Only 10% of Microsoft partners using Windows 2003



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1 April 2005 | 0

Microsoft Ireland is engaged in a major push to try and get 50 per cent of its channel partners using 2003 versions of its software by June.

The initiative, launched in February, follows a survey which revealed less than ten per cent of partners on Microsoft programmes in Ireland and Northern Ireland used 2003 versions of Windows Server, Small Business Server, Exchange and Office.

Colin Cassidy, partner development manager for Microsoft Ireland, said the survey had revealed close to 80 per cent of partners were using Windows Server 2000 or NT – technology that is five years old. He described the statistic as ‘pretty scary for us’.

He argued many partners were selling what they were comfortable with and in most cases that was the old technology.
‘It’s an issue because we’re getting to the stage where the mentality is that the Windows 2000 platform is good enough. There’s a perception out there that ‘if it works, why change it’, but that’s very short-sighted because partners are not seeing the services revenues they can generate [with Windows Server 2003].’

Microsoft is seeking to articulate what it believes are the major benefits of upgrading to the 2003 platform to partners, including reduced risk, mobility and productivity gains, lower operating and management costs and a more secure environment than Windows Server 2000.

The issue of how to use and benefit from technology such as Sharepoint and remote management was not being communicated to customers because partners were not using it, Cassidy said. ‘If a customer asked the vast majority of our partners about the three main benefits of 2003, they’d struggle [to answer].’




He claimed some of Microsoft’s best partners were ‘making a lot of money’ from focusing on remote management as a key services offering ‘but not many’.
Few resellers were prepared to comment on the findings of the survey, but one MS certified partner who has just deployed 2003 software, Gerry Buckley of Network and Infrastructure Support (NIS), said he was ‘very surprised’ to hear that so few partners are using the latest software.

‘I find it difficult to understand the reasons why there is not a far
higher level of deployment by all Microsoft Partners,’ he said. ‘For us
this is a very exciting time when Microsoft are making such significant strides in the development of their server, desktop and application software offerings. I feel that it’s a essential part of our expertise development to have full exposure to all Microsoft software to better advise our customers on the best solution for their individual business needs.’ NIS is using Small Business Server 2003, Windows 2003 standard Server, Sharepoint, Infopath, Office system 2003, along with Microsoft CRM software.

The survey identified costs (in resources and licences), understanding the value of the 2003 platform and training (technical implementation and staff productivity training) as the major barriers to adoption of the 2003 software. To address the problems, Microsoft is holding a series of regional seminars and offering free training on implementing the technology and migrating from Windows Server 2000 to the 2003 platform. In addition, it plans to offer sessions on how to improve staff productivity using the 2003 software in May.

Microsoft Ireland is the first territory to undertake such a survey but has flagged the issue at European level because of concerns the same situation could apply in other countries. The survey questioned 200 of Microsoft’s approximately 600 programme partners in Ireland and Northern Ireland.


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