Calls from Microsoft resellers for their specialisation to bed formal recognition. officially recognised have fallen on deaf ears as the vendor declared it has no intention of introducing an additional level of reseller accreditation for the SME sector.
The request came as Microsoft expanded its direct access programme for Vars selling to SMEs. The scheme offers training and support in return for a joining fee, but no formal accreditation.
Ian Brooks, managing director of Cardiff reseller IB Business Development, said his company sold Microsoft products exclusively to SMEs.
'We have expertise in selling to this market and I'd like to see Microsoft acknowledge that. We have so many skills in dealing with SMEs and I believe that is worth some recognition,' he claimed.
But Natalie Johnston, channel skills development manager at Microsoft, said there were 'no plans' to introduce an additional level of accreditation for resellers with skills in niche areas.
'There are some interesting developments on certification coming out in January or February next year where you will see more of a breakdown,' she added, but declined to elaborate further.
Phillip Mitchell, managing director of Microsoft solutions provider Intralan, claimed any further accreditation would dilute the standard.
'Accreditation is open to manipulation and if applied to the thousands of Vars selling only to SMEs, would be very subjective. How would they accurately test resellers, for example? It would harm the accreditation stamp,' he said.
Microsoft claims that about 7,000 resellers have joined its direct access programme since it began targeting the SME market 18 months ago. The latest addition to the programme, which Microsoft says is dependent on reseller feedback, is the channel sales kit, a CD-Rom offering tips on how to sell year 2000, euro, internet and networking services.
'There are still huge opportunities for the channel to sell year 2000 services to SMEs because 60 per cent of them have still not taken action,' claimed Johnston.
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