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Microsoft Partner Program Recognises Full Range of Partner SkillsTo Deliver IT Value to Customers

18 March, 2004 | Archived Post
Introducing Microsoft Solution Competencies and Partner Points SYDNEY, Australia, 18 March 2004

Microsoft Australia today announced two new components of its recently updated partner program - Microsoft Solution Competencies and Partner Points - which go live in April 2004. The goals are to increase the flexibility for partners to achieve certification, for Microsoft to better align with each partner's business focus, to recognise the complete impact of partners' relationships with customers, and to provide partners with increased value for the investments they have made. Customers benefit because the programs clearly outline a given partner's area of expertise which makes it easier for them to identify organisations that can address their business needs.

Press Release:
Kerstin Baxter, partner group director at Microsoft Australia, said, “The Microsoft Solution Competencies and Partner Points offer more flexibility and choice for partners?our goal is to reduce complexity. These two components mark the first step in meeting our goal to build the best-in-class industry partner programs that generate results for our partners.”

Microsoft Solution Competencies
Microsoft Solution Competencies are the criteria of skills that partners achieve which demonstrate expertise in a specific solution area. Solution Competencies align industry partner's business with Microsoft technologies, marketing and demand generation as well as delivery of resources and technical readiness. There is no limit to the number of Solution Competencies a partner may have as long as they meet the qualification criteria. Many partners will have multiple competencies, all of which benefits customers.

The Solution Competencies include:
  • Networking Infrastructure Solutions
  • Advanced Infrastructure Solutions
  • Security Solutions
  • Information Worker Productivity Solutions
  • Business Intelligence Solutions
  • Integrated E-Business Solutions
  • Learning Solutions
  • ISV/Software Solutions
  • Microsoft Business Solutions *
  • Original Equipment Manufacturer Hardware Solutions*
  • Licensing and Software Asset Management Solutions*

*These specific competencies to launch later in 2004

The more competencies partners receive, the greater the opportunity for them to designate themselves as experienced and knowledgeable on specific Microsoft software and services. By achieving competencies in the Microsoft Partner Program, partners earn points to get to different levels in the program (Certified Partner and Gold Certified partner). The different partner designations offer different levels of benefits to the partner.

Partner Points
Partner points determine program levels in the Microsoft partner program. Solution partners earn partner points by meeting requirements for one or many software and solution areas. This approach gives industry partners a great deal of flexibility in how they qualify and opens up program levels to partners of all sizes and types.

Partner points can be earned for:
  • Microsoft certifications of partners and their employees
  • Customer references
  • Tested Microsoft-based applications that have passed required certification or Microsoft Windows® Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) requirements
  • Microsoft Solution Competencies
  • Customer satisfaction based on feedback from customers doing business with solutions partners
  • Unit sales of Official Microsoft Learning Products (MLP)
  • Sales of Microsoft product
  • Other eligible Microsoft related activities

Microsoft worked closely with industry partners throughout the world to design a program that was clear and meaningful as well as capable of helping partners differentiate their offerings to customers. Feedback from partners has been positive.

Brett Campbell, director of marketing and alliances for OBS, an Australian specialist in enterprise portals and collaboration on the Microsoft platform said, “The introduction of the points system benefits partners in a number of ways. This will enable smaller businesses, like OBS, to compete with larger global systems integrators. For example under the new points system we have more customer references that attract additional points that would have not been recognised under the old program.”

Allen Smith from the Australian IT infrastructure services and business solutions company, Volante Group said, “The new components of the partner program will allow customers to select a partner that has the required expertise for a specific project. In addition, whilst Volante is keen to continue its Gold Partner status in our current competencies, the new program will allow us to identify partners with other competencies that we can work with to provide a total solution to our clients."

Partners will have an opportunity to enrol in both Microsoft Solution Competencies and Partner Points at the end of April. As part of its commitment to provide partners with ongoing communication and the opportunity to evaluate program elements, Microsoft is providing webcasts and other tools and resources designed to help partners learn about Microsoft Solution Competencies and Partner Points. Current partners are automatically transferred into the program at their current level, providing them with time to review the new Partner Points and model their current business accordingly.

Specific information on each of the Microsoft Solution Competencies and a review of the Partner Points requirements can be seen at /australia/partner/

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About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software ? any time, any place and on any device. Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

About OBS
Formed in 1998, OBS was established in Melbourne by a collective of corporate IT professionals who shared a common passion for innovative technology. Built from a firm foundation of specialist expertise, OBS is committed to sourcing world-class employees to deliver on the company's vision. OBS enjoys a cutting edge position in the portals market, through substantial investment in research and development. Facilitated by a stable management structure and a solid business model, the growth of the business has been organic. OBS has been able to sustain profitable growth since its inception, to become a truly Australian owned and operated company. Into the future OBS is committed to the practical understanding and application of emerging technology, in order to ensure the alignment of business need and technology value is achieved. We will work relentlessly to define new ways to connect people and information.

About Volante Group Limited
Volante Group Limited is today one of the largest IT infrastructure and services companies in Australia. Volante Group Limited now employs around 850 staff, has revenues of approximately $480 million per annum and is a publicly listed company with the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX: VGL). The Volante Group Limited encompasses the following business groups: Affinity IT Recruitment pty Ltd, Global Remarketing Pty Ltd, Ipex ITG Pty Ltd, Volante Solutions Pty Ltd and Volante Systems Pty Ltd.

For further information: 
Shannon Rudd
Product PR Manager
Microsoft Australia
Ph: 0298702451 or 0410533055
Stephen Rodi
Howorth Communications                            
Ph: 02 99042618 or 0416008500                              


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