MS Silver Partner LogoBob here. As you know, we are a Microsoft Partner. Until recently, we’ve resisted the temptation to going for the larger scale (and somewhat expensive) higher-level partnerships, not only with Microsoft but other vendors as well. In many cases, these vendor partnership programs are little more than marketing strategies, helping to get logos and implied skills out more. So you might say I’m a little jaded in terms of partnership programs.

Well, I was. Now that Simplex-IT is a Silver Partner with Microsoft, I am firmly convinced that the only way a company has a remote chance of successful IT project implementation is to use a Microsoft partner.

Okay, I have to confess. That was a bit jaded, even by my standards<g>.

So why did we finally decide to go with the deeper Microsoft partnership? The key issue with the partnership is demonstrating the competencies that go with it. In our case we chose two competencies: “Server Platform” and “Portals and Collaboration.”

When you consider competencies, at least with Microsoft, you’re really talking about two things. Knowledge and Experience.  Knowledge is determined through employment of certified individuals, and experience is determined through your customers admitting to both knowing you and engaging you in projects that fall under the competencies.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… There’s money involved too (isn’t there always?).  But honestly, that wasn’t the most important issue.

Actually, on review we found that we already had both requirements under our belts. It was simply a question of formalizing the experience by contacting customers and asking them to share with Microsoft their experiences. Thankfully, we have a lot of great customers out there, and many of them still think (for some strange reason) that we know what we’re doing<g>.

So literally it took us about two or three days to get these two competencies. And my suspicion is that before the years over will probably add a couple more under our belts as well.

Are we a different company because of this? Of course not. Are we going to hold this over everybody’s heads, pretending that this makes us somebody special? Again, of course not. Over the past several years, I’ve made the interesting transition from technician to business owner. And during this process one thing stands clear. The most effective way to communicate the quality of work and the dedication ain’t in marketing, advertising, certifications, or partner logos. It’s getting the prospective customers to talk to your existing customers.

At least that’s work for us so far.