Microsoft Puts a New Level of Resources to Work for the Channel

SAN FRANCISCO, July 23, 1999 — Today at Fusion 99, Microsoft Corp.’s third annual business symposium for Microsoft® Certified Solution Providers (MCSPs), Microsoft announced a series of new offerings for MCSPs that create an even stronger tie with its channel partners. Subsidized training in the Windows® 2000 operating system, a newly personalized Web site, Enterprise Services Frameworks, worldwide sales training, and a new referral engine for MCSPs are all intended to provide MCSPs with a deeper level of resources to address the full spectrum of their business needs.

“Fusion is an outstanding opportunity for us to take stock of the great things our channel partners are doing on the Windows platform and to strengthen our relationships as we head into the new millennium,” said Bill Gates, CEO at Microsoft. Following his keynote address, Gates will present the MCSP Partner of the Year and other awards at the 1999 MCSP Awards ceremony held at Fusion. The awards recognize outstanding work of MCSPs in developing and implementing software solutions using Microsoft products and technologies.

“The success of Microsoft’s relationship with the channel can only be measured by the extent to which our channel partners look upon us as a constant and current source for the kinds of business information and resources they need to most effectively distribute and deploy Microsoft products,” said John Connors, vice president of the Worldwide Enterprise Group at Microsoft. “The rules have changed in today’s high-tech economy, and technical resources are no longer enough. New resources, tools and training address the needs of sales and marketing, technical and executive staff alike. Only by sharing expertise do we ensure that a highly skilled and thriving channel is available to meet the needs of our mutual customers.”

Windows 2000 Training Meets MCSPs’ Time and Budgetary Needs

Microsoft is offering a 50 percent discount* on a five-day accelerated training course on deployment of Microsoft Windows 2000. Created specifically to address MCSPs’ constraints regarding financial and time investment for such training, the class includes the complete content from its original 10-day format and will provide an opportunity for MCSPs to become skilled and ready to meet customer demand when the product is released. Additional benefits of this offer include a self-paced training book, Windows 2000 Beta Training Kit, and a voucher good for one certification exam (a value of $100 U.S.). The course will also be offered in an online format to provide MCSPs with a flexible and cost-effective way to attend the training.

The training is part of a $40 million investment made by Microsoft to address the anticipated demand for skilled MCSPs and IT professionals to deliver Windows 2000-based solutions. Microsoft aims to provide subsidized training to 5,000 MCSPs worldwide. MCSPs can visit to register for instructor-led classes at more than 250 participating Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centers (CTECs) in the United States. Similar offers will be available in more than 50 countries worldwide beginning Aug. 16.

“I am continually impressed with Microsoft’s commitment to ensuring that my systems engineers and developers have the in-depth level of training they need to deliver solutions on key products, before the product is shipped,” said MCSP Jan Kaminski, president of FastLane Technologies Inc., an ISV. “Microsoft clearly understands that the time and expense required to train employees can be cost-prohibitive. This approach enhances our ability to develop complementary ISV solutions such as FastLane DM/Suite. In particular, Microsoft has delivered Windows 2000 training that will prepare FastLane to deliver solutions on a product that promises unmatched revenue opportunity for my company in a way that won’t cut into my bottom line.”

Enterprise Services Frameworks Provide a Significant New Opportunity for Channel

Drawing on the experience of Microsoft and its customers and channel partners in implementing and running mission-critical systems, the Microsoft Enterprise Services Frameworks capture and deliver the technical information required to develop and manage enterprise-class solutions on Microsoft technologies. The frameworks consist of a complete set of assessment tools, solution kits, characterized solutions, white papers, competency road maps, deployment guides, operations guides and courseware. The new Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) focuses on IT operations knowledge, and the new Microsoft Readiness Framework concentrates on development of individual and organizational competency in Microsoft technologies. The Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) provides architectural and development knowledge. To enable the channel to more easily take advantage of the opportunity to offer value-added services based on the frameworks, Microsoft will deliver a portfolio of base-line service offerings that may be delivered as-is or customized.

Microsoft Supports All Aspects of MCSPs’ Business

Microsoft is addressing all aspects of MCSPs’ business needs through the new personalized MCSP Online private Web site. MCSP Online is redesigned to allow multiple users within an organization to log on to the site with their own password, which will be recognized at login, allowing content to be tailored to the users’ browsing habits. In this way, all members of an MCSP’s team — sales and marketing staff, technology providers and executives – will be immediately provided with the information most relevant to them.

MCSPs interested in experiencing any of the new content can visit the private MCSP Online site at .

Microsoft Shares Internal Training Methodology

In an effort to directly share its sales and marketing expertise, Microsoft will provide the same consultative-selling training that the company will use internally to 21,000 MCSPs worldwide. Franklin Covey’s “Helping Clients Succeed” is a client-focused approach that forms the basis for a new sales training framework developed by Microsoft. The training focuses on consultative selling: training salespeople to develop solutions for clients rather than focusing on the sales of products or services.

Driving New Business to MCSPs

A new Microsoft MCSP referral system will drive more business to MCSPs, providing greater detail about the solution provider’s expertise. Accessed through the new Microsoft Business Advantage Web site, , a solutions and transactions site geared to small and midsize businesses, the referral engine provides customers with a list of MCSPs that are matched to the customer’s needs based on the solution provider’s area of expertise and geographic proximity. Initially launching in the United States and Canada, the referral engine was developed with extensive feedback from customer organizations and MCSPs.

“We have gained feedback from our MCSPs and customer organizations to develop a referral system that makes it easier for customers to quickly find the MCSP best suited to their needs,” said Nigel Burton, director of MCSP and Microsoft Direct Access (MSDA)

programs at Microsoft. “Specific information about our MCSPs will ensure that customers can easily find the solution provider with experience directly related to their unique business problem.”

In addition, customers can identify the number of desktops the solution must serve, and the budget and the time frame they want to work within. The referral listing, which is based on profile information provided by the MCSP, including the specific skills and specialties of Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) on staff, is searchable by name and geographic proximity to the customer, as well as by best match for customer based on the MCSP’s services and skills.

Sponsors for Fusion 99 at three levels include Eastman Software, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Network Associates Inc. (Platinum); AppsCo Software Ltd., Baan Co. and License Online Inc. (Gold); American Power Conversion (APC), Cisco Systems Inc., On Stream Inc. and Siemens (Silver).

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.

*Offer expires Dec. 31, 1999.

Microsoft and Windows 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.

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