Microsoft Cloud Partner Program: Specializations

With the release of the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, there are some updates being made to the Advanced Specialization and Azure Expert Managed Service Provider programs.   


Taxonomy.  After the launch of the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, the title Advanced Specializations will become Specialization.  To streamline and simplify partner programs and how customers identify partners with expertise within specific technical capabilities, going forward partners who have earned an advanced specialization will be referred to as partners with a specialization, or specialists in a particular topic.


Attainment requirements.  Specialization requirements will now be associated with the partners achievement of a required Solutions Partner designation.


Specialization renewal process.  Partners will have until the anniversary date of their specialization to attain the required Solutions Partner designation along with the other specialization requirements. Partners will not be allowed to renew their specialization if they have not attained a Solutions Partner designation by their anniversary date.   The Specialization renewal process will be triggered based on the anniversary date of their current advanced specialization. As mentioned earlier this year, all anniversary dates from July – December 2022 were extended 6 months to give time to accommodate the upcoming Microsoft Cloud Partner Program changes. The first Specialization Anniversary Dates will begin in February 2023. Encourage partners to check their Specialization anniversary date in Partner Center.  Here are some additional important renewal process details

  • Year 1: To renew the specialization, partners will need to meet telemetry-based requirements (such as performance, certifications) only.  The telemetry-based requirements are valid for one year and revalidated annually. Telemetry requirements will be reviewed for all anniversary dates beginning February 2023.   
  • Year 2: To renew the specialization, partners will need to meet the telemetry-based requirements and complete the manually validated requirements (such as audits or providing customer references depending on the specialization). The audits and customer references requirements are valid for two years and re-validated every other year. These will start with anniversary dates beginning February 2024.
  • Year 3+: Following years will follow the same process with telemetry requirements annually and telemetry + manually validated requirements every other year.
  • The renewal window will open 60-days before your anniversary date and closes on the specialization anniversary date (with a 30-calendar day grace period). Partners must meet the published requirements within the 90-day period to renew their specialization.  

Specialization benefits.  We are adding specialization benefits when partners earn (or hold) a specialization to help partners further accelerate their business, including greater access to Azure credits, additional product licenses to build, test, demo, pilot, and create proof of concepts to showcase and sell their solutions to customers and cloud service subscriptions that are most relevant in market today. The specialization benefits are provided up to a maximum cap.   More information can be found in the Solutions Partner Benefits Guide  


Updated Solution Partner Benefits Badge.  We are also providing a customer-facing badge for partners to display on their business profile in the Microsoft AppSource partner gallery, and on their marketing assets and resources to promote their technical expertise.  Partners can download your badge from Logo Builder in Partner Center More information on Logo Builder:


**Requiring a Solutions Partner designation on October 3, 2022, with a 60-day grace period as previously communicated in the Partner FAQ is no longer valid to keep your specialization. Requirements must be met on the specialization anniversary date.