In a bid to quell fears from within the channel of a direct assault, Microsoft Services has pledged it will not compete with its partners in the tendering or deployment of its own technologies.
"We will not directly compete with a partner that is bidding or implementing the Microsoft server or middleware platform," said Kevin Ackhurst, director of services at Microsoft Australia.
The statement comes as Microsoft implements a single worldwide strategy for its services sector, elements of which have come directly from its practices within Australia. In the US, the services arm has alienated channel partners with its increasingly direct relationships with enterprise customers, sparking fears that Microsoft would extend its practices to Australia.
"There was concern from our partners that we would grow to overtake their business," acknowledged Ackhurst. He was quick to point out that the services arm only conducts business directly with an enterprise at the specific request of the customer, something that happens in around 2 per cent of implementations.
"We want to work with customers who are innovating or who are early adopters that require direct support or information," he said. "It is important to create a beachhead for Microsoft technology.
"Microsoft will not seek to provide an end-to-end value proposition of its own. There is separation between Microsoft product development and deployment by our partners."
Microsoft will overhaul its Global Services Partner taxonomy as well as introduce a range of metrics to gauge and assist partner enablement.
Gary Ebeyan, CEO of Melbourne-based services company Expert IS, believes the strategy will help strengthen the local market.
"We have found a lot of customers very comforted to know that we engage Microsoft in sub-contractor relationships," Ebeyan said. "That Microsoft is committed to working with Australian companies is very beneficial to the industry. To have a strong industry, we need the support of international vendors, otherwise we are not going to go far."