Microsoft Canada Co. of Mississauga, Ont. has launched a new licensing option called ALP (Authorized License Provider) as part of its Open License Value program.

The software maker is partnering exclusively with Toronto-based distributor Synnex Canada to facilitate the ALP program, which will

use the agency fee model.

Similar to the U.S. program launched late last year, ALP helps resellers spread Microsoft software assurance payments over three years, which is intended to ease cash flow and give the VAR better budget predictability, said Bill Depatie, manager of enterprise channel sales for Microsoft Canada.

It will also enable small to medium sized resellers to focus solely on selling software solutions instead of figuring out licensing and back end logistics, Depatie added.

“”There will be fairly significant timesavings from the admin point of view. But, it is not just admin. It is also knowledge from a licensing perspective. The VARs only need to have a limited knowledge of the licensing program and they can sell the product and use the expertise that is offered by the people at Synnex to answer any licensing questions,”” Depatie said.

ALP will also have online administration tools that deal with billing, credit and processing of the referral fee.

According to John Ivankovic, manager special projects for Synnex Canada, the company’s online tool helped the distributor win the Request for Proposal from Microsoft late last year.

“”The tool offers an intuitive process of license configuration,”” Ivankovic said. “”Even Microsoft for their own means does not provide a tool as of yet. I know there is something in the works.””

Ivankovic agreed with Depatie saying that ALP will help resellers focus on influencing sales.

“”They do not want to have to deal with all the back end aspects of reselling. What license online offers is all of those resources at no cost to the reseller and then a commission or what we refer to as referral reward is offered to them,”” Ivankovic said.

He added that Synnex Canada will not go direct with this tool. Even if an end user uses the tool they must select from a list of resellers first.

“”In cases of end users going to the Web site they have to select from a list of resellers. We do play a little favoritism to those resellers who utilize the tool. They become top of the list. It is a way compensating them for using the tool,”” Ivankovic said.

Currently, more than 2,200 resellers are using the tool, he said.

Resellers in the past were concerned over how complex Microsoft made software licensing. Many resellers did not know how to properly price it and even had to hire licensing gurus for help. Both Depatie and Ivankovic agreed those where major concerns from the VAR channel that have been addressed in the ALP program.

“”The configuration process is so intuitive it alleviates the need to specialize in licensing from Microsoft and ultimately we are going to launch this from every other vendor,”” Ivankovic said.

“”It is going to configure whether you know the sku or do not know the sku. It will not allow you to exceed the licensing parameters. It virtually provides an error free purchasing environment. I will not say it completely eliminates it but it is almost error free.””

Besides other software vendors, Synnex Canada is also considering using this tool for hardware vendors.

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