Microsoft, Partners Offer Solutions for MCSPs to Help Them Maximize E-Commerce Business Opportunities

SAN FRANCISCO, July 23, 1999 — Today at Fusion 99, Microsoft Corp.’s third-annual business symposium for Microsoft® Certified Solution Providers (MCSPs), Microsoft announced three offerings that allow MCSPs to more easily, quickly and profitably address the e-commerce needs of small, midsize and enterprise-level businesses. These packages, developed by Impressa Inc., VisualCommerce Inc. and OneSoft, are the latest of numerous solutions offered as part of the Microsoft E-Commerce Alliance. Announced in April of this year, the alliance brings Microsoft together with MCSPs, independent software vendors (ISVs), hardware vendors and Internet service providers (ISPs) to create a variety of flexible and scalable packages. These packages are designed to help partners deliver e-commerce solutions on the Microsoft platform for all types of customers while improving their own bottom line. This announcement highlights the importance of partners in Microsoft’s overall e-commerce strategy.

“E-commerce presents a tremendous business opportunity for our channel. This is increasingly true in the small-business segment,” said Satya Nadella, general manager of the Consumer and Commerce Group at Microsoft. “However, many businesses find the cost of implementing an e-commerce solution prohibitive; at the same time, solution providers are losing potential new clients because they can’t cost-effectively build solutions from the ground up. The Microsoft E-Commerce Alliance provides MCSPs with the tools they need to maximize the benefit of their e-commerce solutions.”

Small businesses often prefer preconfigured e-commerce solutions that include basic features such as a Web storefront and Web-based management and administration. Midsize businesses often need more customized sites with e-commerce functionality, as well as some integration with back-end systems, including more robust database functionality. Enterprise-sized businesses tend to need highly customized sites that include sophisticated targeting and personalization features, can handle high-volume traffic, and are highly integrated with back-end systems. Each of the solutions described below maps directly to one of these customer segments.

Impressa E-Partner Offers Quick and Affordable Path to Deployment for Small Businesses

Impressa, a wholly owned subsidiary of Renaissance Interactive Inc., delivers Impressa E-Partner, a server-based Web site publishing and management system that provides an affordable and easy-to-manage e-commerce solution for small and midsize organizations. Impressa E-Partner, built on the powerful Microsoft Site Server Commerce Edition platform, presents MCSPs with a set of Web-based tools that allows them to quickly and easily configure either packaged or custom solutions for their customers at retail price points ranging from $2,500 to $50,000 for a fully developed site.

MCSPs interested in signing up for a series of packages from Impressa can take advantage of special discounts during Fusion 99. Impressa offers additional revenue opportunities for MCSPs, including Web site hosting, remote network administration and custom services. MCSPs can also purchase blocks of e-commerce sites after they have purchased an initial package. More information is available at .

Fast and
Flexible Midmarket Solutions Provided by VisualCommerce

The VisualCommerce MCSP Program provides a comprehensive blend of inexpensive and easily deployed solutions that are highly flexible and customizable. VisualCommerce Constructor 1.5 for Site Server 3.0 Commerce Edition-based solutions includes a full-featured Microsoft SQL Server TM 7.0 database, e-commerce templates, and preconfigured pipelines and advanced database features.

Constructor automatically creates the database, generates the Active Server Pages code and configures the pipeline, which allows MCSPs to significantly decrease the amount of time spent on developing common functionality so they can shift their focus to solving the real-world business issues of their clients. In addition, Constructor makes it easier to demonstrate site functionality to customers upfront using relatively few resources.

“In a bid for Seattle Art Museum’s e-commerce solution, our competition was showing up with paper-based proposals,” said David Watts, vice president of sales at Analytical Software Inc., an MCSP. “VisualCommerce allowed us to walk in the door with a demo of a fully customized Web site prototype — just 50 hours after the initial call. The ability to configure this kind of high-quality solution in a fraction of the time it takes to develop a standard solution gives us a huge advantage.”

More details on the program are available at the VisualCommerce Web site at .

OneSoft Engages MCSPs to Deploy High-End Solutions

With 100 MCSPs, the OneSoft Commerce Partner (OCP) program continues to deliver robust Internet commerce solutions for enterprise customers. Introduced in April of this year, the OCP program maximizes Web-site revenues using OneSoft’s flagship product, OneCommerce, which adds to the functionality of Microsoft Site Server Commerce Edition by providing advanced marketing and selling capabilities, as well as accelerating back-end integration and site deployment. OneSoft solutions, offered exclusively on the Microsoft e-commerce platform, can be delivered in 90 days or less and can scale to handle the heaviest e-commerce transaction volumes. OneCommerce includes financial models designed to help MCSPs provide accurate information to customers regarding both the potential return on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership (TCO) of their e-commerce solution. Vertical market and industry solution templates expedite the process by helping MCSPs implement preconfigured solutions that map to customers’ specific needs. A comprehensive training program and value-based sales tools are available, arming MCSPs with presentation-ready data and financial analysis designed to help them win business quickly.

Charter members of the OCP program include Digital Boardwalk, M1 Software and Sierra Systems. JumpStart training for additional MCSPs begins in August and will be repeated in September and October.

MCSPs interested in more information about the OCP program can visit OneSoft’s Web site at .

E-Commerce Resources Focused on Increasing Knowledge and Revenue for Channel

MCSPs benefit from a variety of e-commerce related tools, training and resources:

  • MSN Link Exchange. A new MSN LinkExchange program allows MCSPs to offer Web-promotion services as part of their offerings to small and midsize business customers.

  • Augmented force of e-commerce specialists deployed in Microsoft field sales. In order to help even more small and midsize businesses take advantage of the Web opportunity, Microsoft has deployed an additional, dedicated force of e-commerce specialists.

  • E-commerce sales training. This new Microsoft Sales Specialist course, Selling E-Commerce: Customer Solutions (#1589), provides a combination of instructor-led and self-paced training on how to sell Microsoft e-commerce solutions.

  • E-commerce course for developers. A series of new hands-on courses on Building E-Commerce Solutions (#1588) are designed to provide technical training for e-commerce developers.

  • Thirteen-city e-commerce scalability road show. A free, one-day technical seminar presented by Microsoft Consulting Services and the Developer Relations Group provides detailed best practices for deploying scalable and high-performance e-commerce sites. The seminars begin in August.

  • New e-commerce certification exam. A new Microsoft Certified Professional exam — 71-057: Designing and Implementing Commerce Solutions With Microsoft Site Server 3.0 Commerce Edition — is in beta and available at a discounted price for a limited time.

  • Web directory of case studies. This compendium highlights e-commerce success stories.

For more details on the above resources, MCSPs can visit their exclusive resource for tools, training and information at . Customers who want to locate a MCSP to implement their e-commerce solution can visit .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) 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.

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