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Microsoft Delays Measuring Gold Partner Revenue by a Year

Microsoft will delay one of the major changes to the Microsoft Partner Network gold competency, the company announced this week.

The MPN introduced a revenue bar for gold competencies. For the first year of the program, partners seeking gold only had to make a commitment to achieve a certain minimum level of revenue, referred to as an "acknowledgement." Those commitments, which vary by geography and by competency, range from about $100,000 to $200,000 in the United States.

In the second year, starting with re-enrollments in October 2012, partners would have had to show that they'd actually reached that revenue commitment through internal systems that Microsoft was putting in place. Now, come October 2012, partners will once again be making commitments only and the actual measured revenue requirements won't take effect until October 2013.

In a newly published document on gold competency revenue guidelines, Microsoft wrote, "To ensure that we have the most accurate revenue measurement systems in place, we are delaying measuring gold competency revenue until October 2012 (as opposed to beginning in October 2011)."

The delay probably reflects the challenges of getting a measurement system in place rather than a concern that not enough partners were going for gold. In an interview with RCP earlier this month for our July issue, Microsoft Corporate Vice President for the Worldwide Partner Group Jon Roskill said Microsoft was on plan in terms of partners achieving gold competencies. Where the company is seeing shortfalls in enrollment is in the silver competencies, which only have revenue requirements for CRM and ERP.

Instead, Microsoft is having an ongoing challenge with rolling out a universal system for essentially measuring "influence" revenue -- a way to track the sales that solution provider partners are influencing even though large account resellers or distributors handle the license transactions, which are business-critical for Microsoft. The MPN gold competency requirement is Microsoft's most ambitious attempt yet to get an influence system, known as Partner Sales Exchange (PSX), implemented worldwide, and it seems to be proving difficult.

In a blog post Monday, Eric Ligman, director of Worldwide Partner Experience, listed a side benefit of the change. "This delay will also give you more time to prepare to meet the gold competency revenue requirement," he wrote.

The delay in measuring gold competency revenues is the second major change to the MPN announced in a month. In late May, Microsoft announced plans to evolve the Unified Communications competency into two competencies: a Messaging competency and a Communications competency. That change takes effect in October.

* * *

At the same time that it announced the delay in revenue tracking, Microsoft updated the revenue requirements by competency with a few slight changes. For example, the Desktop competency requirement went from 1,000 seats deployed to a straight $150,000 for U.S. partners.

Below are the new revenue requirement amounts in U.S. dollars by competency for partners in Group A countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States). Required amounts are lower in Group B countries and lower still in Group C countries.

Competency Amount
Application Integration $100,000
Application Lifecycle Management $100,000
Business Intelligence $180,000
Content Management $130,000
CRM $200,000 or 300 seats
Data Platform $130,000
Desktop $150,000
ERP $100,000
Hosting $100,000
Identity & Security $100,000
Midmarket Solution Provider $100,000
Portals & Collaboration $180,000
Project & Portfolio Management $130,000
Search $130,000
Server Platform $180,000
Software Development $100,000
Systems Management $180,000
Unified Communications * $180,000
Virtualization $130,000
Volume Licensing $100,000
Web Development $100,000

* The revenue targets for the Messaging competency and the Communications competency will each be $180,000 when the Unified Communications competency is split in two in October.

Posted by Scott Bekker on June 21, 2011 at 11:58 AM


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