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10 Things to Know About Microsoft Partners

Microsoft Partner Network LogoWith nearly 20 years of experience as a Microsoft Partner, clients and peers often don’t realize what the designation means:

  1. Everyone is a Microsoft Partner. That is an exaggeration, but there are over 640,000 Microsoft Partners worldwide.
  2. Microsoft is a good partner. For about $2,000 per year, Partners get tens of thousands of dollars in software and services.
  3. Microsoft recognizes sales. Only partners that do a very high volume of sales of Microsoft products and services get extra recognition and support from Microsoft.
  4. There are many flavors. Some partners sell hardware and software, many develop apps, most offer services, and lots of partners do a combination of all of these things.
  5. Margins are slim. Multiple levels of competition means most partners are lucky to make even 6% on Microsoft products and services.
  6. 70% are not profitable. It’s high risk for technologists and customers should pick well established players.
  7. Good partners specialize. Technology is a broader field than legal, medical, and financial industries combined. Experts are paid for skill in specific offerings or industries and customers can readily spot them.
  8. Bad partners do everything. It’s just not possible to sell, implement, and support most facets of technology. To make ends meet and just to survive, many Microsoft partners try to do it all. These type of partner organizations go broke, burn out employees, and damage customers.
  9. Competency rules. There are just a couple hundred top-tier Cloud Accelerate Partners that have the experience and proven track record of moving over 2,000 subscribers per year to Microsoft Online Services. Proven knowledge and experience competency programs are replacing old Gold and Silver programs, which where just about passing tests. Most Microsoft Partner owners have little formal education and no current Microsoft certifications.
  10. Pinpoint transparency. The best partners are actually listed at Microsoft Pinpoint. The “me too” partners usually have just a lonely link to some sales page on their website. The experts provide full information for evaluation:
    • Demo or trial
    • Buy online options
    • Screen shots and videos
    • Additional Info
    • Support and Training
    • Whitepapers
    • Setup and Deployment
    • Specs and Reference
    • Sample Code

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