Microsoft Adds Horsepower to Direct Access Engine With Community Engagement Focus

Microsoft Adds Horsepower to Direct Access Engine With Community Engagement Focus

REDMOND, Wash., May 18, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that it is adding depth and focus to the Microsoft® Direct Access Program that will provide independent computer resellers and consultants with insight, marketing and interactive forums specifically designed to help them be more successful in reaching and providing technology solutions to small businesses.

“Based on feedback we received from our channel partners, there is a strong desire for targeted sales and marketing materials, as well as resources, that address the unique needs of value-added providers that service and sell to the small-business market,”
said Paul Bazley, general manager, value-added provider and small-business programs at Microsoft.
“The Microsoft Direct Access Small Business Community will focus on providing proven marketing expertise and tools tailored toward the small-business customer to directly address demand for assistance in servicing and selling to this growing market.”

David Weisong of Relational Inc., a Portland, Ore.-based value-added provider (VAP), has built his five-person firm around servicing the burgeoning small-business market.

“Microsoft has made some significant investments to make it easier for value-added providers like myself to get information effectively,”
Weisong said.
“The Direct Access Small Business Community takes it one step further by enabling organizations like Relational to easily utilize Microsoft’s strategic marketing and technical resources to proactively meet the needs of small-business clients, as well as attract new small-business clients with smart information about the market and the issues.”

“Microsoft’s strategy for engaging value-added providers through the Microsoft Direct Access Program has been quite impressive so far,”
said Chris LeTocq, director and principal analyst, Dataquest.
“Now, by adding depth and a community focus to the program as well as providing VAPs with actual tools, such as the proposal builder, Microsoft is enabling VAPs to more effectively reach the small-business market.”

Small Business Community Components

The Microsoft Direct Access Small Business Community is a new thrust for the already successful channel engagement strategy. The special interest community strategy is new to Microsoft’s engagement model and has a twofold objective. The first is to enable independent resellers, consultants and other VAPs to better service and sell to targeted customer segments by using Microsoft’s marketing expertise. The second is to help build a stronger channel by creating a community where VAPs can share technology and selling insights with Microsoft and with each other, exchange best practices, and pass along business-to-business referrals. To meet these objectives, the Small Business Community will offer a variety of tools and resources available free* at the Microsoft Direct Access site: . To date, the components include the following:

  • Insight. The Small Business Community adds depth to the information on the Direct Access Web site, giving value-added providers an
    “insider’s look”
    at trends, market opportunities, product direction and more. Through exclusive columns, executive question and answer sessions, research reports and more, resellers and consultants can gain greater knowledge of key technology and business directions and how to create revenue opportunities from them.

  • Marketing tools and resources. Through the community, VAPs can take advantage of Microsoft’s small-business marketing experience and efforts. For example, the site will provide easy-to-use downloadable templates, presentations, case studies, and other resources featuring the same content and messaging used in Microsoft’s own successful small-business marketing campaigns. These can be customized with the VAP’s own service message and call to action. In addition, the site will provide unique interactive sales tools that help VAPs understand product licensing, assess customer needs, and help them illustrate technology benefits to small-business customers.

  • Interactive forums. This site will help VAPs maximize opportunities in small business by providing a forum for peers to interact, share best practices, locate technology providers with complementary skills and discuss topical issues. It will also provide a way for VAPs to directly access Microsoft’s
    “knowledge bank”
    of small-business experts – including product managers, marketing executives and others – through chats, forums and discussion groups.

In addition, the site will highlight special offers and third-party resources, and will serve as a road map and
“search engine”
to Microsoft’s extensive content for small businesses, including technical documents, product sites, online education and more.

“The small-business market represents a huge opportunity for us, but it is a market that is often hard to reach and sell,”
said Michael Cooper, internetworking manager of MicroAge Computers of Santa Rosa, Calif.
“By having proven small-business marketing and sales tools at our fingertips, we will be able to easily arm our sales staff – for free – with the targeted resources they need to do their jobs more effectively.”

Microsoft Direct Access is designed to provide resellers, consultants and other value-added service providers with low barrier-to-entry access to a breadth of services, support and products that will enable them to take advantage of business opportunities, increase their revenue, better meet customers’ needs and find out what’s new in technology. In addition to the Small Business Community, focused business development opportunities highlighted by the Microsoft Direct Access Program include developing and supporting Web applications, taking advantage of the demand for the Microsoft Windows NT® operating system, deploying database and messaging solutions, and tapping the revenue potential of specific customer segments such as small business. For more information on the Microsoft Direct Access program, visit .

Microsoft offers a wide range of channel programs and resources. For further information about working with Microsoft, visit .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

* Connect-time charges may apply.

Microsoft and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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