Microsoft Business Solutions Accelerates Investment in Partners’ Vertical Success

New Tools and Offerings Support Worldwide Visibility for Microsoft Business Solutions Partners and Access to Microsoft Business Applications and Partner Solutions
Today at Convergence 2005, Microsoft Corp. announced plans to increase resources and provide new tools and offerings for Microsoft(R) Business Solutions independent software vendors (ISVs) and value-added resellers (VARs). All efforts are designed to accelerate the Microsoft Business Solutions Group’s partner-driven vertical strategy, providing strong opportunities for partners to align their services and solutions with their customers’ specific needs.
By the end of fiscal year 2006, the Microsoft Business Solutions Group will align 50 percent of its existing partners to a vertical solution or service. In addition, field resources and through-partner marketing will be aligned with verticals. While initial efforts will emphasize 14 verticals within manufacturing, distribution, public sector and services, the Microsoft Business Solutions Group will continue to provide sales and co-marketing support to a broad ecosystem of partners across many verticals.
“Microsoft Business Solutions has a strong partner ecosystem today that brings the advanced industry-specific functionality to our solutions that customers require,” said Glenn Bray, senior director of industry strategy for Microsoft Business Solutions at Microsoft. “New offerings and investments from Microsoft are designed to give our partners a leg up, accelerating their competitive advantage and revenue potential in target market segments.”
Tools Help Partners Take Advantage of Untapped Market Opportunity
To support partners in generating customer leads in their target markets, the Microsoft Business Solutions Group will provide resources for the field in the areas of demand generation, advertising, sales support, lead management and more. More than 800 Microsoft Business Solutions team members in the field will be trained and empowered to help partners succeed in targeted verticals. In addition, the Microsoft Business Solutions Group will provide improved tools for the field, including data on vertical opportunities, an improved map of partner solutions, and a vertical business planning guide book, all designed to help partners plan and execute their vertical strategy.
Specific tools and offerings include the following:
* Vertical opportunity map. The Microsoft Business Solutions Group will
provide partners with the data necessary to assess opportunities that
exist in specific geographic regions worldwide. This data includes a
total count of business entities as well as industry and vertical
purchase rates, allowing partners to get a good estimate of the market
opportunity in their region or country. Partners are encouraged to use
this data in combination with their own data to determine the relative
attractiveness of serving a targeted market segment.
* Solution Finder. To increase the visibility of Microsoft’s extensive
portfolio of partner vertical solutions, a Web-based Solution Finder
tool will launch in the second half of calendar year 2005. The tool
will help customers select industry-specific partner solutions and
related Microsoft financial management, supply chain management and
customer relationship management solutions. In addition, partner
account managers can use this tool to help identify opportunities for
partners to develop their own intellectual property (IP) or identify
opportunities for them to work with other partners to deliver a
complete industry-specific solution. Solution Finder will work with
data from the Microsoft Partner Program systems to streamline the
partner profiling experience.
* Microsoft’s Partner Channel Builder. Microsoft’s Partner Channel
Builder, a combination of an online tool and structured worldwide
networking events, allows all Gold Certified and Certified partners,
including partners selling Microsoft Business Solutions, to collaborate
in an effort to deliver more complete industry-specific solutions.
Partners may access the online tool at
http://www.microsoft.com/partner/channelbuilder.
* Vertical lead distribution. A vertical lead grid will be incorporated
into Microsoft’s demand-generation processes to help the field
effectively distribute sales leads to partners who have relevant
solutions and/or industry expertise.
* Industry Builder. Also announced today is Industry Builder, an ISV
initiative designed to deliver industry-enabled business management
applications that can be further extended into new markets by VARs and
ISVs. As part of the Industry Builder initiative, select ISVs will
develop industry modules according to Microsoft’s quality standards and
package them with a customer support contract that includes both the
Microsoft Business Solutions core modules and the Industry Builder
application(s). The Industry Builder initiative is immediately
available for ISVs focused on developing industry-specific solutions
for Microsoft Business Solutions-Axapta(R), and will extend to other
Microsoft Business Solutions applications later this year.
Partners who would like more information on Microsoft Business Solutions partner tools and offerings should contact mbsprtnr@microsoft.com

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook