As soon as the decision has been made to find a Microsoft Partner for your business, then you have the job of locating the right technology company from the thousands out there.
The process a company uses to get to the end result can vary greatly and you’ll need to look into how they propose to deliver the best outcome for your business. Ideally, you want to partner with a company that will be able to fulfil your requirements every step of the way.
With that in mind, we’ve put together some important points to help your business choose the right Microsoft Partner.
MICROSOFT CERTIFIED PARTNER
A Microsoft Certified Partner is part of the Microsoft Partner Network, which is a hub of professionals that offer Microsoft products, services and support to your business. They have the benefit of connecting with other like-minded technology companies, tools, information and a huge amount of up-to-the-minute training.
Certified Partners must meet certain requirements so they can demonstrate the highest levels of expertise in Microsoft products and services. Among the technical capabilities are infrastructure, business intelligence, automation and more. Services include consultation, implementation, maintenance and support.
A Microsoft Certified Partner can work towards achieving competencies in different areas of expertise to gain Silver and Gold Membership.
GOLD AND SILVER MEMBERSHIP STATUS
As with many things in life, all is not equal when it comes to Microsoft Membership. As well as a Certified Partner, there are two further levels and each carries different requirements.
a. SILVER MEMBERSHIP
Following on from Certified Partner, gaining Silver Status means the company has demonstrated a consistent capability and commitment with proven expertise in various areas of business and technology. Microsoft Silver Partners are in the top 5% of the MPN (Microsoft Partner Network).
A Silver Partner will have met certain training and performance requirements in a chosen competency and furthermore, will have a required number of certified professionals in their company. These professionals have passed an exam that assesses a broad range of expertise within a specific area.
b. GOLD MEMBERSHIP
Gold Partner Status represents the highest level of competence and expertise within Microsoft’s Partner Network. Companies that have achieved this certification are in the top 1% of the MPN and also have the closest working relationship with Microsoft. They have access to a great deal of additional training and resources that go with this accomplishment that will, in turn, benefit your business.
Being a Gold Partner involves a thorough process and regular auditing to guarantee partners maintain a high proficiency level. Some of the advantages include updated competency requirements in terms of continuous technology advancements, a certain number of qualified professionals available to work with you and a high level of involvement directly with Microsoft so any problems can be resolved quickly.
Here at Ballard Chalmers we are proud to have achieved Gold Partner Status and we have five competencies in the following areas of expertise:
- Application Development
- Application Integration
- Cloud Platform
- Data Platform
- Data Analytics
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we can guarantee the highest level of excellence in customer care and support. Companies, like ourselves, with Gold status, can provide best in class Microsoft implementation and deployment for your business.
OTHER IMPORT ATTRIBUTES TO LOOK FOR IN CHOOSING A MICROSOFT PARTNER
1. GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE
Customer service is of paramount importance for businesses looking for a Microsoft Partner and with good reason. You want to be assured that the company you choose will deliver the result you want in the right way. Some points to consider are:
- Understanding of your business – will they spend the time it takes to fully scope your business and identify its needs?
- Skills and knowledge – so they can offer the best solution
- Strong and frequent communication – to ensure a successful partnership
- Flexibility – are they able to deliver on time and within budget?
As we mentioned earlier, there are several different membership levels and competencies Microsoft Partners can achieve. These competencies will give you a clear indication as to whether the company will be a good fit for your business. Also, find out which industries they work in, as a company that has experience in your field, naturally will have a much better understanding of your business needs.
Strong communication is at the forefront of a great partnership and your chosen Microsoft Partner will ideally be open to clear and honest conversations. As both businesses will be working together for some time it’s vital neither party is left in the dark about the progress of the project. Furthermore, communication regarding expected outcomes is crucial to success.
4. CONTINUED SUPPORT
Once the initial project implementation has taken place, your Microsoft Partner should continue with the same level of quality service to ensure your business is getting the most from your custom software or product. This may include:
- Training your workforce to advance their skills
- Offering advice and services to help your business progress
- Technical help with any system issues
- Monitoring anomalies that may present a threat
- Supervision of your applications that are run on the cloud
Choosing the right Microsoft Partner for your business needs to be done with careful consideration. It’s an important investment on your part and you want the best outcome possible for your company. So, make your questions count before you come to a final decision on which technology company to partner with.
We hope this blog has been useful in giving you some important pointers to consider before choosing a Microsoft Partner. If you have any questions you’d like answered about our services or our Gold Membership, we’ll be happy to answer them for you. Get in touch with us here.