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  • 05 May, 2004 09:04

<p>Sydney, Australia – 5 May, 2004 — Microsoft Australia today introduced two new business initiatives for its partners who sell Microsoft Business Solutions – the Microsoft Business Solutions Competency and Solution Provider Agreement (SPA).</p>
<p>Microsoft Competencies are the criteria of skills that partners achieve which demonstrate expertise in a specific solution area. Competencies align an industry partner’s business with Microsoft technologies, marketing and demand generation, as well as delivery of resources and technical readiness. On July 1, 2004, partners that sell Microsoft Business Solutions will have 12-months to meet the requirements of the Microsoft Business Solutions competency. The Microsoft Business Solutions Competency will become the ninth competency as part of the new global Microsoft Partner Program (MSPP) framework.</p>
<p>“Partners that specialise in Microsoft Business Solutions technologies and services have unique qualifications and are vital to meeting customer needs for these solutions,” said Kerstin Baxter, director of the partner group at Microsoft Australia. “To meet growing customer demand, it is important for us to preserve the unique expertise of a Microsoft Business Solutions-authorised reseller community. Partners that specialise in this area can now map their skill set to the program framework and capture new opportunities to meet customer’s needs.”</p>
<p>The new Microsoft Business Solutions Competency will provide companies with the opportunity to distinguish their business based on expertise providing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions.</p>
<p>Depending on a partner’s level of investment and needs, benefits of the new services offering may include technical support provided to partners by engineers; the inclusion of Microsoft Business Solutions training tutorials in all service plans; and a Consultant Resource Centre that provides partners with a set of tools, templates, methodologies and best practices to assist in the selling and implementation of Microsoft Business Solutions products and services. Partners that make additional investments with Microsoft will receive dedicated engineer support.</p>
<p>A key change for Microsoft Business Solutions partners includes a new model in which program engagement, services and benefits are separated from reseller terms and conditions. The new Microsoft Business Solutions SPA will provide more uniform worldwide terms and conditions outside the MSPP competency. Partners have the choice of operating under their current reseller agreement until July 2005 or signing and operating under the SPA when it becomes available in July 2004.</p>
<p>Components of the SPA include distribution rights for Microsoft Business Solutions ERP software and services for those not offered in volume licensing or exclusively through distributors. The SPA will also include uniform terms and conditions for conducting business with customers regardless of their location, sustained competitive revenue opportunities, and authorisation criteria to establish a foundation for delivering maximum customer satisfaction.</p>
<p>– ends –</p>
<p>About the Microsoft Partner Program
The goal of the Microsoft Partner Program, announced at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in October 2003, is to better align with each partner’s business focus, recognise the complete impact of partners’ relationships with customers, aligned with their unique business model, and provide partners with increased value for the investments they have made in Microsoft. Through the Partner Points and Microsoft Solution Competencies, partners can realise a deeper relationship with Microsoft that will empower them to highlight their expertise with customers and thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.</p>
<p>About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.</p>
<p>Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.</p>
<p>For further information:</p>
<p>Stephen Rodi
Howorth Communications
Ph: 02 99042618 or 0416008500</p>
<p>Anne Flanagan
Howorth Communications
Ph: 02 99042618 or 0405082603</p>

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