Saturday, August 30, 2008

APC SBSC Meeting

After a discussion with Inese Kingsmill (Director, Small and Medium Business, Microsoft Australia) on the Tuesday evening at the Australian Partner Conference, she asked if I'd like to get together a few of the SBSCs there and sit down with her and Kathryn Saducas (Breadth Marketing Group Manager, Microsoft Australia) and discuss a number of issues that I raised around APC, SBSC and Microsoft's partner relationship in general. So, as always, I jumped at the chance.

So, on Wednesday afternoon, a group of us sat down with Inese and Kathryn and discussed a number of issues. The main issues raised were as follows:
  • the PAMs are about as interested in talking to a Certified/Gold Partner who focuses in the SMB market as a fish is interested in learning to ride a bicycle
  • the dire lack of real content at the APC (and also the WPC). A few sessions were good, the rest was Groundhog Day (actually, a fairly contentless Groundhog Day)
  • the SBSC program up until now has been basically worthless and this needs to change
  • what ever happened to the Partner Roadshows - they at least showed that Microsoft cared somewhat about their partner channel
Now, as I live in the real world, I know that what we discussed here has already been discussed a number of times in the past with various people in Microsoft by myself and a number of others including attendees at this meeting. I know that a number of us (SBSCs) have attended one or more SBSC RoundTable and really not yet seen any results from these. I also know that a number of people in Microsoft may well be sick and tired of hearing these issues raised time and time again.

Well we're going to have to keep raising these issues with Microsoft until we get sick of it and either move to an Apple/Linux world for ourselves and our clients, we get tired of it and give in, or until we see some progress. I have no intention of giving in at all and will keep trying until I see some progress (and then keep going until Microsoft is continuing down the right paths)!

Now, those of us who were involved in this meeting who are going to the WESS Pre-Day at Tech Ed have been invited to a follow-up meeting to discuss progress on these issues. Hear that - to discuss progress. That means we're going to be finding out how far Microsoft Australia has managed to move in the last 3 weeks. I don't care if it is a femtometer, as long as there's been some forward progress then I'll be happy to know that we're actually making some positive changes in at Microsoft Australia.

So, as your SBSC PAL, I've been tying to bring to Microsoft Australia the issues that I've been hearing from you. I have another 10 months to keep doing this and I hope not only to keep hearing from you (and more of you than I currently hear from - there's about 500 SBSCs here in Australia and a whole 15 or so have responded to my requests for information and input - quite a dismal and underwhelming rate) about what issues you're having with the SBSC program, but I also hope to make some headway in making the program relevant to the SBSCs ourselves as well as our SMB marketplace. I also intend to try and make some headway in at Microsoft Licensing, Microsoft Virtualization and Microsoft Media Centre so that these products can all be improved generally, and especially for the SMB market.

I will post again with the results of the follow-up meeting. I hope to post a positive review of that meeting.


The Outspoken Wookie

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