If you’re looking for IT services, you have a wide range of choices. And there are a lot of different certifications and credentials that service providers use to display their expertise. The problem is, it’s hard to determine which of these certifications provide meaningful information, and which of them are just “pay and display”. The easiest solution? Go for a service provider with Microsoft partner status. Better yet, choose a Microsoft Gold partner to make sure that your business benefits from the highest level of skill and expertise.
What is a Microsoft Gold Partner?
Microsoft partners are accredited technical support provides. By earning Microsoft partner status, they’ve demonstrated their expertise in one or more areas.
Microsoft partner credentials are called “competencies”. Each competency represents a certain level of skill in a specific area.
Currently there are 19 different Microsoft competencies, in four main categories: applications and infrastructure; business applications; data and AI; and modern workplace.
There are also advanced specialisations, which can only be earned by gold partners. Currently these advanced specialisations focus on expertise in Microsoft Azure. They include:
- Windows server and SQL server migration to Microsoft Azure
- Linux and open source database migration to Microsoft Azure
- Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure
- Modernisation of web applications to Microsoft Azure
Competencies make it easy to figure out which Microsoft partners have the skills and services you need for your business. To compare different Microsoft partners, all you need to do is look at what competencies they have, and what level those competencies are at.
Levels of Certification
There are three levels of Microsoft certification: Microsoft partners, Silver partners, and Gold partners. Most are basic Microsoft partners, with the first level of certification.
Silver partners have demonstrated a high level of skill in a particular competency. Just 5% of Microsoft partners have Silver status.
Gold partners have the highest level of certification, and have demonstrated a specialised skill set in one or more competencies. Only 1% of Microsoft partners have Gold status.
Benefits of Working with a Microsoft Gold Partner
They Earn and Maintain a High Level of Expertise
For a Microsoft partner to earn Gold certification in a given competency, at least 15 people in the organisation must pass “core value” exams in that competency. But that’s not all—at least 5 of them must also pass specialty exams that require a specialised level of knowledge and skill.
It doesn’t end there! Earning Microsoft partner status is more than just one round of exams. To maintain Gold partner certification, the organisation must repeat the process every year. So, every year 15 people must pass the core value exams, and 5 must pass the specialty exams. In other words, Microsoft Gold partners have to maintain a high level of expertise within the organisation in order to stay Gold. When you choose a Gold partner, you can be confident that you’re working with a team of experts.
They’re Always Up-to-Date
Microsoft is constantly updating and improving its software, solutions, and services. That means Microsoft partners are, too. Gold partners have to stay abreast of all the changes Microsoft implements, in order to continue providing high quality services. When you choose a Gold partner, you can be confident your service provider is up-to-date with training, credentials, and Microsoft’s latest offerings.
More Qualified Team Members
One of the things that differentiates the different partner levels is the number of people who need to be certified. Because at least 15 members of the organisation must pass core value exams, within a Gold partner organisation, there’s a high level of expertise among many of its team members—not just one or two.
The Best Choice When You Need Proof-of-Concept
Microsoft Gold partners have access to a wide range of product licenses, which means they have the ability to develop proof-of-concept demos for their clients. As a client, that means you have the opportunity to test out solutions before making your final decision—and before making a financial commitment.
They Have a Direct Connection to Microsoft
All Microsoft Partners can consult with Microsoft tech support when they need assistance. But only Gold partners have direct access to advanced support from Microsoft Business Solutions. That means Gold partners—and their clients—benefit from tech support of the highest calibre, as well as the fastest possible response times. In addition, Gold partners can escalate cases more quickly than other Microsoft partners, meaning they can access the most advanced support as soon as it’s needed.
They Have More Advanced Skills
And finally, sometimes choosing a Gold partner is a matter of necessity. Because only Microsoft Gold partners can earn advanced specialisation certification, in some cases, you simply have to choose a Gold partner in order to get the services you need. If you’re migrating to Azure from a Windows or Linux server, for instance, then choosing a Gold partner is a must, as only Gold partners can gain an advanced specialisation in Azure server migration.
ACUTEC are proud to be a Microsoft Gold partner. If you’re interested in the services of a Gold partner, get in touch with us today.