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June 4, 2020

What’s the Difference Between a Microsoft Partner and Azure Expert MSP?

Jim Ball

Microsoft has thousands of Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) members in all corners of the globe. With such a vast network, Microsoft has created a number of partner levels to help designate competency and expertise. If you’re considering migrating and optimizing your business on Azure, it’s important to understand what the different levels confer as far as cloud expertise—so you can choose the right partner for your journey.

A Look at Partner Levels

The most common question we hear is, “What is the difference between being a Microsoft Partner and Azure Expert MSP?”

Under the MPN program, there are four different levels—from a basic Network level, which is free, to Microsoft Action Pack to Silver and Gold partners, who are recognized for increased levels of skill, competency and commitment based on exams, performance criteria and an annual fee.

Gold partners can demonstrate even higher levels of competency in Azure and other Microsoft solutions through Advanced Specializations that indicate they have met a certain standard of service delivery and support. Navisite is both a Silver and Gold network member, having earned eight Gold and two Silver designations in specific solution areas.

Top of the Class Expertise

Many Microsoft Gold Partners can support customer use cases on Azure. However, the highest level of expertise is reserved for the Azure Expert MSP. This is the most stringent level of recognition an MSP can earn—and is designed to help companies identify and connect with the most capable and skilled Azure partner. The difference lies in the testing, an extensive list of requirements—including customer references of Azure managed services projects—and annual audits conducted by an independent third party.

As noted by Microsoft’s corporate VP of Azure, “These expert partners have proven real-world proficiency and skills for data center lift-and-shift, born-in-cloud new applications and everything in-between.”  

Navisite is proud to be one of the select few who have met the rigorous requirements for Azure Expert MSP—and we submit to third-party annual audits to verify that we’re continuing to meet the criteria. This means we’re continually investing in our engineers and other resources and capabilities to ensure that we not only meet, but exceed many of the requirements with nearly 500 Microsoft-certified engineers and over well over 100 Azure-certified employees and customer references.   

Trusted and Certified Partner

Migrating to Azure can deliver enormous scalability, flexibility and cost benefits. But migrations can be a daunting concept for even the most experienced IT teams. The best place to start is by understanding which partners are best qualified and have the proven expertise, skills and commitment to modernize and grow your business on Azure.

For more information on how Navisite can help you migrate and manage workloads on Azure, watch our webinars:

For more details on the Azure Expert MSP program and criteria, visit here.

About Jim Ball

Jim is responsible for overseeing Navisite’s technology partnerships with major cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google, Oracle, VMware and more. He brings more than 20 years of experience in technology, with deep expertise in Oracle technologies and business applications. Prior to his role a Navisite, he was the Co-Founder of clckwrk, a company built from the ground up to help customers move Oracle databases and applications to the public cloud. Jim started his career in various technical roles, including software developer, Oracle database administrator and technical architect.