Bekker's Blog

Blog archive

Overhaul Coming for the MPN ISV Competency

Independent software vendors in the Microsoft Partner Network can look forward to an overhaul of the way they fit into Microsoft's partner structure, according to senior Microsoft channel executives.

In an interactive partner forum last week, Microsoft channel executives said they are looking to find better ways to fit vertical ISVs into the MPN, which was relaunched in November under a new framework after a multi-year process.

"I think the competency structure that the team has built is fantastic, but in the ISV space, we are a little bit off," said Microsoft global channel chief Jon Roskill, who has been in his current job for eight months. ISV/Software is one of the 28 competencies in the MPN.

"The needs of ISVs are somewhat unique, so it's something we clearly have taken an action on, and we will be looking at tweaking going forward," Roskill said.

Julie Bennani, who as general manager of the Microsoft Partner Network had broad responsibilities for restructuring the MPN, said the MPN structure as it stands works well for many ISVs.

"In the competencies that are focused on solutions like business intelligence, most of those competencies have an ISV qualification track through Microsoft Platform Ready, meaning that you can qualify your application as opposed to focusing too heavily on certifying technical people," Bennani said. Competencies with ISV tracks in the MPN include Application Integration, Business Intelligence, CRM, Data Platform, ERP and Unified Communications.

"Where that works great, to Jon's point, [is] for horizontal ISVs. But when we think about vertical ISVs, that's the work that I think we need to do. If you're horizontally focused, please consider that track. If you're vertically focused, we do have more work to do," Bennani said.

In the meantime, Ross Brown, vice president of Worldwide Partner Sales, promised as much transparency to the process as possible. "I'll work with the ISV [Partner Account Manager] community to try to put together a little bit more of a forecast of where we're taking the ISV business as a competency," Brown said.

(Ed's Note: For more news from the Microsoft Partner Network Interactive Leadership Forum, click here.)

Posted by Scott Bekker on March 16, 2011