Software giant Microsoft reigns as the preferred operating system supplier for Canadian IT resellers, according to a recent survey conducted by Evans Research Corporation (ERC). The research findings are published in ERC’s 2004 IT Reseller Report. The study focuses on reseller preferences and
future expectations with respect to the overall IT market, hardware products, professional services and software products. Overwhelmingly, resellers voted Microsoft as the favoured software vendor, capturing thirty percent of survey responses.
Top software vendor supplied initiatives, according to reseller survey respondents, include providing technical support, technical training, marketing support, sales leads, newsletters, product details, promotions, pricing information and sales support. As well, resellers counted holding partner conferences and events as being critical to their success in supporting and offering software products to end-users. Microsoft is committed to strong communication and servicing the reseller channel in all categories. This commitment paid off with reseller dedication.
Microsoft partner conferences are industry-leading events. Most recently its worldwide partner conference was held in Toronto, bringing resellers in from across the globe together to forge relationships with Microsoft executives and colleagues. The vendor is an example of a bricks-and-mortar organization with a strong commitment to the Internet, with technical support Web sites, online technical and product information. Microsoft recognizes the value of involving users and developers in its product development process and uses the Internet as a conduit for soliciting user, developer and reseller feedback. The organization uses the Internet as an effective tool to bridge and enhance communication between itself, resellers and end-users.
In combination with the Internet, sales professionals and product managers are critical to target sales leads and training initiatives with reseller partners. The continued success of this vendor is an example of utilizing the reseller channel in a strong and effective manner.
Products recently released by Microsoft target the small/medium sized business segment (SMB). It is a robust segment within the Canadian market and one which ERC tracks on a regular basis. Microsoft’s install base in this segment is strong. In ERC’s 2003 SMB Report, Microsoft accounted for 84% of total network operating systems installed in SMB environments. All Windows products were included in this analysis. Considering the critical role resellers play in bringing IT products to the SMB market, resellers act as the linchpin in the success of Microsoft’s initiatives in this vertical.
In 2004, Microsoft’s reseller initiatives paid off for the vendor. Continued commitment to the channel is expected to help resellers and the software giant experience strong future growth.
Michelle Warren is ERC’s IT industry channel analyst