Microsoft updates Partner Network program with incentives

Los Angeles – Microsoft channel chief Jon Roskill continues the company’s new pay for performance approach with solution providers by establishing a new set of incentives for partners at the Worldwide Partner Conference.

Roskill told the 12,000 partners at the Staples Center in LA that the company will invest $5.8 billion for fiscal year 2012 in the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) program with new tools, training and margin incentives along with a new predictable schedule so that channel partners can prepare better.

He said that any changes to the MPN program will be announced in July and then rolled out in Oct.Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) will split up its Messaging and Communications competency after getting partner feedback and will now recognize the investments made by partners in Exchange, Lync and Office 365 and compensate them accordingly instead of just on the transactions.

Top Microsoft channel partners Navantis of Toronto told CDN that they appreciated this new approach because it is based on strict measurement instead solely on relationships.

John Kvasnic, Navantis president, said Microsoft will be funding Solution Incentive Program (SIP) dollars to Windows 7, Lync, Systems Center and SQL. “The Solution Incentive Program gives Microsoft a way to quantify how the partners are doing. I like that and it gives us a scorecard. It puts metrics around what we do and for us it cements the core part of our business. We shouldn’t count on it (the funds) year-over-year because changes will occur frequently,” he said.Kvasnic added that he plans on investing in his business to align his sales department to take advantage of this Solution Incentive Program funding.

As an example, SIP pay solution providers if they influence the majority of the software sold. If a partner such as Navantis invests more they can earn more. Each product set will have different amounts. In the SQL section it is 25 per cent of license sales. The SQL Server SIP plans to reward Gold partners who drive application platform and business intelligence for the Denali cloud.

A new Software Assurance Planning Services incentive will be made available this August. This incentive will pay channel partners on deployment services for private cloud, Azure public cloud, and SQL Server. New Software Assurance Planning Services will be available in August, paying qualified partners to deliver deployment services to Microsoft Software Assurance customers for Microsoft private cloud, Azure public cloud, SQL Server and software development. These opportunities will help partners grow their client base, strengthen customer relationships and increase service revenues.

Another incentive program announced at the show is the Management and Virtualization Solution Incentive plan. This will reward Gold partners who influence private cloud technologies on Hyper-V Cloud Accelerate program. It will also fund solution provider private cloud assessments, proof of concepts and production deployments.

Diane Krakora, CEO of Amazon Consulting, said the idea of shifting toward paying for performance and rewarding the activity rather than the transaction is a positive one. “It may take multiple partners along that entire customer satisfaction cycle and so each partner will be reward instead of the last guy with the PO (purchase order),” she said.

Other incentives include: increased Dynamics CRM compensation to 40 per cent on new subscriptions.Lync and Intune licenses allotted to Cloud Accelerate partners will climb to 100 from 25. Cloud Essentials partners will grow to 25 from 10.

Finally Microsoft will make available a partner profitability toolkit for small business, mid-market, enterprise and the public sector.

Roskill said that channel partners need to think longer term with lifecycle type solutions that have revenue annuity streams. For example, cloud partners delivering services will have bolt-on opportunities with migration, integration and training. “These incentives will increase growth and profitability,” he said.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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