Now that I’ve been back from the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2009 (WPC09) for a few weeks I’ve had some time to digest much of what I heard and saw. If you have never had the opportunity to go to a WPC you owe it to yourself to do so. It’s 4 intense days of presentations, break out sessions, workshops, hands on labs and meetings, meeting and more meetings. If you want to view the presentations you can go here to view them. However, the best part of the conference is the ability for you to have face-to-face meetings with key Microsoft executives, vendors and other partners.

The next 12 months will prove to be very exciting with the launch of many new products: Windows 7, Office 2010, Windows Server 2008 R2, Exchange 2010, Mobile 6.5 and more. Microsoft is on the offensive again and it is important for you to engage with Microsoft to be able to ‘ride’ this technology wave. You need to get familiar with the products, understand the direction Microsoft is going in and learn how you can align your business with these initiatives.

Microsoft is increasing their cloud computing initiative, also known as ‘Software-Plus-Services’. The offerings keep getting better and enable you to offer a selection of computing platforms to your clients. No need to let a client walk away if they are looking for a hosted solution rather than a traditional on-premise solution. You need to become familiar with Azure, BPOS, SPLA and a host of other acronyms. The Microsoft Partner website has a lot of information on this initiative under the ‘Products and Solutions’ tab.

The Microsoft Partner Program has evolved into the Microsoft Partner Network. If you haven’t been to the site lately need to go there now and get familiar with it. Microsoft is moving “from a program focused on requirements and benefits to the network designed for relationships, connections, and opportunities“. There will be an increased emphasis on customer references and partnering with other partners to deliver complete solutions.

One partner program change that requires examination is the change to the SBSC designation. The blue SBSC logo may go away as the SBSC designation changes into a Small Business Competency. In my meetings and discussions with Microsoft they seemed surprised that this might cause concern among the SBSC community. I need your feedback about this change – is it for the good? Are you marketing around the blue logo? Do you feel this will make the SBSC community disappear into the general Microsoft community?

In the coming months we will explore each of these topics in more detail. In the interim here are some action items that can help you get started:

· Make sure you are testing Windows 7, getting familiar with it, getting ready for the October 22nd launch date.

· Take advantage of the Action Pack and SBSC program benefits to maximize your engagement.

· Explore the new Microsoft Partner Network site at

· Use Microsoft Bing as your search engine of choice -

· Comment on this blog, send me emails, make your voice heard – I am here to help you!


John Krikke

Microsoft Canada SMB PAL 2009-07-30

(905) 681-9400 x505


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