After a year of making up to system builders, Microsoft Canada will now start to reward its partners.

It was only a year ago when system builders across the country complained about the new channel strategy and the lack of local Microsoft reps.

To its credit, Microsoft Canada listened

and responded by reinvesting in the system builder channel.

According to Ken Headrick, manager, partner development for Microsoft Canada Co. of Mississauga, Ont., the Partner Reward Program is an extension of the investment made last year.

The Partner Rewards Program enables resellers and system builders to earn rewards points each time they distribute Microsoft software licenses. These points can be redeemed for technical training from Microsoft Certified Technical Education centres, product support from Microsoft Product Support Services and marketing incentives.

“”Every major system builders has a person from Microsoft to talk to on monthly basis. And, reps are out in the field who work with big system builders. This is a broad-based effort and we did the job of delivering and building a relationship with the system builder community,”” Headrick said.

The Microsoft rewards will go through distribution and by tracked that way, Headrick said.

All of the administrative work will be done by Microsoft and resellers and system builders will be able to view their progress at http://members.microsoft.com/partner/go/rewards.

Another added bonus is that this plan is on top of other rewards plans from distributors such as Ingram Micro Canada, Tech Data Canada, Synnex Canada and EMJ Data Systems.

“”We wanted to make the admin as easy as possible for them. We work behind the scenes and work on accounts with distributors on amalgamating all that buying and over time,”” Headrick said.

Headrick added that Microsoft Canada since last year’s channel investment has increased spending in the channel by 25 to 30 per cent in marketing and resources. Headrick, because of confidential reasons could not divulge the specific amount of channel investment, but said it was double than a year ago.

Currently, Microsoft has 400 partners involved in the rewards plan with another 200 going through the set up process.

“”We have an open and broad channel and our goal is to reward as many partners as we can. My hope is to have somewhere between 1,000 to 2,000 partners or more in this plan,”” Headrick said.

The Microsoft Reward program is a global effort with no time limit and is open to more than just VARs and system builders. Consultants and other types of partners who influence the sale of Microsoft products can earn points, Headrick said.

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