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RCP Reader Survey: Good Times, Bad Times

In the Netherlands, there's a popular soap opera called "Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden" -- don't try to pronounce it unless you're Dutch -- which translates directly to "Good Times, Bad Times." (You know I've had my share...yeah, we're singing it, too.)

Anyway, GTST, as it's commonly known, probably won't feature a three-episode arc about the RCP reader survey any time soon, but it could. (And if the producers are out there reading, your editor still remembers a little Dutch from his time in Rotterdam and would love a guest appearance.) Because unlike in 2007, when credit default swaps and mortgage-backed securities were still mostly wonky Wall Street terms, there's some trepidation in 2009. Imagine that.

First, though, the good times, or maybe the good news...or just the good stuff. For most readers, dealing with Microsoft and the Partner Program is still a positive experience. Oh, there are a few complaints here and there -- maybe more than there were two years ago, but we're all a bit grumpy right now -- but for the most part Microsoft's partner program remains one of the best in the industry. And it ought to be, given Microsoft's position in the technology game and the amount of money its channel funnels into Redmond.

The real story here is the slechte tijden, the bad times. You don't need us to tell you that they're here. In fact, you told us. Your customers are slowing or stopping IT spending. The outlook for 2009 is mostly negative, maybe even a shade bleak. But you're not backing down; overwhelmingly, you're increasing your offerings and expanding your services. And that's good news. More good news amid the bad times: 62 percent of you expect growth this year.

What's not so good is that not all that many of you are venturing into Software as a Service. It's our position at RCPU that SaaS will grow in importance in the next few years and will probably be helped by a shaky economy. We don't see it as a revolution -- we're not on the payroll, after all -- but we do see it as an alternative that more and more companies of all sizes will be looking into and a model for which pretty much every partner should at least have a strategy.

Only 20 percent of you say that you're planning to expand or start reselling Microsoft's Software plus Services offerings in the next 12 months. Almost as many of you (19.4 percent) say you don't know what you're going to be doing with S+S this year. At least knowing what you're going to do with SaaS would be a good start and probably should be a priority in 2009 for at least 19.4 percent of you. After all, SaaS just might end up being one technology that can turn bad times into good times.

Next week, we clear out the RCPU mailbag. Until then, send us your thoughts on SaaS, the economy, the Partner Program or anything else that's on your mind to [email protected].

Posted by Lee Pender on March 05, 2009