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February 27, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:59pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft Corp has beefed up its Service Advantage program, the pilot program started last year that has Microsoft sending its own people to sit on site at major customers willing to pay the tab. The on-site portion of Service Advantage, called the Enterprise Program Manager consulting service, has been renamed the Enterprise Program Management service and expanded to cover total cost-of-ownership consulting, enterprise architecture planning, computer services assessment and anything else a customer is willing to pay for. Microsoft signed up about 100 large customers under the pilot program, now open to all comers as part of its standard Consulting Services. Those unwilling to foot the possibly substantial bill for Enterprise Program Management can get an on-site version of Microsoft’s Premier Support service, previously available only by phone. About 1,500 companies buy Premier Support, each has its own onsite technical account manager. Microsoft also published a handful of new technology blueprints, general outlines that companies can use to plan their information technology needs. New blueprints for 1997 include one for total cost of ownership assessments, a Lotus Notes-to-Microsoft Exchange migration plan, one for using Exchange Server for electronic commerce and another to set up transaction-based distributed systems with Transaction Server. With all the customer hand-holding in the program, Microsoft is also being very careful not to cut the heart out of the businesses of its biggest consulting partners and each, as is de rigeur, last week outlined their own elaborate plans to combine Microsoft’s on-site programs with their own. Digital Equipment Corp explained how it will almost double the number of Microsoft- certified engineers it has by the end of 1997, to about 2,500 from 1,300 now. It also unveiled a series of service packages to help customers use Microsoft software in heterogeneous environments. With only minor variations, similar pledges and new programs were unveiled by IBM Corp Global Services, General Electric Co Inc’s GE Capital, Hewlett-Packard Co, Tandem Computers Inc, Vanstar Corp and others.

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