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PSinclair
Level 2 Contributor

Feedback on the new “Solution Partner Designations”

We have been a loyal long standing Partner (since 1998!).  We’ve renewed every year in a timely manner.  However, the new Partner Designations is likely to bring down the curtain on our long long relationship, not what we want but as it currently stands it is the probable outcome that Microsoft want.

 

Clearly Microsoft no longer want to encourage and support small software houses and do not seem to have a pathway for any new start-up businesses to adopt Microsoft technologies.  Sending the next generation of software developers into the arms of Microsoft competitors and open source alternatives.

 

We have always been a small software house, currently 11 staff (not all of whom are technical), currently developing, maintaining, and delivering a niche software solution for a specific market sector. We have always developed and implemented our solutions using Microsoft technologies.  We don’t sell licences, subscriptions, etc.  but to implement our solution the client has to purchase/subscribe to Microsoft licences from their preferred vendor (e.g. Windows Server licences, SQL server licences, Office subscriptions, etc.). Even in a hosted model the client needs in place a Windows Server environment with a hosted SQL Server (splar) which they seek from a suitable provider upon which we implement our solution.  Therefore, there is in-direct subscription and reoccurring revenue sales for Microsoft.

 

It seems, even after talking it through with a Partner Frontline Advocate, there is no recognition in the new Partner Designations for a business such as ours.  Implementing our solution for maybe 3-6 new customers a year.  Even at the peak of our business we didn’t have more than 5 developers, not all of whom were capable of passing MCP certifications.   Even if we did have 5 developers all certified, putting aside the significant overhead costs for having that level of UK employed developers and staff churn that comes with certified in-demand people, that is still not enough for new programme, we also have to be qualified, trained and geared up to be achieving significant ACR/CSP/DPOR/PAL, number of deployments, etc. etc.

 

Extremely disappointed. The new programme is clearly aimed at significantly larger enterprises with significant technical workforce (whether UK based or not) with the emphasis fully on driving annual recurring revenue for Microsoft with no acknowledgement of pure software development which ultimately what drives the need for the processing power, storage, etc. in the first place.

 

Are there any other UK software development partners out there that feel the same way as us?  If so, arrange to speak with your Partner Advocates, voice an opinion on this Community forum and maybe there will be enough groundswell of support for the Partner programme stakeholders to review and consider.

14 REPLIES 14
TDynamo
Level 1 Contributor

Just posting here to express similar frustration. We became Gold partners for the first time last year and it seems the new Partner Designations are likely to ice us out as soon as we got in. We're a company that develops a software solution directly for our end-users hosted on Azure.

As such we don't meet meet the performance requirements for the new designations despite our ability to meet both the skilling and customer success. Really disappointed that alternative methods of assessment for different types of businesses and models aren't being considered.

@TDynamo So, does this mean you deploy solution build for customer into your own Azure tenant/Subscripton to be hosted for them as shared solution? Or do you deploy into the end customer tenant?

 

 

If it is the first option, it is true that a Solution designation does not fit with this model since those were desgined more for MSPs providing service and deploying solution in  the end customer tenants. For ISVs there is the ISV success program, and I also recommend to review the information shared in the markeptlace summit that explains how thr ISV Success program will be expanded: Marketplace Summit | Home (microsoft.com)

Specifically this session includes more details about an expanded ISV Success offering : "The opportunity for ISVs with Microsoft" where benefits are more on par with Solution Partner benefits. 

 

On top, you can still renew the legacy Gold benefits. 

Kind regards, Janosch
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TDynamo
Level 1 Contributor

Thanks @JanoschUlmer , we will definitely look into the ISV success program but from a quick perusal of the material it looks like that the consulting side of our business will lose out on some of the benefits.  

Great that we can renew the legacy Gold benefits but for how long will this option be available ?  It is quite the bummer because we were really invested in making the most of the Partner Network.

JonasL
Visitor 2

Our business is not in the UK, but we are foreseeing a similar issue for ourselves – we too are a rather small business and achieving the new Solution Partner Designations is quite unrealistic. The old ways of achieving Silver / Gold competencies was already not easy for us, but we managed somehow.

We were quite reliant so far on Silver / Gold competency benefits to save money on licenses we need. Without this saved money I almost fear for the worst for my company, as the demand for our products is also rather niche and so, financially, we do not come out in the positive every month already. I fear it will be even worse now.

 

If anyone at Microsoft is considering these issues, I am joining the club of those who see this change only negatively and want other solutions.

JanNL
Visitor 1

We are in the same boat. We're a small company which develops a software solution directly for our end-users (non-business clients) hosted on Azure. We don't have any "customers" to add to our "Performance" qualification, and we will never have in the future. Our Azure consumption is over $ 100k a year, but this doesn't mean anything.

 

Our current Gold Partnership goes at around $ 3000 a year (which includes 25 Visual Studio Enterprise licenses). If I have to purchase those licenses separately at $ 250,- a month, that would add up to $ 75000 a year, which is absolutely ridiculous compared to the original $ 3000.


I've already expressed my frustration at the Microsoft Partner Support Service, but there is nothing we can do, except hope that Microsoft changes their policy.


If not I will seriously have to reevaluate Microsoft Technologies, since $ 75k / year is not in any way acceptable for us.

JanoschUlmer
Microsoft

@JanNL the ISV Success program is currently an option for the needs of ISVs that have plan to also publish an offer into the marketplace, and this includes 25 Visual Studio licenses as well, see ISV Success Program Overview | Microsoft.

 

That the new solution partner designations are focused on services partners, not ISVs is something that is known and while I can't tell any specifics I know that there are some efforts to improve the situation for ISVs. Also, for the next renewal after Oct. 2022 you can still renew the legacy benefits one more time for another year - which adds time until further developments in cloud partner program become more concrete.

Kind regards, Janosch
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roch
Level 6 Contributor

Hi Janosch, the fact that you can renew the legacy benefits just "one more time for another year" is not so good news. Until now, the info by Microsoft was that the legacy benefits could be renewed without really telling us for how many times. Can you let us know the document where Microsoft states that legacy benefits can be renewed only once? Thanks and kind regards

Christine

Christine
JanoschUlmer
Microsoft

@roch I was not aware that it was said renewing legacy is planned to be available until further notice, so I just referred to what is known now.  Updated policies and more clarity on furture renewals might be communicated at a later time though.

Kind regards, Janosch
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miteshc
Level 2 Contributor

Hi yes agree with your points.   We are a partner that works with other larger partners and we do not add many new customers ourselves but we help drive revenue by supporting partners.  And so this new program completely excludes smaller organisations like us too.   Microsoft really do not want small partners and this proves it.  The point requirements are too high and they even MINUS points when we finish working with a customer so there is not much chance at all.      

GrahamMc
Level 2 Contributor

There have only been 38 partners globally out of 440k that have achieved the Bizz Apps solutions partner, that is how messed up the metrics are. MSFT really need to sort this out, Isle of White is classified as a large market with only 80k residents.

sb_brooke
Level 5 Contributor

Oh wow that doesn't make me feel so terrible! I came on here looking for answers to understand why the Bizz Apps credential won't accept PAL method as credit for customer work. Now I'm trying to understand why/how a client should do the DPOR or CPOR method for us to get credit for work we already should be getting. I even went through the Cloud Enablement Desk program to learn about these but I still can't get my head around all these associations and exactly what I'm asking of my clients. 

Marketing Director at Smartbridge, Microsoft Gold Partner & CSP
BlakeCheek
Level 6 Contributor

The Biz Apps one leaves a lot to be desired because there's a lot of great Biz Apps partners out there and right now many have expressed frustration to me that they bought in to Microsoft's P2P program where an indirect partner is holding the licenses and they're providing the services.  The unfortunate part is that there's really not a good way, it seems, for the services partner to get credit for something like the Net Customer Adds component since they're not the one holding the licenses and I don't think that they and the license holder can both get credit for the work.  This puts services partners in a place where the licenses have become far more valuable if THEY'RE the ones holding them but that's not the P2P program Microsoft set out to design several years ago.

 

Next, you have to tackle the skilling issue which can be a problem in and of itself when you consider these 3 factors:

  • A person who holds multiple certs (which happens very frequently) still only counts as one point.
  • A company who might bolster their technical workforce with outsourced employees would need that 1099 employee (a US term for those unfamiliar) to tie their MSFT credentials to the partner so that the partner can get credit in the skilling category.  A potential unintended consequence of this would be partners essentially buying employees just so that they can have the certifications needed.
  • There are multitudes of very successful Business Applications partners who do D365 deployments who do not hold a certification.  The SPD cert requirement reminds me of College where the value is being placed on the piece of paper the individual holds and where people are being funneled through the system to get the piece of paper so that they can "prove their value" to society regardless of its relevance.

 

Here are my final thoughts:

  • Microsoft needs to have taken a look prior to making the jump to SPD and seen the data to support that these metrics were plausible/possible for a large enough portion of their partner base.  It seems that, in the world of Biz Apps at least, this wasn't done given how few companies would meet all of the requirements.  Conversely, maybe Microsoft did do their due diligence in this space and are simply satisfied with the results?
  • Microsoft can be particularly tone-deaf in the SMB space.  I'm sure that these SPDs will be easier for big shops to hit but there's probably a dozen small partners for every large partner and this, plus NCE are putting a large burden on those SMB partners who serve other SMBs who, by the way, make up 99.9% of all of the businesses in the US.

 

I hear these above frustrations from indirect partners I work with ALL THE TIME, so these are not just my opinions as much as they are the opinions of multitudes of partners I work with in the Biz Apps/SMB space and they don't feel like their voice is being heard and that all of these concerns are just drifting off into the ether.

sb_brooke
Level 5 Contributor

Thanks Blake. It's unfortunate that we're almost 6 months out from my last comment regarding this, and we're still in the same spot. Is it too much to hope that MSFT is secretly working on improving the SPD model in time for their FY24 launch?

Marketing Director at Smartbridge, Microsoft Gold Partner & CSP
BlakeCheek
Level 6 Contributor

Always hard to say.  Some things they are extremely firm on, others they walk back pretty quickly such as some of the recent NCE and GDAP timelines.