Chess has been a member of the Microsoft Partner Network for many years, with several advanced specialisations. In October 2022, The Microsoft Partner Network evolved to the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program.

Microsoft's global accreditation scheme which was previously known as gold and silver partner competencies, has now changed to a total of six Microsoft Solutions.

The change to the Microsoft Partner Program better reflects the way that business technology has changed with the enormous and ongoing transition of business operations to the cloud.

The Six New Solutions

Solutions Partner for Security

The Solutions Partner for Security designation replaces Microsoft’s enterprise mobility management and security gold and silver competencies. As a Solutions Partner for Security, a partners demonstrate a broad capability to help customers safeguard their entire organization with integrated security, compliance, and identity solutions.

This solution covers a wide range of security related Microsoft products including Azure Active Directory Premium, Microsoft Defender for Office 365, Microsoft Defender for Endpoints, Microsoft Defender for Identity, Microsoft Information Protection, Intune, Sentinel, Azure Defender, Network Security, Identity and Access Management.

Solutions Partner for Modern Work

The Modern Work Solution replaces the largest number of gold and silver competencies. The old competencies replaced with this solution are cloud productivity, collaboration, communications, messaging, small and midmarket cloud solutions, and Windows and devices.

Microsoft also has different qualifications for becoming a modern work partner depending on whether a partner business targets enterprises or small to medium sized businesses.

The Modern Work Solution covers Intune, Exchange, ProPlus, SharePoint, Teams, Teams Calling, Teams Meetings, Teams Phone, Teams Platform, and Yammer.

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Solutions Partner for Business Applications

The Business Applications Solution covers cloud business applications, enterprise resource planning and project portfolio management competencies. Partners with this designation deliver solutions with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform.

Relevant Microsoft applications for this designation include AI Builder, Business Central, CE Bundle, Commerce, Customer Insights, Customer Service, Customer Voice, F&O Bundle, Field Service, Finance, Fraud Protection, Marketing, Mixed Reality, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agent, Project Operations, Sales and Supply Chain.

Solutions Partner for Data and AI (Azure)

The Data and AI (Azure) Solution Designation the gold and silver competencies for application integration, data analytics and data platform. Solution partners for Data and AI must have a proven capability to help customers with building analytics and AI solutions.

Solutions Partner for Infrastructure (Azure)

The Infrastructure (Azure) Solution covers two main competencies: cloud platform and data center. This solution focuses on partners being able to migrate key infrastructure workloads to Microsoft Azure.

Solutions Partner for Digital and App Innovation (Azure)

Covering the old application integration and development operations (DevOps) competencies, Solutions Partner for Digital and App Innovation (Azure) demonstrates partners that are able to build, run, and manage applications across multiple clouds and on premises.

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Becoming a Solutions Partner

Microsoft introduced a partner capability score, with strict requirements for each solution designation. Partners will have to score a 70 or higher out of 100 to progress from a base-level partnership with Microsoft and be recognised as a Solutions Partner in one of the six new designations.

Many partners of the old program are finding they are not currently eligible for any of the new Microsoft Solutions Partner designations. This is because meeting the requirements for any of the six new Solutions Partner designations is a difficult achievement due to the rigorous standards from Microsoft. This change ensures both quality and competence from Microsoft Partners with a proven ability in delivering solutions for customers.

Partners have to meet specific requirements in skilling, performance, and customer success in order to achieve a solutions designation. 

  • Skilling verifies and demonstrates expertise with intermediate and advanced certifications.  
  • Performance is based on net customer adds, taking into consideration customer churn and based on a trailing 12-month period. 
  • Customer success is measured by both usage growth and the number of solution deployments. 

Specialisations and expert programs demonstrate great technical expertise and experience in specific technical scenarios under each solution area. 

Chess Microsoft Solutions Designations

We are proud to have earned five prestigious Microsoft Solutions Designations and three Specialisations, with more to come soon.

Becoming a Solutions Partner for five Solutions highlights a commitment to training and accreditation, alongside proven delivered solutions that lead to customer success. 

"We are incredibly proud of achieving five Microsoft Solutions Partner designations with three specialisations. Our people are committed to delivering solutions that help our customers work securely from anywhere, anytime. This achievement reflects that. We look forward to helping more customers grow through the transition of business operations to the cloud with Microsoft."

Stephen Dracup, COO at Chess.

  • Security with Specialisation in Identity and Access Management

Chess demonstrates a broad capability to help customers safeguard their entire organization with integrated security, compliance, and identity solutions.

  • Modern Work with Specialisations in Calling for Microsoft Teams and Teamwork Deployment 

As a Solutions Partner for Modern Work, Chess demonstrates a broad capability to help customers boost their productivity and make the shift to hybrid work by using Microsoft 365.  

  • Data & AI (Azure) 

As a Solutions Partner for Data & AI (Azure), Chess demonstrates wide-ranging expertise in supporting customers to manage their data across multiple systems to build analytics and AI solutions.  

  • Infrastructure (Azure) 

As a Solutions Partner for Infrastructure (Azure), Chess has a proven capability to help customers accelerate migration of key infrastructure workloads to Microsoft Azure

  • Digital & App Innovation (Azure) 

As a Solutions Partner for Infrastructure (Azure), Chess has a proven capability to help customers build, run, and manage applications across multiple clouds, on premises, and at the edge, with the tools and frameworks Microsoft Azure

These designations and specialisations highlight Chess’ technical capabilities, knowledge, and a history of delivering innovative solutions to meet specific and evolving customer requirements. If you’d like to find out more about how Microsoft Solutions can help your business, get in touch for a free consultation

Microsoft Copilot: Grow Your Business with AI

Microsoft Copilot works alongside popular Microsoft 365 Apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more. Copilot provides real-time intelligent assistance, enabling users to enhance their creativity, productivity, and skills. 

Watch this 15-minute sessions where we cover: 

  • How AI is reshaping industries and why Microsoft Copilot stands at the forefront of this transformation.
  • Unleashing Your Team's Potential: How Copilot empowers your workforce, turning them into AI-enabled problem solvers, streamlines tasks, and enhances productivity.