Microsoft is one of the most well-known technology platforms in business today. From Windows and Office to Teams, SharePoint, Dynamics 365 and Azure, Microsoft solutions empower productivity, collaboration, and business growth.
However, with a vast array of ever-evolving products and cloud services, it can be challenging for organisations to keep up. This is where partnering with a Microsoft solutions provider can pay huge dividends.
What is a Microsoft Partner?
A Microsoft partner is a company that has established an official relationship with Microsoft and attained certification across key competencies. There are several tiers of Microsoft partners based on their expertise, depth of knowledge, and demonstrated customer success.
The tiers include Microsoft Associates, Silver Competency partners, Gold Competency partners, and Advanced Specialisation partners. Higher tiers reflect greater capabilities and broader experience implementing Microsoft technologies. All partners have direct access to Microsoft resources, training, and support to help tailor solutions to customer needs.
What are the Differences Between Microsoft Partnership Levels?
Microsoft Associate partners are entry-level and demonstrate foundational knowledge of Microsoft technologies and cloud services. They have basic capabilities to provide, support, and customise solutions.
Silver Competency partners have intermediate expertise across a wider set of Microsoft solutions. They have proven success delivering solutions built on Microsoft platforms to customers. Silver partners must employ Microsoft Certified Professionals and pass risk management audits.
Gold Competency partners represent the pinnacle, meeting stringent requirements across a breadth of Microsoft products, solutions, and practices. Gold partners demonstrate extensive technical capabilities and a successful track record of customer satisfaction. They must have multiple Microsoft Certified Professionals on staff.
Within these tiers, partners can also attain Advanced Specialisations for specific Microsoft solutions like Azure, Dynamics 365, and Teams. Advanced Specialisations reflect deep expertise, significant experience, and proven success with those technologies.
Why You Should Work with a Microsoft Partner
With their inside track and direct access to Microsoft, partners can provide organisations with a range of valuable benefits:
Cutting Edge Knowledge of New Microsoft Technologies
Microsoft partners participate in private pre-release programs to get early access to new products, features, and updates.
They receive extensive training through required certification courses and events like Microsoft Ignite. This inside exposure keeps them on the leading edge of Microsoft capabilities as they evolve. Partners can keep your systems at the top of their capability and show how new Microsoft releases apply to your business environment and objectives.
Partners must necessarily employ multiple Microsoft Certified Professionals across different solution areas and forms of expertise. Partners are mandated to keep their professionals up-to-date through rigorous certification and training requirements.
This ensures customers are working with consultants validated by Microsoft as experts across their technologies and cloud platforms.
Established Relationship and Direct Access to Microsoft
Partners have an extensive relationship with Microsoft built through competencies, advanced specialisations and gold status.
This grants partners direct technical relationships with Microsoft product teams and support channels. Partners can get expedited assistance with issues, clarification on capabilities and roadmaps, and answers related to customer needs. This means any advanced issues your business comes across are likely to be resolved more quickly than your competitors.
Proactive Updates and Migration Assistance
With their expertise and access, partners are enabled to proactively manage Microsoft updates, upgrades and migrations for customers.
They have early visibility into changing requirements, and insight into version compatibility across Microsoft's solution portfolio. Partners smooth technology transitions and helps avoid business disruption.
Licensing Assistance Partners have practical licensing knowledge that can help customers optimise license utilisation and spending. They can design cost-efficient licensing types aligned to business priorities. Partners can also provide guidance on license types, entitlements, and purchasing programs.
Proof of Concept Environments
Partners have demonstration licenses to show what's possible by building proof of concept environments. This enables them to construct prototypes and pilots tailored to a customer's needs using Microsoft cloud platforms and apps. Customers can check capabilities and gain confidence before fully committing to new technologies.
Partners develop specialised expertise around customer scenarios, challenges, and industry needs. This equips them to craft solutions on Microsoft technology customised to each customer's environment, workflows and objectives. Partners become a trusted advisor guiding customers to the best fit.
Partners can provide ongoing managed services for Microsoft solutions they implement. This allows customers to offload day-to-day system administration, optimisation, and support. Partners can monitor performance, respond to issues, and keep solutions tuned to evolving needs.
With their technical expertise, hands-on experience, and tight Microsoft alliance, partners are in the best position to help organisations fully leverage Microsoft technologies and cloud platforms.
Partnering with a solutions provider certified across your priority Microsoft solutions will help you:
- Stay current, compliant, and secure
- Reduce risk during deployments and migrations
- Get the most from your Microsoft investments
- Drive adoption and maximise business impact
- Free your staff to focus on core objectives
For businesses looking to maximise their Microsoft technology stack, partnering with a Microsoft Gold Competency solutions provider brings the right mix of expertise, service and support. Get in touch with SpiderGroup to learn more about our Microsoft consulting services, managed IT technical solutions, and day-to-day IT support.