Happy Monday – may u have a better week! I am the publisher of the popular Microsoft Small Business Specialist Primer [SMB Nation Press] and I like to hold virtual book reading over morning coffee. Such is the case today! I present an interesting topic for your to consider and comment on: the case FOR partnering with Microsoft….’cause that’s what the SBSC program is baby….you are getting married to the big M! Let me know what u think!!!
Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation www.smbnation.com
Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP
PS – did u know I host an annual conference in Seattle each october for SBSers and SMB consultants? This year we help launch SBS 2008 and Essential Business Server (EBS) between October 4-6!
The Case for Partnering With
One of the big reasons to read this book and follow our advice is to partner with Microsoft. Some readers go back a few light years in the SMB technology community and remember in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Novell’s certification and partner program ruled the land (circa NetWare 2.x and 3.x). People loved the Novell partnering opportunity and Microsoft was a partner program no-show.
That all changed in the early to mid-1990s when Dwayne Walker (who worked for Microsoft between 1989 and 1996) fathered the modern Microsoft Partner Program with Steve Ballmer’s executive endorsement. Walker later went on the run a “dot-com” called Network Commerce and ultimately sued Microsoft for patent infringement (2002-2003), but that’s a whole different story (you can read about Dwayne at http://www.windowsitpro.com/Windows/Article/ ArticleID/2249/2249.html).
Fast forward to modern times and here’s how Microsoft’s Partner Program is defined and where the program is at, as seen in Figure 2-1.
Microsoft’s own Partner Program definition is:
The worldwide Microsoft Partner Program is for technology companies that use Microsoft software for building and distributing software or hardware solutions or as the building blocks for value- added services.
IMPORTANT: You can read an updated overview of the Microsoft Partner Program in the July edition of Redmond Channel Partner magazine at http://rcpmag.com/news/article.aspx?editorialsid=8734. It reveals who’s who in the zoo in Redmond.
What’s interesting about the definition is how it sets expectations and boundaries.
Clearly the Microsoft Partner Program is focused on the consulting and reseller
Chapter 2 Small Business Specialist Community
community. Redmond Channel Partner magazine had a great article in August 2007 that dug deep into the “numbers” with respect to how much revenue the partners generate (somewhere around 96 percent of MS revenue, which now exceeds $50 BILLION USD! You can read this excellent article at www. rcpmag.com).
Microsoft’s community outreach to its partners is best defined by its annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WWPC), recently held in Minneapolis (July 2005), Boston (July 2006) and Denver (July 2007). (Visit: https://partner. microsoft.com/global/events/ wwpartnerconference/). Contrast this major Microsoft conference with other Microsoft conferences. The developers that support the Microsoft ecosystem possibly haven’t even heard of the Microsoft Partner Program and would attend very different Microsoft soirées, such as TechEd. In short, Microsoft interacts with different stakeholder groups in different ways. One partner told me that the owner and sales people attend the WWPC and the technical staff attend TechEd. There’s your boundary definition for you!
IMPORTANT: In designing the SMB Nation annual conference, we attempted to cater to both crowds in the small business technology consulting space by having both a business and technical track. This multi-track approach allows multiple people from the same Small Business Specialist Community firm to attend the same conference. For more information on this annual event, held each fall in the Seattle area, visit www.smbnation.com. There is also an east coast (USA) version held each spring.
Starting with WPC Boston in July 2006, Microsoft’s Partner Program has supported a Small Business Symposium day. Beatrice and I feature this event in the August 2006 and the August\September 2007 editions of our SMB Partner Community magazine.