Feeds

Microsoft promises big shiny tool to cheer glum Windows resellers

'It is painful, not easiest thing' flogging Redmond kit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Microsoft has vowed to end its reseller partners' woes by fixing the unstable website used to register customer sales: by the end of next month Redmond's deal-registration website will be upgraded and will include a new business intelligence and analytics tool.

The online system for inputting deals with IT buyers was launched for large account resellers (LARs) in December 2011, and as the Solution Incentive Programme for the wider distribution channel last spring. By registering sales, resellers can get rebates and also prevent rivals from nicking customers.

But, as revealed by The Channel, the Partner Sales Exchange tool periodically crashed when it was overloaded with work, meaning some product orders had to be processed manually.

In a candid interview, Janet Gibbons - Microsoft's director of partner programmes and strategy for small and mid-market partners and solutions - said the Redmond giant is getting to grips with the issues.

She said it had created the One Plan project in September to "fundamentally address all the pain points that we hear from partners around channel incentives".

"By February partners will see a significant change around all those issues, the systems are being changed," Gibbons said, adding that a BI and analytics tool is on its way to make the system more transparent.

"One of the biggest complaints we hear from the channel is 'I put a claim in and I receive money, but there is not a lot of transparency in the process, I'm a bit blind between those two motions'," she said. These fixes "should" make the process more straightforward, we're told.

As with Cisco's rebate system, Microsoft wants channel partners to be able to see where a claim is in the system, how much they'll receive in cash for securing the sale and be notified when it is paid.

Microsoft coughed up $4.2bn in channel incentives worldwide in fiscal 2012, ended June, the highest spend behind R&D which was just under $10bn.

'At least it's better than what resellers had'

Historically Microsoft only paid LARs for transacting Select and Enterprise Agreements, and resellers flogging Open licences, although it later wanted to pay any partner that "influenced" customers' buying decisions.

"We've all had to go through a change management process to understand the impact of that, but the partners I talk to say it is painful, administratively it's not easiest thing in the world, but they say it is better than what they had," said Gibbons.

The deal registration tool was devised by Ross Brown, who was worldwide partner group veep from May 2008 until September 2012 when he left the firm. He is now a top bod at channel consultancy Touch Worldwide.

Microsoft's channel partners said there was too little interaction with senior execs at Redmond over the online deals system when it was being constructed.

"The programme was over-thought and under-delivered," claimed one insider.

Gibbons agreed Microsoft could have spent longer on the project to roll out a "perfect" deal registration programme, but said it was facing competitive pressure from rivals and wanted to get channel partners onboard as soon as possible.

Deal registration is applicable for Server Systems Centre, Windows 7 and 8, Microsoft SQL and Lync - and in each of those areas Microsoft was feeling the heat from its opponents.

"If you look at the products we launched it on, in each one we have strong competition, so we wanted to make sure that we were really financially motivating our channel to go sell our stuff versus the competitors' stuff and earn money on the back of it," she said.

Some Microsoft channel partners said they'd be surprised if the bugs are squashed by the end of February, but one praised Gibbons for being "open and honest; we've got to give Microsoft credit for that". ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.