Posted by: Charles Maitland | Tuesday 8 December, 2009

Microsoft and the vertical partner model – Take 2

Following on from my earlier post on how I believed that Microsoft CRM V5 would force partners down a vertical route I read this piece from Curtis Beebe over on the “Death of Reason” blog.

In the piece Chris argues that there is a conflict between Microsoft wanting their partners to engage in a vertical market and the fact that Microsoft solutions, especially in the Dynamics space are by their nature horizontal.

I particularly agree that partners consider a vertical to be a business process vertical and not a true industry verticals as expected by Microsoft.

So how does this square with my earlier assertion that the modular nature of CRM V5 will drive the partner community into vertical sectors?

Well I think that the key is to define the nature of the term “Vertical”. I was not aware of the SIC code allocations that Chris refers to in his piece and I don’t believe that this level of industry specific focus can be achieved as the number of verticals that can sustain such a model are few and far between.

The “vertical” I was thinking has a wider definition that more closely matches Chris’ process verticals. However, I can see a future where as the horizontal ERP/CRM solutions become more of a framework into which modules are dropped partners will, through competitive pressures, be forced to develop ever more refined modules in order to avoid a “race to the bottom” based on price.

As always, we live in interesting times.


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