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By | John Oates 5th October 2004 15:44

Microsoft seeks 'competent' resellers

Euro channel programme rollout rolls on

Speaking at Microsoft's Executive Partner event in Lisbon, Microsoft's worldwide partner sales and marketing boss Allison Watson said she was happy with the European rollout of Microsoft's updated channel programme.

The programme was Launched in April and is scheduled for completion by July next year. Watson said the programme aimed to provide better information on existing sales partners as well as find new partners: "In the first year I'd expect 70 per cent of those certified to be existing and 30 per cent will be new partners. There are whole categories of partners in areas like security who work with our products but don't necessarily speak to us."

She said all Gold partners have already joined the new programme although this figure was just 20 per cent for certified partners because it is a "harder hurdle" for less experienced resellers.

The programme asks partners to choose from 11 "competencies" - areas in which they are experts such as advanced infrastructure and business intelligence. Microsoft has estimated the size of potential market opportunity according to these competencies. The average partner is competent in two areas.

The firm is also looking at geographical spread of these partners. Laurent Delaporte, vice presidnet of small and midmarket solutions and partner group, said: "16m SME customers in Europe need to find the right partner, not the right product. We found small businesses want a partner within 50km of their offices so we're looking at our partners and matching them to business opportunities. Surprisingly, given that it's a good place to live, we found a shortfall in the south of France."

Delaporte also said the firm was helping partners and SMEs to take advantage of European Commission funds available to help businesses use more technology. This has started in Spain and will expand across Europe in November.®

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