Why Purple Frog has chosen to not renew its Microsoft Partnership

Purple Frog Systems has been incredibly proud to be a Microsoft partner for over a decade. And not just a partner, a Microsoft Gold Partner in three separate competencies:

  • Cloud Platform
  • Data Analytics
  • Data Platform

The requirements for achieving partnership were largely focused around training and certification, ensuring our team met the highest standards of knowledge in order to provide the best possible advice and development skills to our customers.

What has changed?

Microsoft have now scrapped the Silver/Gold partner program, and have replaced it with a new “Solutions Partner” designation.
To achieve this, each partner is measured on a number of KPIs, including:

  • Certifications
  • Gaining New Customers
  • Customer Spend Growth

How does this affect our customers?

At Purple Frog, the core of our business and ethos is providing the best advice and systems to our customers, so that we can build a long term partnership with them based on trust.
This includes helping our customers get the maximum functionality at the lowest possible cost, and where possible, reducing customers’ spend wherever possible.

When Microsoft are scoring partners based on how much their customers spend in Azure, the only outcome is that partners will be incentivised to recommend solutions that increase customers spend, not decreasing it.

Not only is it based on customer Azure spend, but the growth in Azure spend – meaning that we’d have to encourage our customers to increase their Azure spend by 20% EVERY year. And if we don’t hit sufficient growth in spend and/or customers, we’d lose our partner status.

This naturally leads to a conflict of interest, and in our opinion will erode customers’ trust in Microsoft Partners. Microsoft are shifting the focus of the Partner program from quality and skills, to using partners as a remote sales team, measured on how much they can get customers to spend with Microsoft.

What next?

Although Purple Frog could join the new program if we wanted to, in our opinion the whole purpose and culture of the Partner Program has been undermined by these changes, and we have made a decision to not be a part of it.

The Purple Frog team is still incredibly passionate about the Microsoft Data Platform.

  • We will continue to focus on the Microsoft technology stack as we firmly believe that it provides the best possible solutions for our customers
  • We will continue to upskill our team and certify them in all relevant and new Microsoft technology
  • We will continue to provide the best possible advice to our customers (including cost saving!)
  • We will continue to run free training events in the Microsoft Data Platform community
  • We will continue to support the Microsoft MVP program, which is still focused on skills, knowledge, sharing and community

We just do not believe that using Partners to focus on increasing spend over quality is the right thing to do, and we have therefore decided to not renew our Microsoft Partnership status for the time being.

We hope that Microsoft will see the inherent flaws of the revised program, and when we believe that the focus of the program aligns back with our ‘good business’ ethos then we will rejoin. In the meantime we will keep doing what we have always done, helping customers get the most from their Microsoft data technology stack, at the lowest cost possible.