Microsoft Partner Network shakes up channel partner program

The Microsoft Partner Network, announced at the Worldwide Partner Conference 2009, will reward solutions providers that become specialized in specific vertical markets and technology areas.

In this video from the Microsoft show in New Orleans, Darren Bibby, IDC's program director for software channels research, discusses the Microsoft Partner Network and its effect on channel partners.


Read the full transcript from this video below:

Microsoft Partner Network shakes up channel partner program

Darren Bibby: Microsoft’s made some significant changes here, at Worldwide Partner Conference 2009, to do with the Microsoft Partner Program, renamed the Microsoft Partner Network. Also interesting, because there’s the Oracle Partner Network; it’s an almost identical name. I thought that was interesting.

Six years ago at WPC ‘03, they announced the Microsoft Partner Program and all of the competencies and partner points, and it was quite a complex system at that time, compared to . . . it was very simple to get in the partner program, previously. A lot’s happened over the last five or six years. A few things happened that I don’t think Microsoft fully expected to happen. There’s too many Gold partners, and that was something they had to address. They also had this issue of partners who qualified for Gold, under perhaps easier things, maybe, not to say anything’s easy, but networking infrastructure and infrastructure security perhaps. If they got to Gold based on the merits of doing that, but they were telling customers they were BI specialists, all of a sudden they could say, “Yes, we’re Gold, and yes, we do BI,” but they can’t really say they’re great at BI.

I like [the new system] because partners will be able to differentiate and say, “This is what I’m good at,” and you can’t really mess with the fact that you’re Gold partner and you’re trying to do more with it. I like that fact. I think that they’re given a lot of time to work up to this, so it’s a little anticlimactic that these changes are coming, but they won’t be coming for quite a while. The last time they announced changes, they didn’t give enough time for partners to figure it out, and I think they kind of got burned because they had to go back on what they said at one point.

I think the changes are positive. I’ve been able to look at them for a little while, a few weeks at least, and I’m positive about them. They emulate some other programs in the industry, and it’s a matter of time to see how these resonate with partners. There’s some things we never can predict.

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