Ferguson: Whats an example of some tools? Do you have a database now that has all of this information thrown in there? Yes and no. Id say, not unlike my competitors who will tell you how easy it is, I have a database thats been up and running. But tomorrow [Sunday, July 10] Im announcing one thats the next generation of really taking that out, so Ill be announcing the Microsoft Solution Profiler Database. Ill be encouraging all 6,200 partners to make at least one entry into the vertical solution profiler database. From that database, we have two applications running against it. One is Partner Channel Builder, and that is being launched with what I call flexible and rich search, not unlike MSN Search, in terms of easy and simple keyword search, to search for other partners that will be either complementary in your skill across the stack, or complementary between resale ISV services and MBS.
The second application, launching in the fall, is the Microsoft Solution Finder that introduces a customer search engine. Again, a very simple UI designed to be meeting both horizontal and vertical application needs, location specific search, keyword search, etc., for which partners will qualify to put opportunities into the solution profiler.There are Microsoft Partner Program points and then Microsoft designation and competenciesthings that will rank them higher if theres going to be a tie between solutions. So, its the brand that carries Microsoft that will make a differenceand then well present rich search to our customers. We really want to turn on the customer finder, with all the marketing around it for small, midmarket and verticals, over the next six months. And enterprise, I should say. Where that thing is going over time is in the Windows marketplace. So, this is step one. And the Windows marketplace vision weve been telling you about over the past 12 months. Galli: Whats the time frame for actually moving into the Windows marketplace? On the technology side, were already working on it. Weve got some really cool stuff coming because were fully enabling all the Longhorn excitement around Web services with our Solution Profiler. So, imagine this wonderfully rich solution profiled, and you may go into a searchable database generically, but now you want to say, "I want to go to a third-party Web site about the entertainment industry," and the entertainment industry wants to provide information on technology for their businesses. Well, wouldnt it be great if there is a Windows marketplace Web service that calls out the queries, the preselected queries online, and then gets presented on the third-party industry Web site. So, thats kind of where were taking it. But Ill talk to you more about that next year. Galli: What about those businesses [partners] who may have solutions that span a couple of verticals? They see themselves covering a more broad base, and youre asking them to see themselves in boxes. One thing to highlight to partners is this is not an either/or thing, its a both. If your business is about horizontal ERP for blah, blah, blah, and thats how you sell your business and youve been wildly successful, more power to you. And were going to continue to support you. At the end of the day, our incentives dont change. You dont get penalized if you dont say I am a vertical market; you dont get extra credit if youre in a vertical market only. That may be the genesis of the confusion out there, is really clarifying that message, and Ill make sure I do that. Ferguson: So, just to be clear, Microsoft is not going to be developing any horizontal applications? Correct. Its absolutely for partners to take that on. Galli: So, what youre saying is partners who are already working in the vertical solutions, youre just asking them to say what those verticals are, what their target market is, and how they would like you to promote them? Correct. And encouraging them, where they are vertically focused, to do promotions in that area, and where they are horizontally focused, to continue in that area as well. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
The second application, launching in the fall, is the Microsoft Solution Finder that introduces a customer search engine. Again, a very simple UI designed to be meeting both horizontal and vertical application needs, location specific search, keyword search, etc., for which partners will qualify to put opportunities into the solution profiler.