Microsoft Set To Launch New Partner Competencies

The four additional competencies – OEM Hardware Competency, Licensing Solutions Competency, Mobility Competency and Custom Development Solutions Competency – bring the total number of Microsoft competencies to 13.

Competencies were introduced two years ago as part of Microsoft's revised partner program. Partners are required to gain competencies in their areas of expertise in order to earn points that grant them admission to Microsoft's official partner program, and all of its benefits.

In a meeting with CRN last week, Kurt Kolb, vice president of system builder and license compliance at Microsoft, said earning the accreditations gives partners opportunities to use the Microsoft logo and get referrals.

He also noted that the OEM Hardware Competency is particularly important to the channel since nearly 40 percent of Microsoft's registered partners are system builders.

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He also noted that partners that earn their OEM hardware competency should also become small-business specialists because there is very little incremental effort to attain the small-business designation once the partner meets the OEM requirements.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant currently supports nine competencies: Advanced Infrastructure Solutions, Business Process and Integration, Data Management Solutions, Information Worker Solutions, ISV/Software Solutions, Learning Solutions, Microsoft Business Solutions, Networking Infrastructure and Security Solutions.

Microsoft said it would launch the four additional competencies by the end of the year at the partner conference in July.

One partner said the process is not an easy one.

"The competencies have been a challenge," said Phil Ernst, president and CTO of Convergence Technology Consulting, Bowie, Md. "The amount of documentation is formidable."