The Business

Key Partner Programmes

Microsoft Partner Programme

Signing up as a Microsoft partner gives you access to information, technical and pre-sales support, training (online and locally), certification courseware materials, analyst reports, sales and marketing tools

(including marketing material you can customise), online test drives you can demo  to customers and a full range of evaluation software in the Action Pack. There’s a hotline for help with pre-sales, product and customer licensing questions (0870 60 70 700) and a dedicated line for partner programme questions, including internal licences and support. You can also find other Microsoft partners who can offer complementary services in the Partner Channel Builder.

Research by analysts IDC shows that Microsoft partner companies with certifications in Microsoft’s key competencies are typically more successful, with double the revenue and deal growth, higher net profits, 10% more services sold, larger deals and shorter sales and implementation cycles compared with similar companies selling Linux or Windows infrastructure without the certifications.

There’s no charge to become a Registered Partner, which is all you need to subscribe to the Action Pack (£199+ VAT annually, which is a lot cheaper than an MSDN subscription) and get accredited as a Microsoft Small Business Specialist (which gives you a priority listing in the Microsoft Small Business Solution Finder at

The Action Pack currently includes:
Dynamics CRM 4.0, Workgroup Server, Exchange Server 2007 Standard Edition Service Pack 1 (SP1), Forefront Client Security, Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2006 Standard Edition, MapPoint 2006 Standard Edition, Office Accounting Professional 2008, Office Communications Server 2007 Standard Edition and Standard Edition (Speech Server Role), Office Communicator 2007 (Client), Office Enterprise 2007 with and without SP1, Office Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager, Office Project Professional 2007, Office SharePoint Designer 2007, Office SharePoint Server 2007 Enterprise (CAL), Office Visio Professional 2007, Windows Live OneCare Trial, Operations Manager 2005 Workgroup Edition, SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition, SQL Server 2008 CTP, System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 32-bit and 64-bit, System Center Essentials 2007, Windows Server 2008 Terminal Server CALs, Virtual PC 2004, Virtual Server 2005 R2 Standard Edition with and without SP1, Windows Server 2003 Web Edition, Windows Server 2008 Standard (32- and 64-bit), Windows Small Business Server, SBS 2003 R2 Premium Edition, Windows Vista Business and Ultimate with and without SP1 (32-bit and 64-bit). New versions are supplied in quarterly update kits.

There’s an annual charge (about £1,000) to become a Certified or Gold Certified Partner. The Certified Partner Program Toolkit includes Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition with an MSDN Premium subscription, a TechNet subscription, a Sales and Marketing Toolkit, a Technical Demonstration Toolkit and monthly toolkit updates. You can purchase consulting through Microsoft Services Partner Advantage, check customer satisfaction with online surveys and arrange Microsoft financing for them. You get unlimited access to technical sales assistance, plus a 5-pack for PSS incidents and live chat to help you find content in the partner portal, MSDN library and knowledge base and you can escalate issues  to a dedicated team. You also qualify for discounts on additional TechNet subscriptions and software licences for internal use. Gold Certified Partner benefits are similar, but you also get access to the Partner Training and Readiness Resource Centre and co-ordinated technical support from sales through to deployment.

Dell PartnerDirect

To qualify as a Dell partner you need to meet basic criteria about interacting with Dell online and updating your account details annually, advanced criteria covering your business model and possible special requirements around key areas of expertise.
The basic Registered Partner level gives you a channel account manager, access to demonstration units, use of the Dell logo and access to Dell’s partner Web site for online ordering with standardised pricing, white papers, knowledge base articles, marketing materials, deal registration and financing.

Certified Partners are expected  to make a significant commitment  to Dell, including a minimum number of employees with Dell certifications; Dell also expects Certified Partners to have at least 40% of your company’s total revenue coming from services rather than hardware sales (and a minimum of 10% service revenue share for Registered Partners). In exchange you get product roadmap reviews, incentive-based co-marketing funds, field-based account management and enhanced financing, deal registration, pre-sales and technical support.

The dedicated technical support for Certified Partners will be extended to Registered Partners in the future. And with a Dell Service Certification, you can choose between having your customers phone Dell directly to have problems diagnosed and going straight to second-level support yourself and having Dell dispatch spare parts based on your diagnosis.

HP PartnerONE

HP generates 75% of its revenue in EMEA through partners, and 50% of its service revenue worldwide, so the company is working on improving and simplifying partner relationships, including a combined partnership programme with Microsoft covering unified communications and virtualisation.

To qualify as a Registered Partner you must have had a sales revenue level through UK HP authorised distributors of $100K (excluding supplies) over the previous 12 months. You will need to sign up through the HP Smart Portal ( and then email to complete a company profile. The Smart Portal gives you sales and marketing resources as well as HP product and service information. Registered Partners get an entry in the HP Smart Partner Locator, use of the Registered Partner logo and access to training and exclusive technical support through the Certified Professional Program ( plus limited access to special pricing.

To join the Preferred Partner Programme you must have had a sales revenue level of $380K (net value) per annum from for the previous 12-month period ($250K for Ireland); this can cover hardware and supplies, but at least 50% of revenue must come from hardware. And for the Preferred Partner Gold Programme which offers higher levels of compensation, the revenue level is $1.9 million ($750K for Ireland). HP accepts applications for the Preferred Partner Programme quarterly: deadlines are December 1, March 1, June 1 and September 1.
Preferred Partners get an HP account manager, use of the Preferred Partner logo, Smart Choice, Smart Quote and Smart Sales tools for configuring systems, quoting prices and checking availability, discounted HP pricing, predictable compensation, extra information through Smart Portal including early details on product roadmaps, access to demo equipment and co-marketing opportunities.

Preferred Partners need to gain certifications through the Certified Professional Programme, which covers sales, pre-sales, integration, administration and development. There are also ten specialisations covering areas such as Imaging and Printing, Mobility and Networking, and Security; as you get accredited for more specialisations you will be featured in more sections of HP’s Smart Partner Locator and mentioned in advertising to customers, get increased compensation and have access to advanced training and HP market research – each specialisation also has its own benefits, from discounted demo handsets  to second-level pre-sales support.

IBM PartnerWorld

IBM has three PartnerWorld membership levels – Member, Advanced and Premier – plus the PartnerWorld Express Advantage service for selling to small and medium businesses, which includes the Express Seller Toolkit and an incentive and reward system. There is no charge to become a Member, which gives you access to sales tools, advice from a marketing specialist, financing and discounted training and technical support, but this only offers a logo if you are an IBM reseller. You can also pay for the optional $2,000 Value Package which includes software licences, reimbursement for up to $6,000 of training, technical support and marketing assistance.

Advanced and Premier membership offer many more tools including technical support, discounts on telemarketing and pre-sales consultancy from TechLine. Qualification is based on points, awarded for acquiring skills, developing and selling solutions, driving IBM revenue and achieving customer satisfaction.

You will need to sign up for an IBM  ID at and then apply to join the PartnerWorld programme at

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