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Advanced Specializations: The Partner PhD

by Genna Joudrey
6 minutes read

An advanced specialization is a way to differentiate your organization, demonstrate expertise, and build stronger connections with customers. Microsoft recommends getting involved if you are a partner with an active gold competency who demonstrates in-depth knowledge in a specific area. They are a way to validate a partner’s capability to deliver high-fidelity services in a specific solution. Advanced specializations are customer-facing labels displayed on a partner’s business profile in the Partner Directory. Below I am going to outline important information about advanced specializations, as well as explain how they can increase business for Microsoft partners.

What are the requirements?

To earn an advanced specialization, the requirements are designed to identify specialists in specific solution areas that have high customer demand and relevance. Here are the requirements:

– Attain and maintain a Gold Cloud Platform Competency

– ​Demonstrate your company meets the Azure Consumed Revenue performance thresholds

– Have a minimum number of unique individuals who pass specific certifications

– Meet additional requirements, including but not limited to:

– Advanced or third-party certifications

– Microsoft technology-performance indicators

– Public case studies

– Architecture review

What’s the difference between an advanced specialization and a competency? 

A competency measures a partner’s broad technical capability in a Microsoft product or technology. An advanced specialization measures more in-depth capabilities in a specific solution area, such as SAP on Microsoft Azure.

How can advanced specializations impact my business?

The global market for cloud migration services is forecasted to grow up to $9.4 billion by 2022. Microsoft partners can provide value-added services will see strong margins when they focus on specialized business applications and projects that require planning and implementation. When a partner earns an advanced specialization, they are maximizing future opportunities by demonstrating their expertise in specific areas.

What advanced specializations are available? 

Microsoft has six advanced specializations in cloud computing:

– Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure

– Linux and Open Source Databases Migration to Microsoft Azure

– Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure

– Data Warehouse Migration to Microsoft Azure

– SAP on Microsoft Azure

–  Modernization of Web Applications to Microsoft Azure

Is there an additional fee for an advanced specialization? 

No, there is no program fee for obtaining an advanced specialization. However, there are fees for required exams, certifications, and a remote third-party audit.

How to get started with an advanced specialization:  

To learn more about these opportunities, Microsoft recommends heading to the advanced specialization page. There is also the option to watch the on-demand webinar.

For Microsoft partners with gold competency, an advanced specialization is a no brainer. Potential clients will notice that certain partners have a deeper understanding of specific solution areas compared to the rest. Microsoft suggests considering advanced specializations as the partner Ph.D., and I couldn’t agree more!

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