Microsoft focus pays off at event

Microsoft focus pays off at event

NO freebies, less hype and more focus are some of the features of last week’s Microsoft partner briefings, which elicited favourable feedback from the channel.

With around one thousand Microsoft partners attending sessions in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, Microsoft partner group manager Steve Haddock says feedback from visitors show support for his approach to host fewer, but more informative events.

“It was the best partner event we have ever done – I am absolutely thrilled with the response - the feedback has been consistently good,” says Haddock, who is already planning the next round of partner briefings - his “uber-event” to be held in October.

“It will be bigger than anything we have ever done and will be tailored to what people want to hear, with more technical sessions.”

Large events are planned in the three major cities, with slightly smaller versions offered in other locations around the country.

In spite of Haddock’s excitement, Kirsty Schuler of Maclean Computing says this month’s briefings showed that Microsoft has moved from events that were “full of hype” to ones that contained valuable information that made attendance worthwhile.

“It really was one of best events I have been to in my time in the IT industry,” she states.

“The sessions contained factual and practical information that as a reseller we can apply to our clients and use out there.”

Meanwhile, Mark Rundell of Tauranga’s Mark Two Networks says the briefings reflected Haddock’s aim to keep partners informed on Microsoft’s current and future direction.

“I certainly felt the presentation was on the button,” he says. “They are trying to get the message [from Redmond] across to partners.”

Rundell says the briefings underscored the importance of partnering with the vendor, which is crucial to the success of a reseller’s business.

“We value our partner relationship with Microsoft as much as anything else in our business.”

Mark Two is a certified Microsoft Business Solutions partner, but also focuses heavily on Small Business Server implementations in the Bay of Plenty.

Rundell is very supportive of Microsoft’s decision not to offer free software to entice partners to attend the briefings – a strategy he says that in the past attracted scores of people interested only in the freebies.

Haddock concurs saying although 1000 people attended sessions in Auckland alone in October last year when free copies of the then new Office 2003 suite were on offer, his focus is not just on filling seats at events.

“I want to attract the right people with the right messages that can help them make more money from Microsoft.”

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