Microsoft relaxes partner programmes

Software king of the world, Microsoft, has relaxed its partner programmes to provide more support to channel businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Writing in the company bog, Vole said it would offer companies several improvements, including upgraded incentives, additional go-to-market resources, as well as skills competency extensions for products such as Azure.

Microsoft said the changes should provide increased flexibility to channel firms, regardless of whether they plan to accelerate or slow down business during the coronavirus disruption.

Microsoft partner chief Gavriella Schuster said: “We’ve heard from many partners that it’s challenging to meet requirements and renew existing competencies in the current climate.”

If your competency anniversary date is between 1 January and 30 June 2020, Microsoft will extend your existing competency or competencies through your next anniversary date in 2021.

Microsoft revealed it had increased a host of partner incentives to help businesses navigate their way through the current climate, including online training and resources, as well as greater access to digital marketing resources.

An increased number of digital testing centres mean certification exams can be taken at home, with the tech giant waiving rescheduling fees and extending voucher expiration dates.

There will also be hundreds of in-person technical training sessions available via virtual platforms, the firm said.

“Effective 1 April, and through 30 September, we have increased the incentives pay-out at the 15 per cent milestone for all qualified entitlements for non-FastTrack partners, and added a new incentive pay-out at the lowest qualified entitlement level for FastTrack partners”, Schuster explained.

Microsoft is postponing the enforcement phase of its Microsoft Partner Agreement this year. At the same time, Software Assurance Deployment Planning Services (DPS) and Software Assurance Training vouchers created before 1 April 2020 have been extended by 90 days.

Schuster said: “For decades, Microsoft partners have been at the centre of how we deliver technologies and business transformation to customers. 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.”