Who Are Microsoft's 'Most Competent' Partners?
Which Microsoft partners are the "biggest of the best" in terms of competencies? RCP scoured thousands of pages of the Microsoft Pinpoint directory to find the 50 Microsoft partners worldwide with the most Microsoft competencies.
One of the problems Microsoft created the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) to solve was the partner who could claim to be a jack-of-all-trades but was a master of none.
The issue was often best personified in the example of a one-man shop at the Gold Certified Partner level with multiple Microsoft Partner Program competencies. It was actually a good situation for small shops with broad knowledge of the Microsoft stack that was generally deep enough for SMB customers with relatively shallow IT requirements. But for Microsoft -- and for those customers with more sophisticated requirements -- it left a partner program with no way to identify top partners with truly deep subject matter expertise.
Microsoft's solution was the MPN, with its subject-matter-specific competencies. The stringent gold competency typically requires four unique Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) to pass a technical exam; two employees to pass a sales and marketing assessment; and one employee to pass a licensing assessment, which applies to all competencies. The less stringent silver competency requires two MCPs to pass a technical exam, one employee to pass a sales and marketing test, and one employee to pass a licensing assessment. Unlike for gold, MCPs for silver can qualify as MCPs toward other silver competencies.
The tradeoff was that in jettisoning the organization-wide designations of Gold Certified Partner and Certified Partner, partners no longer have a straightforward way of declaring overall Microsoft expertise.
What the MPN competency system creates, however, is the ability for very large partners with truly broad and deep expertise across the Microsoft solution stack to rack up impressive numbers of competencies that firmly establish them as the biggest of the best.
Microsoft doesn't promote partners this way, but the company's online database of partner companies and solutions, Microsoft Pinpoint, holds some answers. RCP was able to identify the partners with the most competencies by paging through the Microsoft Pinpoint directory, country by country, in search of those with the most competencies.
What follows is RCP's list of the 50 "most competent" partners worldwide in the MPN. For a partner to reach the top of this list required an engineering department with nearly 100 MCPs and more than $2 million in gold competency revenue commitments.
We say "most competent" with tongue partly in cheek. A quick glance through the Microsoft Partner Awards each year makes it obvious that some partners with as few as one competency have a depth of expertise in that area that makes their work exceptional. Nonetheless, the partners on this list bring something equally extraordinary. For customers, it's the ability to look beyond a specific RFP to underlying companywide issues and identify integrated solutions that leverage the "better together" aspects of the Microsoft stack. For Microsoft, it's the ability to handle large, multiproduct implementations across geographies. For third-party vendors, it's the ability to move the needle on multinational sales of new Microsoft-related hardware, software or services.
*Sogeti is a member of the Capgemini group.
Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.