Partners buy-in to Microsoft SMB push

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Partners buy-in to Microsoft SMB push
Microsoft Australia touted success in the mid market through several upgrades to its SMB-oriented programs.

The company launched version two of its Open Value licensing program, opening up the subscription sales model to the mid-market.

Resellers can now offer subscription-based pitches to businesses of five PCs or more. Previously, subscription sales were only available to enterprise customers with 500 PCs or more.

The company also added a number of supplemental initiatives underneath the Small Business Specialist component added to its partner program during November.

It has launched a new program, First Server - Right Server, designed to help partners to wring out the final sales left in the vendor’s Small Business Server offering.

A technical assessment training scheme had been developed to aid partners in carrying out customer technology audits to determine new small business sales opportunities.

Additional training courses and a series of cram sessions to help partners get through the Small Business Specialist accreditation process would run through March.

Microsoft partner group director, Kerstin Baxter, claimed partner responses rates to the new specialisation had been high with some 120 partners had achieved certification as a Small Business Specialist since November.

Another 450 were currently going through the qualification process, she said.

To spur on the process the vendor is doubling open licensing commissions for first year payments.

Registered and Certified/Gold Certified Partners were eligible when they registered as a Microsoft Software Advisor.

Baxter said Microsoft had offered subscription services to enterprises for three to four years but decided to bring the model down to the mid-market based on changing SMB buying behaviours.

She said the decision to move its subscription sales model down market would not interfere with partners already signed up to the vendor’s Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) program.

Under that program, partners offer software via a subscription model, but in a hosted, software as a service-style environment.

“The two programs complement each other,” she said. “A customer may want Office via a subscription model but messaging through SPLA.”

Baxter said between 200 and 300 partners were expected to sign up to the new SMB subscription model.

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