Do you really believe Microsoft can objectively monitor customer satisfaction and, better yet, partner performance ["Seeking Satisfaction
," September 2007]? Taking the example of Dynamics AX: Deploying this software almost always requires a VAR and affects many divisions, sites, plants, people and operations.
Who is one of the largest enterprise-level VARs in the Dynamics channel? Avanade! Who owns part of Avanade? Microsoft! How does Microsoft police itself? If Microsoft is really serious about customer satisfaction, then it should hire an independent firm like J.D. Powers and make customer-service information available and easily found.
The Microsoft Dynamics internal team has one national customer-relationship manager that I know of. From a customer's perspective, that person is very hard to find and can do very little to compensate companies who lost millions of dollars with the wrong partner.
Let's take this down to the SMS&P level, where the majority of the partners live: If you look at lead distribution-the lifeblood of any partner organization-this responsibility currently rests with the area sales manager. I can't tell you how hard it has been to break the "who-you-know" mentality and get down into the real guts of vertical ability and customer satisfaction, because nobody at the corporate or the field sales level really is listening. At this moment, the priorities are revenue, market share and quota, in that order.
Name withheld by request
A West Coast VAR specializing in Dynamics AX