Microsoft Channel Chief Touts CSP Seat-Based Offers, Certifications

Microsoft's head of global channel sales this week shared some of the company's plans to improve its various partner programs over 2022.

"Last year was a year of unique circumstances and challenges as we dealt with the continuing pandemic, but we've made it here together," wrote global channel chief Rodney Clark in a blog post Thursday. "We've kept pace with evolving customer needs and expectations by investing mightily in the Microsoft Partner Network to make the partner experience more streamlined and supportive."

As Clark noted in the post, those investments included slashing partner marketplace fees from 20 percent to 3 percent, launching a public preview of a "margin sharing" model for Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs), and proceeding with plans to update the Partner Center and the Microsoft Commerce Incentives (MCI) program.

Microsoft Certifications
Microsoft has also been paying particular attention to getting more partners certified on its technologies, according to Clark, noting that partners have earned 97,000 Microsoft certifications in the past six months. Microsoft "Certification Week," a training and exam-prep event exclusive to partners, had its inaugural event this past December. Similar events will take place in 2022, Clark indicated.

"Looking ahead, I'd like to see how we can invest in opportunities like this to create a recruitment and retention tool for each of your organizations across all the Microsoft solution areas," he said.

The company also plans to increase its investments in partner "skilling" by 250 percent year over year, though Clark says some subject areas -- including security and Microsoft Dynamics -- have already seen a 400 percent year-over-year increase in investments.

"To give you a sense of scale, these investments are not in the thousands of dollars," Clark said, "they are in the millions."

Seat-Based Offers for CSPs
Commerce transactions of seat-based offers for Windows 365, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform became live earlier this week for CSP partners.

"This evolution is part of our continuing journey to drive cloud business growth, reduce licensing complexity and costs, and be responsive to how customers prefer to purchase and partners are enabled to sell," Clark said.

Microsoft is launching two discount offers as part of the launch. According to a separate blog by Dan Truax, general manager of Global Partner Solutions at Microsoft:

During the promo period (which lasts through June 2022 for monthly term offers and at least through March 2022 for annual term offers), new commerce annual term subscriptions will be billed to the partner at a 5% discount, and monthly term subscriptions will be billed at the same regular price per month as annual term subscriptions, instead of at the usual 20% premium.

The monthly subscriptions are a brand-new perk, Truax added. Besides giving CSPs and customers greater flexibility, the monthly subscriptions also let partners charge "charge a premium for short-term use."

Also in Microsoft's docket for 2022 are improvements to "simplify and harmonize" the co-sell program, according to Clark.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.