Software giant Microsoft has stressed that its revamped worldwide partner program, which has just gone live, includes a third tier of more than 10,000 registered resellers.
Previously, the vendor said media attention had focused on 850 certified and gold certified partners in Australia, when its entire 14,000 partner community was covered by the program.
Resellers gain points based on their competencies across 11 different categories, including networking, security and licensing. They can also gain points by attending the vendor’s global partner conference in Toronto during July.
“We do want to reward them because it’s a significant investment,” Microsoft Australia partner group director, Kerstin Baxter, said. New Zealand resellers will also gain points for attending the regional Australian event, but while local resellers were also keen on receiving points for attending this event, Baxter said the company was still considering the idea.
To become a Microsoft certified partner, resellers need 50 points; 120 points are needed for gold certification.
While the old scheme focused solely on technical competencies, Baxter said the revamped scheme included customer satisfaction through a combination of customer references and feedback.
Independent software vendors (ISVs) would also be tested on their applications and the program will be extended to cover Microsoft Business Solutions partners, whose own scheme ends in July.
Baxter said these business partners had until June 2005 to fully migrate to the new program. Merging the two separate schemes would make things simpler.
She said a key message was that the program included registered partners, who would gain more benefits than before. Many did not even know they could receive free or discounted benefits from Microsoft in the free global program.
“The prizes are all related to growing your business," Baxter said. "Just like all good game shows, everyone’s a winner."