Microsoft has been quite active on the certifications front and therefore, these changes need to be reflected in the Microsoft Partner Competency for Business Applications. Here is what you need to know.
Introduction of Partner Contribution Indicators (PCI)
Instead of being assessed by threshold for each criteria, there are now certain accomplishments that can give you points. Microsoft Partners can get up to 100 points overall. Out of those, up to 35 can be obtained via having employees of a Microsoft Partner certified on Microsoft Dynamics 365.
In order to obtain the silver competency, a Microsoft Partner must have a PCI score of 60 or higher. For the gold competency, the PCI score requires increases to 80.
Another quirkiness was introduced. Traditionally, the certifications-related criteria were essentially to have a certain number of employees pass a particular exam. Now, on top of those, Microsoft Partners can get up to 15 points for the growth in numbers of certified on Microsoft Dynamics 365 to their team after March 31, 2020, whether by having non-certified employees becoming certified or by poaching certified employees from other Microsoft Partners or end-users.
Why is this so important? As per the 2019-2020 Nigel Frank International Salary Survey, 34% of Microsoft Dynamics 365 professionals have up-to-date certifications. The number most likely went down significantly since MB2-7XX certifications were retired since the survey was published. Moreover, 50% of professionals in the ecosystem work for a Microsoft Partner. As you can see, there is a massive gap between the number of certified professionals and the number of certified professionals Microsoft Partners need.
How is Your Certification Journey Affected
At the moment, here is what the Microsoft Partner Competencies work. 1 point is awarded per person holding a Functional Consultant Associate certification. You need to get at least one. Moreover, if you can get the Functional Consultant Associate certification and the Developer Associate certification. You can get 2 points if you get both.
In practice, it might be practical for you to have multiple Functional Consultant Associate certifications, especially if you work for a Microsoft Partner or want to work for one. The projects will be varied and need their staff to know multiple apps.
In the future, I predict that many people in the end-user community will ask Microsoft to reduce the number of points related to Functional Consultant growth, because it simply gives an incentive to Microsoft Partners to poach certified employees from end-users.
Another future addition will be the addition of the new Solution Architect certifications. I would not be surprised if the number of points for the growth in Functional Consultant Associates is reduced to 10 to allocate 5 points to people holding the Solution Architect certification.
If you are certified, congratulations! Your certifications will be even more valuable on April 1, 2020. If you have both the Functional Consultant Associate certification and the Developer Associate certification, you could (technically) count for 3 points, which could make the difference between getting a certain level of partner competency or not.