Microsoft has appointed Express Data as the second distributor for its Service Provider Licence Agreement (SPLA) offerings.
Microsoft hosting lead, Stefan Jansen, said it had been looking to increase its market reach and open up access for partners wanting to sell software-as-a-service. Express Data will sit alongside NewLease, who has been an SPLA distributor for several years.
“We’ve been growing so fast that we decided to look for increasing market reach and recruit a second SPLA in Australia,” he said. “NewLease has been doing well and grown the business 300 per cent last year. We’re seeing increasing sales as well as in the number of partners, which is why we had to bring another distributor on-board.”
Jansen said Microsoft initially appointed direct SPLA resellers, or “service providers”, but had stopped the practice six months ago in favour of distribution.
“We’ve been in this market for eight years and see this as another licensing model: Partners can buy licenses in order for them to provide software services to their end customers. By bringing on Express Data, we’re allowing partners to provide multi-tenanted solutions,” he said.
Express Data was chosen because of its strong history with Microsoft and focus on delivering value, rather than just volume, Jansen said.
“SPLA is not the easiest licensing model to manage and we were looking for someone with breadth in the market – Express Data met all the requirements,” he said.
Express Data Microsoft business manager, Stephanie Browne, said having SPLA status would allow the distributor to cater to rising interest in software-as-a-service (SaaS).
“This is another transition in the industry, much like when licensing was introduced over boxed product. While software-as-a-service is a really small part of the market today, it is going to be massive,” she said. “Like licensing, we wanted to get in early and put together a proposal to bid.”
Browne said Express Data was creating tools to deliver on-demand software via its website and make it easier for resellers to transact. She pointed out the distributor already had experience in annuity-based software delivery via its ITAgent branded service.
Jansen said it would look to open up SPLA rights to other local software distributors as demand increased. He has spent the past year integrating Microsoft’s traditional hosting business with its emerging SaaS strategy and said the key was to offer the choice of delivery models in a consistent manner.
“It’s still a growing business and there are certain demands SPLA puts on a distributor. We don’t want to over saturate the market at this stage,” he said. “We’ll closely monitor things over the next 6-12 months against check points.”