Microsoft is urging its Kiwi partners to be proactive as the launch of Windows 10 draws near.
Warwick Grey, Microsoft New Zealand senior partner sales executive for distribution, has been visiting New Zealand resellers for the past six months to showcase Windows 10, which he says creates significant sales opportunities for partners, even though many customers will have access to free upgrades.
But he says resellers too, need to prepare themselves to capitalise on the new operating system – which Microsoft has deemed too good to be called Windows 9.
Grey says reseller feedback to the new operating system has been overwhelmingly positive.
“In that first look they’re saying that it looks different and better than what we had.
“For me, the strategy for partners is how do we get them prepared for it?”
Grey says some resellers are so busy doing their daily jobs that finding time to investigate Windows 10, can be an issue.
“But the first step is to prepare for it.”
Grey says most partners he’s visited have had their tech department do the tech preview download.
“They’re relatively confident that they know what to do and how it will work, but it’s things like the deployment actions – how do the new built-in security tools like Defender, change the way they’ve been thinking about security deployment plans for small business? What might the licensing changes mean?”
He says many are unaware of HoloLens, the new holographic computing support within Windows 10, or the biometric iris recognition.
“It will require them to do something, but we know like with XP where it came to the final day when partners did something.
“We’re trying to move them along that curve.
“We can’t say we’ve failed if we have always made sure our partners know where to go and what to do. If they don’t jump on and take a look at those things, they will at another point, maybe at Ingram Micro showcase, or in guides we’re printing for Ingram and Synnex to send out to their partners.”
Grey says Microsoft has made a range of resources available for partners in order to help prepare them to be ready for Windows 10 conversations with customers.
Key among the offerings is the Windows 10 Learning Series of videos on-demand covering topics including deployment, security and licensing, along with internet of things and a deep dive into managing and deploying updates to Windows 10.
“And obviously WPC [World Partner Conference] is going to be massive this year – the Windows release years are always the biggest years for it,” Grey says.
“We’ve already go about New Zealand 80 partners registered to go to that and they’ll be able to deep dive at that.”
Partners can also get a tech preview, via the Windows Insider Program, which enables them to download and test on a machine.
“The tech preview programme is where they can give us feedback on what they do and don’t like and, of course that’s been widely accepted with three million people on that to give feedback, so it has come a long way.”
On the enterprise side – where enterprise customers don’t qualify for a free upgrade – Grey says the Windows for your Business blog provides information to help resellers create a conversation starter.
“The engaging part is where we are trying to say to partners they need to think about what it will do for the business and not talk about it as just another upgrade, because it is really not.”
Also available is the Windows Accelerate programme which provides partners with ‘everything they might need to pre-train their customers, roll out their marketing campaigns… it’s pretty much there all ready to go,” Grey says.