"We will talk about the delivery, well talk about the on-premises, partner-hosted and Microsoft-hosted scenarios, and we will look at our products and solutions across that continuum, if you will, when we consider building both products and the partner framework. And Steve [Ballmer] will frame up how the products start to have that continuum," Watson said. As such, Microsoft plans to explain what the current opportunity is for everything that moves online, as well as where that opportunity will exist moving forward. An element of this model is that the company will start to release key performance indicators for profitability, as well as "movement scenarios or guides for change," she said."So, if we start out with this framework and then we ask the questions about how our commitment to this model means change, we then have to look at how things change and why, and where the new opportunities lie. We have actually had some rich discussions about that particular topic and what is going on with our partners," Watson said. "Frankly, if we dont change, there wont be us for partners to have a business model on. Its like this isnt about Microsoft doing something with partners; this is about Microsoft and partners together evolving," she said.
Another high-level message for attendees will be that Microsoft is preparing an integrated launch and readiness plan for Windows Server 2008, which is expected to be released to manufacturing later this year and which follows the releases of Windows Vista, Office System 2007 and Exchange Server 2007.
So as to leave no doubt as to how seriously it is about these messages, Microsoft is pulling out all the stops and bringing out all its big-gun keynote speakers to address the 10,000 attendees at the sold-out events first day.
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Speakers include Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner; Chris Capossela, corporate vice president of the business division; Mike Sievert, corporate vice president for Windows platform marketing; and Tami Reller, corporate vice president of Microsofts business solutions group.
"You can expect huge momentum around that over this year and into next, and we also have some exciting things coming out for partners with Windows Vista and Office 2008 to continue that wave, so you will start to see some of that here," Watson said.
There will also be announcements around infrastructure optimization models for Microsofts people-ready business, from business productivity to core infrastructure and the application platform, where there will be a model developed by Microsoft that partners can use to qualify the customers level of business intelligence sophistication, and that will help model how they can achieve their goals, she said.
"Partners tell us this, combined with the ability to demonstrate things to the user, using our demo showcase technology, really, really pays off in terms of repeatability, success and speed. It also pays off on the customer side because they feel like theyve got a road map. So, were continuing to invest in these models, and youll see us roll them out," Watson said.
In his keynote, Microsoft COO Turner will talk about his top two priorities for Microsoft: meeting its revenue goals and the partner ecosystem.
Turner has been working closely with Watson on ways in which the company can help its partners become even better, and what to tell those partners who want to be the best.
As part of this, Turner will announce an online partner dashboard that will be available at the end of September, which will show partners their performance relative to all aspects of their relationship with Microsoft.
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"It will then also give them a target benchmark, if you will, for like partner types. So, if youre in the information worker competency arena, you might be able to compare yourself against a group both in your country and/or around the world. It responds to what partners want to know about what they need to do. It also helps clarify what we expect from partners and what they should expect from us," Watson said.
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With regard to the marketplace scenarios, Watson said Microsoft will talk about P2P, P2C, directory promotion and the concepts it is considering around bill on behalf, which it already does in the consumer space today but is now looking at more broadly in the software-plus-services framework.