Plans to create a network of Microsoft partners are underway in New Zealand, as part of efforts to establish a collaborative local channel across the country.
Spearheaded by IT Engine - namely Delia Gill as managing director - the network aims to bring together all aspects of the Microsoft ecosystem, spanning more than 2,400 partners nationwide.
Specifically, this includes value-added resellers, managed services providers and system integrators and consultants, as well as independent software vendors, born-in-the-cloud providers, developers and start-ups.
“This network is open to all Microsoft partners,” explained Gill, when speaking exclusively to Reseller News. “Anyone who is a business and has a Microsoft certification is on our radar, even just a Microsoft certified professional.
“We don’t want to exclude anyone, especially the smaller partners. Also, this includes the distribution network as they are fundamental to the channel.”
The move comes amid sizeable changes within the traditional supply chain, as the linear structure of the channel transforms into a spider web of competitors and collaborators.
“There is always strength in a group but currently there is no Microsoft channel partner network in New Zealand,” Gill added. “I think with the changes at Microsoft, now is the time to collaborate as a group.
“I have brought competing partners successfully together before, this is just on a much larger scale.”
Billed by many as one of the most fundamental changes to impact the ecosystem, the One Commercial Partner (OCP) roll-out has redefined what it means to be a Microsoft partner.
While the core vision principles remain at a high-level, deep in the partner trenches, front and back-end overhauls have combined to create a new model for partnering.
Launched in early 2017, OCP is a modern take on a contemporary channel, representing a rebuild from within the walls of Redmond, creating internal and external change in equal measure.
“The IT landscape as we know it is going to turn on its head in the next few years,” Gill added. “If you want to not only survive but flourish then holding hands is the way to go, even with your potential competitors. It’s time to reach out to people.
“We are aiming to provide training and support, we have already also had offers of mentoring in the network. But most importantly ensuring that all partners have a voice, sometimes it is easy to get lost in the noise.”
According to Gill, the network has adopted a working title of the Association of Microsoft Certified Partners (AMCP), with 34 providers currently signed up, and another 20 registered through Yammer.
“This is a great start given we have only been active for a couple of months,” Gill added.
Operating as a locally owned Wellington business, IT Engine specialises in the provision of technologies which include cloud, support, recovery, infrastructure and mobility.
At this stage, Gill is acting chair of the formal network, with plans in place to democratically appoint a leader within the next five months.
“I am hoping by October that we will have a good group of partners so we can vote a chair person and committee members in,” Gill explained. “If this group has legs then it will be able to carry on without me heading it up but the proof will be in the pudding.
“This has the absolute support of Microsoft. They are really excited about the idea and have provided us with support to help me to get this off the ground.”
Looking ahead, Gill said key priorities during the next six months including gaining traction with member numbers; putting a formal governance in place and collecting feedback from the network regarding training requirements.
In addition, the network aims to take training out to the wider regions of New Zealand, while launching a mentoring system for members.
To register interest in becoming a member - click here