Every two years the Olympics see thousands of the best athletes in the world compete for a coveted gold, silver, or bronze medal. Only one person in each event can attain Olympic gold, and it signifies that they are the best in the world in their field. If we’re watching the games, we see backstories on these people recounting the thousands of hours of commitment, personal sacrifice, trials and tribulations, and single-minded focus to achieve excellence.
The Microsoft partner community is conceptually parallel to what we witness in the Olympics. There are roughly 100,000 Microsoft certified partners in the United States. Only 1% have obtained Gold Competency.
Every vendor in the IT industry has some type of partner “certification”, but it does not mean much. The partner merely signs up for authorization and they are certified to sell the vendor’s products. The certification process is as simple as paying a fee. These authorizations make it difficult to distinguish between relevant and superficial credentials. With all the certifications out there, how do you tell if a firm is truly competent?
Microsoft Silver and Gold Partner Status
Microsoft has spent decades developing their partner programs and corresponding certifications. Given that partners are the lifeblood to Microsoft’s success, they do not take these certifications lightly. Microsoft Partner is the entry-level credential, but organizations that take their Microsoft relationship seriously will work to earn Silver Partner and Gold Partner Status.
Each partner level acknowledges a partner’s commitment to a particular business solution. To put it in perspective, those partners with a Silver Competency are among the top 5% of Microsoft Partners worldwide.
The Microsoft Gold Competency goes beyond the Silver level to reflect the rare partner that has achieved the highest certification available for Microsoft partners. To earn a Gold competency the partner must demonstrate mastery in a business solution; must have a team of skilled, trained and certified engineers; and have a volume of customers and transactional successes. The solutions evolve, so Gold Partners are constantly upgrading and recertifying to maintain Gold status.
Benefits of “Going for Gold”
Going for the gold may be a metaphor for demanding only the best, but the reality is you get the best when it comes to working with Microsoft Gold Partners.
1. Knowledgeable Teams
Microsoft partners are proficient with general Microsoft systems, but also specialize in at least one of the 18 specific competencies Microsoft offers, so you know you are signing up to work with a knowledgeable team.
2. No Outdated Skills
To obtain a Gold Partner Status, 15 people from the company must pass a “core value” exam, and a smaller number of those 15 people–as determined by Microsoft–must pass specialized skills tests that require a great amount of expertise. This recertification repeats every year, so all partners’ competencies are up to date. Microsoft ensures there are no “grandfathered” competencies for their partners.
3. Microsoft Connected
Microsoft Gold Partners are Microsoft connected. They have well-developed relationships with Microsoft, and if there comes a time a partner needs assistance directly from Microsoft, they hold a top priority position. If your Microsoft partner is Gold status, you will be at the top of Microsoft’s list.
4. Trial Before Purchase
The relationship Microsoft develops with their Gold Partners grants partners access to knowledge and resources that may not be accessible to others. More importantly, Microsoft Gold Partners have access to licenses available for Microsoft demos, so your team can trial ideas and solutions before you make a financial commitment.
There are no absolute guarantees in IT, but customers that seek out a Microsoft Gold Partner to assist with their IT initiatives are guaranteed that these partners are the best of the best.
PEI: Microsoft Gold Partner
PEI is proud to hold eight Microsoft Gold Competencies as well as Silver Competencies in four other areas. Our journey as a Microsoft Partner began in 1995, and by 1998 we earned our first Gold. Our team continues to strive for the Gold and add competencies to our growing list…
What Do These Competencies Mean?
Gold Cloud Platform, Silver Application Development and Silver Application Integration are related to our practices with deploying, migrating, and maintaining cloud applications and services on Microsoft Azure. We provide our customers with significant help and counsel on the use of secure, scalable, and reliable cloud solutions.
Gold Cloud Productivity highlights our strong practices that help customers manage and deploy Microsoft Cloud Applications such as Office 365, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Teams, and Skype for Business. Our Managed Services closely align with these areas and applications.
Gold Communications, Gold Collaboration and Content, Gold Messaging, Gold Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions, and Gold Windows and Devices speak to our Modern Workplace and Security services. Our agile business concepts heavily rely on the tools in these areas and are a cornerstone to our organizational success that has allowed PEI to engage in thousands of successful projects.
Why settle when companies like PEI can offer the benefits of knowledge and access that come with being a Microsoft Gold Partner? If you are looking to better your business, it is time to go for Gold.
Tim Krueger, PEI