What Does it Mean to be Microsoft Gold-Certified?

A Microsoft Gold-Certified partner is a company that has agreed to collaborate and establish a close working relationship with Microsoft. Having that title means the company who applied itself has earned the highest standards of Microsoft's widely-recognized partnership program.

Such a status means Microsoft has declared that the company has committed itself to evolving Microsoft technologies for the interests of its own needs as well as those of its clients.

Many independent companies decide to become a Microsoft Gold Certified partner as they are entitled to many competency benefits and privileges, like having exclusive access to Microsoft tools, utilities and toolkits, as well as to partake in Microsoft's ongoing training programs (available for low or no cost) and tutorials. Firms who are Microsoft Gold-Certified receive continuous online technical support, news, updates and useful information from the software giant. Even more, partners can get up to 100 licenses for each Microsoft product they want or need to either strengthen their business or deliver value to customers.

There are also advantages in becoming a Microsoft Gold-Certified partner that other companies do not have - that is until they too decide to partner with the software giant. These advantages include permission to provide Microsoft-based IT services and products to other businesses or clients, among other things.

The company's overall competence and background will determine what type of Microsoft partner it turns out to be - gold or silver. As either a gold or silver partner, one will be able to use and enjoy the benefits Microsoft grants to meet business objectives.

In the past, companies received different types of designations from having demonstrated high levels of achievement and performance (defined and measured by Key Performance Indicators) as well as have provided evidence of their expertise with Microsoft technologies. Designations ranged from Microsoft Certified, to Gold Certified Partner or Registered Member. Now, companies are recognized simply as Microsoft Partners who have become a Gold or Silver Microsoft partner based on a particular competency they specialize in.

By demonstrating its core capabilities, expertise and skills in a specific area, it's possible for a company to earn either the gold or silver competency. However, a combination of both is possible for multiple competencies and for those that provide solutions across several areas. Microsoft uses partner designations to distinguish the business' expertise within the network, and the participating company must meet certain criteria, as Innovative Architects knows all too well from being a Microsoft Gold- Certified partner for many years.

The difference between the gold and silver competencies is in the conditions - there are more competency credentials and requirements for the gold level than the silver. The approval process is the same for both levels though. Microsoft performs an extensive compliance verification of its partners before they can achieve the elite status of being a Gold Certified Partner, or a silver one for that matter.

In order to attain Microsoft Gold Certified partnership, the highest level given to Microsoft partners, a company has to first join in the Microsoft Partner Network community, qualify for membership, become eligible and meet the requirements set forth by Microsoft.

Requirements include:

•  Certification and sales requirements

•  Have four qualified Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) that have passed one or more of certification exams issued by Microsoft as well as have one of them that has passed the licensing overview assessment and two that have passed the sales and marketing assessment

•  Submit five customer references

•  Earn the necessary 120 partner points

•  Pay the gold competency fee

One who turns into a Microsoft Gold-Certified partner is said to have a high level of competence and expertise with Microsoft technologies as well as have best-in-class capabilities for deploying a particular Microsoft business solution.

For those companies that are not already a certified partner and want in - to reach their full business potential in sales and marketing or to serve their customers better - certification is Microsoft's business solution to strengthen the company, drive profitability and improve customer service.

To be Microsoft Gold-Certified, companies join the Microsoft Partner Network program, complete the short profile online and agree to the partner terms and conditions. Afterwards, a company will enroll to become a member.

To enroll, one has to simply sign in to a Microsoft account – using, for example, a Windows Live ID and entering its related password - which will link to the network membership that matches the company's qualifications and business goals.

As a Microsoft partner and certified member, the company receives a partner ID which gives it an opportunity to contribute to conversations in the Microsoft Partner Network community. Or, companies can purchase a subscription to either become a Microsoft Action Pack Solution Provider or be a Microsoft Small Business Specialist. Companies can also sign up for the Microsoft Action Pack Development and Design subscription and will be allowed to enroll in one of the Microsoft cloud programs.

Once a company has gone through the steps to obtain a Microsoft Gold-Certification, it may be ideal to hold on to its membership to retain the competency benefits. To do so, the company must renew their membership within the 90-day window each year.

Innovative Architects is proud to be a Microsoft Gold-Certified partner, which benefits our clients in terms of service and technical expertise. To learn more about our certification, or to see how we can deliver custom Microsoft business solutions to your unique challenges, contact us today for a free consultation.