Microsoft Helps Partners Prep for Vista

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As part of its Partner Program, Microsoft has launched Early Start, a resource that enables the company’s partners to learn and ready themselves to work with new Microsoft products and market opportunities in advance of the mass release of Windows Vista in general and Office 2007 in particular. The company anticipates this offering will make for a smooth transition as its partners and customers adopt the new technology.


“Partners who participate in the Early Start initiative and complete the required training and assessments will be ready to capitalize on increasing customer demand in new technology areas,” said Sherle Webb-Robins, general manager for the Microsoft Partner Program.


Companies that are part of the Microsoft Partner program often offer competencies to their customers to help them in specific areas such as network infrastructure, information worker and security. But to qualify for a Microsoft competency, partners need to write exams to obtain Microsoft certifications, and they need three customer references that say they’ve helped a company implement a specific technology using Microsoft products.


Because Vista and Office 2007 have not been released yet, there are no exams for those products.


Early Start was launched Nov. 10 as a first step to engage partners and help them get ready for a new set of Microsoft specializations. There are four specializations involved in the Early Start program: Information Worker Solutions Competency-Unified Communications Specialization, Information Worker Solutions Competency-Performance Management Specialization, Information Worker Solutions Competency-Data Visualization Specialization and Advanced Infrastructure Solutions Competency-Windows Desktop Deployment Specialization.


The company sees this move as key to the long term success of its partners.


“Partner profitability and overall success depend on growth opportunities,” Webb-Robins said. “The Early Start initiative gives partners the opportunity to get ramped up and trained on new market opportunities. It allows them to engage in new market opportunities, with minimal investment, helping them to grow their businesses profitably.”




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