Microsoft’s Open Letter to Small Partners
If you’re a small solutions provider — say, a VAR with 50 or fewer employees — then Microsoft would like your attention. As the new Microsoft Partner Network channel program prepares to launch on November 1, Microsoft GM Julie Bennani wants smaller partners to know, “how important the entire channel remains to us, and how important smaller partners remain to us.” What triggered Bennani’s comments? Here are some thoughts from The VAR Guy.
First, the background: the Microsoft Partner Network has been a work in progress since Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in July 2010. At the time, Microsoft announced a series changes to its partner program, culminating with the Microsoft Partner Network launch on November 1. In short, Microsoft has given partners ample time to reflect on the changes, and to prepare for them.
On November 1, The VAR Guy will publish some deeper details about the new efforts plus some thoughts on Microsoft’s channel cloud strategy. In the meantime, Bennani, general manager of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, wanted to reach out directly to smaller channel partners. Her two key points:
- Yes, Microsoft remains committed to smaller VARs
- SMBs are making the move to the cloud faster than enterprises, so small partners are particularly important to Microsoft
Of course, some small partners are worried about Microsoft’s channel cloud compensation models. But Microsoft continues to get in front of partners — through events like SMB Nation — to answer partner questions and reaffirm aggressive plans for Office365, the forthcoming successor to the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).
How will the forthcoming Office365 launch and imminent Microsoft Partner Network effort impact small VARs and solutions providers? The VAR Guy will share some detailed thoughts on November 1. In the meantime, Bennani continues to welcome feedback from small partners.