Microsoft Launches MPN – Social Networking for Partners

Software giant Microsoft has launched a new online networking community to allow businesses to meet, connect and partner with one another. Aimed at its 36,000-strong partner community in the UK, the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) provides an innovative way for IT companies to access skills, expertise and resources from others as well as to collaborate on new business and projects.

The MPN builds on the success of consumer focussed social networking sites to use the power of such technology to bring businesses together. Developed in response to demand for networking opportunities, it provides an innovative way for Microsoft partners to connect with each other, which, when combined with the events and other networking tools that Microsoft provides, gives them even greater access to the skills and expertise they need. Already, over 1,400 partners have joined the Microsoft Partner Network.

Simon Gautrey, Group Manager, Audience Marketing and Strategy, Microsoft UK said: “Research has indicated that partners who network are 5% more successful that those that don’t – it is commonplace now for our partners to network with one another and, as a result, pitch for bigger contracts where often a multitude of skills are needed to respond to a customer’s needs. This is why we have developed the MPN – to make it easier for partners to seek out and connect with suitable affiliates to combine skills in order to either win new business or to better meet customer expectations.”

Gautrey continues: “We’ve long advocated the benefits of channel businesses partnering with each other; the challenge has often been around how they can effectively achieve this. That’s why we host so many events each year and why we’re keen to use technology to aid this community, thereby bringing the power of social networking to the business environment.”

The community has been in beta since February 2008 and has already been beneficial for many partners in the UK. One example of those successes is F1Group, a Lincolnshire-based IT consultancy. F1Group had a new customer opportunity that required expertise in Microsoft Dynamics technology, an area which isn’t currently a core competency of this partner. Through the MPN, F1 Group connected with a Dynamics partner, Northampton DY, and together, both companies were able to pitch for and secure a significant deal.

Andrew Bel-Dean, Senior Technology Manager, F1 Group said: “The Microsoft Partner Network is a fantastic innovation. As a direct result of using the community, we were able to connect with Northampton DY and together we won a major five-figure deal – without the community, winning this contract wouldn’t have been possible. I love the fact that not only is the MPN a great source of information but it also provides a forum to interact and share experiences with my industry peers. I think it’s unique and an amazing resource for our company, as a Microsoft partner.”

Microsoft partners wishing to join the MPN can do so by visiting: www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/networks