The Westcoast Cloud Team
May 20, 2022

Microsoft Cloud Partner Program: What you need to know

Global cloud revenue sits at $474 billion,* and a whopping 85% of businesses plan to adopt a cloud-first strategy by 2025.* If this tells us anything, it’s that cloud computing really has taken over the world. Customer needs have shifted, meaning lots of new opportunities for resellers. And Microsoft wants to help you stay one step ahead of the game.

That’s why they’re changing the name of the Microsoft Partner Network. From October 2022, it will be known as the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program.

Here at Westcoast Cloud, we’re the leading Microsoft distributor in the UK, so we always want to keep you in the loop. Without further ado, let’s run through what the new Cloud Partner Program means for you.

Introducing the six capabilities

What better way to close more deals than by proving your expertise? As part of the Cloud Partner Program, Microsoft will offer top-notch training and designations across six cloud solution areas:

  • Data and AI (Azure)
  • Infrastructure (Azure)
  • Digital and App Innovation (Azure)
  • Business Applications
  • Modern Work
  • Security

These designations will pretty much do the bragging for you. And that’s because they’ll back up your ability to drive profitable business for your customers. We’ll be releasing plenty more content on these six capabilities – so be sure to keep an eye out if you want to learn more.

Have you got what it takes?

When it comes to getting your designations, things are changing in that department, too. All partners will be network members, but to help you stand out from the crowd there will be two extra qualification levels: Solutions Partner and Expert.

To get a Solutions Partner designation, Microsoft will assess partners on their certifications, added customers, successful deployments, and overall growth. This is known as the Partner Capability Score, and to qualify as a Solutions Partner, you’ll need at least 70 points (out of 100 available points).

But what about the Expert designation? This is where things get really exciting. Expert courses will allow you to show deep expertise in specific technical scenarios under each of the six solution areas. Talk about a competitive edge!

The thought of assessments is enough to make anyone’s stomach turn, but don’t worry – you don’t have to go at it alone. Our team will be by your side every step of the way, offering stellar advice to get you those all-important qualifications. Plus, you can already access your dashboard in the Partner Centre. With this tool, you can track your progress towards becoming a Solutions Partner and get extra guidance on how to boost your Partner Capability Score.

Getting your ducks in a row

By this point, you might be wondering, ‘what do I need to do here and now?’. The short answer is: nothing.

The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program will be effective from October 2022. So right now, beyond gaining access to the Partner Capability Score dashboard, not much has changed. You can renew the benefits you’re currently using, while also taking advantage of new benefits packages as well. You’ll continue to receive internal use rights licences (IURs) – although they will be now called ‘Product Benefits’. And your incentive eligibility won’t change until September 2023, which is when the 2023 investments and incentives programme year ends.

Change is coming – and that can seem as daunting as it is exciting. However you’re feeling about the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, we’re here to help. If you want to learn more about the key changes and how they will impact you, you can watch this webinar or get in touch with us at


*Gartner Says Cloud Will Be the Centerpiece of New Digital Experiences