My name is Mark Hassall and as Director in the Identity & Security Business Group at Microsoft Corp, I am responsible for partner marketing for Microsoft’s Forefront and IDA family of products. After spending a lot of time with many of our partners last week at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), I came away with a number of impressions. For starters, I was reminded how great it is to get face-to-face time with friends in the industry. Secondly, it is incredible to see how the identity and security market continues to evolve at a rapid rate. If our channel partners took at least one thing away from our time at WPC, I hope it is this: our partners have always been, and will always be, at the core of Microsoft’s identity and security strategy. In fact, I feel there has never been a better time to have a partnership with Microsoft. For example: at WPC the newly established Microsoft Identity and Security Business Group announced a $75+ million investment in sales, marketing and readiness initiatives and a series of program enhancements designed to further aid channel partners in designing effective, profitable business models while working with their customers to stay on top of the ever-changing security landscape.
We also announced some great promotions at WPC. We expanded the Security Software Advisor (SSA) program, which allows partners to earn fees of up to 30 percent of the price of a customer’s security product order through Microsoft Volume Licensing, and will now pay advisor fees on Identity and Access products (Microsoft Identity Lifecycle Manager and Microsoft Active Directory Rights Management Services) in addition to Microsoft Forefront products. By enrolling in the Security Software Advisor program, partners will be able to claim up to 10% of the product list price as advisor fees, when they recommend and deploy these identity and access products and will be in an ideal position to capitalize on the rapidly converging market for identity and security solutions.
Another new feature in the SSA program is the ‘Jumpstart’ offer where partners filing their first SSA claim will receive a 50% bonus payment on top of the advisor fee as well as two Microsoft Learning exam vouchers to help partners get certified and qualify for the Security Solutions competency. This limited time promotion runs from July 1st through September 30th 2008.
This is exciting stuff for my team and I as these program enhancements will lead to more opportunities for our partners and will strengthen the current relationships. In fact; in a recent study commissioned by Microsoft, IDC found that Microsoft partners that have the Microsoft Security Solutions Competency and/or qualify for the Microsoft Security Software Advisor program outperformed other benchmarked companies offering security solutions in 12 of 15 of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) surveyed. Key performance metrics include:
• Bottom line profitability – operating profit margins are one third higher for Microsoft partners
• Business velocity – revenue growth is three times higher than benchmark companies
• Business execution – revenue per employee is over $45,000 more per employee for Microsoft partners
• Services fulfillment – services to product resale ratio is double the rate of benchmark companies.
The report found that these results can be attributed to a number of factors, including services opportunities, availability of qualified technical resources, process efficiencies and deeper relationships with customers. The report can be found here: https://partner.microsoft.com/download/US/40030202
If you’re a Microsoft partner or you’re thinking about joining the Microsoft partner program, I urge you to sign up for SSA now and attain the Security Solutions Competency. As many of our partner friends witnessed last week in Houston; it’s an exciting time for both of the Forefront and IDA product families and we want partners to join in and start thinking about how you can drive revenue by attaching to existing infrastructure solutions. As I said when I started this blog partners are at the core of our strategy and we want you to engage with us on joint identity and security opportunities. You can find out more about these programs and opportunities at https://partner.microsoft.com/global/productssolutions/securityproducts.