Partners grumble about parting with more cash
Microsoft has added a Small Business Competency to its certification range and discounted the price for its partners.
However, the channel has mixed emotions about what this will mean, with many claiming the new certification will put “further dents” in their profits.
The new competency is said to help partners showcase their talents in the cloud services for small business market, which Microsoft claims could represent a major revenue opportunity.
It said that there were over 148 million small and medium-sized businesses worldwide in a $94 billion addressable market. Of this, 75 percent of the market opportunity -around $70 billion – was in Software as a Service (SaaS).
Julie Bennani, General Manager, Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) said that the new competency was the first MPN competency where Microsoft had included cloud services benefits, such as Internal Use Rights for cloud services and Delegated Administration support, in addition to the on-premise product benefits other competencies offer.
She said the Small Business Silver Competency would provide the benefits that the Cloud Essentials subscription offered as well as additional Internal Use Rights licenses.
“I am very excited the new Small Business Competency is available now,” she said.
“This is a fantastic milestone for our MPN program. This competency helps partners grow their business by seizing more aggressively the small business cloud opportunity. We have designed this competency based on partner feedback, with a focused goal of providing the value and support our partners need to target new and existing small business customers with both cloud and on-premise products and services.
“We realise not all customers might be ready for cloud services today, but as the cloud services market matures, we want to make sure all our partners are ready to have the cloud conversation.”
In a bid to entice its smaller partners the company has also announced that it has a $999 limited time offer available through 31 December, 2012.
It said that this meant the Silver Small Business Competency fee had been reduced from the standard $ 1,850 to $999 – a 46 percent discount.
However, this has not done much to sweeten up some partners, who have said the company is not losing any money on the discounts.
One told ChannelBiz UK: “More certifications mean more money that we need to spend. And this ‘new’ competency is one that we actually need.
“Microsoft may think it’s doing us a favour by giving us a little discount, but money spent here and there to ensure we stay up to date with the vendors plans all gives it some profit and dents ours.”
Another added: “More money. Again we’re being forced over a barrel to part with a considerable amount of cash for a certification we actually need. Great, Microsoft has given us a discount but let’s face it, it’s not really going to suffer.”
Some partners, however, haven’t even been made aware of the offer. One said: “Is there a new competency? We didn’t know anything about it. Maybe we slipped the mailing net.”
Others are more positive. Another, separate partner told ChannelBiz UK: “Anything that helps us get ahead of our competitors is great. And we’ll definitely be taking advantage of this offer. Yes we’re a larger small business partner and can afford to do this, but that’s because we’ve worked hard to achieve that over the years. Will it give us an advantage over smaller partners- yes without a doubt.”