Microsoft had announced its new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program awhile back and as of October 3, freshly announced its new Partner badges. These fancy logos can be placed by Partners on various marketing materials to indicate that they are, in fact, Microsoft partners.
What you might have noticed, is that we don't have any Solutions Partner designations. Holy lord this must mean we're incompetent, and you should choose a different partner, right?
Well, of course you are always welcome to choose a new partner. But we want to take the time to explain why we, despite decades of focused Microsoft experience, do not have a fancy partner badge, and hopefully help you make an informed choice.
Small by Design
SiFr as you may know, is small by design. The two partners perform all the technical work because that is what you pay for - our knowledge, our work products, our expertise.
We do not have any junior staff that we delegate the technical work to, because that's just rude. What is the point of paying for a master painter, when you're going to get an amateur artist to do your portrait, right? We're not saying we're Da Vinci, but you get the point.
We are also an advisory, so unlike a typical IT Managed Services Provider, we do not have a help desk either. This is so we can focus on highly technical, proactive, strategic work, rather than waiting around for phone calls just to put out fires that didn't need to start in the first place.
Unfortunately, this smallness has its drawbacks when it comes to Microsoft's Partner programs. While our size really allows us to provide you the expertise you need, it also means we do not qualify for any of the solution areas, which all require a minimum of 4 people to be certified in various capabilities. Well, we can't just conjure up extra bodies.
As well, certifications are more of a marketing tool than a capabilities assessment tool. A scuba diving certification doesn't make you a master diver. In fact, if you thought you were, you might die.
We Don't Have Sales
We've said this many times, but if you don't already know, we don't have sales. Again, it's literally just the two partners. We've recently added a Client Success Manager to the team in order for us to provide even better service, but our goals have never changed - Service that's Just Better.
You know those guys at the garage? The ones that will sell you a new radiator cap with every oil change? Yeah, we don't want to be those guys. We've built our reputation on giving you just want you need, without any sales pressure.
Unfortunately, that's not the best business practice. I have stories about this... That being said, it's how we choose to do business. What this also means for us, as far as the Microsoft Solutions Partner program goes, is that we don't qualify for any of their sales incentive goals either, by either onboarding new customers into M365/Azure, or getting them to buy additional licenses.
In fact, one of our services is a deep dive that significantly cuts the licensing spend for medium-large companies, so getting rich by driving up costs for clients is not what we're about either.
The third reason that affects our qualification in the new Microsoft Solutions Partner program is who our clients really are.
Because of our expertise in enterprise Microsoft solutions is above and beyond what a typical MSP has in-house, the bulk of our clients are, well, MSPs!
When an MSP needs the advanced technical skills and know-how, we are who they call. This means we provide the technical execution and architecture for their end clients via white-labelled projects.
While this relationship is very fruitful - we get to do all the technical stuff we love, and they get to retain the client as their own - it does mean that we don't get to claim these end client businesses as "our clients", at least, not in so far as Microsoft is concerned.
How Do I Know Though?
You're thinking to yourself, sure... but without a Microsoft badge to show off, how do I choose a partner I can trust easily? The truth is, it's not easy.
You wouldn't quickly jump into marriage by looking at someone's business card, would you? Hey, at least go on a blind date first, right?
We know it's hard to build trust, which is why we let you get to know us on your own terms. We release technical blog series to help you with your own environment. We have free and affordable eBooks and worksheets, so you don't have to spend money you don't have to. We also host monthly webinars so you can ask all the technical questions you want.
Want to connect with us and learn more on your own terms? Follow us on LinkedIn or other social channels. We hope to work with you soon!