Underpinning so much of Microsoft’s modern software ecosystem, the Azure cloud computing platform is both powerful and immensely complex. Due to this, its potential for resellers is astonishingly broad, with near-countless ways for it to solve customer problems — but unless that potential is realised at the marketing level, it will never produce sales results.
Top resellers need to understand Azure incredibly well to develop impressive cloud packages and present them appropriately, particularly when they’re trying to convince their customers to migrate to Azure. If you’re eager for your company to acquire that knowledge, then your best option is for you and/or your colleagues to pursue official Azure certifications.
Provided through the Microsoft Learn program, these certifications cover various elements of Azure in great detail and culminate in detailed exams. Lay claim to an Azure certification and you’ll clearly demonstrate your in-depth awareness of that element of the platform.
Why Azure certifications are vital for resellers
There are two key reasons why it’s worth having members of staff who’ve achieved Azure certifications. Firstly, it better positions them to sell and support it effectively. Knowing more of the possible implementations makes it far easier to build a compelling case. Secondly, it neatly proves your company’s relevant expertise, making your input more authoritative. It’s easier to commit to deploying Azure through a company possessing demonstrable Azure mastery.
Additionally, the overall investment is far more time than it is of money. The required exams aren’t particularly costly from a business standpoint, and the necessary learning can be achieved through an independent study by those sufficiently motivated. Given that Azure resellers should be expanding their awareness of its applications regardless, building on that process to secure certifications is an easy decision to justify.
The current lineup of Azure certifications
At the moment, there are 12 Azure certifications on offer, ranging in nature and level of depth. Most are role-based, which ultimately makes a lot of sense for businesses that rely heavily (or plan to rely heavily) on Azure, but they can still hold interest for resellers. Here’s the list:
- Azure Fundamentals
- Azure Administrator Associate
- Azure Developer Associate
- Azure Database Administrator Associate
- Azure Data Engineer Associate
- Azure Security Engineer Associate
- Azure AI Engineer Associate
- Azure IoT Developer Specialty
- Azure Data Scientist Associate
- Azure DevOps Engineer Expert
- Azure Solutions Architect Expert
- Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty
The Advanced certifications are obviously the hardest to achieve, but the exams aren’t any more expensive (listed at £113 each), so anyone with the knowledge and ability might as well take the certification process as far as they can for their area of expertise.
Microsoft offers guidance on acquiring the necessary understanding to achieve certifications, with most of them (but not all) having two identified options: take a paid instructor-led course through an official learning partner, or follow a set learning path of free online modules.
(Note: due to changes in the lineup, there can be as-yet-unreleased certifications that have no identified study paths. Once they become available, at least one path will be provided for each.)
How to choose the direction to take
If you’re sold on the idea of picking up some Azure certifications to help you with reselling cloud services, your next step is to decide which certification (or certifications) are going to be most useful. What you should pick depends on two things: what you plan on prioritising through your sales efforts, and what you (or the person/people to be doing the studying) already know.
Take a close look at the details of each certification to see what exactly is covered (you can reach them through this page) and take a look at the suggested learning page. If you’re absolutely confident that a given certification exam could be passed with no study, then you might as well pursue it (the cost being so minimal, after all).
Most likely, though, each certification will require a fair amount of study, so don’t saddle any member of staff (even yourself) with a selection. Start with one and see how it goes: the Azure Fundamentals course will serve as a good introduction or refresher depending on the expertise of the participant (our webinar series is a strong accompaniment).
Beyond that, think carefully about the implementations you’d like to sell and support, and what might fit into your overall business model. You may have an interest in earning a certification in a totally new use of Azure, but unless you plan on using it for your sales efforts, it’s hard to justify.
If you need any further advice on why you should pursue Azure certifications or how you should choose your study path, get in touch. We can point you in the right direction.