MSPAlliance, Microsoft Strike New Partnership

Under the agreement, MSPAlliance recognizes Microsoft's IT infrastructure certifications for Microsoft solution providers while the vendor will in turn recognize MSPAlliance's accreditation certification among its partner base, according to Charles Weaver, president of MSPAlliance.

"This is the first time we've really worked with Microsoft. We're joining hands in some small way to get to a mutual certiification platform," Weaver said. "This is a rising tide lifting all boats scenario."

The relationship will help MSPAlliance educate MSPs on best practices when using Microsoft Systems Management Server or Microsoft Operations Manager, according to Weaver.

In addition, companies who are Microsoft Certified or Gold Certified Partners within the Systems Management or the Hosting Solutions Specialization in the Advanced Infrastructure competency will receive additional credit on the Managed Services Accreditation Program exam.

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"Having Microsoft broadly proclaiming this to its entire partner base will hopefully increase the prestige of the MSPAlliance accreditiation. Hopefully, it also will spur MSPs to seek out Microsoft certifications," Weaver said.

Bob Longo, director of sales and business development at CllearPointe Technology, an Little Rock, Ark.-based MSP, said the new relationship will raise his company's profile, as a Microsoft specialist, while selling managed services to customers.

"It's going to help build momentum of the Microsoft interest and Microsoft is getting behind its toolset and getting behind MSPs in the market," Longo said.

ClearPoint has been using Microsoft systems management tools for eight years and he expects the Redmond, Wash.-based vendor is getting more serious about the MSP market.

"There's nothing better to service Microsoft customers than a Microsoft tool set," Longo said.