In the light of a recent report on Microsoft's new Direct Access scheme for its resellers (see ARN, March 18, page 6) further implications concerning the scheme have come to light, particularly concerning post-sales technical support.
The managing director of Microsoft development tools reseller Microway, David Looke, expressed concerns that under Direct Access resellers would no longer have free technical support calls. He said that under the existing model, Microsoft resellers received 10 free post-sales technical support calls.
However, Microsoft director, organisations customer unit, Geoff Wright said that in the past resellers that had been put through to technical support were given a number of "instances" for support.
Wright said that although this scheme was not formalised, it was a free service Microsoft provided for resellers.
Of 8000 Microsoft resellers, Wright said that fewer than 800 of them used the technical support service. Of those, Wright said, less than 20 per cent of the calls actually genuinely required technical support.
He said the remaining 80 per cent were a combination of requests for setup and configuration, bug fixes and usage requests. Wright said all these services came under the pre-sales umbrella and would remain free for all Microsoft resellers.
Wright emphasised that under Direct Access, resellers have access to the Knowledge Base database, the same database that Microsoft technicians use for technical support.
Looke was also concerned that under the Australian Direct Access scheme, resellers had only five site licences, where their American counterparts received 10 site licences.
Wright explained Direct Access in Australia was developed in response to reseller requests. But he said if resellers required more site licences, Microsoft would negotiate that with individual resellers. He said Direct Access was developed in response to reseller requests, and that Microsoft tries to keep the same standards between America and Australia. Acting on comment from Looke, Wright said e-mail technical support may be introduced for resellers in July.