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Avanade Sets a 'High Bar' with 22 MPN Gold Competencies

There's no question that getting gold competencies in the new Microsoft Partner Network is tough -- but it's less of a challenge for a partner firm with 12,000 consultants and 13,000 Microsoft certifications.

That's the baggage Avanade brought with it when it came time to qualify for the new MPN competency requirements last fall.

In the months since the MPN switchover on Nov. 1, the Seattle-based consulting giant, which is majority-owned by Accenture and partly owned by Microsoft, has earned 22 gold competencies. (Avanade shares the competencies with Accenture. In most cases, the technical people come from Avanade, while many of the gold-required case studies come from Accenture engagements that Avanade consultants are attached to.)

In a news release about the competencies earlier this year, Avanade said the 21 MPN gold competencies it had at the time were the most of any Microsoft partner. In a statement provided for Avanade's release, Microsoft global channel chief Jon Roskill said, "Avanade and Accenture have set a very high bar."

No other partners that we know of have close to as many gold competencies. Intellinet, a Microsoft National Systems Integrator based in Atlanta, boasts of 12 gold competencies (and it's got a non-standard, but clever, logo that says 12x Microsoft Gold Certified Partner).

In fact, Microsoft has been saying that it is only expecting about 2 percent of its 640,000 partners worldwide to achieve any gold competencies, let alone multiple gold competencies. Partners have slightly higher ambitions. When RCP surveyed current Gold Certified Partner readers (read the story here) about their plans in the new MPN structure, about 39 percent said they planned to pursue multiple gold competencies, while 15 percent planned to pursue one gold competency, and 19 percent intended to go for a mix of gold and silver competencies. Many Certified Partners reported that they planned to pursue one or more gold competencies, as well.

Avanade's latest gold competency is the new Midmarket Solution Provider competency, Joe VanWinkle, Avanade corporate vice president for global market development, told me in an interview this week.

Avanade's other 21 golds are Application Integration, Application Lifecycle Management, Business Intelligence, Content Management, Customer Relationship Management, Data Platform,  Desktop, Digital Marketing, Enterprise Resource Planning, Hosting, Identity and Security, Mobility, OEM Hardware, Portals and Collaboration, Search, Server, Software Development, Systems Management, Unified Communications, Virtualization and Web Development.

The company also has silver competencies in Learning, Project and Portfolio Management and Software Asset Management.

"When we get those three gold, we'll have 25 out of the 28 competencies, and I don't think the other three apply," VanWinkle said.

For Avanade, publicizing its high number of competencies is part of a strategic goal of establishing its expertise for potential customers. "In order to be the best, we need to have the broadest and deepest coverage," VanWinkle said.

Has your company pushed its number of MPN gold competencies into the teens? Let me know at [email protected].

Posted by Scott Bekker on April 06, 2011