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Shavlik To Unveil U.S. Partner Programs

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Redmond Partner Update newsletter, the online adjunct to the also-new Redmond Channel Partner magazine. The first issue of the magazine drops in the mail July 1 to Microsoft Partners across the land. Both vehicles are intended to offer content that helps Microsoft Partners of all types grow their businesses. As our tagline says, “Driving Success in the Microsoft Partner Community” is what we’re all about.

We’re sending this newsletter to you because your profile tells us you are likely to be interested in what we’ve got to offer. If we’re right, I encourage you to sign up for both the magazine and the newsletter here.

Enough with the introductory blather. Let’s get to the meat.

Shavlik To Unveil U.S. Partner Programs
Shavlik Technologies this month will announce the launch of two U.S.-based partner programs. The first, dubbed Trusted Advisor, will target larger security VARs with at least $5,000 in Shavlik sales per quarter, while the other, Trusted Agent, is for smaller partner companies, according to Michael Thomas, Shavlik’s vice president of sales. Shavlik makes patching and vulnerability assessment tools, including its flagship HFNetChkPro. The company has been aligned with an international distributor for three years, but the new programs are its first domestic channel effort and will be direct to VARs, with no distributors.

Trusted Advisor is a managed program that enables partners to create their own matrix of benefits in conjunction with Shavlik. Partners accrue points for becoming certified in Shavlik technology, meeting quarterly goals and the like. They can trade those points for benefits including marketing funds, qualified leads and rebates. The partners also have access to sales scripts, how-to documents on patch management and additional materials.

The Trusted Agent program is targeted at consultants and small-to-medium resellers. It is a self-service program whereby partners can download software while earning quarterly commissions based on total sales.

The company recently hired Paul Jacobsen away from McAfee to head up its channel efforts as director of channel programs.

Configuresoft Adds to Partner Program
Configuresoft this week announced it is making its Rapid Security Configuration Assessment (RSCA) program available through its Channel Partner Program. RSCA is intended to provide customers with a security and configuration snapshot, from which the Configuresoft Partner can assess whether the client’s systems comply with industry standard best practices, including those from NIST and Microsoft. The service is provided using Configuresoft’s flagship Enterprise Configuration Manager tool, which ships with a number of canned compliance templates.

The addition of RSCA is part of an effort by Configuresoft to increase channel sales of its products, says Ron Smith, director of product marketing at Configuresoft. Historically, the 6-year-old company has relied on direct sales in the U.S. and distributors internationally. About six months ago, the company hired Jeff Puffenberger as its director of Global Partnering, with the mandate to increase the number of domestic partners such that the eventually 25 percent to 50 percent of sales come through partners. In addition to reselling Configuresoft products, the company’s partners also have access to its Center for Policy & Compliance, a four-person group that creates templates outlining how to properly configure Microsoft and other systems to comply with various policy and regulatory requirements.

Configuresoft also announced three new members of its Channel Partner Program: Cymbel Corp., Parabon Solutions, Inc. and SynerComm, Inc.

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Microsoft Backs Partners in IP Battle
Microsoft last week announced it will expand the protection it offers to OEM and ISV partners by offering to pick up the tab for legal costs associated with lawsuits and damage claims related to patent claims and intellectual property (IP) disputes involving Microsoft software. The announcement stems from some high-profile IP disputes, including a Lucent Technologies suit against Gateway and Dell for distributing Microsoft software that Lucent said violated its patents, and a SCO Group lawsuit that charged Daimler Chrysler with using a version of Linux provided by IBM that violated SCO patents.

Microsoft’s enhanced indemnification program provides OEMs, OEM distributors, system builders and ISV royalty partners with protection against copyright, patent, trade secret and trademark suits. It also proves that it pays to have a sizeable war chest.

RSS Coming to Longhorn
Microsoft also last week announced support for RSS in Longhorn that is intended to make it easy for end users to find and subscribe to RSS feeds and for developers to incorporate RSS into their applications. In addition, the company announced a set of extensions to RSS that enable Web sites to publish lists as RSS feeds.

Nyet to Windows XP N
After much hand-wringing, gnashing of teeth and massive fines levied by the European Commission, Microsoft is now selling Windows XP “N” editions—the N meaning no Windows Media Player. Actually, “trying to sell” would be more accurate, because it turns out nobody is much interested in an OS with less—to the extent that many European retailers aren’t even stocking the N versions.

Windows 2000 Enters New Support Phase
Here’s some ammo you can use to get sluggish customers off the stick and with the upgrade program. As of June 30, Windows 2000 will transition to Extended Support, meaning customers will have to pay for most support options, save for security hot fixes. The change marks the end of the first five-year lifecycle for Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2000 Professional and the beginning of the next. Software Assurance customers can still get new non-security bug fixes, however, as can those signed up for Extended Hotfix Support—two more opportunities the transition presents for partners.

Tip of the Day
If you’re heading to the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference next week, be sure to take advantage of the Structured Networking tool that enables you to set up appointments with Microsoft executives and team members as well as other partners. “I would so abuse that,” says Marlene Frank, a Microsoft field partner account manager based in Waltham, Mass. “It allows you to touch people you’ve had trouble reaching all year and set up meetings.” The tool, also known as RIO, is available from the Partner Conference Web site as well as from kiosks located all around the convention site.

Posted by Paul Desmond on June 29, 2005 at 11:53 AM