With Microsoft's presence in the large enterprise space gaining momentum, the company is streamlining its large account reseller (LAR) channel to ensure its customers in that market are being serviced effectively.
And that means some existing LARs may lose their certification.
Geoff Wright, Microsoft's director, organisations customer unit, told ARN that Microsoft has been evaluating the current LAR model since July. By December, the company plans to have determined what changes need to be made.
Wright concedes that some of Microsoft's existing LARs will not be retained after January 1, 1999, while others will be added. But he said there are no limitations on what the final number will be.
In the meantime, Wright claims Microsoft is working with its LARs to ensure they are providing the services expected by its major accounts. Where they may be lacking, Wright said Microsoft "will assist them to transition their business".
In addition to providing and supporting its software, the LARs will now be expected to deliver customer training, software auditing, and marketing capabilities on Microsoft's behalf. The ability to service medium-sized businesses will also be an advantage, as Microsoft seeks to better leverage that sector of the market, according to Geoff Thomas, Microsoft's manager of partner and corporate account marketing.
"We've probably not taken advantage of the mid-sized market as well as we should have," he said. "But we think the fastest growing part of our business will be in [that] space and our resellers are seeing the same thing, so many of those who have traditionally been selling in the enterprise sector are now focusing on medium-sized businesses."
To boost its potential in smaller businesses, Microsoft also last week announced it is again reducing the minimum entry requirements for its open licence program (OLP). After the last round of changes were made to the program in July, Thomas said the company is now to "lower the entry bar" to companies with as few as five PCs.
Effective October 1st, small companies will be able to qualify for OLP by purchasing five copies of Microsoft Office, and Thomas claims that is not only likely to increase selling opportunities for the company's current reseller base, but for new resellers who may wish to come on board.
The changes are being made in conjunction with Microsoft's distributors, Tech Pacific, Dataflow and Express Data and further information is available from them, Thomas said.