Concerns related to the annual changes Microsoft Partner incentives and certification programs

Copper Contributor

I am reaching out to express few concerns related to the annual changes Microsoft Partner incentives and certification programs.

It has been a trend that with each year, the benefits partners receive appear to be decreasing. Additionally, the complexity involved in obtaining these incentives and certifications has been consistently increasing, making the process more challenging for us.

The recent FY23 program was particularly concerning for partners, as we observed a significant 90% reduction in the PAL incentives. Furthermore. and solution partner hard requirements become mandatory, adding to the overall difficulty.


Main issues:




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Consumption calculation for the "Workload Accelerator" incentive appears to be nonsensical.

"Workload Accelerator" consumption only includes consumption of specific service and disregards the usage of complementary services such as VM's, Storage, Bandwidth, and so on.


To illustrate, AKS (Azure Kubernetes Service) workload maps to "Data and App Innovation" and is eligible for "Workload Accelerator" incentive.

However, AKS runs virtual machines in the background. The consumption of these VMs is registered under a VM's workload (mapped to Azure core) and doesn't qualify for a "Workload Accelerator" incentive.

It is important to note that the majority of AKS consumption is VMs and the service's own consumption is relatively minimal. For instance, one of our customers who has based his entire infrastructure on AKS has a monthly VM consumption of $680K, but the AKS consumption itself is a mere $4K.

Change "Workload Accelerator" incentive to include the consumption of all services that are related to the main workload service

Cancellation of TPOR Rebate Following PAL Registration on EA Customers

When a PAL is registered on an EA customer, the LSP partner is unfortunately experiencing a loss of the 1.5% TPOR rebate on all ACR. This registration is leading to substantial losses as instead of receiving 1.5% on all ACR, partners are only receiving 2% on specific workloads.


The current arrangement doesn't appear to be logical as the TPOR rebate is associated with the financial dealings with the customer, whereas PAL is tied to Azure service work. There is no rational reason for these two to be linked.


It's like owning a restaurant where your star attraction is a fizzy, irresistible Coke. But the moment you hire a waiter (the PAL in this case), you turn to your faithful Coke and say, "Sorry mate, your days of earning are over, we've got a waiter now!" It's nonsensical, to say the least. It's not as though the waiter will be replacing the Coke. They both serve completely different roles, just like TPOR is for financial work with the customer, and PAL is for service work.


Allowing partners to benefit from both TPOR and PAL on the same customer.

Azure Growth Consumption Incentive calculate method

The Azure Growth Consumption Incentive currently sums up the consumption of all customers for its calculation. This means a partner could put in significant effort to increase consumption for one customer, but if another customer, for instance due to bankruptcy, reduces consumption, the overall growth can turn negative, and no incentive would be received.


To put it into perspective, consider this analogy: it's as though we're in a marathon race, and a partner's diligent efforts to increase a customer's consumption are represented by one runner sprinting towards the finish line. However, if another runner (symbolizing another customer) suddenly halts or slows down due to fatigue (or in our case, bankruptcy), the average speed of all runners decreases. Despite the sprinter's hard work, the overall pace is compromised.

It would be more reasonable to calculate growth individually for each customer, rather than summing all the customers together. By treating each runner in our marathon as an individual competitor, their efforts can be accurately evaluated and rewarded, mirroring a fairer calculation of partners' incentives.

Absence of Benefits for Partners on Marketplace Consumption

Currently, partners receive no rebate, incentive, or other benefits from marketplace consumption. This doesn't contribute towards ACR. In those time of high interest rates, this essentially implies that every marketplace purchase made by customers is a financial loss for partners. This is because we, as partners, shoulder the burden of financing and interest costs.

It is essential to devise a formula that ensures partners also profit from marketplace consumption. This adjustment would help mitigate the financial loss currently experienced and provide an incentive for partners to promote marketplace sales.

Difficulties in Enrolling and Maintaining Active Solution Partner Certification

Achieving and maintaining active Solution Partner certification feels like an uphill battle. It involves passing a substantial number of exams and demonstrating consistent growth in consumption, customer base, and deployment numbers. It's like trying to spin multiple plates at the same time, without letting any of them fall.


Achieving certification requires accumulating 70 points with at least one point from all five sections: performance, Intermediate Skilling, Advanced Skilling, Deployments, and Usage growth.


Keeping the certification active can be even more challenging, almost akin to playing a never-ending game of Whac-a-Mole. Just when you think you've got everything under control, one section can unexpectedly drop to zero, forcing you to constantly be on your toes.

We recommend considering a revision in the certification requirements and the maintenance process. One suggestion could be to eliminate the need for at least one point in every section. Instead, a total of 70 points across all sections

Short Expiry Duration of Certification Exams

Acquiring solution partner and advanced certification requires a considerable number of individuals to pass a vast number of exams. However, a thorny issue is the limited validity period of these exams, which is only one year. The renewal process requires taking online exams annually, which involves continuously tracking exam expiration dates. It's perplexing why this duration is only a year. When we look at professionals like doctors, lawyers, or holders of other tech certifications, once they pass an exam, they're certified for life.


Ironically, Microsoft stands out with this one-year-only validity. Moreover, with current technology, an AI model like ChatGPT could easily pass these online exams, which questions the point of such frequent renewals.

A recommended change would be to extend the validity of these certifications. Making them valid for life, or at a minimum, for a period of five years would be a significant improvement. This adjustment would align the process more closely with other professional certifications and alleviate the ongoing burden of annual renewals.

Inactive Partner Communities

There was a time when partner communities thrived on Yammer, where partners from around the globe could exchange information and assist one another. Microsoft representatives were also present to answer queries, fostering an active and helpful environment. However, two years ago, Microsoft chose to shut down these Yammer communities and transition to a new platform.


The new site, unfortunately, has resulted in segmented and underactive communities, as it's divided into small, country-specific groups. This segmentation has deterred its use, and the once-bustling communities now stand largely inactive.

It would be advantageous to revert to the well-liked Yammer communities. These broader, globally inclusive communities provided an active platform for information exchange and cooperative problem-solving that added significant value to partners. Reinstating such a setup could revitalize the partner communities and foster a vibrant and productive environment.


1 Reply

Hi @AsiAsi 


Please accept our apologies for the delay in acknowledging your post as I've recently began monitoring this community.


While this community is a great place to lodge those concerns, I can tell you that there's going to be a Business Applications office hours in September which will walk through incentive calculations. This will be a great time to either log on early to present your concerns before the meeting begins or discuss them during the meeting either by raising your (virtual) hand or placing them in the chat. 


Here's the link for the September office hours - MCILandingPage Listing Page (




If this reply answers your question, please Accept as the solution to help the other members find it more quickly. Otherwise, please let me know if you need further assistance on this topic.


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