Microsoft partners are risking losing out on extra margin by not capitalising on initiatives around its licensing programmes.
The vendor's Software Assurance scheme, which has been running for more than three years, now offers add-ons such as training vouchers, e-learning initiatives, employee purchase programmes and online support, said Mark Buckley, UK licensing marketing manager at Microsoft.
"There are a number of partners that could enhance their service offerings by examining these additional options," he said.
Zak Virdi, sales director at hybrid software distributor and Large Account Reseller Bytes Technology Group, agreed. His firm offers additional services such as software asset services, an e-learning proposition and an enterprise benefits package.
"We have achieved an extra 15 to 20 per cent profitability by incorporating these services into our offering. It is an important revenue stream for us and we have seen huge growth over the past 12 months. It has also been a great differentiator," he said.
Virdi said Bytes also outsources its offerings to resellers.
"The profit we have made from this has been far greater than the margin we have made on licensing deals, and I think this is the way forward," he added.
Microsoft has also said it is increasing its emphasis on software asset management (SAM), particularly in the light of new laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley.
"The channel is in a key position to offer SAM services to customers to ensure they are getting the best value and are running the right versions of their software. It is also in VARs' interests to maximise discounts for customers because then they will renew their contracts," Buckley said.
Microsoft is also gearing up to launch three new competencies based around licensing and SAM in September this year, certification for which is available through accredited training centres. The competencies are in addition to the other nine competencies launched last year.
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