Commander has become the first Select large account reseller to be signed up by Microsoft since 1998.
The software giant sells licences in four different size categories – OEM, Open Source, Select and Enterprise. Commander is the 13th partner added to its Select list. It joins the likes of Dimension Data, Ipex, Volante and Data#3.
Making the step up to become a Select reseller gives Commander a direct relationship with Microsoft.
The program was originally launched with enterprise customers in mind but the minimum requirement has been slashed from 1000 PCs and above to 250.
Commander, like other Select resellers, has committed to selling certain levels of Microsoft products during the next 2-3 years.
“Many organisations ask us about Select but we need to see that they will offer market opportunities that aren’t currently being covered,” Microsoft national channels manager, Kerstin Baxter, said.
“Commander is very good in the mid-market and different acquisitions in the past couple of years have given them national coverage.”
The handshake was worth more than $20 million a year in additional licence, product and service revenues, Commander general manager of data, Steve Evans, said.
“We dominate in the SME space and Microsoft has seen the opportunities we can bring to those customers,” Evans said. “We also have a quite large team of engineers across the country.”
Evans said Commander had a team of 60 dedicated data engineers, who would all be trained up on the full Microsoft suite by the end of the year. Some of its remaining 300 engineers across the full range of its business would also receive additional training.
“The Microsoft partnership will be great for us moving forward,” Evans said. “We have traditionally been strong in telephony but this is recognition that we are a serious player in the IT space.”
He said Commander had more than 100,000 telephony customers, with a combined base of more than 200,000 SME customers and some large corporate, government and education clients.
Evans predicted the Microsoft deal would give it more leverage in the enterprise market.
Microsoft had 60 large account resellers back in 1996 but Baxter said a mixture of reviews, mergers and acquisitions had seen that number drop off significantly.
“We made an assessment of the market and didn’t want it to become over saturated,” she said. “We want our partners to have sustainable, profitable businesses.
“Market conditions have also has an affect. There has been a lot of natural attrition.”