Upcoming changes to the Cloud Business Applications competency

When an organization consults a Microsoft partner to implement, deploy, or manage a cloud solution like Dynamics 365, they expect to receive world-class service, business acumen, and technical expertise. After all, their investment in a partner can potentially establish a long-term, trusted relationship leading to years of innovation.

That’s why Microsoft Competencies are so valuable for Microsoft partners. Like other competencies, the Cloud Business Applications competency differentiates your business in the marketplace and gives customers confidence in your technical expertise and ability to drive success with Microsoft products. However, our partners have been telling us that they want to be evaluated more holistically on their capabilities to provide even greater differentiation in the market.

We listened to feedback from our partners and customers, and in response have created a comprehensive score to measure technical capabilities, ability to drive customer success, and sales performance—the Partner Contribution Indicators (PCI) score.

Starting October 1, 2020, we will use your PCI score to determine whether you are eligible for the Cloud Business Applications competency. If you want to attain or renew the competency on or after October 1, 2020you’ll have to meet a certain score. For instance, a score of 60-79 meets requirements for a silver competency, and  a score of 80-100 meets the requirements for a gold competency (read more about competency scoring). In the Partner Center, you can see your score and how it’s calculated so you can decide where to invest in your development.

Why are we making this change?

In short, we are making this change to ensure Business Applications customers are serviced by Microsoft partners that have the business and technical expertise to address rapidly-evolving market and customer needs. By aligning to the new PCI scoring, your business will stand apart in the marketplace, instilling a level of confidence to help drive business outcomes and transformative business experiences.

To attain a Cloud Business Applications competency, a Microsoft partner must currently meet requirements pertaining to several criteria, including licensing revenue generated and the number of employees certified through appropriate training. However, many partners have told us that this is too limiting and doesn’t take into account other factors that indicate their capabilities to deliver a successful customer outcome.

To help partners better differentiate their capabilities, we worked with numerous Business Applications partners to formulate a new, more flexible and inclusive system. The Partner Contribution Indicators (PCI) score provides a more holistic measure of a partner’s impact in driving successful customer outcomes and, therefore, greater differentiation in the market when a partner attains and retains the Cloud Business Applications competency.

Partners receive credit for key measures of customer success such as successful deployments and increasing usage, and are rewarded for continuing to invest in and scale out their technical capabilities. The goal of PCI is to help more partners:

  • Improve customer outcomes: The PCI-based competency score gauges your ability to drive customer success by tracking both the number of large deployments you successfully complete and the growth rate of monthly active users across your customer base.
  • Boost customer confidence: Your PCI score increases when you add new functional consultants and developers, as well as when you achieve advanced levels of role-based certification. With the PCI score, your data-driven capability score provides a simple way for customers to know you have the technical skills and knowledge required for their business success.
  • Energize business growth: Unlock service opportunities by showcasing your competency to the largest customer base in the industry through our commercial marketplace and sellers’ channels. Customers, Microsoft sellers, and fellow partners will use the competency badge to help identify the most capable partners for their needs. And go-to-market services and training benefits included with a competency help you attract leads and keep your skills up to date.

Learn more about the new PCI-based competency

We’re confident that the new, holistic eligibility measure will help partners better showcase the knowledge, skills, and technical expertise to guide organizations to transformative Business Applications solutions. And we’re dedicated to helping ensure the smoothest transition to the new system as possible.

To help you learn about the competency updates, please refer to these assets:

To get started, sign in to the Partner Center to view your PCI dashboard as soon as possible to see if you need to improve your score before the October 1, 2020, effective date. Please don’t hesitate to contact Partner Center support for more guidance on any actions you can take immediately, or to answer any specific questions as you transition to the new system.