Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Have you looked at the certification requirements for Microsoft Dynamics and already feel lost about where to start? It was daunting for us as well when we got our first CfMD request in 2012. Since then we’ve learned the ins and outs of the program and would like to share some key takeaways with you – our partners.
In this article, I’ll review 6 key certification requirements and highlight the main things you should know before starting your solution certification process.
Figure: Certification (CfMD) requirements simplified
Before diving deeper into certification requirements, first you should know that in order to get your solution certified, your solution needs to be upgraded/created on the latest Microsoft Dynamics NAV version (e.g. Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015). Additionally, your solution must run on the latest service pack version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, if it has been available for the local version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV that is being tested for more than two months.
To begin CfMD validation, you need to choose a Testing Track – (1) Applications/Services or (2) Industry Solutions. The quick difference between the two is: (1) the Applications/Services track you choose when your solutions extends the functionality of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, improving the user experience, but would not be considered an end-to-end solution; whereas, (2) the Industry Solutions track you choose if your solution extends the functionality of Microsoft Dynamics NAV to create a true end-to-end vertical solution. The ISVs who decides to choose Applications/Services track are not required to take Software Solution Test. Instead of this, they must provide the references of five reselling partners who have their ERP or CRM competency in the Microsoft Partner Network.
Certification Requirements in a Nutshell
There are 6 key certification requirements that you need to meet in order to get your solution certified:
1. Establish an ERP Competence
In order to be considered for certification, you should have at least Silver ERP Competency in the new Microsoft Partner Network. As Microsoft states, it is needed to ensure that customers are being serviced by partners who are proficient with Microsoft Dynamics. If you don’t have ERP competency yet, you can gain the ERP competency during the certification process that is a max of 2 years (i.e. partners must pass the Software Solution Test within 12 months and full Certified Dynamics Test within 24 months - if the CfMD test is not completed within this time Microsoft will retrospectively bill you for any sales).
2. Establish a Software Escrow Account
Source code escrow is the deposit of the source code of software with a third party escrow agent.
It ensures maintenance of the software if the solution licensor files for bankruptcy or otherwise fails to maintain and update the software as promised in the software license agreement. As Microsoft states, this requirement is aimed to protect the investment of the customer now and in the future.
Note, the Software Escrow requirement is not mandatory if solution is offered free of charge or by subscription.
According to requirements, partners can contact any escrow company of their choice or choose from a pre-approved Escrow companies list. However, if the selected Software Escrow Partner is not on the pre-approved list, the approval process for these escrow agents takes more time.
3. Demonstrate Your Support Capability
In simple terms, this requirement means that the partner needs to have a page on the company website detailing how the partner supports existing customers on the solution that is being certified. In addition, you need to provide proof (i.e. in any location accessible to your customers, like a website) that your solution will follow the Statement of Direction for the Microsoft Dynamics products and Dynamics NAV Product Roadmap, to ensure that as Microsoft adds new features and functionality, your solution will be upgraded thus allowing your customers to install the latest version.
4. Provide Existing Customer Evidence
According to Microsoft, in meeting this requirement, partners confirm the solution is trusted and recommended. The 10 items of evidence needs to come from at least 6 unique customer installations (e.g. 6 different installations, with references provided by 6 different people). References are accepted on the current and previous solution versions. The following are the types of references accepted:
- Public Microsoft References
- Confidential Microsoft References
- Confidential VeriTest References
- Microsoft Case Studies
- Microsoft Executive Nominations
5. Complete Solution Testing
A new option for completing the ISV Solution Test has been introduced by Microsoft with Dynamics NAV 2015. Now, ISVs can run the Software Solution Test at 1ClickFactory’s Testing Center before getting the full CfMD certification at Lionbridge (VeriTest). Running the Software Solution Test at 1ClickFactory will substantially reduce the price for the CfMD certification at Lionbridge. In addition, 1ClickFactory allows five test attempts within a three month period without additional fees, contrary to running tests through Lionbridge where partners need to pay extra for retesting or purchase pass guarantees.
6. Establish a Pinpoint Solution Profile on Dynamics Marketplace
As our partner survey* showed, most certification efforts were triggered not only by a need to avoid huge Microsoft fees for add-on objects, but also for marketing reasons like high quality standards (e.g. rating on Pinpoint). Certified applications are differentiated by the CfMD logos and can be listed on the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace. Certified solutions gets higher ratings on Pinpoint.
The last and one of the easiest to fulfill of the CfMD requirements, creating a Pinpoint solution profile on Dynamics Marketplace. In our experience, it takes around 2 weeks to get an approval from Microsoft for these.
After reading this, do you feel more self-confident to start your solution certification? Request an introductory online session or an extended workshop with 1ClickFactory CfMD specialists to get a clear overview of all certification requirements. By signing up an extended workshop you will also receive a Gap & Fit Analysis of your solution, which includes a list of gaps found in your solution that do not meet CfMD requirements.
At 1ClickFactory, we have built a number of services to help ISVs minimize the time and effort needed to get their software solution through the CfMD process. These services can be bought as a package or individually to suit your needs. Learn more by selecting the links below:
- CfMD Software Solution Self-Test
- CfMD Project Management
- CfMD Readiness Assessment
- Solution Design and Development
*Certified for Dynamics NAV 2013 ISVs Survey conducted by 1ClickFactory, 2013.