Cloud News

5 Major Microsoft Partner Program Changes In 2022

Wade Tyler Millward

Partners have been hit with New Commerce Experience, a month-to-month premium, Microsoft Cloud Partner Program and new partner capabilities scores.

New Commerce Experience

In January, Microsoft began to roll out the New Commerce Experience (NCE) for seat-based offers for Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Power Platform and Windows 365 in the Cloud Solution Provider program.

In March, NCE became the only way to transact new business. By July 1, renewal subscriptions must be bought through NCE. And in July 2023, all remaining subscriptions on CSP legacy must be moved to NCE.

On one hand, NCE aimed to simplify how partners and customers buy from Microsoft. Rodney Clark, the company’s channel chief, told CRN recently that the NCE platform reduces the number of software licensing go-to-market models from 20 to just three and sets the stage for a new era of simpler software licensing for Microsoft customers and partners.

The three new go-to-market models are: a breadth motion that includes CSP partners, an enterprise motion and a self-service motion. That’s a more streamlined experience for customers than the 20-plus ways customers previously purchased, through programs including CSP, Open License, Select Plus and directly online, Clark said.

“Regardless of where a customer is, whether or not they‘re purchasing a large enterprise agreement or going through CSP or they are going into self-service mode, they have one common platform and experience,” he said. “And that is what customers are asking for. And the thing that’s interesting in that statement is it‘s an efficiency statement for both our customers and our partners.”

For partners, the NCE platform provides big changes that streamline licensing through a dashboard, including the ability to schedule seat counts and log automatic term renewals, Clark said.

“Allowing a partner to schedule seat counts, to do SKU conversions, to manage subscriptions automatically and assign seats automatically through a dashboard is hugely efficient for our partners,” he said.

Clark delayed the start of the roll from October to January to give partners more time to adapt to the changes.

“During that time … we supported our partner ramp with additional resource, technical resource as well as modeling on their business model so that we can, in essence, be ready for where we are now,” Clark said.

The changes under NCE have been so onerous for some partners that they’ve come to rely on training and help provided by distributors such as AppRiver, Ingram Micro, TD Synnex and Pax8.

At least one partner has given up direct Cloud Solution Provider access to Microsoft to work more closely with his distributor and save himself some headaches from the partner program changes, the partner told CRN in an interview.


Wade Tyler Millward

Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at

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