Microsoft is enlisting its growing band of Certified Network Resellers (CNRs) to help it stage a series of seminars aimed at small businesses - those with between five and 25 PCs and no professional MIS staff.
Over at SCO, there is also an upbeat marketing effort that relies on a series of initiatives modelled on a similar successful campaign that runs in the UK. The company said it had already attracted more than 300 reseller organisations to its Partner Program since it began 12 months ago.
Interestingly, this is the same number that Microsoft is aiming for in Australia with its Certified Network Reseller (CNR) scheme.
SCO's drive follows an admission the company needed to put more effort into its marketing. "In the past, we largely relied on a list of people we did business with," said Peter Laytham, SCO's marketing manager in Australia. "As part of our Partner Program, the new initiatives will make it even easier for people to do business with SCO," said Laytham.
Initiatives include lead generation, increased information on products and services, more involvement by resellers in conferences and increased training support through authorised education centres.
"Our success depends entirely on the success of our partners, the resellers," said Laytham. One of the major initiatives behind the new campaign will be the quarterly issue of a CD-ROM that will contain details of product updates, competitive information profiles of sales successes and how they were achieved.
"For demonstrations, we are also making all of our products available to resellers for cost plus freight," said Laytham.
Central to the campaign is SCO's so-called Internet Way of Computing. This is an overall strategy to ensure all SCO products are developed and designed with the concept of standards-based client neutral architectures supporting technologies such as TCP/IP and Java. It also includes a swag of software tools from SCO, Netscape and Morning Star.
Dangling a carrot in front of potential CNRs, Microsoft is running the series of technology seminars for small business. Seminars are being hosted by Microsoft CNRs.
"Hosting a seminar is an easy way for a CNR to boost its marketing without any additional outlay," said Greg Butler, a consultant with Microsoft's customer unit. "Microsoft provides the speakers for the seminar and the venue. All the reseller needs is to provide a mailing list of its top customers and prospects."
CNRs also set the agenda for each seminar and the length of time. Each seminar typically lasts from two hours up to several hours and has between 30 and 40 attending.
Microsoft is also concentrating on regional areas where small businesses may not have as much exposure to technology as those in capital cities.
To be eligible as a CNR, resellers must have on site a minimum of one full-time employee who is a certified professional on Windows NT Server; must sell a minimum of 10 copies of NT Server each year and have an active account with a Microsoft distributor.
For details on SCO's partner program call (02) 9966 1999 or Web: www.sco.comFor more on Microsoft's CNR scheme, e-mail: email@example.com or visit www.microsoft. com/australia/programs/mcnr/mcnr.htm