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Microsoft Premier Support for Lync Partners and Certification Update

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the Microsoft Premier Support for Lync Partners (PSLP) program and certification procedures.

As Lync continues to grow in the enterprise so of course is the desire for Lync customers to obtain solution support that meets the needs of their organization. To that end, the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) is making changes in May 2014 that will require that all Gold Communications Competency partners in the System Integration track to take exams that will qualify at least four (4) people within a partner’s organization to be able to support Lync Server. Adding support readiness requirements in to the MPN Gold Communications Competency ensures that Gold partners are better skilled to provide end to end Lync solutions/services should they wish to, and to also offer customers an even broader choice of partners to work with for Lync support.

Therefore, it is no longer necessary to maintain a separate certification program. On April 30, 2014 the Microsoft Premier Support for Lync Partners (PSLP) program will cease operation and Lionbridge Technologies will end certification procedures for new and renewing PSLP and Lync Certified Support Partners. Additional details of the forthcoming changes are outlined in the Frequently Asked Questions, listed below.

Offering Customers Lync Support: Lync Certified Support Partners

Partners that meet the new MPN Gold Communications Competency requirements, beginning in May, will be able to offer Lync support to their customers as well as have the ability to purchase the Microsoft Premier Services PSLP package, which is a customizable support offering backed by Microsoft Lync escalation engineers

Lync Certified Support Partners as of April 1, 2014

All partners that have valid certification, as of April 1, 2014, shall be able to continue to purchase the Microsoft Services PSLP package through September 30, even if they have not yet achieved the new MPN Gold Communications Competency requirements. From October 1, partners will be able to continue to purchase the Microsoft Services PSLP package as long as they fulfill either of the following criteria:

  • Lync Certified Support Partners certification remains valid (certification is valid for 12 months from the date at which their certification was awarded); or 

  • MPN Gold Communications Competency renewed or attained after May 12, 2014.

 

Partners Seeking to Complete Certification

Partners that are currently part way toward meeting the requirements of the certification program have until April 30th to complete the certification process. Please email Lionbridge (pslp@lionbridge.com) for details on how your organization can complete its certification by April 30. Alternatively, instead of completing the certification process, partners can choose to fulfill the new MPN Gold Communications Competency requirements as part of their competency renewal after May 12.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the status of the Premier Support for Lync Partners (PSLP) program?

Why is the PSLP program ceasing operation?

How can a Lync Certified Support Partner differentiate their support offering vs. a standard Gold Communications Competency partner?

When is a Lync Certified Support Partner no longer able to use this naming convention in their marketing and Lync support practice?

What are the requirements for a Lync Certified Support Partner to purchase the Microsoft Services PSLP package?

Can a MPN Gold Communications Competency partner purchase the Microsoft Services PSLP support package?

What are the new MPN Gold Communications Competency requirements going to be?

What will happen to the Lync Certified Support Partners’ listing on TechNet?

Do MPN Gold Communications Competency partners have to wait until their MPN renewal date to take the exams to meet the new MPN requirements beginning in May?

Can a PSLP pipeline or Lync Certified Support Partner get a refund on their Lionbridge certification or renewal fees?

Is there any value for a Lync customer to continue to obtain support via their partner vs. Microsoft Services?

Where can I get more information on the MPN Gold Communication Competency changes?

Will Microsoft continue to support a Partner-led support program offering?

 

 

 

What is the status of the Premier Support for Lync Partners (PSLP) program?

As Lync continues to grow in the enterprise more Lync customers wish to obtain solution support that meets the needs of their organization. To that end, the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) is making changes in May 2014 that will require all Gold Communications Competency partners in the System Integration track to take exams that will qualify at least four (4) people within a partner’s organization to be able to support Lync Server. Thus, the Microsoft Premier Support for Lync Partners (PSLP) program will cease operation on April 30, 2014 and Lionbridge Technologies will end certification procedures for PSLP and Lync Certified Support Partners

 

Why is the PSLP program ceasing operation?

Adding support readiness requirements (exams 70-336, 70-337, and 74-338 – the primary exams required for PSLP certification) to the MPN Gold Communications Competency in May 2014 ensures that Gold partners are better skilled to provide end to end Lync solutions/services should they wish to, and to also offer customers an even broader choice of partners to work with for Lync support. Therefore, a separate certification program is no longer necessary.

 

How can a Lync Certified Support Partner differentiate their support offering vs. a standard Gold Communications Competency partner?

 Lync Certified Support Partners that have met the certifications requirements prior to May 1, 2014 from Lionbridge are encouraged to continue to promote itself as a Lync Certified Support Partner and its Lync support offerings on its website, via a support offering datasheet as well as in their Microsoft PinPoint profile.

 

When is a Lync Certified Support Partner no longer able to use this naming convention in their marketing and Lync support practice?

Lync Certified Support Partners are certified by Lionbridge Technologies for a 12 month period. As long as a partner has met certification requirements prior to April 30, 2014 they may market themselves as a Lync Certified Support Partner until their certification expires.

 

What are the requirements for a Lync Certified Support Partner to purchase the Microsoft Services PSLP package?

Lync Certified Support Partners will be able to purchase the Microsoft Services PSLP package as long as they fulfil either of the following criteria:

  •  Lync Certified Support Partners certification remains valid (certification is valid for 12 months from the date on which their certification was awarded); or
  •  MPN Gold Communications Competency renewed or attained after May 12, 2014

Note: Lync Certified Support Partners will be able to purchase the PSLP package from Microsoft Services if their certification renewal date is between April 1, 2014 and September 30, 2014 (only), even if they have not yet achieved the new MPN Gold Communications Competency requirements.

 

Can a MPN Gold Communications Competency partner purchase the Microsoft Services PSLP support package?

Yes. MPN Gold Communications Competency partners that meet the new MPN qualifications after May 12, 2014 will be able to purchase the Microsoft Services PSLP package.

 

What are the new MPN Gold Communications Competency requirements going to be?

In May 2014, MPN will publish an updated competency disclosure guide that highlights the following changes for Gold Communications Competency:

  • As of May 12, 2014 all MPN Gold Communications Competency partners in the Systems Integration track will be required to have four (4) individuals pass:
    • Exam 70-336: Core Solutions of Microsoft Lync Server 2013, and Exam 70-337: Enterprise Voice and Online Services with Lync Server 2013; or
    • Have passed one (1) of the following certifications: MCSE: Communication or MCSM: Communication
  • In addition, one (1) of the four (4) individuals must also pass Exam 74-338: Lync 2013 PSLP Depth Support Engineer.

 

What will happen to the Lync Certified Support Partners’ listing on TechNet?

All Lync Certified Support Partner listings on Microsoft TechNet have been included in the new Microsoft Lync Support Partner catalog. Lync Certified Support Partners must meet new requirements to maintain a listing in the catalog beyond Q1/FY15. Read the Lync Support Partners Catalog Requirements deck (available on MPN in June) to learn more.   

 

Do MPN Gold Communications Competency partners have to wait until their MPN renewal date to take the exams to meet the new MPN requirements beginning in May?

No, partners may take the exams at any time and may commence their MPN competency renewal up to 90 days in advance of their anniversary date. Please check with your Microsoft contact to discuss renewing MPN Gold Communications Competency.

 

Can a PSLP pipeline or Lync Certified Support Partner get a refund on their Lionbridge certification or renewal fees?

Fees paid to Lionbridge for its certification program are non-refundable. The program remains open to join until April 30, 2014.

 

Is there any value for a Lync customer to continue to obtain support via their partner vs. Microsoft Services?

The MPN competency changes will enable all Gold Communication Competency partners to offer a rich, end-to-end Lync solution practice including support to their Lync customers. A Partner led offering remains the best route for customers to receive full end to end solution support for a Lync Server environment where they will benefit from a “one stop” service experience as many customers experience now via their Lync Certified Support Partner. However, customers can also choose to leverage standard Premier Support or purchase the PSLP support package from Microsoft Services to receive access to Microsoft Lync escalation engineers.

 

Where can I get more information on the MPN Gold Communication Competency changes?

MPN partners will continue to receive ongoing updates via MPN bulletins. The information will also be available on MPN and in the MPN Disclosure Guide.

 

Will Microsoft continue to support a Partner-led support program offering?

Partner-led offerings remain the best route for customers to receive full end to end solution support for their Lync Server environment where they can benefit from a “one stop” service experience. Microsoft encourages all MPN Gold Communications Competency partners to continue to develop and offer compelling solution support offerings for Lync.