Microsoft Partner Program officials have announced plans to introduce some key changes over the next couple of years. Among the most significant are:
- New competency rankings that go beyond designating a partner as proficient in various specialties, instead rating the level of expertise in each one. Those levels, subject to change, are "Good," "Better" and "Best." At press time, officials hadn’t yet revealed how they’ll determine expertise levels or said when the new rankings will be rolled out.
- Mandatory customer-satisfaction surveys, in which Microsoft employs a third party to poll a partner’s customers, then provide the partner with survey results and benchmarking information. (Microsoft says it receives only aggregate data with no identifying details.) The "C-Sat" surveys, previously voluntary, will become mandatory for all Certified and Gold Certified Partners by June 2009.
Program officials also expected to streamline the partner account-management process, better align partner competencies with Microsoft’s major marketing campaigns and move toward replacing formal client references with case histories and other more-specific forms of "customer evidence."