Microsoft Partners Teaming To Tackle Business Challenges

As the new terms of the Microsoft Partner Network take effect, an independent group of Microsoft channel partners is forming with the goal of helping VARs work with other VARs to tackle business development challenges.

Called MPOWR (Microsoft Partners for One World of Results), the group on Thursday launched a Web portal and online magazine that will serve as its primary communication and collaboration vehicles. MPOWR also intends to form special interest groups around specific technologies like CRM and foster broad partner-to-partner interaction.

Of course, Microsoft's own channel program is one of the most comprehensive in the IT industry and offers the same opportunities for partners. Channel focused industry organizations like Heartland Technology Group (HTG) and IAMCP have been following a similar path for years. Is there really a need for another Microsoft partner organization?

Bill Luisi, a co-founder of MPOWR and vice president of sales at Irving, Tx.-based solution provider Teknion Data Solutions, says MPOWR brings a laser focus on business development issues and quicker reaction time to solution providers' needs.

Sponsored post

"There are many ways partners can self-serve through the Microsoft ecosystem and get information, but we think we can streamline that a bit and provide that information in a more crisp and orderly way," Luisi said.

Partner-to-partner relationship building is another central tenet of MPOWR. "It's tough for Microsoft to be able to address that given the way they function with their managed partner program. MPOWR can take a more unbiased view. Microsoft has great solutions and those of us that are not major SIs have a lot of value to add."

Microsoft has been banging the partner collaboration drum for the last couple of years. Under MPN, this type of networking becomes even more important given that VARs will have to hire or contract with four Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) in order to attain Gold competencies, and these MCPs can only be applied to a single competency.

"Most partners have a limited number of competencies," said Luisi. "Teknion Data Solutions focuses on business intelligence and custom application development, but we'd love to partner with partners that are doing work in CRM, ERP and mobile computing."

NEXT: Big Decisions Microsoft Partners Are Facing...

Cloud computing and the associated business model changes is one of the biggest dilemmas Microsoft partners are facing at the moment, and MPOWR intends to guide VARs through the decision making process.

"Cloud computing is going mainstream in awareness, and it falls into certain specific categories of Microsoft's product suite. We're hoping to open up our information base to help people address that," Luisi said.

Luisi declined to offer a specific number of partners that MPOWR is looking to sign up but said the group won't impose eligibility limitations. "We're not limited by size or geography. We're hoping to get a groundswell of interest and referrals from partners," he said.

MPOWR is initially focusing its partner recruitment efforts in the U.S. but plans to expand this globally "in the near future," said Luisi, adding that one of MPOWR's founding board members is based in Brazil.

MPOWER members that recruit new partners will receive points, and they also accumulate points for taking part in special interest groups, industry events, and through lead sharing. Next year MPOWR plans to allow partners can use these points to defray the renewal fees that will be effect by that time, according to Luisi.