Dealers offering services are presented with greater business opportunities as IT departments have lost control of their budgets, with recent figures showing more than one third of spending going on services.
The figures were revealed last week at a conference hosted by Microsoft and its six authorised support centres, Olivetti, Digital, Hewlett Packard, ICL Sorbus, NCR and Unisys.
John Leigh, research director at Gartner Group, which produced the figures, said: 'The problem with services is they are intangible. Internal IT departments have lost control as more power moves into the hands of the user.
'Too many companies don't know where their IT spend goes, but 34.2 per cent of it goes on this area of service.'
Microsoft European business manager David Burrows said the company had invested in service partnerships with companies it felt could generate business from accreditation.
'Service is about people and that means strong working relationships.
Our partners are in a position to use MS technology to suit their customers' needs.'
Microsoft SMS is to work with HP Open Server to deploy management systems for mixed Unix and Windows NT environments, both firms announced last week.
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