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Microsoft Officially Launches Master VAR Program for Dynamics Partners

  • Read our in-depth article on the Master VAR pilot program here.

Microsoft has announced its Master VAR program in an effort to enable smaller Dynamics partners to latch on to larger ones.

Jeff Edwards, director of channel strategy for Microsoft Business Solutions first revealed plans to offer the program this summer during an interview at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles.

The Master VAR program aims to aid smaller partners that don't have the resources to gain the certifications needed under the new Microsoft Partner Network (MPN). Because of the new MPN requirements, those VARs are faced with either having to merge or forgoing the gold competency under the MPN.

Those VARs can sign on as what Microsoft calls Sales Affiliates of the Master VARs, though they can remain independent businesses.

"Partners that choose to work with a Master VAR will be able to leverage centralized marketing, support, operations and training at the Master VAR level thereby reducing costs and accelerating sales," Edwards said in a blog post Friday. "This program is the only channel collaboration model that is officially endorsed by Microsoft and it is currently only available in the United States."

Conspicuously absent in last week's announcement were the identities of the Master VARs. Edwards said Microsoft is still evaluating candidates and that they would be announced shortly. In order to become a Master VAR, the partner must have $1 million in operating capital and $500,000 in gross license revenue over the past year.

It remains to be seen whether partners will sign on for this program. Many partners have spent years or decades building their practices and feel they are being squeezed by the new MPN requirements. Dynamics VARs have told Redmond Channel Partner that their most valuable assets are their customer relationships and they don't want to hand those over.

Edwards argued they wouldn't have to hand them over under the Master VAR model. "Since Sales Affiliates remain independent businesses, they can retain their entrepreneurial spirit, their leadership and the customer relationships that are the cornerstone of their success," he said.

 

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on October 03, 2011 at 11:59 AM