Microsoft will scrap its hierarchy of gold certified and registered partners and their 17 competencies and 46 specialisations.
CRN understands they will be replaced by community, subscriber, competency partner and advance competency categories.
"Microsoft wants reseller involvement and wants feedback," says Wayne Small, founder and technology specialist at reseller Correct Solutions. He encourages resellers to tell Microsoft clearly what they want.
But he says he does not fully understand how the new levels replace the old.
"I'm not sure how Microsoft intends to differentiate one type of partner from another," he says. And his biggest concern is how customers will differentiate between him and the guy down the road:
"How will the small business owner understand when I have the same logo?"
Microsoft tells CRN that resellers should not be wary: the software company will work with them to ensure a smooth transition.
Microsoft said the network is about creating communities to help partners forge connections with customers, with Microsoft and each other.
Inese Kingsmill, partner strategy and programs director for Microsoft Australia says it's now easier for the customer to find the right partner.
That much we understand. Microsoft has 640,000 partners worldwide, 13,500 in Australia.
Microsoft wants to leverage this diversity in much the same way as web 2.0 applications: enable better collaboration and networking. But how it does that is to be seen.
"The Microsoft partner network as announced is a work in progress. You'll find many people are not on top of it," Small says.
Microsoft is still building out qualifications and it's understanding what it needs to add. "It's under construction to me, that's really what it's about," he says.
"They're building the network and they're trying to ensure that it has value for customers."
Issue: 315 | May 2013
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