Accreditations. Certifications. Competencies. Are they just meaningless badges of honour that can be bought? Or do they actually bring benefits to you as a customer?
The tech industry is often guilty of regurgitating jargon and gushing about partnerships, certifications and awards without really talking about what this means to you or why you might care.
And we’ll admit, we’re guilty of this too. So if you see our Microsoft Gold accreditation and think ‘what does that actually mean?’ then hopefully this blog will shed a little light and demystify the doubters.
If you’re thinking about bespoke software development, there are a few ways you might assess a potential partner:
And whether you prefer to look at what others say, or what a software development company says about itself, both require research to make sure that your partner is the right fit for you. After all, a software development team can quickly become an extension of your business, so picking the perfect partner is crucial to the success of your project.
When it comes to reviews, make sure you interview existing customers and ask how any problems were dealt with (we all make mistakes!). And when it comes to tech certifications, authorised reseller labels and ‘recommended by’ badges, be aware that some are more meaningful that others. Some accreditations for example, can be bought for a fee to make a company look professional. So, how do you work out if a certification is meaningful? And what does a Microsoft Gold Partner have to do to get that competency?
First of all, it’s worth considering ‘how’ an organisation can secure an accreditation. Is it simply a fee or a membership? Or is training required and an exam to pass? And does the organisation have to revalidate the certification every year? The last two are a good indication that it’s a meaningful certification, especially when the vendor is putting its name to it.
Microsoft call their certifications ‘competencies’ and these capabilities are designed to prove specific expertise and quality in specialist areas. There are 18 competencies within 4 areas of business and technology: Applications and Infrastructure, Business Applications, Data andAI, and Modern Workplace and Security. Employees of an organisation have to take classes and pass exams to attain Silver or Gold competency levels.
A Silver competency demonstrates a consistent capability and commitment to a specific business solution. Partners with Silver competency are generally classed as being in the top 5% of Microsoft Partners in the world, making this certification an easy way to distinguish a stand-out software development partner.
A Gold competency goes one step further and demonstrates best-in-class capability within a Microsoft solution area. This partner certification is only awarded to the top1% of Microsoft partners and we’re proud to be one of them, not as a badge of honour but for what this means for our customers.
We certainly think so. But we’ll let you make up your own mind. Here are 5 reasons to go for the gold (partner):
Microsoft Gold certification means a partner has met or exceeded Microsoft’s thorough standards and exams. The certification process includes customer references, is re-validated annually and is audited by Microsoft too. So no room for complacency, then.
Achieving Gold Partner status is Microsoft’s stamp of approval that we know exactly what we’re doing when it comes to Microsoft’s product areas. Whether that’s helping you to scale by deploying, migrating and maintaining cloud applications on Microsoft Azure, or helping you to harness the data that could transform your business.
And because x number of people have to pass the exam for a partner to qualify for Gold status, you don’t have to worry about that expertise walking out the door.
As with all tech, Microsoft technology advances at a rapid rate. The good news is, that the Microsoft competencies are also evolving. And since exams have to be re-validated each year, Microsoft Gold partners are always ahead of the curve. So not only do they know the Microsoft technology inside out, Gold partners also know how to apply it, to get the best possible outcome for you and your specific software requirements.
As a gold partner, we also have access to various product licenses that others don’t. Which means we can develop demos and create a proof-of-concept to help with your next big development or to accelerate your MVP.
Attaining and maintaining Microsoft’s competencies takes time and commitment (Microsoft wouldn’t have it any other way). So when you choose a Gold certified partner, you’re also choosing a company that intentionally sets time aside to improve, a company that values quality and a company that is committed to developing its staff.
Gold partner status enables us to earn advanced specialisations.This deepens our knowledge and capability so we can tailor our services according to what will serve you and your business best.
To earn a specialisation, a partner has to fulfil a set of fairly demanding requirements, including customer references, third-party audits, proven attainment of a relevant skill set, plus performance measurements. So when you select a Gold partner, you are choosing highly experienced developers who have demonstrated and proven their success to Microsoft.
Gold Partners are connected directly to Microsoft so we can tap into their advanced support services if we need to. Which means speedy response times, exceptional levels of support and the ability to escalate a case. It’s like being a VIP at a theme park (but slightly less thrilling!)
So the next time you see Microsoft Gold Partner badge, make sure you ask about those competencies and specialisations (as well as the reviews and recommendations) to make sure that your software development partner is the right fit for you.
Because finding a robust and flexible partner to take away the stress and strain of your project really is worth its weight in gold.
Need help with the management and support of your bespoke software? or are you looking at modernising what you have and developing new features and functionality? Speak to a member of our certified team of software development specialists - contact us here
If you would like to discuss a bespoke software development project, challenge or goal please book a 30 minute Clarity Call with us and we'll point you in the right direction (even if you chose not to work with us)