TORONTO — July 9, 2012 — At the Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, Microsoft today announced the latest series of enhancements to its partner licensing and certification programs. The enhancements, the latest key milestone in an evolution that began nearly four years ago, are designed to increase specialization and differentiation for partners in their markets and to simplify licensing and pricing structures for key products.
The enhancements to the Microsoft Dynamics program, which are detailed in the sidebar, include the expansion of pay-for-performance incentives to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, similar to what was introduced for the Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions last year. The program has been very successful in helping partners focused on growth maximize their compensation potentials. “We want to ensure that partners have the technical skills, sales skills and customer satisfaction skills to increase their success in a highly competitive market,” says Doug Kennedy, vice president of Microsoft Dynamics Partners at Microsoft. “The pay-for-performance model provides partners with the opportunity to earn more by differentiating themselves in the market.”
Looking toward the upcoming year, one objective for Microsoft is to accelerate sales of Microsoft Dynamics AX to larger organizations and to prepare partners to support enterprise customers whose deployments are often complex and demanding. To do this, Microsoft is adding Microsoft Dynamics AX to Enterprise Agreements for Microsoft Volume Licensing customers. Microsoft introduced Volume Licensing to Dynamics CRM partners two years ago, and partners have seen tremendous growth as a result.
“To meet customer expectations,” explains Kennedy, “Microsoft will have a higher level of activity in the sales engagement with our partners, and we are increasing investment and sales training in our own internal Solution Sales Professionals to back that up. This licensing model will enable us to be fully engaged with partners, and we believe this will drive a higher level of partner opportunity and customer satisfaction.”
To ensure partners are qualified and prepared to meet the needs of enterprise customers, the requirements for those partners that want to participate in the incentives that support Volume Licensing sales have been increased, with a higher number of required technical certifications and an elevated minimum revenue requirement. “We must ensure that partners selling into the enterprise segment have the scale and experience to be successful in handling complex project management and multifaceted implementation and integration efforts” said Kennedy. “This ensures customer satisfaction and partner profitability.”
Across all segments, Microsoft Dynamics partners have an increased opportunity to drive integration and sell the full spectrum of Microsoft offerings, including Microsoft Office 365 and other products. With the ability to build their own intellectual property, partners can provide solutions that align with customers’ business needs.
Finally, for the small and midsize business (SMB) sector, Microsoft continues to invest in business training and tools designed to enable partners to deliver a total Microsoft business solution to their clients, including Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics ERP. The launch of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 bring simplified pricing and packaging that can be utilized on the customer’s premises or in the cloud on Windows Azure.
The enhancements will be rolled out over the coming 12 months, with all new programs and requirements in place by July 1, 2013. This timeline affords partners the opportunity to prepare for the changes. To support them through this, Microsoft is also preparing a full slate of training for partners to equip them for the new programs.
Kennedy is confident that the long-term benefits of the new program will become clear as partners find that their stronger skills and qualifications bring new engagements and opportunities. The real goal, he notes, is to help partners achieve greater success in an increasingly demanding marketplace.
“Partners are critical,” Kennedy says. “They lead customers to us; they are the face of engagement with Microsoft. If partners succeed, we succeed.”