Microsoft goes on partner splurge

While relations between Microsoft and New Zealand customers have been publicly strained by software licensing changes, local partners have no such complaints.

While relations between Microsoft and New Zealand customers have been publicly strained by software licensing changes, local partners have no such complaints.

That’s in contrast with Microsoft US partners, with whom the company got itself offside a year ago when it began stepping up the activities of its consulting organisation.

So mending fences with partners — helped by a $US500 million investment in the distribution channel — was a theme of the company’s Fusion partner conference in Los Angeles last month.

A handful of New Zealand Microsoft resellers were at the event.

Datacom software engineering director Scott Bennett says Microsoft’s partner model is “very strong” and better than that of other vendors.

“I think the [new] investment shows its commitment to the enterprise. There’s a bit of extra training; dedicated resources to work with us. We are pretty excited about it,” Bennett says.

Unisys solutions practice manager Graham Alston describes the channel’s relations with Microsoft in New Zealand as very good, saying the US situation is not reflected here. He expects changes the company is making in its consulting division would be “more focused” on partners and would strengthen them.

“I was encouraged by that,” Alston says, adding that it will mean more regular meetings and planning sessions between them.

The head of the enterprise services group within Microsoft’s New Zealand consulting division, Dave Thompson, says the division will continue its “modest growth” in New Zealand, adding four to five staff to its current 37.

They will include appointment of a business productivity adviser, Geoff Anderson, from the .Net solutions group. His role will be to help with total cost of ownership (TCO) issues for a product, not just at point of purchase, but throughout the life of a purchase, Thompson says.

The company is taking the message to CIOs and chief executives, which Thompson says is not only helping Microsoft win extra business, but channel partners and other vendors as well.

Microsoft is also increasing the numbers of its partner account staff to by similar numbers to the consulting division and expanding sales and technical training programmes through Auldhouse.

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