Small business IT and technology news for the SMB channel VAR, MSP, and IT professional.
Last month, Microsoft announced the launch of the Small Business Competency within the Microsoft Partner Network. The Small Business Competency was launched to showcase the expertise of partners that provide the most current Microsoft technology solutions to help small businesses with their unique business needs.
The goal of the new competency, designed and based on partner input and feedback, is to enable partners to seize the huge market opportunity represented by the worldwide addressable software market for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), of which cloud services represents a growing share. Microsoft expects this will become one of the largest MPN partner-obtained competencies.
In following up to this announcement, Julie Bennani, General Manager, Microsoft Partner Network, authored a blog on “How you can earn the MPN Small Business Competency.” In her blog, Bennani notes a recent Microsoft SMB survey conducted by Edge Strategies, that suggests how many SMBs are eager to shift their IT to cloud offerings. The survey says, that “despite a sluggish global economy, 50 percent of SMBs say cloud computing is going to become more important for their operations, and 58 percent believe working in the cloud can make companies more competitive. In addition, “there are over 148 million SMB businesses worldwide needing relevant technology solutions, out of which approximately 50% are Small Business organizations - this area is a huge opportunity for our Microsoft partners to tap into as trusted advisors and quality technology providers to this customer base.”
Bennani adds that in order to meet these needs, Microsoft has noted that the Small Business Competency will be launched in June. “The competency will lead with the Cloud and be a key differentiator for partners focused on the small business segment. We believe this competency will be one of the biggest levers to accelerate cloud partner activation in the small business segment and anticipate it will grow into the largest competency within the Microsoft Partner Network,” she writes. “As a deliverer of Microsoft technology solutions to small businesses, this is a unique opportunity for your company to earn the Gold or Silver Small Business competency designation and differentiate yourself as a trusted advisor to small businesses.”
As previously stated, to acquire the MPN Small Business competency, partners will need to provide their capability via technical exams, sales assessments and customer references. Gold status will reuiqre even further expertise and references. “In addition to the core requirements, Gold Small Business competency partners must also execute customer satisfaction surveys and commit to a minimum revenue target, attainment of which will go into effect on or after October 2013,” Bennani said. “For geographies where Microsoft cloud offerings are currently not available, the requirements for Office 365 exams and cloud related customer references are waived and substitute exams are defined for on-premise products.