Microsoft Realigns Sales Force

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-05-23 Print this article Print

Microsoft Corp.'s enterprise group is refocusing and growing its sales and services teams.

Microsoft Corp.s enterprise group is refocusing and growing its sales and services teams, raising the question of whether enterprises will want to purchase more software directly from the Redmond, Wash., company or continue to buy from their longtime partners.

Over the next five years, Microsofts enterprise group plans to boost its sales force by 60 percent while developing more vertical specialties, said Simon Witts, corporate vice president of Microsofts enterprise and partner group. The vendor will continue adding to its on-site services team, which will help the company grow its enterprise sales and services staff to 23,000. These moves are likely to increase tension between Microsoft and channel partners, who already feel the vendor stepping on their toes, say analysts. Simon Hayward, an analyst with Gartner Inc., in Stamford, Conn., said Microsoft needed to align its sales force with vertical solutions as it had "pretty much saturated one area of the market."

Witts denied channel conflict, adding that Microsoft is "taking the serious step" of moving the selling of services into its sales force under a program known as One Microsoft, where there is now one account team and one opportunity pipeline.

The number of specialists in the enterprise groups sales force is likely to double to 50 percent of the overall enterprise force in the next five years. The enterprise group is also setting up industry and specialist units to cover vertical specialization and support the account teams that cover the clients, Witts said.

Some customers, such as John Engates, chief technology officer for Rackspace Ltd., a managed-hosting provider in San Antonio, with more than 6,000 Windows servers, welcomed this greater involvement. "We have to manage hundreds of customers who all have different needs. Microsofts management and monitoring tools, as well as Active Directory, have always been designed for a big IT shop rather than for service providers," Engates said. "The focus on vertical segments will enable us to have more input into what our specific needs as a hosting company are and see those reflected in the various products like IIS [Internet Information Services], SQL Server and its management tools."

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel