Why Microsoft Gold is Old

Xpedition is delighted to announce it is now a Microsoft Solutions Partner for Business Applications.

A lot has changed in the technology and digital marketplace in the past 20 years, so it’s not surprising that Microsoft has decided to overhaul its partner programme in 2022. With the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program (MCPP) replacing the Microsoft Gold Partner and Silver Partner designations, customers have been asking us what this means for them. Here’s a summary of what the new Microsoft Solutions Partner status means, and what you need to know when looking for a Microsoft technology partner for your business and digital transformation projects.

A new partner program that puts customers front and centre

The Microsoft Gold and Silver competency designations that have been a familiar sight on the websites of accredited specialist Microsoft partners for the last couple of decades are being phased out.

Replacing Gold and Silver is the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program (MCPP). With these updates, Microsoft is emphasising that the changes are all about focusing on you, the end customer. It’s a clear message that both Microsoft and its newly accredited Solution Partners must be highly focused on anticipating and meeting today’s customer needs in order to succeed.

From 3rd October 2022, Gold and Silver competency accreditations will no longer be used, though you’ll likely still see them around for the next few months as partners update their materials, but they’re gradually being phased out to be replaced with the new competencies for qualifying partners. Thereafter, the new MCPP model provides two qualifying levels. Microsoft will only award Solutions Partner accreditation to reflect the highest partnership level in a specific Microsoft category, with a second qualification level awarded for further specialisations or expert designations certifying more specific capabilities.

Broadly, the designation of Microsoft Solutions Partner replaces and upweights the previous Gold Partner level of accreditation, requiring even higher levels of competence and expertise in Microsoft solutions, and further proof of achieving customer success. There are six advanced Specialisations that partners can be accredited for within their Solution Partner designation.

Our opinion of the new MCPP criteria and categories

Having looked carefully at the revamped partner program, we agree that there really are benefits to our customers. The new Solutions Partner designation maps to proficiency in six solution areas that are of vital importance to growth and success for customer organisations, through cloud and digital transformation and acceleration. These are:

We think these six areas are highly relevant to the current market and reflect the challenges that customers that we engage with face every day. They’re a welcome update to the old approach that largely dated back 20 or so years and had started to become confusing.

A more rigorous and challenging approach to partnership

Microsoft is signalling that it’s serious about partnerships and understands that excellent consultancy, expertise and deployment by its partners are crucial to customer success and advocacy for Microsoft solutions and services.

As a Solutions Partner for Business Applications, Xpedition has clearly demonstrated a high level of knowledge, a commitment to the ongoing skilling and training of our team, and to ensuring the highest levels of achievement when partnering with customers to build and deliver solutions that drive success.

For customers, the new programme offers even greater assurance of a partners technology and industry expertise, and proof of delivering excellent outcomes. The redesign was conducted in consultation with existing Microsoft customers, who were asked what was most important to them when evaluating a Partner engagement. They prioritised technical capability and track record. The resulting Solutions Partner accreditations are a step up from the previous Gold designation – they’re based on even more demanding and relevant metrics to prove an organisation has both deep knowledge and experience with a substantial number of customers in implementing the latest Microsoft solutions.

We’re all in favour of keeping it simple

Although this is the first major relaunch of Microsoft’s partner programme in 20 years, it’s not the first time it’s been tweaked. Over the years, Microsoft has evolved the MSP programme, adding classifications and competencies to keep pace with digital and cloud developments. Gold and silver may have been familiar designations, but the details of what was behind them had become more complex and difficult to understand.

That led to a situation where there were 18 sub-categories in the Gold partner programme. From your – and our – perspective, there was no clear or complete way to show Xpedition customers the multiple category recognitions we had achieved, nor how we compared to other Microsoft partners. Given the proliferation of partner competencies, the time was right for Microsoft to review the programme and simplify it to six key categories that reflect today’s market and the direction of travel for cloud and digital transformation.

Proud to be a new Microsoft Solutions Partner for Business Applications

We’ve been working with Microsoft solutions for over 20 years, so we know better than most how powerful and transformative they can be for businesses and organisations in every sector. Innovation is at the heart of our approach: we actively choose Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform to underpin our work to strengthen operational resilience, improve agility, unlock the power of data, and exceed customer expectations. These solutions have the flexibility, scalability and robustness to deliver what our customers need to succeed in today’s fast-changing and ever more digitalised world.

Xpedition is delighted to have evolved from Microsoft Gold Partner to a Microsoft Solutions Partner for Business Applications. We’re proud of our continuing recognition as a trusted and expert Microsoft partner – although really, it’s still business as usual for us. For our customers old and new, the new designation is a reminder that we’re working just as hard to ensure we maintain our industry status by further enhancing our market-leading expertise and driving successful business outcomes for all of our valued customers.

If you’d like to find out more about Xpedition’s Microsoft Solutions Partner status, or to talk to us about how Microsoft cloud solutions can help you address your business challenges, please get in touch.