Since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Microsoft has been at the forefront of the effort to support governments, healthcare organizations, and businesses worldwide. This includes adjusting platform update schedules, providing cloud service continuity, adding Azure service capacity, and working with hospitals and healthcare organizations to develop solutions. This week, Microsoft has announced additional measures it is undertaking to assist the Partner Network.
“Today, more than ever, we need to collaborate and co-innovate to meet those customers’ needs. For our part, that means ensuring that we’re giving you the support you need in the weeks and months to come.”
That’s a quote from Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president of the One Commercial Partner division. Schuster laid out these changes in a post on the Microsoft Partner blog. We focus on the highlights below.
- Inspire was scheduled to take place this July in Las Vegas, Nevada. It has now been moved to an online-only event. Inspire is the premier event for Microsoft partners, and over 18,000 attendees were expected this year. Other Microsoft conferences this year are being evaluated for similar changes, as necessary.
- All partner competency anniversary dates in 2020 have been postponed for one year, until 2021. This relieves a burden on compliance at a difficult time. This extension must be requested, however. That can be done inside the Microsoft Partner Center. More details are forthcoming on this process.
Microsoft Teams incentive
- The incentive payout for Microsoft Teams has been increased to 15 percent for non-FastTrack partners. For FastTrack partners, an incentive payout has been added at the lowest qualified entitlement level. Teams has risen to the forefront of business collaboration during the pandemic. Microsoft wants to make sure that there is an additional benefit for partners who onboard new customers for Teams.
Microsoft Partner Agreement
- Enforcement of the Microsoft Partner Agreement was set to begin in April 2020. Partners who did not accept the agreement were no longer able to continue transacting. The enforcement date for this new agreement has been moved to an unspecified time later in the year.
Software Assurance Deployment Planning and Training
- Vouchers created before April 1, 2020, are being extended by 90 days.
- On-site requirements for delivery partners have been removed for engagements through June 30, 2020
- Digital Testing Centers are being increased, enabling certification examinations to be done at home.
- Voucher expiration dates have been extended
- Rescheduling fees for those who wish to do their exams in-person (at a future date) have been waived
- Technical Training Sessions are being moved online. You can find these sessions on the Microsoft Events page.
These changes, along with Microsoft’s other efforts, show that it is listening to its customers and partners. If you have any questions on how some of these changes may affect you, or if you would like to partner with us on a new project, don’t hesitate to contact us today.