MICROSOFT New Zealand has established a partner advisory council to increase its communication with resellers.
The council held its inaugural meeting at the Microsoft Connect partner conference in Auckland this month.
Representatives from Microsoft partners, such as Datacom, Firstbase, Mark Two Networks, Acquire, Astrum, Infinity and HP, attended the meeting, along with Microsoft partner manager Steve Haddock.
Haddock says the council provides a forum where partners can raise key topics they want to discuss with Microsoft and which will allow him to gain feedback on the vendor’s initiatives and marketing activities.
“I want the partners to determine the outcomes and objectives of the council,” he says.
“It is a good opportunity for them to feed into Microsoft what they want to hear from us.”
Haddock says the council is not run only for the benefit of its participants, but the partner community as a whole.
“It is heartening to see people so willing to give their time, passion, energy and enthu-siasm for this,” he says.
Mark Rundell of Tauranga company Mark Two Networks says the council is very pertinent.
He adds the council should aim to increase Microsoft’s cooperation with partners and to make the vendor more visible to end-users.
“We have a good relationship with Microsoft, but many of our customers don’t know we do,” he says.
“We want to be able to say to clients the reason they should deal with us is because we are preferred suppliers of Microsoft and HP. Microsoft can do a lot behind the scenes to improve this recognition.”
While pleased with the issues raised at the first meeting, Rundell hopes future meetings will be longer and will include a higher representation from partners outside of Auckland.
“For something such as this to succeed we need to be as open as possible,” he says.
Roger Bennett of Acquire.co.nz says he aims to raise feedback gained from clients on their attitudes to Microsoft at the council.
“The council is a conduit between our customers and Microsoft. I want to represent our clients on the council,” he says.
He anticipates future council meetings to cover issues such as licensing and how resellers can work with Microsoft.
Haddock says while partners realise there may be matters that he does not have the power to change, a high consensus on certain issues increases his clout at higher levels of the organisation.
The advisory council will meet quarterly and Haddock wants to host future meetings in Wellington or the South Island to encourage participation from all regions.
“We need national representation for the council to work,” he says.
He also wants to ensure inclusion of certified, gold and ISV partners.