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Microsoft is increasing the number of direct sales staff it employs but insists partners have nothing to fear.

Simon Witt, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s enterprise and partners group, told eWeek the enterprise sales force had grown by 60 per cent in the last five years and would grow by another 60 per cent in the next five years.

On-site services staff also grew by 16 per cent compound annually and will continue to do so until Microsoft has “23,000 people inside the enterprise in the next five years.” The number of specialists is likely to double over the same five year period.

Specialists increasingly understand a business process, like electronic point-of-sale, rather than specific technologies. The enterprise group is establishing vertically-focussed units to help support accounts teams.

But Witt said partner worries were to do with Microsoft’s unpredictability rather than actual competition. He said the company had not done a good job of communicating moves like Microsoft Business Services and it was this unpredictability which people do not like.

Witt said the company needs partners with vertical market expertise: “Partners need to self-profile and promote on the solutions side, or we will pick partners through our partner selection and solution segmentation process, which will give us more precise relationships.”.

More details available from eWeekhere.®

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