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More Than 10 Keys To ISV Success

Back in December when we were planning this issue of Solutions Inc., we decided it was time for a cover story focused on how to succeed as a Microsoft ISV.

Our story is loaded with tips for establishing and keeping the lines of communication open. For those generating enough licensing revenue from Microsoft—at least $5 million annually—an account manager is assigned to help navigate the maze. But don't rely on a single source or even too few, ISVs warn. For others hoping to hit that mark someday, make it someone's responsibility to get to know key people within Microsoft, as Binary Stream CEO Lak Chahal did. Quest Software went so far as to base an employee on Microsoft's campus to keep it in the tech loop. There are also important conferences to attend or committees to lobby for a seat on to stay abreast of Microsoft's product development plans. Just think of how critical a task that is for a thinly capitalized ISV looking to make ends meet. A wrong technical decision could wreak havoc. After all, these organizations must reinvent themselves every few years just to keep pace with platform changes or to squeeze out more revenue from apps that are probably long in tooth because Microsoft has delayed shipment of a key technology or infrastructure offering. No matter, it's life on the edge for your average Microsoft ISV.

ISVs also offer such sage advice as getting to know as many Microsoft insiders as possible by developing your own version of Facebook or LinkedIn. In addition, let Microsoft know of your key customer relationships. That is a valuable currency inside Microsoft.

If there is a tip you would like to share with your fellow Microsoft ISVs, please send it to me at

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