TIG Looks To Bring Microsoft Enterprise Software To Midsize VARs

TIG unveiled the program to members of Ingram Micro's VentureTech Network at the VentureTech Fall conference last week in Palm Desert, Calif. TIG, which signed its LAR agreement with Microsoft in June and is one of 29 resellers to sign such a pact, wants to deliver Microsoft's enterprise software licensing agreements to companies in the 250 to 750 seat range, said Chris Ferry, executive vice president at the San Diego-based solution provider.

"The VentureTech Network is the best place to get to this market," Ferry said.

The program includes three key Microsoft offerings slated to be launched in the next few months: Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange. Ferry said all are significant opportunities for solution providers, since their customers will be looking for help in deploying the new products.

"We are going to partner with other VARs that have service offerings and give them the opportunity to control their customer accounts while benefiting from the services side," he said.

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Alice Chilimidos, director of TIG's Microsoft business practice, said that once a solution provider identifies a prospect for signing an enterprise software agreement with Microsoft, TIG will get on the phone with the solution provider and the customer to help understand the customer's requirements and give a third-party perspective.

Once the agreement is signed, the solution provider that brought in the customer takes over on the deployment side. "Our role is simply to facilitate the license agreement," Chilimidos said. "The other VAR does the deployment."

That arrangement is key to the partnership between TIG and the second solution provider, Ferry said. About half of the solution providers that have talked to TIG about the service said they aren't able to bring it to customers because it's too complex or they brought in another Microsoft LAR that then took over the customer account.

Because TIG leaves the presale and deployment processes and other services to the other solution providers, it is able to get in the door to opportunities it never had before, according to Ferry. "Often, solution providers aren't involved in the process," he said. "Now they can be involved. A lot of the money in the Microsoft space is selling these services."

TIG is offering to partner with other solution providers in the Microsoft enterprise software space on one of three levels, Ferry said. The Enterprise level is a basic Microsoft software agreement for customers with at least 250 seats. Under the Select level, TIG works with the solution provider and the customer to forecast the customer's requirements over a three-year period and then prices the agreements accordingly. For customers as small as five seats, TIG's Open Value level helps set them up with pricing terms better than purchasing individual licenses.

Ferry said TIG is starting the program with other solution providers in the VentureTech Network because the network fosters such partnering efforts. Still, TIG plans to extend the offering to other solution providers as well, he added.