Microsoft Partner Network Announces Small Business Competency

The competency could help increase market opportunities for Microsoft partners and drive adoption of cloud solutions.

Microsoft plans to launch the Small Business Competency within the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN). The Small Business Competency, which Microsoft said would launch in June, will showcase the expertise of partners that provide the most current Microsoft technology solutions to help small businesses with their individual business needs.

The new competency, designed and based on partner input and feedback, is aimed at enabling partners to seize the market opportunity represented by the worldwide addressable software market for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), of which cloud services represents a growing share. Microsoft expects the competency to become one of the largest MPN partner-obtained competencies.

With a special emphasis on cloud services, the Small Business Competency builds on the strength of the MPN in helping customers identify the most skilled technology professionals with the demonstrated ability to recommend and deliver high-quality technology solutions.

For Microsoft partners who want to be leaders in the small-business marketplace, earning silver or gold in the Small Business Competency will enable them to expand their customer base and differentiate their expertise to customers regarding Microsoft solutions such as Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Small Business Server 2011 and Microsoft Office 365.

"As the cloud opportunity continues to expand and mature in the small-business segment, this new competency will enable each Small Business Competency partner to have a cloud conversation with each of their customers," said Jon Roskill, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft. "It offers partners world-class value, service and support from Microsoft to help increase their profitability when marketing, selling and servicing key SMB products for customers and furthers our mission of building a high-quality partner ecosystem focused on driving breakthrough growth for end customers."

For Microsoft partners that are leading the migration to the cloud and want to grow their business, Roskill said the Small Business Competency also provides a competitive advantage via a wealth of benefits and resources, including Microsoft's brand recognition. €œThe Small Business Competency will enhance the marketing, sales and technical capabilities of partners serving small-business customers who are currently moving, or in the future may move, their IT services to the cloud,€ he said.