The Microsoft Gold Partner Certification still holds a lot of “clout” in the Microsoft Partners ecosystem, so much so that many firms in the Microsoft-related tech space proudly display it on their websites and marketing materials.
So you may be wondering what it is exactly, what are the requirements and benefits to being gold-certified by Microsoft, and perhaps, you even consider getting it for your own company, since a certification with a strong reputation for quality and integrity means a lot after all, especially if it’s backed by THE world leader in enterprise software solutions & services.
In the following sections, I answer the most frequently asked questions regarding the MS Gold competencies certification. So, without further ado, let us begin!
What Does It Mean To Be a Microsoft Gold Partner?
A Microsoft Gold Partner is a firm that takes part in the MPN program (Microsoft Partners Network), and that provides high-quality Microsoft-related products or services, in competencies (technical topics) that were awarded the Gold certification from Microsoft after achieving a few prerequisites and milestones in terms of performance, quality of service & customer care.
So, the Gold certification is a testament to the firm’s customer care ability & quality of service in the specialty designated in that certification / competency, and it is Microsoft’s way of acknowledging their best partners, while providing them with a slew of exclusive benefits.
It’s a way for companies to differentiate themselves from competition, and to get more visibility, as well as more business opportunities directly from Microsoft, since the Gold Competency is the highest level a firm can earn in the Microsoft Partners Network hierarchy, where you have 3 levels: regular partners, silver partners and then the gold partners.
What Does a Microsoft Gold Partner Do?
Microsoft Gold Partners are usually firms in the Tech & Business space, they can be audit & consulting firms, web hosting & private cloud providers, Microsoft software & devices resellers or distributors, IT Training Centers,…etc.
The one thing they have in common is that they provide Microsoft-related products and services in one of the Microsoft competencies that they have achieved the gold requirements on.
For reference, here’s the complete list of Microsoft competencies grouped by their competency-areas, your firm can get certified (silver or gold) on any of them as long as your fulfill their specific requirements:
|Applications and Infrastructure||– Application Development|
– App Integration
– Cloud Platform
|Business Applications||– Cloud Business Applications|
– Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
– Project and Portfolio
|Data and AI||– Data Analytics|
– Data Platform
|Modern Workplace and Security||– Collaboration and Content|
– Cloud Productivity
– Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM)
– Small and Mid-market Cloud Solutions
– Windows and Devices
What Are The Requirements For The Microsoft Gold Competency Certification?
The requirements for becoming a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner are:
- Being a member of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN)
- Your firm must meet certain performance requirements (annual revenue / training sessions & KPIs / number of satisfied customer references …etc) depending on the competency you wish to get gold-certified on
- Participation in the Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) index
- At least Four Microsoft Certified Professionals in your firm – the specific certifications vary from competency to another
- A licensing overview assessment
- A sales & marketing competency assessment
- Paying an annual fee of $4,730 (additional taxes and fees may apply)
You’ll find more details on the requirements specific to each one of those competencies here.
What Benefits Do I Get As A Microsoft Gold Partner ?
Here is the top benefits of becoming a Microsoft Gold Partner:
- Software benefits in the form of IUR (Internal-Use-Rights) licenses of Microsoft products (for internal use, demos and POCs)
- MS Azure Cloud Benefits, in addition to Visual Studio subscriptions and other Microsoft cloud services (Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Power Platform, …and more) depending on your firms competencies
- Direct connection & more business opportunities with Microsoft
- Ability to guarantee an always up to date workforce to your customers (because of annual Microsoft audits, before any renewal of gold competencies)
- Continuous Microsoft customer support, news & updates
- Stronger partner network connections (multiple networking opportunities)
- Smarter training tools & programs
- Exclusive access to gold partner resources
- Gold Certification logos to differentiate your firm from competition, and signal that you are among the best of Microsoft Partners
How do you become a Microsoft Gold partner?
Here are the steps for becoming a Microsoft Gold Partner:
- Sign up for MPN (Microsoft Partners Network) -if you haven’t already-, it’s free
- (Optional) if you need software licenses & cloud benefits for internal use (demos/PoCs), before you even fulfill the requirements in the next step, you can purchase the Action Pack Subscription (thousands of USD worth of benefits for just $475/year)
- Achieve the gold requirements for your specific competencies (you can find them here)
- Pass the licenses assessment, and the sales & marketing assessments
- Pay the gold certification fee ($4730 USD, additional fees & taxes may apply)
How many Microsoft Gold Partners are there?
Microsoft doesn’t announce exactly how many Gold Partners it has, nor do they announce the total number of members in the Microsoft Partners Network (MPN program), all we know is that gold partners represent about one to two percent of their total number of partners worldwide (which is in the range of “hundreds of thousands”), which puts the range for MS Gold Partners in the “tens of thousands”.
According to their official blog, they stated that “With hundreds of thousands of partners across the world, our partner ecosystem is stronger than ever“, which was surprising to me, since they had announced that they’ve reached 640.000 partners worldwide back in 2010, so you would think that they would have crossed the 1 million barrier by now.
But then again, when you think about it, a lot of those partners have probably gone bankrupt since then, or failed to meet the gold requirements when renewing the certification, or they just cancelled their memberships.
So, it may very well be that the new memberships don’t significantly outnumber the cancellations, renewal-failures & bankruptcies, which keeps the total count of all MS partners in the range of “hundreds of thousands” for the entire decade.
So, with gold partners representing only about 1% of all Microsoft Partners, we can estimate that their number is in the range of “tens of thousands” worldwide.
How Do I Find Microsoft Gold Partners In My Area / Country?
To find a Microsoft Gold partner in your country , city or area, you need to apply the following steps:
2- Fill out that information (your location, size of your organization, MS product or service you are looking for): in the screenshot above, I selected (New York, US ; 51 – 250 employees ; Microsoft 365)
3- Once you get the results, you can apply additional filters, such as -in our case- filter by partners with gold competencies only
4- you’ll get the gold partners in your area who specialize in that product or service **
** Please keep in mind that there are Microsoft Partners out there who are not listed on that page, since each partner has the ability to disable their listing, and many do, for various reasons, such as: they don’t wish to be spammed, or they simply have enough work to keep them busy, they are not interested in getting new clients in the short term…etc.
How do I check if a company is indeed a legitimate Microsoft Gold Certified Partner?
You can only verify if a firm is indeed a legitimate Microsoft Gold Partner indirectly, by heading to the Microsoft Service Providers Search Page, filling out the information (your area ; your organization size ; MS product / service or skills you want), and then applying the filter “show providers with gold competencies only”. Then, you can check if the firm you are after is listed there or not (as shown in the screenshots above).
But please remember, there are gold partners who choose to not be listed there, so they wouldn’t get spammed, or if they are not open for new business (they already have a full plate so to speak).
Well that is it for now, I hope this article answers most of your questions regarding Microsoft Gold Certified Partners, you can read more on this site about Microsoft Partners Network, Microsoft Action Pack, and Microsoft Silver Certified Partners, or you can check my other articles about the Microsoft solutions & services universe in general.