Use Partner Center to apply for advanced specializations and check their status

Appropriate roles: Global admin | MPN Partner admin

This article describes how to use the Partner Center dashboard to apply for an advanced specialization, complete the required steps and validations, and track your progress toward attaining the specialization.

You'll also see examples of how to use Partner Center to attain the advanced specializations that require either an audit or customer references.

To learn more about the benefits of advanced specializations and what's required to attain them, see Microsoft Partner Network advanced specializations.

Use Partner Center to apply for advanced specializations and track progress

To qualify for an advanced specialization, you must first fulfill certain prerequisites, such as earning Gold competency in a related area. Then you can apply for the specialization in Partner Center and complete the required steps and Microsoft validations.

Much of the process is available in the Advanced Specializations section of the Partner Center dashboard. However, only users with the MPN Partner Admin or Global Admin user roles for their organization's Microsoft partner account have access to the Advanced Specializations area.

Access the advanced specializations area and track your status

To access advanced specializations and track your status:

  1. Sign in to the Partner Center dashboard and select the Membership tile.

  2. Select Advanced specializations and then select the area you're interested in: Azure, Modern work, Security, or Business applications.

  3. Select the name of an advanced specialization to see requirements and steps, your status, and links to further steps and resources.

    You can return to the Advanced specializations area of Partner Center to check your progress toward attaining an advanced specialization.

  4. After you've completed all the requirements for an advanced specialization, check the Advanced Specializations area of Partner Center again to see if your status has changed to Active for the advanced specialization you chose.

    Active status automatically enables an advanced specialization tag on your Business profile. This profile is visible to all customers trying to find a solution provider.

Complete an audit or include customer references

To earn an advanced specialization, usually you must earn an aligned Gold competency and fulfill other prerequisites unique to that specialization.

To earn some advanced specializations, you must also:

Both tasks can be performed in Partner Center.

Advanced specializations that require an audit with a third-party auditor

Advanced specializations that require an audit from a third-party auditor include:

  • Analytics on Microsoft Azure
  • Data Warehouse Migration to Microsoft Azure
  • Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure
  • Linux and Open Source Database Migration to Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop
  • Modernization of Web Applications to Microsoft Azure
  • Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure
  • AI and Machine Learning in Microsoft Azure
  • Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure with Microsoft Azure Stack HCI
  • Hybrid Operations and Management with Microsoft Azure Arc
  • Microsoft Azure VMware Solution
  • DevOps with GitHub on Microsoft Azure
  • Networking Services in Microsoft Azure
  • SAP on Microsoft Azure

Advanced specializations that require customer references

Advanced specializations that require customer references include:

  • Adoption and Change Management
  • Calling for Microsoft Teams
  • Meetings and meeting rooms for Microsoft Teams
  • Teamwork Deployment
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Threat Protection
  • Information Protection and Governance
  • Cloud Security

Advanced specializations that don't require an audit or customer references

Advanced specializations that don't require an audit or customer reference include:

  • Low Code Application Development
  • Small and Midsize Business Management

Complete an audit with a third-party auditor

In addition to fulfilling a specialization's prerequisites, you must pass a scheduled audit to earn some specializations. For a list of specializations that require an audit, see Advanced specializations that require an audit with a third-party auditor.

To schedule an audit in Partner Center:

  1. Sign in to the Partner Center dashboard and then select the Membership tile.

  2. Select Advanced specializations and then select the area you're interested in: Azure, Modern work, Security, or Business applications.

  3. Select the name of the advanced specialization, for example, Modernization of Web Applications to Microsoft Azure. The prerequisites for the specialization appear.

    Sample prerequisites page showing requirements to earn a particular advanced specialization.

  4. Select Schedule audit. (The Schedule audit button isn't available and your status is Not Started until you fulfill all the prerequisites on the page.)

    After you fulfill all the prerequisites and complete the audit, your status changes to Active.

Provide customer references

To earn some specializations, in addition to fulfilling prerequisites, you must also provide customer references. For a list of specializations that require references, see Advanced specializations that require customer references.

To provide customer references in Partner Center:

  1. Sign in to the Partner Center dashboard and select the Membership tile.

  2. Select Advanced specializations and then select an area you're interested in: Azure, Modern work, Security, or Business applications.

  3. Select the name of the advanced specialization.

    The prerequisites for the specialization appear. As an example, for the Meetings and Meeting Rooms for Microsoft Teams specialization, in addition to Gold competency, certifications, and a performance requirement, you must also provide three customer references that demonstrate your ability to deploy and manage.

    • Until you meet all the prerequisites and provide customer references, your status is Not Started.

    • After you meet all the prerequisites and provide the required references, your status changes to Active.

How Azure consumption revenue is calculated for each advanced specialization

  • Partner-to-customer associations included: Digital Partner of Record association to a customer, or CSP direct-bill partner or CSP indirect reseller for a customer or Partner Admin Link (PAL) association to a customer.
  • Azure consumption revenue (ACR) from subscriptions with the offer types Trial, Benefits programs, Support, and Internal isn't counted towards the advanced specialization.

Azure consumption revenue fields

Field Name Field Description
Service Level 1 Highest level at which Azure services are bundled. See Directory of Azure Cloud service.
Service Level 2 Second-highest level Azure Services based, for example Pricing overview-How Azure pricing works
Service Level 3 Third-highest level Azure Services based, for example Pricing - Linux virtual machines
Service Level 4 Fourth-highest level Azure Services based, for example Pricing - Linux virtual machines
Service Group 2 Grouping of Azure services according to a service category
Service Group 3 Grouping of Azure services according to a service subcategory
Service Influencer Grouping of Azure services mapped to a specific consumption activity
Compute OS Compute Operating System
Compute Core Software Compute Core Software

Azure consumption revenue filters for advanced specialization

  • Data Warehouse Migration to Microsoft Azure

    • Azure Synapse Analytics ACR: Service Level 2 = Azure Synapse Analytics
  • Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure

    • Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) ACR: Service Influencer = AKS, AKS-Engine
    • Azure RedHat OpenShift ACR: Service Group 3 = ARO, Service Level 2 = All except "Unknown"
  • Microsoft Windows Virtual desktop

    • Windows Virtual Desktop ACR: Service Influencer = NATIVE WVD
  • Modernization of Web Applications to Microsoft Azure

    • Azure App Service ACR: Service Level 1 = Compute and Service Level 2 = Azure App Service
      • Azure Spring Cloud ACR:
        • ACR Adjustment Type = N/A
        • Service Group 2 = App Dev
        • Service Group 3 = Spring Cloud
        • Service Level 2 = All except “Unknown”
  • Analytics on Microsoft Azure

    • Azure Synapse Analytics ACR: Service Level 2 = Azure Synapse Analytics
    • Data Lake ACR: Service Group 3 = Azure Data Lake
    • Databricks ACR: Service Group3 = Databricks
    • Azure Data Factory ACR: Service Level 2 = Azure Data Factory, Azure Data Factory v2
  • Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure with Microsoft Azure Stack HCI

    • Azure Stack HCI ACR: Service Level 2 = Azure Stack HCI
  • Microsoft Azure VMware Solution

    • Azure VMware Solutions(AVS) ACR: Service Level 4 = Azure VMware Solution, Azure VMware Solution by CloudSimple, Azure VMware Solution by Virtustream, Specialized Compute Azure VMware Solution
  • Hybrid Operations and Management with Microsoft Azure Arc

    • Arc-enabled server ACR: Service Level 4 = Azure Policy
    • Arc-enabled Kubernetes ACR: Service Level 4 = Azure Arc
  • AI and Machine Learning in Microsoft Azure

    • AI ACR: Service Group 2 = AI
  • Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure

    • Windows ACR:
      • ACR Adjustment Type = N/A, Compute Core SW = Core,
      • Compute OS = WINDOWS THEN Compute OS Attribute = WINDOWS, UNKNOWN or Compute OS = LINUX THEN Compute OS Attribute = WINDOWS-AHUB
        • Service Level 2= Cloud Services, Container Instances, Container Registry, Specialized Compute, Virtual Machines, Virtual Machines Licenses
      • SQL Database (DB) ACR: Service Group 3 = SQLDB
      • SQL Managed Instance (MI) ACR: Service Group 3 = SQL DB MI
      • SQL VM ACR: Service Group 3 = SQL on IaaS, SQL on IaaS VM
  • Linux and Open-Source Database Migration to Microsoft Azure

    • Linux Virtual Machines (VM)ACR:
      • Option 1:
        • ACR Adjustment Type= N/A, Service Level 2 = Virtual Machines, Compute OS= Linux, Compute OS Attribute = Non-Windows, UNKNOWN, Windows
        • Service Level 4 = All EXCEPT Cloud Services MS Series, Virtual Machines MS Series, Virtual Machines MS Series Windows, Virtual Machines MSv2 Series, Virtual Machines MSv2 Series Windows, MS Series Dedicated Host, MSv2 Series Dedicated Host
      • Option 2: only require filters on Service Level 4, other fields like Compute OS/Compute OS Attributes aren't required
        • Service Level 4 = Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux with HA, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Basic, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for HPC Priority, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for HPC Standard, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Priority, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Standard
      • Azure Database (DB) for MariaDB ACR: Service Level 1 = Databases and Service Level 2 = Azure Database for MariaDB
      • Azure DB for MySql ACR: Service Level 1 = Databases and Service Level 2 = Azure Database for MySQL and MySQL Database on Azure
      • Azure DB for PostgreSQL ACR: Service Level 1 = Databases and Service Level 2 = PostgreSQL
      • Azure COSMOS DB ACR: Service Level 1 = Databases and Service Level 2 = CosmosDB
  • Threat Protection

    • Microsoft Sentinel ACR: Service Level 4 = Sentinel
  • Cloud Security

    • Hybrid Environment XDR and Network Security ACR: Service Level 4 = Microsoft Defender for SQL, Microsoft Defender for container registries, Microsoft Defender for Kubernetes, Microsoft Defender for Storage, Application Gateway WAF v2, WAF Application Gateway, Azure Active Directory B2C, Azure Active Directory Domain Services, Azure Active Directory for External Identities, Azure Bastion, Azure DDOS Protection, Azure Firewall, Azure Firewall Manager, Azure Front Door Service, Microsoft Defender for IoT, Azure Dedicated HSM, Key Vault, Network Watcher, Microsoft Defender for App Service, Microsoft Defender for servers, Sentinel
  • SAP on Microsoft Azure

    • SAP Workloads ACR: Service Level 4 = Cloud Services MS Series, Virtual Machines MS Series, Virtual Machines MS Series Windows, Virtual Machines MSv2 Series, Virtual Machines MSv2 Series Windows, MS Series Dedicated Host, MSv2 Series Dedicated Host, SAP HANA on Azure Large Instances,SAP Cloud Platform Alert Notification, SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory - Kyma Runtime,SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite - Additional Messages, SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite - Standard Edition, SAP Cloud Platform Transport Management, SAP Edge Services, SAP Embrace API Management,SAP Embrace Application Logging, SAP Embrace Application Runtime, SAP Embrace Bandwidth, SAP Embrace Business Application Studio, SAP Embrace Business Rules, SAP Embrace Cloud Integration, SAP Embrace Credential Store, SAP Embrace Custom Domain, SAP Embrace Data Intelligence, SAP Embrace Enterprise Messaging, SAP Embrace Extension Factory, serverless runtime, SAP Embrace Hana Cloud, SAP Embrace Identity Authentication, SAP Embrace Job Scheduler, SAP Embrace MACC, SAP Embrace Mobile Services,SAP Embrace Object Store Service, SAP Embrace Open Connectors, SAP Embrace Portal, SAP Embrace Process Visibility, SAP Embrace Web Analytics, SAP Embrace Workflow, SAP HANA Service, SAP Web IDE, BareMetal Infrastructure, Virtual Machines MdSv2 Series, Virtual Machines MdSv2 Series Windows

Next steps