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More Administrative Hassles Hit Microsoft Partner Program

A few weeks back, when we innocuously asked for some feedback on the Microsoft Partner Program, we had no idea that we were taking a can opener to a container full of worms. But now that the can is most definitely open, the worms are spilling out and we're hearing more and more about administrative problems (among other hassles) involving the Partner Program.

And now this week, Barbara Darrow, legendary channel journalist who, as it happens, hired your editor to his first real job as journalist years ago, reports for RCPmag.com that due to a glitch in a Microsoft payment system, partners have been getting underpaid for sales of customer relationship management applications. Microsoft folks say they've fixed the problem, but it's another in a long string of glitches, gaffes and goof-ups that seem to plague the MSPP right now.

Now, we'll say it here again, as we always do, that Microsoft is generally very good to its partners, and many of the problems we've heard about, while obviously frustrating for those involved, haven't sounded like the end of the world. Still, partners rely on Microsoft for their livelihoods, and vice versa. It would behoove Microsoft, then, one would think, to keep the Partner Program running like a fairly well-oiled machine. We're sure that Microsoft has that goal, but clearly there are some glitches in the system right now -- and we're not sure why.

Maybe Microsoft's Partner Program has finally become too big (the latest total number of Microsoft partners, according to Redmond, is 400,000). Or maybe the many shakeups in partner program leadership -- there's another coming, as the first link in this entry explains -- have led to a bit of confusion. Maybe, too, most of the problems -- especially the administrative hang-ups -- lie with temporary workers who don't work for Microsoft at all, as we've heard suggested here and there.

Whatever the cause, though, we've heard so many complaints now that we're actually looking much deeper into this situation for a story in RCP magazine. So, if you have a gripe with the partner program, please share it -- and, if you're willing to talk about it in the magazine, please let me know. We're especially interested in hearing about administrative snafus and the like, but if you've got a rant, go for it. You know where to reach me: lpender@rcpmag.com.

And with that, let's move into one more e-mail about the MSPP, this one less about administrative stuff and more about procurement of products -- but interesting nonetheless:

"For years now, I have run a one-man operation. For the most part, I have not experienced the level of frustrations that others have regarding being a Registered partner or an Action Pack subscriber. I do, however, have a concern over our ability to adequately compete with larger organizations. I realize that our niche is to provide value-added services atop our expertise. What I would really like to see is an ability to provide Microsoft products, purchased from national vendors, which can compete with what's available in the retail chains. I constantly find myself making purchases online, from retail, rather than from national vendors, because saving our customers money makes sense. Many times I have raised this issue with whatever Microsoft rep was calling me this week, or what rep was in town for a TS2 event. I would prefer to be able to take advantage of my role as a Microsoft Partner, or any reseller program I am involved in, as opposed to being forced to seek the lesser expensive alternatives available."

Daniel, that's a legitimate concern, and you're probably not the only partner who feels that way. Anybody else want to chime in? Drop me a line at lpender@rcpmag.com. And thanks to Daniel and everybody who has taken time to write.

FYI, there will be a special edition of RCPU on July 2 -- special because it'll be out on a Monday, and we don't usually do that. So don't be surprised to see it hit your inbox.

Posted by Lee Pender on June 29, 2007 at 11:54 AM


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