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How to choose the right Microsoft partner type to suit your business needs

Microsoft works with over 64,000 partners, so how do you find the right one to suit your business needs? There are three different Microsoft Partner types that help businesses identify the perfect partner for them: partner level, silver, and gold level. 

Achieving any of the three Microsoft competencies to become a Partner of Record. Meaning, they can work closely with customers providing managed services to keep costs low and optimise their subscription usage. But with so many different partner levels and statuses to familiarise yourself with, an important question remains: How do you choose the right Microsoft Partner for your business?

In this post, we’ll breakdown how partners achieve the different Partner types, and provide some clarity on how Partners benefit your business.

Why are there different Microsoft Partner types?

The different Microsoft Partner types were created to help customers identify a potential partner’s skill in a desired area. For example, Partners with a Gold competency in Application Development, but a Silver competency in other areas clearly have a defined skill in App development. 

Microsoft Gold Partners

Only 1% of partners are Microsoft Gold Partners and possess the highest possible certification. A Microsoft Gold competency represents the highest level of expertise and proven skills in a specific technology or product. Microsoft Gold Partners are recognised for their innovative business solutions. We recently achieved the Microsoft Gold Cloud Platform competency.

Microsoft Silver Partners

Silver Partners show a specialised skill set in a particular product or service. Partners with silver competency offer high-quality services and solutions. To earn this competency, techs within the company must participate in a rigorous and auditable approval process in specific focus areas. We currently have silver competency in Datacenter, Security, Application Integration and Application Development.

Microsoft Certified Partners

Businesses like ours can also attain a standard Microsoft Partner level. Unlike the Silver and Gold level competencies, businesses just need to join the Microsoft Partner Network to achieve basic partner status. 

Working with a Microsoft Gold Partner guarantees impartial expertise and quality service. To gain the Microsoft Gold Competency, we had to show a unique level of commitment to Microsoft’s business solutions. We completed a process of examinations to gain Microsoft Gold Partner status, with regular audits to maintain these standards.

What is PAL, CPOR, and DPOR?

If your business chooses to designate a singular partner for everything, that Partner becomes their Partner Of Record. Microsoft can track the POR’s projects and successes via the Partner Admin Link (PAL). Depending on what tools you use, the partner will either become a Digital Partner of Record (managing Azure, Office 365, Intune, EMS, Power BI, and Dynamics 365) or a Claiming POR (managing Microsoft 365).

Adding a POR to your subscription can help you optimise usage and reduce subscription costs for your business and help you reach the desired outcome. If your business chooses to designate a singular partner for everything, that Partner becomes their POR. Microsoft can track the POR’s projects and successes via the Partner Admin Link (PAL). 

Read on for more information on DPOR, PAL, and how they help your business;


Partner Admin Link (PAL)

A Partner Admin Link (PAL) is how Microsoft identifies partners that help customers optimise their Azure subscriptions. Partner Admin Links are helpful for projects that involve multiple partners working on an Azure workload.  

PAL allows businesses to connect their Microsoft IDs with their partners’ credentials to deliver cloud optimisation and Azure support services. This association doesn’t impact any data permissions set in place by the customer. The Partner Admin Link is a way to ensure quality from it’s partners.

We can help manage Azure and provide custom solutions, but customers still have complete control of permissions and access to data.

Partners of Record (POR)

A Microsoft Partner of Record (POR) helps customers manage and ensure effective use of their Microsoft subscriptions. Once a POR is allocated, the POR can monitor your consumption and suggest ways to keep costs low. There are two types of POR: CPOR and DPOR. 

A Digital Partner of Record (DPOR) is a partner that is working on a customer’s Microsoft cloud subscription. A DPOR can be associated with Azure, Office 365, Intune, EMS, Power BI, and Dynamics 365.

The association benefits the customer, the partner, and Microsoft. The customer received enhanced support and engagement from the partner and Microsoft and optimised subscription usage. The partner gains points towards a Microsoft cloud competency and also a closer relationship with Microsoft. With this association, Microsoft can build a better customer experience, a stronger partner channel, and better customer loyalty.

The CPOR association lets Microsoft identify and recognise partners who are supporting customers with Microsoft 365. Once a partner associates with a workload, the partner receives access to data to monitor and optimise usage. As a CPOR, we’re only able to access the data that our customers specify.

You don’t need to be a Microsoft Gold Partner to be a CPOR or DPOR. However, working with a Gold Partner like Influential is a guarantee of our expertise and experience. For this reason, many companies prefer to choose a Gold Partner as their POR.

Benefits of PAL and POR

Despite the benefits of achieving different Microsoft partner types, these competencies are customer-focused. Not only do you get peace of mind that Microsoft officially recognises your partner as being capable of operating and advising solutions for different industries, but you receive the following benefits:

Access to the latest tech

Microsoft partners have access to the latest tech and Microsoft solutions. This expertise in Microsoft technologies is a vital advantage for any business looking for help modernising their systems. Working with a Microsoft partner means perfect Azure-integration with customer systems and absolute knowledge of their business and IT issues.

Certified technical skills

Working with any of the Microsoft Partner types guarantees expertise. To achieve either the silver or gold competency, partners must go through a lengthy exam process to prove knowledge.

Long-term partnership

Should you decide to make your Microsoft Partner a DPOR, they won’t just set you up with the software and leave. A DPOR provides end-to-end support for their customers. Their consistent service helps customers make the most of their Microsoft subscription and supplies ad hoc IT support whenever they need it.

So, how do you choose?

So now you understand some of the key reasons to work with Microsoft Partners, how do you choose? 

The Partner types were created to make your decision making process easier. By looking at the different partner certifications, you can get an understanding of the partners skillset and specialist solutions.

With over thirty years experience in IT, we’re proud to offer a range of bespoke solutions for any business.

Trust the Microsoft experts

As a gold partner, we’ve got the skills and the experience to create a bespoke solution to help you with your business goals. Learn more about the Microsoft Partner types today.