If you look at a list of partners sorted by size of partner, major vendor’s partner ecosystems usually look like very flat pyramids. They will have a few very large partners, companies that may be of the same size or exceed that of the vendors, and a large number of companies that are smaller – many very much smaller. For smaller partners, acquiring new customers is challenging. Based on a study I did recently, the smaller partners value very highly the traffic and leads generated from a vendor’s site.
For vendors with a partner network in the tens and hundreds, it is usually pretty easy it put together a simple to use directory that connects prospects and partners. Microsoft, on the other hand, never seems to get this right, in spite of the fact that partners are its main route to market. Having worked on a number of projects for Microsoft and Microsoft partners, and prior to that for Microsoft competitors, I have always used their partner directories. Though I appreciate the depth and breadth of their ecosystem, I have always been baffled at the company’s inability to classify and serve up partner information in a way that is simple enough for ordinary customers to make use of. Their latest attempt, Pinpoint, which overlays results on a map is still off the mark. Because the partner network is so vast, the task of accurately pigeon holing each and every partner never seems to get addressed. And it is a poor showcase of their technology. Perhaps as part of their ecosystem revamp, this gap will finally be addressed. Meantime, if you need to find a reliable Microsoft Partner for hosted messaging, I can recommend a very good one.