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Microsoft partners ponder Microsoft’s partner problem

Microsoft partners really, really, really want to be recognized by the quality of their work. And not surprisingly, they want to be paid for it.

One recurring theme sounded by Gold Certified partners as reported earlier this week in, is that being Gold is no longer enough. These partners say there are too many VARs sporting the Gold designation and that leads to cut-throat pricing to win deals. And razor thin margins on the deals won.

Several solution providers, Rand Morimoto, president of Converged Computing among them, say the vendor needs to recognize its truly -top tier partners.

“I’ve always commented to Microsoft that there’s a need for a ‘platinum’ level, kind of like what Novell had during their heyday,”

Partners say Microsoft has been told this over and over and talks about better recognition of partners who put the most “skin in the game” but still resists the notion of another program level.

But least one Gold partner disagrees with the notion of another tier, saying that would just add more confusion into an already confused partner program.

Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) Dynamics partners, in particular, feel that the company has done too much recruiting in their bailiwick. This is a particular sore point since the ERP and CRM offerings they deal with make for a longer sales cycle, more hand holding and thus so far command higher margins than the volume-oriented Windows-Office-SharePoint-type products that can be sold by anyone. A Dynamics sale, on the other hand, requires an authorized MBS partner.

“There seems to be a continued push to add more and more partners instead of driving the capacity and ability to scale to those partners that continue to constantly grow and invest in Microsoft. The monies spent on recruiting new partners should be directed toward accelerating and adding capacity to the successful partners in the channel,” said one partner, who thinks his organization would benefit from this treatment. But he is not alone. Over the past two or three years, there has been a push among larger MBS partners to consolidate talent and geographical coverage all to better sell and support CRM and ERP applications.

Barbara Darrow can be reached at

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