Microsoft Business Solutions is to foot the bill for recruiting 400 new consultants for its UK partners, to combat a severe skills shortage in the channel.
The pressure is on for Microsoft to get enough capacity in its reselling channels before its Dynamics business software strategy gets off the ground in six months or so with the launch of the Vista operating system and Office 2007. The new releases will be used to spearhead a sales drive for the Dynamics range of ERP systems in the MBS stable.
"Our existing partners do not employ enough consultants to ship the software we want to ship in the next six months," said Paul White, UK business group lead of Microsoft Business Solutions.
"We want 400 more consultants in our channel next year. There are 1,200 now. We are taking this capacity issue very seriously," he said.
White has employed Norman Broadbent, the recruitment firm Microsoft employs to hire its own people, to hire consultants for its channel partners.
He declined to say how much had spent on the scheme, which launches at the end of August under the name Dynamics Careers. But resellers are keen, as the fee that goes to a recruitment firm could be about £15,000 for the hire of a single consultant. That would put the bill for the scheme at £1.5m. But White says he has negotiated a bulk deal with Norman Broadbent. Partners would not have to pay for the hiring, but would then pick up the salaries.
Nakis Papadopoulos, joint CEO of IMGroup, a British MBS partner that won an award at Microsoft's World Wide Partner Conference in Boston this week, said he could take on as many consultants as Microsoft could give him.
Most hires are expected to come from overseas and from rivals. ®