Major Changes to the Microsoft Partner Network

Microsoft recently announced changes to its partner program. Effective October 2022, Microsoft is changing the name of the partner program from “Microsoft Partner Network” to the “Microsoft Cloud Partner Program.” The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program is for all partners in the Microsoft Partner ecosystem, whether they build and sell services, software solutions, or devices.


They are simplifying the partner programs with solutions partner designations, anchored on the Microsoft Cloud in six solution areas aligned to how Microsoft goes to market.


  • Data & AI (Azure)
  • Infrastructure (Azure)
  • Digital & App Innovation (Azure)
  • Business Applications
  • Modern Work
  • Security


Microsoft says to help customers better understand a partner’s capabilities, they offer two qualifying levels:

  • The solutions partner level is a designation based on meeting specific requirements across what Microsoft call the partner capability score (see below) for each solution area.
  • Specializations and expert programs will give solutions partners a way to differentiate their organizations and demonstrate deep technical expertise and experience in specific technical scenarios under each solution area.


To measure progress toward this status, Microsoft introduces the partner capability score, a holistic framework for measuring partner performance, skill, and customer success. The partner’s capability score evaluates a partner based on its certifications, added customers, successful deployments, and growth.


To achieve a solution partner designation, partners must achieve a partner capability score of at least 70 points (out of an available 100 points) in the four measurement areas. Starting today, all partners can access their dashboard in the Partner Centre to see their progress towards a solution partner designation.


For many partners, this will be an administration and a change in logo activity, but I suspect these changes could be seen as more hurdles for a growing company.