension mentioned above does not apply, even if you pay earlier.

Regardless of the anniversary date, you need to pay the competency fee.

 

Thank you,

Andra

Visitor 1

Andrea,

 

What is the status with regard to extending the competency extension beyond June 30.  Our current anniversary is July 15 and the COVID-19 crisis isn't going to be magically better on July 1.  It is extremely disappointing that Microsoft hasn't extend this beyond June 30.  I opened a support case on this item a few weeks ago however wasn't provided any insight other than the offer only applies through June 30.

Community Manager

Hi @rfdelello ,

 

Thanks for your query!

I have not seen any update regarding a competency extension beyond June 30.

We know that you and your customers are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on your families, employees, and businesses. We are looking carefully at our partner programs and plans and evaluating actions we might take as the situation evolves.

 

The latest communication on this matter is Gavriella`s blog post

We’ll share updates with the partner community and with our field as new information is available.

 

Thank you,

Andra

Level 6 Contributor

Same here. We are uop for renewal July 30th and would also prefer if this is not limited to June 30ths. 

Level 1 Contributor

Do I need to pay a partnership fee this year 2020-2021? Should you expand your competencies? The biggest problem in paying an affiliate fee.

I think that payment could be canceled or discounted.

 

Level 1 Contributor

As you progress your Trillion dollar business, I am yet to see ANY financial assistance from Microsoft for both myself and my customers. You have taken COVID 19 and turned it into a marketing opportunity. 

 

Your advice to suspend user accounts to reduce their costs is a disgrace. At the moment, a number of my clients have been crippled by COVID. My business is providing support to these customers at no cost but we are wearing the license fees. We may not see payment for these. 

 

I think your behaviour during COVID is not the type of behaviour one expects from a partner. You should have that title removed from your websites. 

 

You were doing so well prior to this. 

 

What are you plans to provide financial assistance to our clients that are suffering during COVID?

 

 

Visitor 1

Hi 

We are a Health charity on a CSP agreement having recently moved to the new Microsoft 365 tenancy with 500 seats on E3 with EMS 5 . 

 

Unfortunately our Fundraising has been crippled due to Covid. We are looking at how to survive this  and now need to reduce our seats after only 3 months into the agreement.  Is there an early termination fee.  Aree we able to reduce our seats ? Can anyone help me or recommend a way forward ? 

 

Microsoft

@Sillky :

Currently Microsoft does not charge any early termination fees.

You need to connect with your CSP Reseller you get the licenses from to discuss details (maybe they have a service offering that has different cancellation terms independent from Microsoft terms).

 

So generally in CSP you can suspend/cancel the license plan and reduce or increase license count mid-term. If you reduce license count mid-term, Microsoft will provide a pro-rated invoice/calciulation to the CSP Partner for the next billing cycle, you and subscription fees paid in advance will be refunded with daily accuracy.

 

This is all described at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/partner-center/billing-basics#adjustmentscreditscancellations 

Again, you need to discuss the details applicable to you as a customer with the CSP partner you are working with and where you obtain the licenses from.

 

Level 1 Contributor

*slow clap*

 

As a business in the same position, I agree with OxyIT's sentiment entirely. 

 

Unless Micro$oft decides to step up to the plate and support my efforts to help *our mutual customers* through this crisis unfettered, I see no reason why I should sell and support their products.

 

Keep in mind that the partner program itself is a profit-generating program for M$, and we pay a premium just for the "privilege" of selling and supporting your products. Why should I shell out $500 this month to support a company that does nothing to support my own during times of Crisis? While other companies are stepping up to the plate for their community, M$ is simply raking in the cash while giving nothing back.

 

That's not the kind of company I choose to support, and I will happily migrate my clients out if the tide does not turn very soon. After all... We consultants are trusted advisors, and our customers will follow *us*. Don't forget who owns the customer relationship, and who is doing the hard work to provide continuity support during these hard times. It's darn sure not you, Microsoft. 

Visitor 1

We have the Small and Mid Market Cloud Solutions Competency, which requires a certain number of "new" O365 clients.  Right before our renewal period started we were informed that we were one short for the Competency. Then when we started working on that I saw this is the post:

Competency extension

  • We’ve heard from many partners that it’s challenging to meet requirements and renew existing competencies in the current climate. To help you focus on supporting your customers, if your competency anniversary date is between January 1 and June 30, 2020, we are extending your existing competency or competencies through your next anniversary date in 2021. You will need to take action in Partner Center to take advantage of the extension. Information specific to your organization will be available in Partner Center later this month.

Does this apply to the Small and Mid Market Cloud Solutions Competency? Since I am showing one o365 customer short of the competency, I can not renew my membership, which I have to do by 5/2!

Community Manager

Hi @DocP ,

 

Thank you for your query!

 

Information specific to your organization is available in Partner Center. 

Indeed, if your competency anniversary date is between January 1 and June 30, 2020, we are extending your existing competency or competencies through your next anniversary date in 2021. 

You will need to take action in Partner Center to take advantage of the extension.

 

Hope this helps,

Andra

Level 1 Contributor

Hi Andra,

 

I believe we qualify for the competency extension, Silver Data Analytics Partner (Power BI option).

 

I looked in Partner Centre and couldn't see any info on any extension.  All our benefit dates expire 30 June.

 

Can you clarify what you meant by "You will need to take action in Partner Center to take advantage of the extension. " ?

 

Thanks - Mike

Community Manager

Hi Mike,

 

Thanks for your query!

I do not have visibility over partner accounts in Partner Center.

Your Global Admin or MPN partner admin should have visibility in Partner Center over the required actions, if any.

If your competency anniversary date is between January 1 and June 30, 2020, we are extending your existing competency or competencies through your next anniversary date in 2021. You’ll (the assigned Global Admin from your organization) see information about any potential actions in Partner Center. 


I hope this answers your query,

Andra

Level 1 Contributor

I guess I should start a support ticket then, as I'm the global admin and I cant see anything.

 

Level 1 Contributor

And what about Action Pack partners? Is Microsoft (yet again) snubbing us?

 

Surely you don't mean to say that, on top of threatening to take away our IUR's earlier this year, Microsoft is refusing to extend any consideration to Action Pack partners effected by COVID? 

Level 6 Contributor

Absolutely agree. we as partners should start another pedition

Community Manager

Hi @R_lynn016 ,

 

I registered your feedback on MAPS extension and currently I don`t hold an answer.

While I understand the concerns and effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on your business, I can say that we are looking carefully at our partner programs and plans and evaluating actions we might take as the situation evolves.

We’ll share updates with the partner community as new information is available.

 

Thank you for understanding,

Andra