TORONTO – Microsoft Canada unveiled on Monday a license and billing provider program for resellers targeting the small to medium business (SMB) market.

The program — which is delivered by Synnex Canada and follows in the footsteps of a year-long pilot project in the U.S. by License

Online — gives resellers another way to peddle Microsoft’s open license software.

“”It’s an alternative to what we call a single tier channel model to distribute more Microsoft products to the VAR and certified partner channel,”” says Janine Davy, strategic channels, channel sales, Microsoft Canada. “”And in doing so, what we want to accomplish is provide a more simplified approach to licensing to the SMB channel, and increase our customer satisfaction and loyalty with the VARs and Microsoft certified partners.””

As part of the program, resellers and end users (who’ve designated a certified partner or other VAR) can get access to a host of tools including online license configuration and pricing information, says John Ivankovic, special projects manager, Synnex Canada. The e-licensing platform also offers, among other things: quote tracking and a branded transparency shopping experience, Ivankovic adds.

“”Two other additional components that the tool offers that you don’t readily see in the channel today is the license quote tracking,”” he says. “”Whether the quote is complete or partially complete, resellers will be able to track that information, which is a huge value add.””

Viewing customer order history is another value add, he notes. “”People spend endless dollars on data mining and this tool will actually allow them to go into their profile to a private database of information that’s pertaining to them and their customers.””

Set pricing with two commission levels (10 per cent for non-certified VARs and 12 per cent for certified VARs) is also offered under the program, says Davy. “”It transacts license offerings direct to the SMB customer on behalf of the VAR, and also provides a delivered agreed income to the VAR partner for the sale of those licenses direct to the SMB customer.””

Gauging reseller feedback, Davy says Microsoft wants to address the growing trend that sees VARs moving away from selling software licenses into selling services. “”We want to make sure that our customers continue their loyalty and keep their customer satisfaction high.””

Indeed, software is not as profitable as it has been in the past, she notes. “”So we want to provide a more simplified approach to it . . . and we want to engage the VAR and Microsoft certified partner in future licensing offerings, focusing on the small to medium-sized business space.””

The goal is to let VARs focus on their core competencies, she says. “”This allows VARs to focus on what their best at, which is delivering technology solutions to the end customer, and then shifting the billing and licensing expertise and support to the licensing and billing provider.””

Going forward, Davy says the e-licensing tool will supply additional IT-related components.

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