Making the jump from spreadsheets to comprehensive, holistic solutions like Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics ERP is one of those rare watershed events in the life of a business. Watching as new opportunities and ways of doing business are opened to you can be at once exhilarating and daunting. Knowing this, we here at Microsoft have set up a support system that takes any “upgrade jitters” you might have and tosses them right out the window.

The most important part of that support system? A global network of professionals who specialize in selecting, personalizing, and implementing your new solution, and then training your team to use it. At Microsoft, we call them partners. Put simply, they’re your ace in the hole. The right partner for you will understand your local and global needs, specialize in exactly the kind of solution you’re looking for, and can cut whole weeks from your CRM or ERP implementation process.

So what makes someone the right partner for you?

Start by documenting your needs. Maybe you work for a large telecommunications company and need to foster better communication between Marketing and Sales. Maybe your microbrewery needs to better empower on-the-go sales representatives. Many partners focus on solutions for businesses of a specific size and in select industries.

Next, refine your search. Do you want to deploy your solution on Microsoft Azure, a private cloud, or do you prefer to use your own servers? Do you need a partner who knows the local lay of the land? Are you focusing your implementation on a specific department? You can even consider working with more than one partner if you’re planning something really big.

Reach out to your top prospects. Once you have your criteria laid out, don’t be afraid to ask for a partner’s plan of action. Many of our partners have taken the time to build their own methodology and apps on top of our Microsoft Dynamics products. They’ll even tailor these tools to your needs, while simultaneously creating an “out-of-the-box” experience for you and your team.

Another great way to quickly identify whether a specific partner has the expertise that you’re looking for is something we call competencies. Competencies can be silver or gold and are awarded to partners who have proven themselves consistently to us here at Microsoft.

Silver competencies are awarded to partners who exhibit consistent capability, expertise, and commitment in a specific area. Similarly, gold competencies are awarded for best-in-class capability within a specific Microsoft solution area. Many partners have even been awarded multiple competencies, allowing you to see exactly what sort of solutions they excel at.

By now you might be wondering how you’ll ever find these locally based, highly specialized and experienced superheroes. Thankfully, that’s not your job. It’s ours. Just chat with a Microsoft representative, spell out your needs, and you’ll get some serious contenders on the spot. More of a do-it-yourselfer? Narrow down the options yourself with Pinpoint, our searchable partner database.

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