Earn an advanced specialization to showcase expertise

Many partners who have attained a gold competency in a key area then go on to earn an advanced specialization.

Advanced specializations let you further showcase proven, verifiable expertise in a product, solution area, or service. They are further validation of your ability to deliver high-fidelity services in a specific solution area.

Advanced specializations also let you differentiate yourself to customers. Once you earn an advanced specialization, customers will see both your gold competency and your advanced specialization in your business profile on the partner directory.

Note

To learn more about the benefits of advanced specializations and specific requirements, see Microsoft Partner Network advanced specializations.

Advanced specialization areas

You can earn advanced specializations in two main areas of expertise:

  • Azure
  • Modern Workplace and Security

Azure advanced specializations include:

  • Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop
  • Linux and Open Source Databases Migration to Microsoft Azure
  • Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure
  • Data Warehouse Migration to Microsoft Azure
  • SAP on Microsoft Azure
  • Modernization of Web Applications to Microsoft Azure

Modern Workplace and Security advanced specializations include:

  • Meetings and Meeting Rooms for Microsoft Teams
  • Adoption and Change Management
  • Teamwork Deployment
  • Calling for Microsoft Teams
  • Threat Protection

Note

To learn more about any specialization, see Microsoft Partner Network advanced specializations.

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

To qualify for an advanced specialization, you need to complete key steps, requirements, and Microsoft validations. Much of the process is available from within the Partner Center dashboard.

To access this area from Partner Center:

  1. Sign in to the Partner Center dashboard.

  2. Under the MPN section of the Partner Center menu, select Adv. Specializations. The menu expands to show all advanced specializations available to you.

  3. To view details, select the name of the advanced specialization. You will see specific requirements and steps, your current status, and links to further steps or resources.

All advanced specializations require you to have earned an aligned gold competency along with other prerequisites:

  • Besides their own prerequisites, some advanced specializations also need you to pass a scheduled audit.

    If you need to schedule an audit, go to the specific Partner Center advanced specialization detail page. Once you meet other prerequisites, you will be able to select the Schedule audit button on this page. (See a list and example of advanced specializations requiring an audit.)

  • Besides their own prerequisites, some advanced specializations also need you to provide customer references. (See a list and example of advanced specializations requiring customer references.)

Advanced specialization requirements that include an audit - an example

You need to complete an audit with a third-party auditor for the following Azure advanced specializations:

  • Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure
  • Linux and Open Source Database Migration to Microsoft Azure
  • Data Warehouse Migration to Microsoft Azure
  • Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure
  • Modernization of Web Applications to Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop

Audit example in Partner Center

If you are interested in the advanced specialization called Modernization of Web Applications to Microsoft Azure, select it from the Partner Center menu. You are taken to the prerequisites page.

Sample prerequisites page showing requirements to earn an active Gold Cloud Platform competency.

Until you meet all the prerequisites, your status remains Not started. Once you meet the prerequisites, the Schedule audit button is enabled.

After you complete all requirements, your status changes to Active. 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.

Prerequisites that include customer references - an example

You need customer references for the following advanced specializations:

  • SAP on Azure
  • Adoption and Change Management
  • Teamwork Deployment
  • Calling for Microsoft Teams
  • Meetings and meeting rooms
  • Threat Protection

Customer reference example in Partner Center

An example of an advanced specialization that requires customer references is Meetings and Meeting Rooms for Microsoft Teams.

In addition to gold competency, certifications, and a performance requirement, you must provide three customer references that demonstrate your ability to deploy and manage.

Sample advanced specializations prerequisites page that requires customer references.

Until you meet all the prerequisites, your status remains Not started. Once you complete all the requirements, your status changes to Active. 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.

Next steps