AFTER hailing its first Connect event as a success, Microsoft is already looking towards the next instalment in November.
The conference, which offered streams for partners, customers and technicians, was held in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland earlier this month and attracted over 2,000 attendees.
This number is about 25% higher than Microsoft’s last partner conference in December 2004 - when all technical sessions were booked out weeks in advance. However, Microsoft New Zealand partner group manager Steve Haddock says he is already thinking of improvements for the next event, which he wants to grow by another 25%.
One tweak will be to the Auckland venue. Partners in the Marketplace exhibition area at the Aotea Centre were concerned that they were located two floors down from where potential customers were attending their sessions.
They felt this separation limited traffic through the exhibition, and the unrelated Thrive Auckland show held there at the same time distracted their audience.
Haddock says he was aware of the issue and that it will be improved at the next conference, and says overall he received positive feedback for the Marketplace. Sessions on offer covered sales, technical and business issues and Haddock aims to boost future numbers by keeping content consistent, relevant and reliable.
Partner briefings included a three-hour presentation by Bruce Rasmussen of Australian consulting firm Carpe Diem on selling Microsoft server infrastructure to CIOs and IT managers.
A second session by Rasmussen cove-red creating and selling opportunities around Office.
Rasmussen believes resellers should focus more on how they can help customers achieve their business objectives than selling the features of new technology.
“Start with an end in mind,” Rasmussen says, adding partners need to ask customers what their issues are outside the IT department.
“Exhaust all opportunities with your existing customers before moving onto new ones.”