A Nurturing Role

Microsoft is committed to helping partners grow.

The way we work is changing. Over the last decade, software has evolved. It now gives people powerful ways to communicate, collaborate and access data. Now the challenge is less about gaining access to information and more about building on the capabilities we have to help people adapt and thrive in a complex, information-rich environment.

Microsoft has invested heavily in research and development to deliver a new breed of software applications and services that manage complexity in the background and automate low-value tasks, enabling people to work more effectively and maximize their impact with higher value work. This wave of innovation has already begun, with recent releases of SQL Server 2005, Dynamics CRM 3.0 and Windows Server 2003 R2. Over the next 12 months, you’ll see even more enabling technology with the release of Office 2007, Windows Vista and Exchange.

We also want to ensure that our partners are able to adapt and thrive in this environment. Microsoft partners bring our technology to life for customers and a critical success factor for us is whether you are able to build and sustain a profitable business by doing so. To create an industry partner baseline, we commissioned a study from IDC last year to gain a more holistic view of the health of your businesses. IDC conducted a blind study of 830 broad channel companies, including partners, who, among other attributes, resell or influence the sale of software.

A Look Back, a Look Forward
Over the past three years, the Microsoft Partner Program has built a framework and delivered tools to help strengthen relationships. Our overall goal is to create an industry-leading approach to providing your business the resources necessary to achieve long-term business health.

Reports from around the world and the IDC study confirm that those of you who engage with us via certifications, competency programs and joint marketing efforts experience substantial benefits in terms of your ability to land new engagements, and execute on them more efficiently.

One of the most important findings from the IDC study revolves around the importance of the key drivers of your business’ performance. These key drivers include:

  • Capacity to fund
  • Deal size
  • Business velocity
  • Revenue growth
  • High-margin services
  • Company performance

There is evidence of how important these key drivers are throughout the Microsoft partner network.

For example, one of our larger enterprise national systems integrators, Quilogy, has successfully built solutions for healthcare, leveraging Microsoft competencies in portals and collaboration, business intelligence, and business process and integration. It has seen a dramatic increase in customer interest in providing a "holistic" or suite of offerings that encompass collaboration, electronic forms, business scorecards, and reporting and analytics within the healthcare and other vertical arenas. Quilogy uses Microsoft SharePoint technology, Live Communication Server and even Groove Technology to deliver a complete healthcare collaboration solution. This company’s success is a shining example of how building a Microsoft business and enrolling in multiple competencies enables partner organizations to capitalize on the Microsoft platform and drive revenue.

Where Do We Go from Here?
The work we’re doing now, including the IDC study and other efforts, is really about making a positive impact on the health of our partner community. The investment Microsoft makes in its partner channel has grown to more than $2 billion. I look forward to an ongoing dialogue with you, our business partners, on how we can best direct that investment to enable your own profitability and performance.

Every vendor in the industry talks about partner profitability as a top priority. At Microsoft, we’re committed to backing those words up with action and results.