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Microsoft Partners At A Crossroads: Radical Changes Rattling The Channel

Wade Tyler Millward

Recent changes to Microsoft’s partner program -- NCE and the upcoming Partner Capability Score -- are rattling some solution providers in Microsoft’s 400,000-strong channel ecosystem. Is the tech giant listening?

‘A Positive Side’

Even Prejean’s frustrations with Microsoft haven’t pushed her so far as to explore other partner programs, although her customers have asked her about Google. In her opinion, Microsoft’s offerings have better features and security, she said.

In fact, Prejean’s plans for growing her business— which she founded in 1996 with her husband, John— include more investment in the Microsoft portfolio. Microsoft’s communications app, Teams, has proven popular with her customers. She’s also thinking of investing more in Microsoft’s Defender cybersecurity offering.

“There is a positive side,” she said. “Their products are all so well-integrated that we put up with all their humbug because they do have exceptional products.”

Even with the arrangement she came to—sharing a customer with its former MSP—she said she feels OK with giving up revenue for a new customer, calling the arrangement a “gentleman’s agreement.” Her only concern is security with the old MSP still having access to the customer and seeing a slowdown in responding to the customer’s needs due to having to work with another MSP.

When asked if she has a message for Microsoft’s new channel leaders, Prejean said, “Listen to the smaller MSPs. Simplicity is important to us.”

“With the NCE thing, if they would just work with us to tweak it a little bit, I think it would be a win-win,” she said. “And that’s the whole portability aspect, letting us take it from distributor to distributor, client to client, MSP to MSP. Just those three things would be huge.”

 
Wade Tyler Millward

Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at wmillward@thechannelcompany.com.

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