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Microsoft adds online tools to partner program

Microsoft adds online tools to partner program

Microsoft has supplemented the launch of its new partner competencies and specialisations with a selection of online channel tools.

First announced at its partner conference in July, the new certification competencies now available are OEM hardware, licensing, mobility and custom development solutions. Its small business specialist program has also been added to the overall partner competency list.

The vendor has also introduced an array of specialisations for hosting solutions as well as additional information worker specialisations in areas like message collaboration portal, enterprise content management, office desktop deployment and enterprise project management.

A new security solution specialisation has also been introduced. Enhancements have also been made to the Microsoft Business Solutions competency with new specialisations for partner dabbling in retail products. These were a licensed delivery specialisation and software asset management.

To support the new additions, partner group director, Kerstin Baxter, said the software giant had unveiled a new Partner Campaign Builder online portal and enhanced its Partner Learning Centre.

Both were focused on giving resellers better access to sales and marketing materials, she said.

The Builder site included campaign templates and information about vertical or industry solutions, while the Partner Learning Centre had been revamped to provide easier access to partner specialisations, special training offers and self-test facilities.

The new Partner Webshop Centre, which had been trialled by a band of Microsoft Advisory Council partners, would also provide resellers with the ability to manage their Microsoft points and program activities, Baxter said.

"We have improved the interface for all partners to make it a better working environment," she said.

The portals were complemented by the local launch last month of a Find a Partner site, which listed information about Microsoft's partners and their skill sets. Baxter said the site had been designed for customers to be able to find a suitable partner for their IT requirements.

The new facilities and certifications are the latest tweaks to Microsoft's remodelled partner program, which was announced two years ago.

Baxter said the refreshed model was about giving partners access to a broad range of vertical certifications which recognised their skills and level of expertise in market segments, product groups or technologies.

The newest additions and online tools were designed to complete the package and ensure partners had the right skills in terms of sales, marketing and training.

"We are recognising more partner types and skill sets in the market," she said.


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