Does your company invest in a specific technology ecosystem, like Microsoft, AWS or Google? Do you ever wonder if your team is getting the most out of it? If your answer is yes, than the ideal technology consulting partner for your business is likely a specialized one. In Part One of this series we provided you with areas to explore when going through the selection process for a technology consulting company. In this article we dive into the world of specialty consultants, specifically exploring how to approach finding a Microsoft Consulting Partner.
Did you know that following Apple, Microsoft is the #2 company in the world by market capitalization and one of the most widely used technology stacks in business. (1) Microsoft is also the ecosystem that our team at Convverge is most passionate about and offers end-to-end solutions for. We believe whole-heartedly in the business benefit that comes from working within a unified technology platform. As stated in a recent HBR article, “…forming a cohesive strategy for systems integrations and data management is critical for creating compelling customer and employee experiences.” (2)
Who is a Microsoft Consulting Partner?
Simply put, a Microsoft Consulting Partner is a technology consulting firm that is a focussed and certified supplier of Microsoft solutions. Microsoft’s products and services include: cloud solution services (Azure), productivity and collaboration applications (Microsoft 365, Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint), and business intelligence and automation applications (Power Platform – Power Apps, Power BI, Power Automate), plus many more.
Today, choosing to work with a Microsoft consultancy is a strategic decision. For many businesses using Microsoft, there’s untapped value and opportunity in this technology investment. By partnering with specialists in Microsoft technology, companies will gain ideas and extra horsepower to digitally streamline operations.
Certification Levels & Microsoft Consulting Partners
There are two main Microsoft Partner tiers – Silver and Gold – and they represent the level at which the technology service provider is operating on. The certification levels work to validate the skills and expertise so that you are able to choose the best vendor for your business. For the consulting partner, being part of the Microsoft network provides a number of benefits, including exclusive access to tools, utilities, and ongoing training to keep them in the know and in step with Microsoft solution advancements.
Silver Partner – A Microsoft Silver Partner is a firm that demonstrates expertise in a number of Microsoft competencies in terms of training, performance, quality of service, alongside a proven track record.
Gold Partner – A Microsoft Gold Partner is much the same as Silver when it comes to demonstrating training, performance and quality of service. The main difference lies in the higher number of competency credentials and requirements at the gold level.
Microsoft sets numerous criteria for silver and gold tiers, but it is worth noting that the testing process and verification of partners by Microsoft is the same for both levels.
Areas of competencies for both can include:
- Applications & Infrastructure
- App Development & Integration
- Cloud Platform
- Business Applications
- Cloud Business Applications
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Project & Portfolio
- Data & Artificial Intelligence
- Data Analytics
- Data Platform
- Modern Workplace & Security
- Collaboration & Content
- Cloud Productivity
Verifying Credibility & References
A consulting company’s commitment to attaining a silver or gold Microsoft Partner level is one way to measure credibility. Exploring which competency areas your Microsoft Consulting Partner has attained, is a good checkpoint in your verification process.
We also recommend a good old-fashioned reference check as a step to add into your selection process too. Taking the time to speak with a business leader adds clarity and lets you dig into areas that are of most interest to you. Like hiring an employee, doing references on a potential partner gives perspective on work ethic and obtains objective insight into deliverability and project performance.
What we’ve come to learn…
Unfortunately, we’ve seen firsthand how poor technology advisement can lead to old ideas and wasted work efforts and money. This article series is meant to provide a variety of areas to explore and consider with technology vendors as you find ways to digitally optimize your business.
At Convverge, we’re a Gold Microsoft Partner and dedicated to supporting Microsoft-focused companies. Our goal is to find new ways for these businesses to apply the Microsoft tools and technology to address pain points in the business. We do this through efficient data capture tools, automated processes, and data engineering that displays visual reports that fit your business. When we get to the heart of it, our business is about helping you use Microsoft technology to make better decisions, faster and improve your bottom line. Our Specialties are highlighted here, or don’t hesitate to contact us directly.