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Microsoft (or other) Partnerships

Other than access to cheap software, has anyone here ever found _any_ benefit from partnering with Microsoft, or any other software company? This is not intended as a rant, I'm really curious.

I've really only had partnering experience with Microsoft, but over the course of about a decade I've been involved as a Microsoft partner for a two person firm,  for the world's largest Internet consultancy, for a moderately sized regional tradition software and hardware engineering firm, and for a small non IT firm.

I mean, does anyone really think a client is going to be impressed by"Microsoft Partner" on a website or business card?   

I confess, I just don't get it.  I'd also be really curious to hear about experiences with other suppliers ...

Saturday, July 17, 2004

The outfit I'm working for is a Microsoft Gold partner. It's a big benefit for us, because when somebody in our area calls Microsoft saying "we need this work done and we want to use Microsoft stuff to do it" Microsoft sends them to us. We get tons of work that way.

So yes, it's been well worth it.

Chris Tavares
Saturday, July 17, 2004

There are no such things as Microsoft 'Partners'. There are Microsoft 'Bitches', but Microsoft is genetically incapable of being a 'partner' to any company in the spirit of the definition of the word.

Neat Chi
Saturday, July 17, 2004

Microsoft sent me a very nice usb flash drive the other day.  Only benefit I've seen so far.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Mongo - has your company been in direct contact with a Partner or ISV manager at MS? Or are you talking about just participating in the program?

To maximize the value of MS partnership, it's just like any other competition - differentiate yourself, excel in what you do, and network (with MS and MS customers)

See, we make tools, but in general we don't do the work - we want our partners to do the work (maximizing the value of our tools). So the best thing you can do is to make the Partner Manager for your region aware of your presence, so when a customer needs something done, we send them your way.

Be unique
Be good
Be known


Saturday, July 17, 2004

Thanks for the feedback; I suppose I should have mentioned that at the moment we're _not_ a partner with MSoft, other than the Empower program, which is a great deal.


"Mongo - has your company been in direct contact with a Partner or ISV manager at MS? Or are you talking about just participating in the program?"

Ok, maybe I did need to rant.

My first experience with MS partnering came in 1996/97, in Calgary, when a partner and I started a small web programming business, using mostly MS stuff.  We happened to be in the same building as MS at the time, and I remember actually talking to the area manager (Bill somebody --  no, really) about becoming a certified partner.  Things were cool  until we were almost done, and I asked if he could give me some idea of what sort of leads we might expect as a new certified partner.

He immediately got huffy and said, I quote, "we don't try to force people to partner with Microsoft, perhaps you should come back in a year or two when you are larger."  I don't mind telling you I was stunned.  I still find it hard to believe, but you can bet I've told lots of other tech people about it.  Interestingly, I chatted with a local MS partner about a month after this, and his story was the similar: a complete waste of time and money, other than the discounted software.

Three years later in Phoenix (after an interesting little Redmond stint), I worked for what was at that time the world's largest Internet consultancy. The local office had upwards of 130 people, and we did some pretty cool work on airlines and other stuff.  We had full time sales people, and had one MS consultant pretty much _full time_ in our office for quite a while (at full rates, of course).  At that time, I was only brought into the sales and marketing as the "senior dev/tech guy", you know the routine.  I don't recall we received even one good lead in the two years I was there.  I would have heard of it, because I was agitating about it and was considered the senior guy on the Microsoft side of things at the time.

After that, I went to a smaller, more traditional hardware and software engineering firm, where I and my boss, the regional manager, went to every Microsoft event we could.  I argued that it was a waste of resources, but he was adamant that Microsoft would come around.  Of course, that gig ended with the late unpleasantness we all recall.  Total leads: 0.

"Be unique"
"Be good"
"Be known"

Wothwhile advice, to be sure, but what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?  Of course those are great things to be, but it has nothing to do with the benefits, or lack thereof, of partnering with Microsoft.  I like to think that I do and have done those things, but I've seen no benefit from Microsoft, nor really known anyone who has. Hence this thread. 

This question was also partly driven by the fact we have a client who's just sprung for somewhat less than a million dollars worth of PCs and software, on our advice, and is going to have to do quite a bit more (not so much hardware, though).  It'd be nice to be able to call on Microsoft for advice, etc., but I'm frankly uncomfortable doing so, as I really don't trust them as an organization (not you, personally, Philo).

Ok, I feel better now, thanks.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

My experience of Microsoft is quite similar to Mongo's I think.

My business is currently in the middle of a multi-million dollar project for a major player in the London financial market.

I would love to be able to join the Microsoft Partner programmes, but whenever I've tried it seems to be a paperwork tidal wave, with little actual benefit to anyone.

So I get a few quid off my software bill (no pun intended), who cares, it is all deductable from profits anyway. Apart from that, what do we get? It is hard to know, maybe nothing.

Perhaps Microsoft shouldn't bother with "partner" programmes, or if they want to do them, be more open about what you get. Or, are we supposed to be thankful for the right to put those ugly logo pics on our websites?

Steve Jones (UK)
Sunday, July 18, 2004

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