Microsoft Throws A Bone To SharePoint Partners

SharePoint Deployment Planning Services (SDPS) is a partner-focused offering that's limited to Microsoft's Software Assurance customers, and is similar to programs Microsoft has offered in the past for Exchange, BizTalk, and SQL Server. To some partners, SDPS is another sign of the runaway success of SharePoint, which is already a billion dollar business for Microsoft.

Ken Winell, CEO of Expertcollab, a SharePoint-focused solution provider in Florham Park, N.J., says customers benefit not only from the Microsoft-subsidized partner delivered services but also from being able to get their own IT staff quickly up to speed on SharePoint.

"This is a great example of how the SharePoint product team is addressing field concerns regarding deployment and adoption, while also incenting the partner community to attain another level of competency with revenue-rewarded results," said Winell.

The SDPS pilot program is open to Microsoft partners with competencies in Information Worker Portals and Collaboration, Enterprise Content Management (ECM), or Search specializations. Partners also get access to SharePoint deployment plan templates, architecture design guidance documents, and SharePoint server farm deployment guidance.

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In the SDPS program, partners provide deployment planning sessions of 1, 3, 5, 10 or 15 days, with the duration and depth of the engagement determined by a combination of a customer's qualifying Office licenses and the number of Core Client Access License Suites and Enterprise CAL Suites, according to Microsoft.