PLAYING matchmaker between partners and helping them profile their own solutions will be a focus of Microsoft Business Solutions in the next year.
This is according to Tami Reller, corporate vice president of Redmond’s business applications unit, who spoke to Louis van Wyk at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in the US last month.
Reller says her unit is making big investments in supporting vertical applications developed by partners for Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) suites, which include Axapta, Navision and CRM. “What we are investing in over the next year is making sure we have the tools, infrastructure, people and marketing to really support their vertical efforts in a more significant way,” she says.
One of the tools Reller is particularly excited about is the web-based Solution Finder Microsoft launched at the event.
The tool will help partners profile their vertical applications and help partners and customers find the industry-specific solutions they need locally and globally, says Reller.
“It is so powerful to think about the connections that can be made through that,” she says. Reller says as the MBS channel moves closer to the wider Microsoft reseller base, partners are looking for more ways to work with each other on specific opportunities.
She cites the Independent Association of Certified Microsoft Partners, which has grown from 20 to 200 chapters globally in the last year, as an example of this.
“It has been a fascinating phenomenon. The networking is the reason they are joining,” says Reller.
“Momentum is building around this structured networking and MBS has been a very high proportion of the catalyst. You have partners seeing the value of connecting and bringing this whole new set of business value to customers.”
To facilitate matchmaking between partners on larger accounts, Microsoft is employing more field-based technical solution specialists, including in New Zealand.
“They bring in the partners and delineate who is doing what. We have made big increases in their numbers last year and even more this year,” says Reller.
This has helped MBS win more business, particularly against SAP, she adds.
Locally, deploying solution specialists has resulted in half-a-dozen new sales this year, according to David Guy, partner manager for Microsoft Business Solutions New Zealand.
Another way Microsoft is helping partners team up is through the web-based Channel Builder tool, says Reller. This assists independent software vendors (ISVs) find resellers for their products.