Microsoft Catalyst

Image of I.d.e.a. logo

It's not what you think!

Whenever I had heard a Microsoft Catalyst mentioned, prior to this training, it had been in the context of ‘Sales’.  So I had incorrectly assumed that Catalyst was all about selling techniques, and didn’t really apply to me.  After all, I don’t work in Sales! 

When a delivery colleague said they were studying Catalyst, and I really should take a look, I was intrigued.  Surprised, but definitely intrigued!

Luckily there was a program running that I could register for.  Although there was a tight deadline with only a few days to complete the training, I registered anyway.  Because if you know me, you’ll know I love a challenge!

So how do you get started?

Microsoft Catalyst training is available free to anyone working for a Microsoft Partner through ‘Partner Center‘.  You will need to register with your Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) ID.  You can find this on your Partner Dashboard, or ask whoever has the Microsoft Alliance role within your organisation.

Once registered, you’ll need to wait a few days before you can access the course.  After this time you will receive an onboarding email including a link to the training materials. 

What is included?

When I accessed the training, I was surprised to discover that Microsoft Catalyst is actually not just about Sales.  It is an approach to business transformation based around the I.D.E.A. envisioning and planning program.  The I.D.E.A. program comprises the stages Inspire, Design, Empower and Achieve.

The training content includes reading materials, videos, case studies and exercises.  These activities are cleverly designed to develop and test your understanding as you work through each concept. They include;
  • envisioning workshop
  • observation modelling
  • business value analysis
  • deployment planning
  • adoption & change management assessment
  • AI strategy mapping
  • solution prototyping
These activities are grouped into each of the stages of the framework. I have provided an outline of each of the I.D.E.A. stages below.


This stage comprises a number of activities designed to help develop a digital transformation strategy.  They help organisations envision and ideate the ways in which technology can help achieve this strategy.  The goal of this is to empower people, transform products, optimise operations and engage customers.  Using a proven approach, we then undertake a design thinking session which combines creative and critical thinking to ideate a solution.


In the design stage, we begin to determine how to achieve business impact.  This could be by improving customer engagement, growing revenue or reducing costs, among other means.  This will inform our plan and priorities as we move forward.


The empower stage is the critical phase where everything we have learned is communicated to the organisation.  This provides a depth of understanding and engagement that is crucial to ensure the future success of the strategy.  It concludes with an agreement on commitment and partnership.


The achieve phase is where we begin to execute everything we have strategised.  Bringing together our resources and facilitating change to enable technical deployments.  Above all, measuring the value that is provided by the actions we are taking.

As I said, so much more than Sales!

I really enjoyed Microsoft Catalyst and felt I learned a lot.  While its nice to have the accreditation, the learning gave me so much more.

Catalyst Completion Certificate