Microsoft Overhauls Great Plains Certification Program

Partners must pass new tests as software upgrades come to market.

Microsofts Great Plains division is stealing a page from the Windows NT/Windows 2000 certification team.

Much like the world of Windows 2000, Great Plains partners will need to take updated tests each time the software company ships a major product upgrade.

The new Great Plains certification program includes online testing and online training. Online training is included for all partners holding current certifications.

The Certified Professional Program is available immediately to North American partners authorized to sell Microsoft Great Plains Dynamics, eEnterprise and Great Plains Siebel Front Office. Microsoft Great Plains Solomon and Small Business Manager certifications will be available within the next calendar year.

Certifications will be acquired and maintained through individual program membership. Two memberships are included with the Annual Partner Service Program; additional individuals can be enrolled for $295 (U.S.) annually.

Some partners have criticized Microsofts practice of phasing out old certification programs. NT 4.0 gurus, for instance, initially balked when Microsoft attempted to eliminate NT certification in favor of updated Windows 2000 curriculum and related tests.

Despite some partner pushback, Microsoft says it needs to keep its network of partners trained on the most current software platforms.