ChannelLife NZ - Windows 7: the partner opportunity

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Windows 7: the partner opportunity

Microsoft’s next generation operating system, Windows 7, will be released on October 22nd, creating a host of new opportunities for partners, both in terms of new product sales and also through increased services and licensing revenue. The Channel asked Ben Green, Microsoft New Zealand’s Windows Business Group Manager, to tell us about the opportunities the launch holds.

The industry response to Windows 7 has been extremely positive and generated a new wave of optimism in the Microsoft channel community. The buzz around Windows 7 provides partners with an opportunity to benefit from customer demand for the new operating system and the benefi ts it offers New Zealand businesses.

Get ready, get informed
The best way for partners to prepare for the release of Windows 7 is by experiencing the capabilities of the new operating system for themselves.

It’s essential that channel partners understand the different Windows 7 businessSKUs (Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise) and have a sound knowledge of the benefi ts by each option (see table), as well as the upgrade options available through volume licensing and Software Assurance.

Microsoft offers a range of Windows 7 resources for channel partners, ranging from training and deployment, to sales and marketing tools. A good starting point is Microsoft’s Gear Up toolkit, which outlines the value proposition of Windows 7 for business customers, summarises the customer experience, and answers basic questions for partners about upgrading customers to Windows 7.

Get to know the value proposition of Windows 7
Windows 7 offers a range of new features, designed to offer customers improved productivity, security and control. The new features and capabilities in Windows 7, Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP) and Windows Server 2008 R2 combine to improve the productivity and performance of your business customers (see table for a breakdown of the new features).

Partner opportunities for small business
Windows 7 builds on the substantial investments made in Windows Vista to deliver an operating system that boots quickly, is fast and reliable, more secure, and connects with the broad range of devices that business customers use every day. For partners servicing small business customers, Windows 7 offers value in three key areas:
1. The product. Windows 7 enhances the PC experience from day one, enabling productivity, mobility, collaboration, and a high degree of security with solutions that provide value for small businesses.
2. A base for future opportunities. Windows 7 is a foundation for expanding partner opportunities, providing a basis for improved customer value and relationships. Partners can grow customer trust and confidence by delivering end-to-end solutions that help solve small businesses’ critical needs.
3. Guidance and support. Focused and timely sales training and support will help partners sell Windows 7 licences and related products and services.

Partner opportunities for mid-size and enterprise customers
For partners servicing mid-size and enterprise organisations, the Optimised Desktop, including Windows 7 Enterprise and MDOP, helps partners to deliver strategic value and grow services and licensing revenue. The Optimised Desktop does this by facilitating comprehensive planning and deployment of end-to-end PC solutions.

?Windows 7 can help partners  grow customer trust and confidence by delivering end-to-end solutions that help solve businesses’ critical needs.
? Partners can grow their businesses’ service by driving Optimised Desktop solutions, which can help create more opportunity for planning, deployment, and support of the new desktop PC platform.
? Partners can grow their Volume Licensing business by showing the value of Optimised Desktop Volume Licensing to their customers.

Waiting versus upgrading
Customers don’t have to wait until the general release of Windows 7 to benefi t from the new operating system. Deploying Windows Vista can provide immediate benefi ts today and make it easier to upgrade to Windows 7 when it is available. It is important for customers to use the current deployment and management toolset, and test their applications on Windows Vista to ensure that their IT infrastructure is compatible with Windows 7.

Customers deploying Vista SP1 and MDOP today gain an advantage when moving to Windows 7, by easing the migration of settings and applications. Microsoft Software Assurance provides upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise Edition when it becomes available.

Conclusion
There is high confi dence in the market that Windows 7 will deliver signifi cant business value to SMB and enterprise customers. Partners have a sound opportunity to leverage the opportunities created by Windows 7 and build on their existing customer relationships. The industry’s positive response to Windows 7 will drive organisations that have long postponed hardware and software upgrades to move ahead, and partners are positioned to provide these customers with valuable end-to-end solutions to meet their business needs.

The Windows 7 release candidate (RC) is available for download now at www.microsoft.co.nz/windows7. Test-drive Windows 7 RC today, then show your colleagues and customers how Windows 7 can improve management, security, reliability and performance.

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