Fair weather for Windows enterprise integration

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Enterprise integration will be one of the biggest software revenue earners for Microsoft partner developers and system integrators in the next three years, according to figures presented at its annual Australia and New Zealand partner conference.

Alistair Cloke, manager of partner development at Microsoft Australia,  displayed IDC 'black book' figures to delegates at the Queensland forum that suggested enterprise integration software would be one of the biggest revenue generators for the vendor's system integrators and ISV partners from full year 2004 through until 2006.

The IDC figures divided potential Australia and New Zealand Windows-based software revenue into about 10 categories. Enterprise integration was the biggest earner with US $99.33 million in revenue expected in full year 2004, growing to US $130.02 million by full year 2006.

These figures, which included business process automation and enterprise application integration packages, represented “a major market opportunity” for partners, Cloke said.

Robin Young, product manager for SharePoint and projects at Microsoft Australia, said Australian businesses had more to gain from enterprise integration than many based overseas.

The tyranny of distance that held sway across large tracts of Australia meant many sales teams, for example, had little contact with head office. As a result, staff morale and efficiency in those teams was often low, he claimed.

“I say to Americans, 'imagine having your sales team crossing the whole of America, because that's what it's like in Australia'. Bringing that team together and having them write [sales] proposals quickly, that's what our customers are asking for, because they're not responding quickly enough,” Young said.

Such needs were a chance for partners to push Microsoft products such as Office System 2003 and SharePoint Server Portal 2003, he suggested. Partners needed to move away from thinking of Office System as just a package of desktop applications.

“Office System 2003 can be used for integrating communications [including email], team collaboration and enabling mobile workforces,” Young said.

Cloke told delegates that Microsoft would target enterprise integration  revenue through a quarterly marketing campaign via partners from January to March inclusive next year. Another marketing campaign around a “communication and collaboration” message would also help partners build revenue from enterprise integration software in the same time frame next year, he said.

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