Home > .NET, PDC, Software Development > New Microsoft Partner Competency is coming for custom development shops!

New Microsoft Partner Competency is coming for custom development shops!

Many companies are deeply embedded in pure Microsoft development (such as thycotic) but do not necessarily use any of the Microsoft server products (MS CMS, BizTalk, SharePoint) in their solutions. These shops are typically building applications using custom WinForm/ASP.NET, C#/VB.NET and a Microsoft SQL Server back end. This makes the Integrated E-Business Solutions competency impossible to attain and most of the others are not a good match either. Another optionsounds likethe ISV competency but this doesn’t always fit either … do you build a product to sell that can be tested? Often times the “product” is custom software that you don’t own and can’t share with anyone.

Thesolution?(I didn’t know about this until I asked at the Microsoft Partner booth at PDC!) … Microsoft has introduced a new competency for Microsoft Partners that will go live in late October 2005 – the Custom Development Solutions competency. This is a much needed competency and matchesall those custom development shops out there!

Requirements for the Custom Development Solutions competency:

  • 2 MCADs or MCSDs
    (the website then talks about 1 exam from the listed so maybe MCP is sufficient?)
  • 3 customer references about implementations using required technology

The competency also makes mention of 3 specializations (Application Infrastructure Development, Smart Client Development, Web Development)but doesn’t go into much detail on their importance.

Jonathan Cogley isthe CEO and founder of thycotic, a .NET consulting company and ISV in Washington DC. Our product, myclockwatcher.comis a time andexpense tracking system specializedfor billable professionals built on ASP.NET, C# and SQL Server using Test Driven Development.

Categories: .NET, PDC, Software Development
  1. http://
    September 20, 2005 at 11:28 am

    Nothing against you Jonathon, but we haven’t had a very good experience with the Partner Program.

    The bigger issue is what does one get from the Partner Program. With us, the answer is zero, nada, zilch, the big goose egg, nothing. As a result, when our current partner subscription is up, we are not renewing our subscription.

    We have found no benefit to being a MS Partner if you are doing Custom Development. There are no events in our area, the people that we are told to contact never return our phone calls, people in the field offices don’t return phone calls, and the partner people just don’t listen. This has been my one and only question to them for 18 months with no response. I have re-subscribed twice based on promises that things would happen for custom development shops and I have not seen the first thing happen. We have already decided that we won’t be resubscribing another time.

    Ok, I feel better now.

  2. Scott Allen
    September 20, 2005 at 1:18 pm

    Our shop is happy to be in the partner program just for the licenses it grants. Have there been any details about what happens with the release of TFS and VS 2005?

  3. http://
    September 20, 2005 at 2:19 pm

    Yeah, we get the licenses through other sources, thus the complete frustration with the whole partner program. The promises that have been laid out don’t match what has been delivered. I love the people in the product groups, but the partner program just doesn’t seem to be a good fit for my development shop. It would be one thing if the partner people would respond when you ask a question, but they don’t. Oh the frustration.

    Sorry for the intrusion. You may now return to your regularly scheduled development.

  4. Scott Allen
    September 20, 2005 at 6:05 pm

    Yes, I agree with that, Wallym. There are plenty of fireworks and slick, glossy marketing materials at the start, but it’s not long before you face the cold, steel wall of a department overrun with bureaucracy.

    Still, the subscriptions are alive and we didn’t expect leads, really, as we are in a niche of a niche.

    Thank you, Johnathan, for sponsoring this tangential conversation 🙂

  5. Lamont Harrington
    September 20, 2005 at 8:04 pm

    Jonathan, Wallym, and Scott,

    Speaking from within the “big house” and coming from working for Microsoft Gold Partners a majority of my career, I have learned in my time here that Integrated E-Business Solutions is a “must have” in order to truly gain all the advantages of being a Microsoft Partner? Why? The MS sales and account teams are compensated based on server licenses more so than custom solutions built on Microsoft technologies like ASP.NET, WinForms, etc. The more licenses sold of BizTalk, SharePoint Portal Server, and CMS sold, the bigger the reward. Therefore, more incentives are given to those partners who develop those competencies because it gives our sales and account management teams more ammunition in efforts to win customer business. For example, within the DC, Maryland, Northern VA area, as you might imagine, there is a heavy governement presence here. While there are many government agencies that value open source initiatives and building custom solutions, there is an increasingly growing number of organizations who are looking for more COTS solutions to cut down on the amount of custom dev. This trend is a growning trend throughout the US in a number of industry verticals and that’s why you’re seeing a lot of fanfare around our products in publications, industry conferences, etc. Heck, I’ve yet to have one customer come in to the Microsoft Technology Center, where I’m a Technology Architect, and ask about a pure web services based solution or a custom ASP.NET or Windows Forms based app. And if they have, it’s always been within the context of BizTalk Server, SPS/WSS, or smart-client development within Office.

    I’ve had this debate well before I joined Microsoft related to custom app dev vs. integrated e-business product implementation and while both have their pros and cons, Microsoft is heavily positioned towards the latter as far as partners are concerned.

    So then you might ask the question “Then why are we (Microsoft) shooting ourselves in the foot with the introduction of a web part framework in ASP.NET v2 and Windows Workflow Foundation as an alternative to more SharePoint/BizTalk-oriented solutions?” I’ve found myself asking that same question, but then I look at it from an ISV perspective and the types of markets that open up as a result and I say “that’s wonderful!”

  6. Wallym
    September 21, 2005 at 1:16 am


    I am not sure if you meant it the way I interruprted it or not. The way your post reads, you are assuming that I am looking for leads. That is not what I am looking for. I have some ideas how to make the process work for a custom development shop, yet no one will return my calls.


  7. Wallym
    September 21, 2005 at 1:32 am


    As I understand your post, you are assuming that custom development only involves development on the client. We have used MS back end server products. From what I have seen, terminology is not the issue. My frustration is that the partner people typically don’t respond. I haven’t had any success with the field offices folks either.


  8. Jonathan Cogley
    September 21, 2005 at 2:21 pm

    Great discussion! Thycotic is new to the Microsoft Partner world … so far our experience has been positive. The new initiatives such as GoldMine sound very interesting and will certainly help small business. Our business is typically Agile custom development consulting with a growing ISV component. This could also be turned to converting Java Agile shops into .NET ones which could be an interesting licensing incentive for Microsoft with MSDN Universal sales and upcoming VSTS. Hmmm.

  9. Lamont
    September 23, 2005 at 5:38 pm


    I’m sorry you’ve experienced so much frustration. Believe me, I’ve DEFINITELY been in your shoes. In reference to my earlier commentary, i’m not just focsing on client dev, but also back-end server dev as well. As far as getting the attention of partner relations folks or people in the field office, it’s all about reputation and the types of customers you have/deal with and the amount of revenue potential there exists within these customers from a Microsoft perspective. It doesn’t really matter if you are a company of 5 or 55,000, getting on Microsoft’s radar is largely dependent upon what you bring to the table. Unfortunately for you but fortunate for us, what you bring to the table has to coincide with what product skus are in the sales team’s quota.

    Just building an app that uses SQL Server is not enough, nor is building apps on “free” platforms like Windows SharePoint Services any good either. This is by no means suggesting that is what you do mind you, I’m just citing examples.

    If you look at Microsoft from a 50,000 ft level, you can basically group the folks here into essentially two categories, those who build the product and those who sell the product. Each group is highly motivated to perform their best as there are significant rewards as a result. That being said, the sales folks will ONLY interact with those partner entities with a good reputation and strong customer base using Microsoft technologies.

    Your frustration is not uncommon as it was just about 2 years ago I worked for a partner where I was charged, as a part of my responsibilities of being a Senior Architect and Microsoft liason, with trying to get my company on Microsoft’s radar. I learned some hard lessons with trying to get Microsoft’s ear.

  10. http://
    October 13, 2005 at 2:22 pm


    The issue, and Jonathon and I discussed this at lunch, is that MS does a lot of partnering in certain places. According to Jonathon, you will roll open your list of contacts in Washington DC. I have similar statements from others in other locations with people that I have worked with. Where I am, the MS partner program does not bother to return phone calls. When I get contacted by the partner program from Seattle, all I get pointed to is some web site.

    Given the unwillingness of the people in the partner program to return phone calls locally, it just sounds like the partner program is the wrong place for us.

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