Microsoft has attempted to calm channel fears by insisting that the planned expansion of its enterprise direct sales force will not harm its indirect strategy.
In the past few weeks the software giant has come under heavy criticism, but last week it said the expansion will not result in fewer sales for resellers.
Natalie Ayres, group director for SME and partners at Microsoft, said the move was part of a drive to develop a unified Microsoft. "We are increasing and investing in more direct touch for the enterprise and making Microsoft more joined up, in order to help the channel better manage pipeline opportunities," she said.
The vendor has 220 direct sales staff and said it will look to add another 30 people to that figure. The extra staff will also be drafted in to develop its vertical focus in areas such as finance, retail and manufacturing. "It's about influencing the sale to ensure it goes through the channel," added Ayres.
Simon Oecken, Microsoft practice director at corporate VAR Computacenter, agreed the expansion will benefit resellers. "It's an evolution from products and features to the provision of a total service. This is positive for the channel," he said.
However, Gordon Davis, commercial director at Compusys, said Microsoft has room for improvement.
"Microsoft's marketing in the enterprise space hasn't been good enough in the past. We do welcome this news but only as long as it integrates its efforts with the channel."
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