While Microsoft was unveiling its new Australian chief, Eugenio Beaufrand, a few weeks ago it was also launching a new customer unit aimed fairly and squarely at software developers. The Application Developers Customer Unit (ADCU) is a worldwide initiative for Microsoft and, unlike the already established Microsoft Developers Network, ADCU will provide a higher level of support for developers with "breakthrough technologies". It will also host a series of seminars and conferences around Australia and New Zealand to boost the flow of information. Another step closer to Gatesian world domination? Not so, says ADCU South-Pacific head Phillip Meyer. It's all about helping software developers, he told Reseller News' Molly FurzerARN: How many people are on the ADCU teamand what kinds of backgrounds do they have?
Meyer: There are about one hundred ADCU people in the Asia-Pacific market, focused on helping software houses and local developers. There are 12 in Australia who will be working on ADCU, and we've got three more in New Zealand. They mainly have developer backgrounds, usually a programming background, and some have also had a business background in that they've run small businesses and software houses.
ARN: How does ADCU plan to assist developers?
Meyer: We are going to help them by providing a better flow of information to them. One of the things we've noticed them saying to us is that they need more information and better communication from us. So while we've got a fabulous Web site today, which has a lot of information and great CD programs like the Microsoft Developer Network, they want to get face-to-face and actually talk and get advice.
We are also going to be running seminars and conferences. Over the next 12 months we will hold six seminars in each major capital city - it's a massive frequency of events compared to what we had before. The seminars will be full-day sessions with the first half free and the second half being a technical session at a cost of $65.
In conjunction with the seminars, ADCU will be holding three-day conferences where participants can get more face-to-face with developers. There are three conferences planned for this financial year; the first one on the Windows platform, to be held at the Sydney Entertainment Centre from October 27 to 29, for around $650.
ARN: And the people conducting the seminarswill be the ADCU team?
Meyer: Yes and we'll also be inviting some third parties who have had great experiences with Microsoft products, to get up and talk about them. It's an opportunity for developers to share and network with one another. It's a developer focus, that's what the "D" stands for in ADCU, so we're really not going to have a lot of business messages in what we're talking about - it will be purely technology.
ARN: What size developers will ADCU assist?
Meyer: We are really looking for companies who we can give a special level of assistance to and they are people who are really doing breakthrough type of stuff with SQL Server, Windows NT and Exchange in vertical markets.
ARN: ADCU will be providing financial
Meyer: Yes, we will help them through co-marketing activities. We have already provided Jiwa Financials with our seminar facilities - the projector, room, food and beverages. That costs many tens of thousands of dollars, but we provided that so that they could basically become more successful in their own right, because they based their product on the Microsoft platform and used Microsoft tools to build it. They really delivered a product which is breakthrough in terms of the accountancy market.
ARN: How do you decide who gets cooperativemarketing assistance?
Meyer: The key criteria as to why we decide to give organisations assistance is coming back to the first point: breakthrough technologies.
ARN: How will it work worldwide?
Meyer: It will work the same way. When a piece of breakthrough technology is created in Australia and has international opportunities, we will make other markets aware of that product through our network.
ARN: And your Web site plays a part in that too?
Meyer: Yes our local Web site, www.microsoft. com.au/developers, has a directory which is primarily there for Australian software houses to register their applications. There is also a directory at www.microsoft.com/industry which has international listings.
Microsoft Solution Developer Hotlines
P 1300 30 0608
To register online for seminars, go to (secure site) www.seminars.netINFO: www.microsoft.com.au/developers