CRM 2011 – Gold Partner Status means you have to upgrade you certifications to CRM 2011 within 12 months

I’m sure many companies are going through this tricky process of seeing what requirements they need to forefill to keep their CRM silver/gold partner status.  I have read quite a few documents but everything is explained clearly by the one diagram

you can look at a free non partner version of something similar here

There is FAQ document which I was reading and and I was slightly suprised when I read that you have to be certified in the latest software release (e.g. CRM 2011) within 12 months of it’s release.  What this is saying is we will all have to upgrade are certificates to CRM 2011 before Feb 2012.

I was thinking about this and I don’t think it’s unfair because you do get to use the latest release free of charge if you have gold partner status but it does mean that there is a lot of people who are going to have to take the new CRM 2011 customizations exam and others when they are released.

From the FAQ these were the interesting points to me, the final point is the fact companies now need people to be certified in Sure Step.  I think there is a lot of merit to Sure Step and it will help implementations go better but the product is also massive, there are 500 megabytes of documents!!  It seems slightly mean making everyone study this but I hope to do so later this year so I will have a better informed opinion then

Highlights from the document

Why is Microsoft increasing the requirement for the number of Partner personnel that have to take the exams for product/technical certification?

Both the ERP and CRM Competencies require at least 3 people that, in combination, have passed all the required certification exams. For the ERP and CRM Gold Competencies, it is 6 people that, in combination, have passed all the required certification exams. To ensure clarity, all the people do not have to pass all of the exams. The combination of all the people need to pass all the exams.  We believe a minimum level of critical mass is required to ensure customer satisfaction with the implementation of the solution and subsequent support. The requirement for people that have passed exams can be met with a contracted resource (as opposed to a full time employee), but we want to ensure that those Partners that are being promoted as having achieved the Silver Competency or Gold Competency have a higher number of people that are identified, trained and prepared to support a customer implementation and provide ongoing solution support

Are there any changes planned to the versions of the product exams that are required for certification?

The minimum versions of the exams required for certification is periodically updated to reflect new releases of the product. Keeping our Partners trained and certified on the most recent versions of the product ensures the products are properly represented in the sales cycle and successful implemented. With the definition of the requirements for the Silver Competency and the Gold Competency, we have decided to move to a more consistent approach to applying product version requirements.

  • For the SPA and CSA agreements, the minimum version of the products for which the certification exams must be taken is one major release prior to the current release within 12 months of its availability in the specific country that the Partner resides.
  • For the Gold ERP or the Gold CRM Competency, the minimum version of the products for which the certification exams must be taken is the current release within 12 months of its availability in the specific country that the Partner resides.
These changes have been enforced since October, 2010. For illustrative purposes, the versions that are required in major markets since October, 2010 are found in the following Table. This Table is an example only – visit Statement of Directions for actual country/product availability:

Why is Microsoft requiring an Implementation Methodology certification for the ERP and CRM Competencies?

Based on our research, the utilization of an implementation methodology is critical to ensure that expectations are well defined and understood by both the Partner and the customer prior to the beginning of the implementation process. The ongoing usage during the implementation process greatly increases the probability that the project will be completed on time and on budget, increasing customer satisfaction and Partner profitability

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