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IAMCP Kicks Off 'Great Americas' Initiative

IAMCP board members and other leaders kicked off the "Great Americas" campaign in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in March during their annual strategy-planning meeting.

The initiative's goal: raising the independent nonprofit group's profile in Latin America. Specifically, IAMCP leaders hope to recruit new members and promote the founding of additional chapters in the enormous region, which includes Mexico, Central America and South America. By banding together, partner companies in those countries are more likely to show up on Microsoft's radar, says Bill Breslin, president of IAMCP's U.S. chapter: "The bigger their footprint, the louder their message."

Currently, Brazil is home to Latin America's largest IAMCP chapter, with 36 members. Second is IAMCP Mexico with 33. The organization recently formed new chapters in Guatemala and Puerto Rico, and hopes to do the same in Argentina and Venezuela within the next year.

IAMCP sees no shortage of potential members: Microsoft estimates that about 40,000 partner companies (including Registered Members as well as Gold Certified and Certified Partners) are based in the region.

IAMCP sees plenty of opportunities for Latin American partners as well: According to Microsoft's estimates, every $1 that Microsoft makes in the region generates nearly $16 more for local partners.

However, Latin American partners also face a big challenge: "It's a real fight for Microsoft to get on an even keel there against the competition, which is the open source community. There is a long-standing bias toward open source," says Breslin, director of sales for Insource Technology Corp., a Houston-based Gold Certified Partner. "That makes it even more important for Microsoft partners to support and sustain each other, because there are plenty of other people fighting against them already."

The move comes as Microsoft, which has done business in Latin America for more than two decades, publicly renews its commitment to the region. Speaking at the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum in Colombia later in March, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates noted that Microsoft directly employs 1,300 people in Latin American companies, with Microsoft-related jobs accounting for nearly half the region's IT jobs. In that speech, Gates highlighted Microsoft's efforts to put computers and software in several Latin American countries' classrooms and to provide security measures that better protect local youngsters against Internet-based predators and identity thieves.

Partner Group Opens Online Community

Software vendors worldwide now have a new place to gather online.

In April, the International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners launched SoftwareBiz Exchange.com, a resource and networking portal for software solutions providers.

The free Web site complements resources offered by the Microsoft Partner Program, which has endorsed the new online community. In an IAMCP press release announcing the site's launch, Allison Watson, corporate vice president for Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Group, praised it as "a terrific way for partners to connect with each other and enhance their own ecosystem to drive new customer opportunities, acquire more diverse skills, expand into new geographies and build innovative customer solutions."

SoftwareBizExchange.com includes:

  • Links to business news, articles and information
  • Listings for software-industry events and conferences
  • Discussion forums for partner networking and collaboration
  • Resource centers stocked with information on topics ranging from hiring to writing code to pricing
  • Columns by specialists in marketing, channel development and other topics.

To sample the site's offerings, visit SoftwareBizExchange.com. -- A.S.

Meanwhile, IAMCP -- which now claims more than 4,000 members in 56 chapters worldwide -- is looking ahead to its next big target: "We've got our eyes on Asia-Pacific at this point," Breslin says. Expansion efforts should begin in that region later this year.

About the Author

Anne Stuart, the former executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner, is a business technology freelance writer based in Boston, Mass.

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